02 Nov Church Potential in Rural Communities
BAF commissioned and sponsored this research through a Master’s thesis delivered as part of an AUT programme of study.
The Anglican Church is present in most communities around the region of Taranaki, New Zealand. Where churches were once hubs of community life, in rural and small-town settings they are now often on the periphery. Frequently attended by ageing and diminishing congregations, the capacity to reach out and serve the wider community is dwindling. Buildings become used less frequently, some are closed. Although these churches are well placed to continue to contribute to their rural communities as they have previously done, the opportunity is seemingly ebbing away.
Adding to knowledge in the field of sociology of religion, this study of Anglican parishes in rural Taranaki examines what is being done and what could be done by churches in their communities. The research is based on the positive premise that the potential to contribute is there and still to be found, although what it may look like could be radically different from now. Nine parishes were surveyed initially, and three of these were chosen as case studies. The research is available at the following link http://hdl.handle.net/10292/11882