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Welcome to Church Society online. We are a fellowship contending to reform and renew the Church of England in biblical faith. On this website, you will find details of our conferences, publications and other resources, as well as our regularly updated blog and weekly podcast.

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Posted by Andrew Atherstone, 14 Oct 2019

Andrew Atherstone's 2009 St Antholin Lecture on Charles Simeon

The next few episodes of our Media Monday series will be coming from the extensive audio archives of Reform. We are working hard to be able to share those archives with you but as some of them have to be converted from old-fashioned cassette tapes, you will appreciate that it is no small task!

We begin this week with Andrew Atherstone’s lecture on “Evangelical Mission and Anglican Church Order: Charles Simeon Reconsidered” in which Andrew considers what we should do when evangelical priorities and Anglican commitments collide, and asks what Charles Simeon would have to say to our contemporary situation.

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Posted 11 Oct 2019

Church Society staff news

Lee Gatiss will be taking a well-deserved sabbatical beginning on Monday October 14th, returning to work in February 2020. Please pray with us that this will be a time of good rest, refreshing Lee for many more years of fruitful service. During his absence, Ros Clarke will become Acting Director of Church Society, supported by our two Regional Directors, Mark Wallace and George Crowder.

We are also delighted to have Sophie Barker, our Finance Assistant, back in the office, returning from her maternity leave. We are very grateful to Claire Alldritt for all her hard work over the past year, covering in Sophie’s absence.

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Posted by Chris Moore, 8 Oct 2019

Chris Moore asks whether there is still any value in rural ministry, and finds that there are enormous opportunities out in the sticks.

Is there still a point in rural ministry? It’s a question worth asking when most people live in cities, and there is a strong argument to say that scant resources should be focussed on areas of population density. And who would want to be a rural vicar? The prospect of looking after multiple parishes, with multiple PCCs, and small congregations isn’t really that appealing. Better, surely, to seek a nice suburban parish. Who would want to minister in the middle of nowhere, where evangelical ministry is scarce and the population scattered?


Ministry in an urban or suburban context is essentially attractional in nature. There may be some links to parish organisations - such as schools - but the churches are essentially congregations gathered from surrounding area. There is competition from other churches, and a regular turnover of population as couples move in and families move out. As a result a lot of energy is expended in making connections with people and building a fringe which is not stable.

Making connections in a rural area is far easier. The population of my benefice is 2,200 people, and I am confident that the vast majority of them will know me by face and by name. There are 300 children in the two church schools, who all know me, as do many of the parents. Rural populations tend to be more static, the family of one of my Churchwardens has lived in the village since the twelfth century, and so over time you get to know the entire family as you conduct their weddings, baptisms and funerals.

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