Web-Based Rural Resources for Scottish Catholics

Neither any of the individual eight Catholic Dioceses nor the Bishops’ Conference indicate on their websites that they have persons or groups specifically responsible for rural ministry.

The Catholic Church is, however, part of Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS). ACTS has a rural group which hosts web pages with information on its activities. To me, the most important and impressive document of ACTS is the 2018 report. The report is entitled “Hope in the Rural Church” and draws together well the recent census results concerning rural church life. Contributions to the document are from eight denominations and Christian groups: Baptist Union of Scotland, Church of Scotland, Crofting Federation, Roman Catholic Church, Scottish Episcopal Church, Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum, United Reformed Church. In addition to information concerning rural mission generally, it has specific details on denominational activities, including those of the rural Catholic Church.

Two Christian denominations, the Church of Scotland and the Episcopal Church have national web pages dedicated to rural ministry. Some of the information contained in these is pertinent to Catholic ministry too. Apart from the Church of Scotland website, they also have a “God’s Own Country” rural initiative. In addition to the central downloadable document, “God’s Own Country” on Episcopal Rural Theology and Mission, much of which is of great interest, I also commend the two downloadable rural deprivation reports, especially “Understanding Rural Deprivation”. From the Episcopal Church, I recommend both the general rural page: and also a video on Rural Issues.

Not only the Churches provide background information which may help us gain an understanding of rural life in Scotland. Four sets of government statistics put rural life and industry in context:

The environment and care for creation are becoming an increasing focus for all Christians. The Scottish Churches together support Eco Congregations Scotland. SCIAF, (Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund) displays its logo on the Eco Congregations Scotland homepage. SCIAF itself also has many promotions and activities. These can be found with the appropriate search on their website resources homepage. Topics include Pope Francis’s “Laudato Si” teaching on our common home, climate change, international development, agroecology, energy and water campaigns as well as Scotland’s Climate Change Bill.

Also on the environment, I am impressed by the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office and their Environmental Issues campaigns.

In addition to being a Catholic parish priest in Birmingham Archdiocese, I am a trustee of the Arthur Rank Centre – the ecumenical rural ministries Charity based in Stoneleigh, which seeks to support and facilitate rural ministry in Christian Churches in the UK.

Fr Rob Taylerson