Rural Pathway

Sarum Centre for Formation in Ministry is committed to training for effective mission and ministry in the wide variety of different rural contexts.

Sarum College offers a unique approach to training for rural ministry and mission. The Rural Ministry Pathway was established in 2017 to provide ordination and lay candidates with the insight, knowledge and experience needed to work in contemporary rural churches and communities.

The Rural Ministry Pathway benefits from the strengths of the blended learning approach and participation in the Sarum community. It weaves the knowledge needed for rural ministry into standard modules, enabling issues specific to rural multi-church contexts to be developed throughout formation. The pathway also offers dedicated modules in rural mission and leadership in rural ministry. This follows the DipHE pathway, and rural modules are also available to students on the CertHE pathway.

Students attend to the narratives of living and working in rural areas; creative mission, fresh expressions of church and church growth; inter-generational ministry in numerically small groupings; developing discipleship in small congregations; collaborative leadership in multi-church groups; and self-care and resilience in ministry.

Students are based in a rural multi-church group with an experienced training minister.

Other placements give opportunities to observe diverse approaches to mission and leadership in rural contexts.

Candidates will finish this course with a secure foundation of training for wider future deployment, but with real understanding and experience for mission and ministry in rural contexts.

The rural pathway is overseen by Canon Dr Jill Hopkinson, a rural church specialist with experience of ministry, mission and growth in rural multi-church groups, who also brings her previous experience as the Church of England’s National Rural Officer. She is committed to seeing flourishing rural churches and thriving rural ministers.

This pathway does not preclude you from deciding that rural ministry is not for you, and exploring other contexts – you will have been through all the appropriate academic and formational training to be able to minister in a variety of situations. However, those on this pathway will have engaged deeply and prayerfully with the particular challenges and opportunities of rural mission and ministry, and be better equipped for the changing rural communities they will encounter.