Growing the Rural Church About The Project Devon Communities Together is working with the Diocese of Exeter on an exciting new project. As shops and post offices close, and services are centred on towns, the church building is often one of the only remaining public spaces in a rural community. Seizing the opportunity this presents to serve communities better, the Diocese of Exeter developed the Growing the Rural Church project and has invited Devon Communities Together to support its delivery. Initially Devon Communities Together is working with the Diocese and parish churches in two communities: Alverdiscott and Beaford. Together we are exploring how the church community and its building is regarded by the wider community and what needs and aspirations there are within the community. To do this we are undertaking a range of community consultation exercises. In Beaford we attended the local ‘Messy Church’; an event organised by the local parish church and attended by a number of families. In amongst the creativity of lighthouse making and scarecrow stuffing, we took the opportunity to hear how people valued the church and what their thoughts were about the future of the community. In Alverdiscott we worked with the local Parochial Church Council to facilitate an open community meeting to discuss what was needed to make the Church more sustainable. Over 50 people, interested in the future of the church attended the meeting. Amongst a flurry of post-it notes and stimulating conversation, thoughts about the value of the church, its suitability and sustainability in for the future were shared. Following these initial events, we will be working with the local churches and Growing the Rural Church to see how fresh thinking might be implemented within these communities. Together, church and community can work towards a more sustainable future for these local churches, which benefits the community as a whole. To find out more about the project, contact us here.