Rural Churches – a snapshot

The National Church Life Survey conducted in 2006 (by Ruth Powell, Michael Brady, Michael Pippett, Sam Sterland along with the NCLS Research team) amongst rural churches in Australia has produced some interesting results:

  • 42% of the churches were in rural settings
  • survey forms were completed by 114,340 rural church attenders
  • more than half of all rural churches were Anglican or Uniting
  • most of the rural churches were in small or medium sized towns
  • decline of churches in rural communities was named as a key issue
  • over 60% of rural churches have regular congregations of less than 51 people
  • rural church attenders have an older age profile than urban church attenders
  • half of rural churches are led by a single ordained leader, 45% are led by a leadership team
  • 65% of rural leaders have responsibility for multiple congregations
  • rural churches make up a considerable proportion of churches across the nation

My recent Prayer Pilgrimage throughout Tasmania bears testimony to these results for our rural parishes. 

See ‘Churches in Rural Settings’ for more survey results and articles. With thanks to James Collins.


Rural Churches – a snapshot — 2 Comments

  1. I have a terminal condition : cancer in my back/spine. Life expectancy : about 24 months. A lot of pain will come before my death. I believe discussions about dying with dignity can only be between, and may only be made in understandings of, persons like me. Our Lord gave us a simple rule : “do unto others as you would have done to yourself”. One cannot claim to be a follower of Our Lord unless one gives others the right to make their own life and death decisions.

    Anyway, wasn’t Our Lord’s death something like euthanasia/ suicide ? Evangelicals believe that Jesus lay down his life for others. They further believe that Jesus had the power to prevented his death by torture. He laid down his life.

    Why can’t terminally ill people lay down their lives ?

    Here is another argument against evangelicals believing they – and they only – have all the answers.

    My greatest concern is my loved ones seeing me suffer and lose control . I look favourably on on euthanasia, knowing that my last palliative care will have me not feeling pain, very sleepy; yet possibly having my body contort with pain, although I may not feel it.

    If you’re not in my situation, do not make judgments for me. Simple “Do unto others …” and let us make our own choices.

  2. Hi Keith,
    I am really sorry to hear of your condition, and I can only wish your the Lord’s peace and blessing through this journey. I am also aware that to offer any counter positions to someone ‘in extremis’ can appear cold and unfeeling, as well as seeming not to appreciate or understand what you are facing. That is certainly not my intention.

    However, you seem to imply that if someone is not in your exact position, then they ought not make judgements on what is right or wrong for you. While I cannot claim to walk ‘in your shoes’ exactly, that does not mean I cannot or should not put a position of what I believe to be a right and godly course of action in such cases, ‘in principle’. Both my parents died slow and difficult deaths. I prayed often that the Lord might take them more quickly than he, in fact, did. Watching a loved one die is certainly not easy. However, it can also be a special time, filled with the experience of the Lord’s grace, growth and healing, not just for the person dying, but for all those around them. It is not necessarily something to quickly to be avoided, as difficult as it is.

    Jesus indeed said we ought to do unto others as we would have done to ourselves. This does not necessarily translate to “doing to others just what they would have us do to them”. In other words, just because someone’s tragic situation leads them to wish euthanasia for themselves does not mean the only Christ-like attitude for others is to agree.

    As I said, I hope this reply does not give the impression of being unfeeling towards your situation, for which I pray the Lord gives you and yours every ounce of grace, courage and strength you require, through his presence with you. I just can’t agree with your proposed solution to the situation you face.

    Many Blessings, Keith,
    John Tongue

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