Renewing Rural Churches
Come learn about the unique blessings and challenges known only to small and rural congregations and discover new ideas on how to make parishes more vibrant at the event Renewing Rural Churches in the Power of the Holy Spirit to be presented by Bishop Fraser Lawton, Bishop of Athabasca, Canada at 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., September 9, at St. Dunstan’s in Mineola.
Wonder how a bishop from Canada knows about small and rural churches? Read his description of the Diocese of Athabasca:
The Diocese covers the northern half of the province of Alberta in western Canada where the Rockies serve as the western border. We are quite large in area, but fairly small in terms of numbers. We are part of what is called the Council of the North, meaning we receive financial support from the rest of the Anglican Church of Canada. We have no Executive Archdeacon (I think that position is known as Canon to the Ordinary in TEC). A few years ago, we knew we could afford one staff position, aside from my assistant/secretary/bookkeeper/administrator – all the same person, and decided to invest that in an Archdeacon for Mission Development, whose job it is to support parishes in understanding, living and growing in mission, to develop program and resources, support lay leaders, etc. We rely very much on Lay Readers and other lay leadership. Not all our parishes have incumbent clergy. We conduct an annual youth event called Youth Daze, which takes place on Labor Day weekend, usually the first weekend in September. We have something called the FaithLift team, which conducts what used to be known as parish missions. A group of mostly lay leaders will go into a parish for a weekend to give leadership to a time of worship, prayer, teaching and fellowship. Some of our parishes have branches of Anglican Church Women. Parishes express their ministry in a number of ways. Our cathedral hosts a soup kitchen and sponsored two refugee families last year. Several of our parishes operate thrift shops. Of course, we have pastoral care and hospital visiting. And we are fortunate to have a few vocational deacons. Our emphasis is on developing our people as disciples and to help them focus on the “why” of our existence. Many of our congregations are small and aging.
Learn more about renewing rural churches. Lunches will be provided. Fill out the form below and then hit the submit button to sign up.