Since 1972 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.
The organisation was established to provide agricultural chaplaincy for the farming community which was – and still is – facing a crisis with financial difficulties, debt and family pressure.
We have broadened our outlook to help disadvantaged rural communities more generally, working to advance religion by supporting rural churches and helping them to work with local people to tackle the challenges of rural living, including hidden poverty, debt, isolation and loneliness.
Often described as the nation’s hub for rural churches, we offer a wide range of information, support, advice and practical tips for anyone involved with a countryside church. Our ecumenical approach allows us to reach as wide an audience as possible and helps us to break down barriers within communities and encourage partnership working and collaboration.
We have published Country Way magazine for over 25 years, sharing rural stories, ideas and inspiration with our subscribers across the UK and beyond.
Our flagship initiatives include Germinate Leadership, a programme which aims to develop the creative and entrepreneurial skills of rural church leaders. Allied to this is the annual Germinate Lecture, an opportunity to hear from a high profile Christian leader about the challenges and opportunities of rural mission and ministry.
Rural Mission Sunday, now in its fifth year, is an annual celebration of the life and work of rural churches and their communities while our biennial Germinate Conference is a major national day conference for all those involved in rural mission and ministry.
We are also developing a range of toolkits and resources designed to enable rural churches to better use their practical and relational resources for the benefit of the wider community. Recent publications include Open Welcome, Accessible Welcome and our newly revised Rural Isolation and Loneliness toolkit.
Our website contains hundreds of resources for rural churches including a comprehensive range of worship resources as well as a Rural Church Buildings resource designed as a one-stop-shop for rural churches looking to undertake practical work on their buildings.
We are the home of the National Rural Officers for the Church of England, Methodist and United Reformed Church; and also the hub for the church network of Rural Officers and Agricultural Chaplains. Our 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.
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