Rural mission and ministry
In the area covered by the Diocese of Ely, more than half of the population (58%) live in villages and hamlets. Villages here, as elsewhere, tend to have a rootedness of place, a feel of history and a sense of community.
But in our contemporary world, few remain largely agricultural. Rural isolation is more keenly felt in the north Fens and Norfolk area but many villages relate either to Cambridge, Huntingdon or Peterborough, or to one of the smaller market towns.
There are small businesses, schools and shops dotted across the area but many village residents look to the towns for work, shopping and entertainment. Where data speeds are good enough, the 24/7 online world shapes life in the villages just as it does elsewhere.
The rural mission and ministry group has been drawn together to resource and support mission and ministry in this changing and varied rural context in the diocese of Ely. A key part of that brief is to tell the stories of the worshipping communities of the villages. We believe that there is both faithfulness and creativity to celebrate, as well as good practice and ideas to share.
The Rural Mission and Ministry Group is one of two 'context groups ' that report to the Council for Mission (the other is the new housing group). We are currently working in three areas:
- We have begun a blog entitled 'Grow: mission and ministry in the diocese of Ely ' for local stories and resources relating to church life in village communities. Posts are written by the members and ministers of local church communities for their friends and colleagues and are a work in progress rather than the last word. You can view the blog here www.ruralmissionandministry.wordpress.com . If you 'd like to contribute a story or resources then please get in touch with Revd Alison Myers via firstname.lastname@example.org.
- With the archdeacon of Huntingdon and Wisbech we host an annual seminar for ordained and lay ministers working in multi-parish benefices.
- In 2016, in common with parishes and other groups, we are gradually reviewing the diocesan strategy to identify areas where it particularly relates to the rural context.
The Rural Mission and Ministry Group meets 2 - 3 times a year. It is chaired by the Archdeacon of Huntingdon and Wisbech.
Its current membership is:
- Revd John Alford
- Revd Joan Horan
- Revd Alison Myers
- Revd Barbara Pearman
- Revd Nigel Pearson (Bishop 's Rural Advisor)
- Revd Brenda Stewart.