Nearly one in five of the rural population are children - and a new book shows how to involve them in the life of the Church. Father Robert Miller, Parish Priest of St Stanislaus in rural Dulverton, recommends the book.
The Church of England publication brings together advice on two specialist areas of Christian ministry: working with children, and working in rural areas.
In an uncomplicated style, 'Rural Children, Rural Church' offers practical ideas to help churches build an effective ministry among children. Drawing together a range of case studies and practical ideas from rural churches where children's work is growing, the book provides:
Tried and tested tips for setting up children's clubs and toddler groups.
Ideas for involving children in activities as part of wedding and funeral services.
Advice on offering support and guidance for children during 'pinch points' such as moving schools, the challenges of which can be even more acute for those in scattered rural settlements.
Pointers on the type of material likely to engage children on the visitors' boards often found in rural churches that are left open during the week.
Ideas for getting children involved in bringing alive twinning arrangements with churches in other parts of the world, which can broaden the horizons of both children and adults.
Rona Orme, who was until recently Children's Work Adviser in the Diocese of Exeter and is now Children's Commissioner in the Diocese of Peterborough, offers these creative ways of engaging with children through a model that encourages churches to make the most of three specific areas of opportunity:
Sharing the Church's year with the community and the community's year with the Church.
Reaching children and their families at significant rites of passage.
Enabling the Church to be a gathering point and contributing partner in the community.
Father Robert Miller said: "'Rural Children, Rural Church' is jammed full of practical ideas for small rural congregations looking to review their children's work and get something going. However, the ideas are equally useful for larger churches."
'Rural Children, Rural Church - Mission opportunities in the countryside' (ISBN 978 07151 4126 7) is published by Church House Publishing, priced £5.99, and is available from Christian bookshops including Church House Bookshop, 31 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BN. Email email@example.com or visit: http://www.chbookshop.co.uk
first published DULVERTON - 30 March 2007 - 388 words