Saturday, 27 November 2010

Faith in the Future of the Countryside

This recent conference about life and faith in the countryside a was a source of inspiration and some good practical recommendations came from it. With speakers like Prof. Michael Winter (Exeter Universtiy), Prof. Mark Shucksmith (Newcastle University), the Archbishop of Canterbury and input from deleagtes from the four corners of Britain, it is hoped the government and churches might take notice.  There was an urgent call for the government to support affordable housing schemes by making provision for planning decisions based on parish plans rather than on complex, expensive referenda. Another recommendation asked the government to remove barriers to churches accessing public funding for projects that benefit the community. The churches were challenged to provide better training for rural clergy, specifically for the unique demands of multi church ministry. As the daughter of a forester who did some of the replanting of reclaimed land in the South Wales mining valleys, I was delighted with the recommendation that the government safeguard the economic, ecological and recreational benefits which  public forest estate brings when Forestry Commission land is sold. For more information visit

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