When the Tui Calls: Rural Ministry - Origins and Futures

Bill Bennett

When the Tui Calls: Rural Ministry - Origins and Futures
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When the Tui Calls: Rural Ministry - Origins and Futures

Bill Bennett

This extended essay on rural ministry reflects on its long evolution, its current challenges, and its continuing viability for the future in Aotearoa New Zealand.The Tui (Parson Bird), with its tuft of white feathers at the neck, is highly adaptive, has a distinctive call, is protective of its domain, is an imitator of song and speech and is an enduring example of survival and adaptability.Bennett highlights some key issues and opportunities for rural ministry today, including: * Maintaining identity as a rural community and church* Being forums for wider community discussion on current issues* Re-vitalising the church’s ministry of hospitality* Ensuring those responsible for worship leadership are well-trained* Ensuring that worship gives expression to what is actually happening in the rural community* Developing strategies for on-farm, at-home visits or sub-regional get-togethers* Offering theological college students short residential stays to help them understand time-work-seasonality relationships, and how rural people view life and society.————Praise for When the Tui Calls The work you have in your hands is an invaluable insight into the roles that faith and Christian ministry offer to rural life, born not only out of Bill’s experience, but also with the depth of the history of the life of the Church in word and sacrament. Bill provides the Church today with a pathway back into our history that will help us to identify the roots of our ministry in rural life that enables us to navigate our present and near future. From the Foreword, by Bishop Andrew Hedge Described as an essay , this 65-page book provides an informal and readable introduction to rural ministry. Parts one and two cover the historical origins in Roman and Celtic religion, embedded within parish and monastic structures, moving through the Reformation and Evangelical revivals, from a post-medieval to the 18th-century industrial, to the urban world.The story comes to New Zealand in the third part, Clash of Cultures , which covers the missionary and settler activities of Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic developments. This section concludes with the treatment of Maori Missions and Pastorates and with the independent Maori ministries in partnership models which emerged later in the 20th-century.In Part Four, Changing Patterns of Rural Ministry in the 20th- and 21st-Centuries , the subheadings highlight the interplay of religious and secular conflicts and compromises that have been central to the story of rural ministry from the beginning. They include, Rural Prosperity and Adversity , Affirming the distinctiveness of a rural ministry theology , Minita-a-iwi , The Impact of Political and Economic Changes , Rural Religion and Politics , Local Shared Ministry and The Near Landscape and Beyond .Bill Bennett is the ideal writer of this book. As an Anglican Pakeha minister he has been a major mover and shaker in the development of a rural ministry theology and praxis in Aotearoa New Zealand. Much of his ministry has been in rural parishes in the Diocese of Waiapu as well as in Norwich and Lichfield Dioceses in England. His publications of prayers and hymns (both lyrics and music) are a taonga for ecumenical and bicultural worship services.I strongly recommend this book for ministry formation, seminary and pastoral theology libraries and as a resource for lay and ordained ministers throughout New Zealand. Review by John Thornley for Tui Motu Inter Islands Magazine. Issue 219, September 2017

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