The Mission and Discipleship Council is responsible for supporting and resourcing rural congregations and does so through the Church of Scotland Rural Working Group. The work of the group is carried out by Council members and co-opted individuals who have insights and interest in the rural context. The remit of the group is:
- To identify and raise the profile of the needs of rural congregations and presbyteries
- To identify and enable engagement with the ministry and missional opportunities found in rural areas
- To identify and signpost specific rural resources
- To facilitate involvement with and arrangement of regional and or national events with a rural focus
- To provide advice on specific queries directed to the Mission and Discipleship Council on rural issues
- To liaise with the Scottish Churches Rural Group to ensure appropriate ecumenical co-operation
The Church of Scotland Rural Working Group works within the Congregational Learning Team of the Mission and Discipleship Council. Contact Hannah Sanderson who is pleased to hear from anyone with an interest in rural church.
Resources for Rural Churches - God's Own Country
God's Own Country is an exciting resource, prepared by the Church of Scotland, for rural churches. It has been designed to engender practical action and to affirm, encourage and inspire those in rural congregations as they seek to be effective disciples of Christ in their particular context.
The Scottish Churches Rural Group (ACTS)
The Church of Scotland Rural Working Group works closely with the Scottish Churches Rural Group (SCRG) which was formed in 2005 as an associated ecumenical group of Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS) with membership drawn from the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, the Congregational Federation, the Roman Catholic Church, the United Free Church of Scotland, the Salvation Army and the Religious Society of Friends.The group works to facilitate pastoral support for churches in rural communities, to exchange and facilitate discussion, to work ecumenically, to comment upon rural policy proposals and to act in partnership with key individuals and organisations addressing the rural issues of Scotland. The group has addressed issues in agriculture, fishing, crofting, migrant workers and rural ministry.
A sub group of SCRG is responsible for an inter-denominational church presence at The Royal Highland Show (RHS). The show provides a significant window on rural life in Scotland and the regular ACTS stand serves as a gentle reminder that the Christian churches are an integral part of that. Regular visitors include the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, key exhibitors of livestock, stands, and many families. Perhaps, most importantly, many come to celebrate, enquire and reflect upon the wonder, joy and beauty of all that God provides to the heart and soul of rural life.
The SCRG was also involved in the development of the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum of which the Church of Scotland is a member. Recognising the significance of pilgrimage travel and faith tourism, this group aims to be a focal point for discussion and development of Pilgrim Routes within Scotland.