CW81: Learning to Lead

Teenagers. They can be elusive and mysterious, apparently living life glued to screens and electronic devices. It sometimes seems as though there’s no way to interact with them, or engage them in church life and faith.

From an early age, we teach children to make decision about their own lives, from what clothes they wish to wear to their favourite yoghurt. Fast forward a few years and from the age of thirteen young people are making life-changing decisions that affect their future. So how can we make church a place where young people can begin to exercise responsibility and leadership, and play their part in making decisions about the mission and ministry of the local church?

CW81: Live The Life

Rural Mission Sunday is an opportunity to celebrate the life of the rural church and the real difference rural Christians can and do make in their communities. This year we are thinking about what it means to live out our faith in everyday life and we’ve chosen three Bible passages which we think help us to reflect on three key facets of doing that:

  • The story of Jesus inviting Peter and Andrew, James and John to follow him and become ‘fishers of people’ (Mark 1:16-20) reminds us that every one of us is called by Jesus.
  • When we read about the early church, gathering in people’s homes and in the temple, (Acts 2:42-47), we’re challenged to think about how we might deepen our discipleship.
  • Reflecting on the tale Jesus tells of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), we discover a surprising example of the power of everyday faith.

Find out more about Rural Mission Sunday by clicking here.

CW81: Living life and talking Jesus

‘I know now that my job is simply to talk Jesus; the rest will be up to God!’

That’s the verdict of Izzy, who attended the Talking Jesus course at a Yorkshire church. ‘I feel I have been given a toolkit to use in all sorts of contexts, and I have had some fantastic conversations as a result,’ she said. Izzy is one of thousands of Christians finding the confidence they need to talk about Jesus to friends, family members and work colleagues as part of everyday life.

CW81: Modern slavery – a rural reality

‘I know modern slavery happens, but it doesn’t happen here’.

That’s the refrain of the average person in Britain. We may have read the news reports with story after story, but still we insist, ‘it doesn’t happen here’. Where does modern slavery happen? The reality is that modern slavery is anywhere and everywhere. The big city, the market town, the picturesque village; all of them are touched by this pernicious crime.

CW81: National Love Your Burial Ground Week

Churchyards are beautiful places nestled in the hearts of our communities. They can act as a reminder that time is precious and be a perfect location to reflect on our place in the cycle of life. Their ancient links make them central to a community’s sense of identity.

Burial grounds can be surprisingly rich in biodiversity, supporting a fantastic array of different species. Whilst some plants and animals may move into a well-managed burial ground it is more likely that most have been there for a long time, a reflection of the timelessness of these places and the consistent management that they have received.

CW81: New National Rural Officer for the Church of England

A Christian presence in every community is more than a strap-line – it is the heart of English Anglicanism. It is the expression of our obligation, as the church for all the people of the nation, to leave no community untouched by the gospel of Jesus Christ, lived out among the people of every place. Ministry and mission in the rural church is highly demanding of energy and imagination. Growth is being realised, but much more remains to be done.

Rt Revd James Bell, retired Bishop of Ripon

The Church of England has over 10,000 rural churches and on any given Sunday 40% of all the people worshipping with the Church of England can be found in these places. Even these figures hide their bigger significance for rural communities across the country as places of hope, peace and comfort, nurturing social action projects that enrich communities.

CW81: Ringing the changes

The bells of Holy Cross Church, Babcary, in the Diocese of Bath and Wells, have long been enjoyed by the congregation and village so we were dismayed to be told by the surveyor that there was a health & safety issue. We needed a soundproof double ceiling between ringers and bells – dauntingly expensive. Creative thinking required!

CW81: Tea at The Tower

Built around 1050, St Mary’s is a beautiful church situated in Acton, a small village west of Nantwich in Cheshire. In March 2017, our group of volunteers established a café under the tower. The vision was for a weekly opportunity for people to come together and enjoy some refreshments in a caring and compassionate environment. We called our café ‘Tea at The Tower’ and our purpose was simply to establish a vehicle for outreach and pastoral care and an environment whereby a compassionate community could grow.

CW81: Walk Church

For about a year a group from the Diocese of Canterbury has been experimenting with taking church outdoors. We are a congregation that meets at a church but then goes out to meet with God while walking in the countryside: it’s Walk Church.

CW81: Book Reviews

Alister McGrath: Mere Discipleship: Growing in Wisdom and Hope (SPCK, 2018)

David Grieve: Love in Thin Places: Confessions of a Cathedral Chaplain (Sacristy Press, 2019)

Lyn McCrave: The Geese Flew Over My Heart (Sacristy Press, 2019)