Helping rural churches ‘grow and thrive’
A new online resource hub to help rural churches ‘grow and thrive’ is being launched by the Bishop of Exeter today (Monday 8 March).
Growing the Rural Church (GtRC) is a Diocese of Exeter pilot project funded by the Church of England’s Strategic Development Fund.
It began in 2017 but is now relaunching following a major re-appraisal of its operational methods during the pandemic.
The resource hub will offer churches across the UK support to plan projects, apply for grants, work with local communities, get help with building maintenance, plan special events and make the most of church festivals.
As well as free tutorial videos and online guidance, there will be regular free webinars throughout the year.
The Growing the Rural Church team also wants to help churches explore innovative uses for their buildings, for example as community work hubs and cafés during the week for people working from home.
Sarah Cracknell, the project manager, said “When the pandemic hit, we couldn’t operate as before, going out to meet church groups face to face. We realised that offering support online would enable us to offer the same advice and guidance to a much greater number of rural churches.
“We are really excited about the hub launch. This will give churches the essential building blocks to be sustainable but it also has a lot of creative ideas for ‘risk taking’ and growth.”
“Rural churches have a unique opportunity to speak into that. We are hoping to work with the Devon Work Hubs organisation to encourage churches to offer community workspaces so people don’t just have to work at home alone. People are missing that connection with others.”