Rural churches

Bishop Gavin crouches next to two pigs in a pen, smiling as he reaches out to one of them
Enabling and empowering the rural church

The Diocese of Oxford has a long history of developing creative thinking regarding the rural church and mission and ministry in rural contexts. To quote the title of E F Schumacher’s book, 'small is beautiful', and a low-key, patient and prayerful approach often reminds us that God works on the small scale for much of the time.

Rural events

Join us throughout 2022 for a series of events centred on the rural church.

A-Z of Church Fundraising

Saturday 7 May

Featuring a seminar on a new tool for rural churches

See more and book online.

Rural Forum

Thursday 19 May & Tuesday 11 October

Facilitated by Helen Cameron

An opportunity to reflect with rural colleagues on the role of the parish in housing. The pressure on rural housing has intensified because of the pandemic. The Church of England now names housing as part of its mission. What is the reality where you are? We will share reflections from Nick Pollock, Head of Development for the Duchy of Cornwall, and David Mason, Director of Glebe and Buildings.

Register for 19 May

Inaugural Diocesan Rural Lecture

Tuesday 27 September

Delivered by the Rt Revd Dagmar Winter, Bishop of Huntingdon

Stay tuned for more details.


Mysterious as a seed

In the parable of the seed growing in Mark 4.26-29, after the seed is sown into the ground, the seed sprouts and grows with no further action by the sower. It is the earth that produces the fruit.

It is God alone who controls the mysterious process of growth and His Kingdom, and all that it stands for, emerges due to His power, which can be as quiet and invisible as a seed coming to fruition. Similarly, much of the mission and ministry in rural multi-parish benefices is quiet, gentle, and largely unseen, but ultimately flourishing, and bearing fruit for the Kingdom.

All the advisers in the Mission and Ministry Department are committed to serving the rural church. If you would like to develop your thinking and gain from others' experience and expertise, the best people to make initial contact with are the Parish Development Advisers:

Every year the Continuing Ministerial Development team aims to offer events specific to those who serve in the countryside. Do keep an eye on the CMD pages.


Useful links

The national body which seeks to serve the rural church is the Arthur Rank Centre, which has many useful resources.

In addition, the Rural Mission page on the Church of England website provides information about how the national church seeks to support the rural church.

Page last updated: 27th April 2022 10:55 AM