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Last updated 14th February 2023

Rural Ministry

Welcome to the Rural Ministry page for Blackburn Diocese. On this page you will find a number of useful links for anyone involved in supporting and/or ministering to our rural communities. If you need specific help or advice on a rural issue then please contact Canon Cindy Rigney {Chair of the Rural Focus Group} or our administrator, Gill Beeley and they will be happy to help.


Diocesan Rural Support:

The DIocesan Rural Focus Group meets two or three times a year to discuss topical issues affecting rural communities. The group consists of a number of stakeholders who are working in our rural communities. It provides opportunity to network and work across various disciplines for the wellbeing and sustainability of our communities. The group organises 2 mini conferences a year, which focus upon specific areas of concern and which seek to be a catalyst for action. One of our  conferences focussed on environmental challenges and how they are being addressed in farming and other rural settings. Our next meetings are paying attention to cost of living issues, and how to be Church in rural communities.  

Below are some of the organisations that attend our meetings, along with rural clergy and lay leaders. 

Lancashire Police Rural, Wildlife & Heritage Crime Coordinator,Lancashire Resilience Forum members, Community Futures (support VIllage Halls), Electricity North West Ltd (ENWL), Lancashire Fire and Rescue, NFU, Rural Services Network, Age UK.

Our meeting in July 2022 explored the differences in culture, both real and imagined, between rural and urban communities at its recent meeting.  Leading the discussion was Anna Jones, who has published her findings as a Nuffield Farming Scholar, in her book DIVIDE, considering the relationship crisis between town and country.  Several good ideas emerged - if you want to know more contact Gill Beeley.  Other meetings and conferences have explored environmental issues, fuel and food poverty and the impact of change and uncertainty in the farming community.

The Rural Theology and Development Group

The Rural Theology and Development Group is specifically for those involved in Church settings, both lay and ordained. The group allows opportunity for theological reflection and seeks to be a prophetic voice for the wider Diocese and Church, identifying rural mission priorities and issues and bringing them to the attention of Diocesan leaders.

WhatsApp Rural  Group

The new whatsapp group is to allow rural clergy to ask questions and get answers on rural issues as quickly as possible. It is a way to share ideas and keep up-to-date with topical rural issues. If you would like to join the group, please contact Cindy {See above}


Blackburn Diocese has an Instagram account for rural communities. To subscribe, search @bdrural. If you have any good quality images to add, please forward them to Cindy, who will be happy to receive them.

All groups welcome new members. To find out more, please contact Cindy or Gill.

National Support for Rural Churches

Home - The Arthur Rank Centre - The first place to go for a wealth of information, relating to support for rural communities and churches. Also contains an excellent resource section, as well as details of courses and toolkits for working with rural churches.  see below - Supports rural churches and has a strong focus upon Mission in rural settings.

Rural Mission | The Church of England - links to useful National Church documents, reports and resources for rural churches. In the sidebar is a link to a document entitled 'Enabling Mission and Growth in the Rural Church.' This practical document contains a lot of really useful information and links to other resources - definitely worth downloading!

Farming Support

Please find below, a list of organisations that offer practical and pastoral support to farmers: - A Christian - led organisation, consisting of volunteers, mostly from a farming background, who 'walk with' farmers through difficult times.  - Provides practical help and advice to all who work, or have worked on the land. Referrals {with permission} from clergy. Regional officers can meet with farmers who are facing difficulties, in order to offer support, advice, possible financial help and counselling referrals.

Addington Fund - Provides disaster relief and helps with housing issues. Also supports those entering the farming sector.

Farm Safety Foundation / Yellow Wellies - - Information on farm safety and mental health for farmers.

Other Useful Links  - Support for community business projects {village shops, pubs etc}

Home - The Prince's Countryside Fund ( - Works to see rural communities thrive, providing grants, advice and information for both communities and farmers. Current interest in supporting young people.

One of the leading rural support organisations is the Arthur Rank Foundation.  Since 1972 Germinate: The Arthur Rank Centre, an ecumenical Christian charity, has served both the spiritual and practical needs of the rural community through a programme of community and social projects, resourcing and training.  See below for more information and access to their Toolkits for Rural Churches.

Germinate is the home of the National Rural Offices for the Church of England, Methodist and United Reformed Church; and also the hub for the church network of Rural Officers and Agricultural Chaplains. Their focus is to support and strengthen the UK’s 15,000 rural churches, so they can respond positively to change and impact the communities they serve. Click on the icon below to access their website

They provide hundreds of resources for rural churches including a comprehensive range of worship resources and rural stories, ideas and inspiration though our magazine, Country Way. Our highly popular Rural Ministry Course has been running for over 30 years and, through a special project, we are working hard to effectively resource those engaged in multi-church ministry.

Newer projects include Germinate Enterprise, a rural business start-up programme, Germinate Groups, learning communities for multi-church groups, and Germinate Leadership, a training programme developing the creative and entrepreneurial skills of rural church leaders. We also run a biennial Germinate Conference, a major national day conference for all those involved in rural mission and ministry.

Toolkits for Rural Churches

Open Welcome is designed to help rural churches consider how they might use their building to offer welcome and hospitality to those in their community. For more information visit our website ( or to request a free copy email


Accessible Welcome  is designed to help rural churches work towards ensuring that their church – both the building and their worship – is accessible to all. For more information visit our website ( or to request a free copy email

Worshipping Together is designed to help lay people plan and lead services in their local church. For more information visit our website ( or to request a free copy email





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