In this unit, students will explore the diverse nature of rural and regional contexts for Christian ministry and mission, including its relationship with First Australians and the land. Students will reflect upon the nature of rural church life and visions for rural ministry, the hope for small congregational life including exploration of various ecumenical models of ministry. An examination of the nature of rural community life in the light of recent social, economic and environmental trends will be made with consideration to potential pastoral and ministry responses. A discussion of rural ministry, together with the life and culture of rural churches, will be undertaken with a view to encouraging a positive view of the rural church and its place in the church today.

Unit code: DA9700T

Unit status: Archived (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Mission and Ministry

Proposing College: Trinity College Theological School

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Learning outcomes


Identify the issues characteristic of rural communities and of rural churches today


Identify the historic experience and present challenge for the church’s rural ministry of the displacement of Aboriginal Australians from the land


Critically examine the challenges of rural ministry and mission in the light of current trends present in rural communities


Critically apply methods of theological reflection and the practice of ministry to particular pastoral, ecumenical or ethical issues faced by the rural church


Construct a theology for a rural church within its context and offer a strategy for rural ministry and mission within that particular historic and social rural setting

Unit sequence

Foundation unit in DA and in CT or BN


Lectures, discussion, online forums, input from visiting practitioners

Indicative Bibliography

  • Blainey, Geoffrey. This Land is all Horizons - Australian Fears and Visions. 2001 Boyer Lectures; Sydney: ABC Books, 2001.
  • Davison, Graeme & Marc Brodie. Struggle Country: The rural ideal in twentieth century Australia. Clayton Vic: Monash University Press, 2005
  • Dempsey, K. malltown: a study of social inequality, cohesion and belonging. Melbourne: OUP, 1990.
  • Gammage, Bill. The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2011
  • Gray, Ian and Lawrence, Geoffrey. A Future for Regional Australia: Escaping the global misfortune. Cambridge University Press, 2001
  • Habel, Norman C. The Birth, the Curse and the Greening of Earth: An Ecological Reading of Genesis 1–11. The Earth Bible vol. 1. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2011
  • Hawkes, Nicholas. The Country is Different: Ministry and Hope for Rural Australia. Melbourne: JBCE, 1995.
  • Hughes, Philip and Audra Kunciunas, Sowing and Nurturing: Challenges and Possibilities for Rural Churches, Christian Research Association, Nunawading, 2009
  • Jung, L. Shannon, and Mary Agria, Rural Congregational Studies: A Guide For Good Shepherds, Abingdon Press, 1997.
  • Pascoe, Bruce. Dark Emu Black Seeds: Agriculture or accident? Broome: Magabala books, 2014.
  • Pfitzner, John (ed). We are hanging on. Voices of hope in the rural crisis. Adelaide: Lutheran Publishing House, 1992.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay (3200 words)

3200 50.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper

Tutorial Paper on a Rural Ministry Practice (1800 words)

1800 30.0

Forum (equivalent 1000 words)

1000 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 30 Oct, 2018

Unit record last updated: 2023-08-23 15:26:04 +1000