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Former Liberal Democrat Leader’s Remarks on the Death of Queen Elizabeth

Former Liberal Democrat Leader’s Remarks on the Death of Queen Elizabeth Tim Farron (Lib-Dem), MP for Westmoreland and Lonsdale spoke from the floor of the House of Commons to express his thoughts on the late Queen Elizabeth. The day after her untimely demise he...

Queen’s Choice of Hymns and Scripture Readings

Queen’s Choice of Hymns & Scripture Readings Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth demonstrated the depth of her faith and understanding of the scriptures and hymnody when planning her funeral.  The hymns were melodic works of substance, truth, and comfort designed for...

Church Leaders and Parliamentarians Pay Tribute

Church Leaders and Parliamentarians Pay Tribute In a statement given shortly after the announcement of the Queen’s death, Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said: “As we grieve together, we know that, in losing our beloved Queen, we have lost the person whose...

Keene Review: God’s Church for God’s World Part One

God’s Church for God’s World Faithful perspectives on mission and ministry Tom Woolford and Adam Young (eds.) IVP, 2022 (ISBN: 9781789742244, 218pp, £19.99) Part One   This is an important book which takes a snapshot of evangelical ministry in 2022. The title and...

The Faith of the Queen; A Cleric’s Reflections

The Faith of the Queen A Cleric’s Reflections As far as we know, Queen Elizabeth II commended only one book published during her long reign. In 2016 she penned the Foreword to a volume produced jointly by the Bible Society, HOPE and the London Institute of...

Collins: The Elizabethan Settlement

The Elizabethan Settlement By Revd Canon Chuck Collins Queen of England for 44 years, Elizabeth died March 24, 1603. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, the last of the five monarchs in the House of Tudor. She never married ("Virgin Queen"). Her coffin...

Pilgrim’s Process: Rebuke

Pilgrim’s Process By the Revd Dr Peter Sanlon Rebuke In the fifth century some monks in France realised that Augustine’s theological writings commended a Biblical and God focused vision of the Christian pilgrimage. Augustine has been called the ‘Doctor of grace’ for...

Anglican Bishop of Norwich Joins in Roman Catholic Requiem Mass for The Queen

Anglican Bishop of Norwich Joins in Roman Catholic Requiem Mass for The Queen Church of England Bishop of Norwich, Graham Usher joined in a Roman Catholic Requiem Mass for Her Majesty The Queen at St John’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Norwich on 15 September.   Roman...

The Queen’s Faith in Her Own Words

The Queen’s Faith – in Her Own Words Its formal name was ‘Her Majesty’s Most Gracious Speech’. To the royal household, it was known as the QXB – the Queen’s Christmas broadcast. Queen Elizabeth II spoke about the significance of Christmas to more people than anyone...

Anglican Futures: A Cure for the Lambeth Hangover?

Anglican Futures Commentary A Cure for the Lambeth Hangover? As the bishops of the Anglican Communion disembark from their flights and return to their dioceses, there is a danger that some will rub their eyes, and realise that however great the party was, there has...

Keene Review: How Village Churches Thrive

How Village Churches Thrive

A Practical Guide

Multi-authored volume

Church House Publishing, 2022 (ISBN: 978-1-78140-219-1, 186pp, £9.99)

 

The Church Times’ 2014 church ‘health check’ offered a multitude of opinions on what was wrong (or right) with the church and on how to fix (or maintain) it. Eight years later, the volume under review offers another group of voices, though with a slightly tighter focus; rural, practical, and positive. 

 

The foreword by the Bishop of Exeter notes that churchgoing is greater in rural areas, so there is no need to be apologetic about supporting this ministry. With many ministry resources assuming an urban or suburban social template, this book offers thoughtful consideration of a quieter context. Doing so in a practical matter does not exclude theology. Inevitably, readers across the Church of England will come to this volume with a range of gospel emphases, and none would deny that this is naturally the starting point and crux of their ministry. Many practical resources will be on hand to serve such ministries, from parish officers to vestry cupboards, from dusty prayer books to church schools. This book adds to the collection and assists in considering how to capitalise on others. As for the positivity of the book, the difficulties of rural ministry are alluded to – shortage of volunteers, neglected buildings, disinterest from wider church – but not brooded upon unnecessarily. This is a book to innocently brighten the day of a rural incumbent or churchwarden.

 

Ten ‘basics’ are outlined which ‘can contribute to the revitalisation, recovery and renewal’ of the village church, including ‘making the most of life events’, ‘celebrating our heritage’, and ‘reaching the isolated and lonely’. Note ‘contribute to’ – no promises are made, rightly, that this is the miracle cure. No attempt is made to replace the gospel with a mere management formula! Each chapter is written by experienced rural ministers and thinkers, many of whom serve national charities or church bodies working in the field (pun entirely intended). Case studies drawn from real life examples of rural ministry innovations are shrewdly chosen and insightful. Though intentionally practical, the book does seek to place its advice in some rooting of Bible texts and gospel lessons, with varying success. 

 

The parish I serve looks like a village but in reality is rather suburban. Nonetheless, there are salutary encouragements and ideas to be taken from this book for immediate deployment! 

 

Edward Keene, Little Shelford

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