A Ministry of the
United Church of Canada
Rural congregations are facing enormous challenges. Many of them exist in communities where the social fabric is unravelling and being re-woven. This is a critical time in which our culture is re-shaping the ways in which it is organized.
The rural Church has gifts to offer - the United Church of Canada in particular - as our rural communities negotiate how "the neighbour" and "the stranger/the other" will be included in new shape of our communities. The United Church has a long tradition and practice of ensuring that those who have been marginalized are given a voice and a place. It operates out of the conviction that concern for and care of the neighbour (especially the most vulnerable) are foundational elements to thriving communities, abundant life.
The rural Church also has gifts to offer to those who are seeking
to connect with God. We witness to a God who is worthy of
one's trust and commitment; a God who enters into our pain and
suffering with redemptive, transformative power.
The re-shaping of our culture needs these gifts desperately.
Enormous strength and courage and leadership is being required
of our congregations as they respond to the challenges of our
day. We need each other. We need to be connected with each
other. Rural Connect works to provide an infrastructure that is
appropriate and adequate for the challenge.
In response to a resolution passed at the 43rd General Council, Rural Connect has been established to support rural congregations through the use of technology. Using the model of a hub church partnering with satellite churches, a cluster of congregations are joined together for a fully interactive, live worship service with participation from all of the partner churches. All the technology is controlled by the hub/host church, and the satellite/partner churches receive a box with all the equipment fully configured and ready to go – they don’t even need internet.