Welby in Danger of Losing primus inter pares Role over Same-Sex Blessings


Letter: Bingo’s Ordination?

Letter Bingo’s Ordination? Dear Sir, The Church of England has been ordaining men for centuries, and since the 1990s has had legal authority to ordain women to the priesthood also. According to your recent report, the Revd Bingo Allison declared, "I’m not a man and...

Barnabas Aid Appeal for Democratic Republic of Congo

Barnabas Aid Appeal A bomb explosion ripped through the congregation at a baptismal service last Sunday evening (15 January 2023). Just after the baptisms had been performed, and while a blind pastor was expounding some Bible verses, the improvised explosive device...

Archbishops Differ on Practice if Not on Principle

Archbishops Differ on Practice if not on Principle Archbishop Justin Welby has revealed that he will not bless same-sex relationships, while Archbishop Stephen Cotterell has indicated his intention to do so. Explaining his decision, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

Pilgrim’s Process: Tone, Voice, & Speech

Pilgrim’s Process By the Revd Dr Peter Sanlon Many today are concerned about not just the content of what people say in the public arena, but also the way that whatever is spoken, is said. People can get offended as much by tone or manner, as content. The complex and...

Keene’s Review: Confirm, O Lord by Martin Davie

Defend, O Lord Confirmation according to the Book of Common Prayer Martin Davie Latimer Trust, 2022 (ISBN: 9781906327743, 116pp, £6.50) Confirmation is a vital spiritual coming-of-age rite in churches which practice paedobaptism, giving those for whom promises were...

Orthodox Anglican Provinces Invited to Covenant Members of the Fellowship

Orthodox Anglican Provinces Invited to Covenant Members of the Fellowship Global South May Provide Alternative Episcopal Oversight By Paul Eddy The GSFA has recently invited orthodox provinces across the Communion to formally sign up as full Covenant Members of the...

Diocese of Oxford’s “Bloated Bureaucracy” Under Fire

Diocese of Oxford's "Bloated Bureaucracy" Under Fire by Julian Mann The Diocese of Oxford, one of the best endowed in the Church of England, has come under fire for its alleged ‘bloated bureaucracy’ in a letter from a frontline parish treasurer in London’s Daily...

Gist of Bishops’ Pastoral Letter Regarding Same-Sex Blessings

Gist of Bishops’ Pastoral Letter  New Prayers of Love and Faith We value and want to celebrate faithfulness in relationships. That is why we have drafted and asked the House of Bishops to further refine and commend a new resource to be used in churches, called Prayers...

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