Sustaining Pastoral Excellence
 
 
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Resources for Rural Churches

Rural Life and Ministry Links

National Catholic Rural Life Conference
Resources such as Rural Life online magazine, books on rural life, campaigns for economic and agricultural justice, bulletin inserts, prayers and information on agriculture in the United States

Wartburg Theological Seminary Center for Theology and Land
Information about online rural sociology and ministry courses, the annual Rural Ministry Conference, worship resources and prayers for rogation and rural life services, and further rural links on the web.

RAFI-USA
Information about promoting sustainable agriculture and the health of rural communities, as well as updates on US farm policies.

Rural Communities in Transition Initiative (RCITI)
Helping rural pastors in the Burlington, N.C., discern and respond to the needs of rural communities in transition by providing resources and educational seminars in mental health, economics, job retraining, viable farming strategies, bridging cultural divides and support to individual pastors. Contact information, success stories and links.

Thriving Rural Communities
A partnership of Duke Divinity School, The Duke Endowment, and the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Annual Conferences of the United Methodist Church whose mission is to share and strengthen the gifts of North Carolina’s rural clergy, congregations, communities and creation in the name of Christ.

United Methodist Town and Country Ministries
Resources for Town and Country Churches, including the National Comprehensive Plan Action Guide for Local Churches, “Born Again in Every Place.”

Suggested Reading

These books offers insights into rural life, ministry and culture:

Memoirs

Open Secrets:  A Spiritual Journey Through a Country Church, Richard Lischer
Blood Done Sign My Name: a True Story, Timothy B. Tyson

Rural Ministry

Rural Ministry:  The Shape of the Renewal to Come, Shannon Jung and others.
Rural Congregational Studies:  a Guide for Good Shepherds, Shannon Jung
Turnaround Strategies for the Small Church, Ron Crandall
Ministry in an Oral Culture:  Living with Will Rogers, Uncle Remus, and Minnie Pearl, Tex Sample
The Indispensable Guide to Smaller Churches, David Ray

Rural Life

Blue Collar Resistance and the Politics of Jesus, Tex Sample
Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War, Joe Bageant
Home Economics, Wendell Berry
Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community, Wendell Berry
The Essential Agrarian Reader:  the Future of Culture, Community, and the Land, Norman Wirzba, editor.

Fiction and Poetry

Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry
Diary of a Country Priest, Georges Bernanos
Jim the Boy, Tony Early
Saints at the River, Ron Rash
Collected Poems (1957-1982), Wendell Berry
Hannah Coulter, Wendell Berry
Gilead, Marilynne Robinson

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Leadership Education at Duke Divinity
SPE Coordination Office, Duke Divinity School
Box 90966, Durham, NC 27708-0966 • 919-660-3448 • spe@div.duke.edu
The Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.