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Free materials to help rural churches connect with their communities

Hundreds of churches across the UK are preparing events and activities to celebrate Rural Mission Sunday on 16 July.

With many rural churches pioneering shared ministry, lay leadership and fresh expressions of church, it’s a perfect opportunity to connect with communities in the countryside.

More than 200 churches have so far registered for the event and many more are expected to download the free materials available at These include a specially written prayer by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, plus children’s resources put together by URC Children’s and Youth Development Officer Nicola Grieves.

The theme for this year is hospitality and welcome, something many rural churches are already good at extending. The seismic political events of 2016 and 2017 have led to a national and global conversation that can sound very unwelcoming, so maybe it’s time for the Church to model a different approach.

Rural churches are being encouraged to take action, to hold an event to bless their community and engage with those who don’t normally come to such gatherings as well as engaging with the themes of welcome in the context of worship.

“Rural mission is a fruitful place to be,” said organiser Revd Elizabeth Clark, based at Germinate: The Arthur Rank Centre.

“There is often a strong community connection with the church, congregation members are usually well embedded in communities, and there is a particular openness to God the creator and the seasons and festivals. This is an opportunity to celebrate all that is happening and offer Christian hospitality in new ways.”

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