Centre for Rural Community Leadership and Ministry
peer mentoring for rural clergy
Note: This course is not available at this time.
Why a Mentor?
Starting ministry in a rural parish can be daunting for someone who has never served a rural parish before. Rural communities are complex social networks that must be navigated with care. Town and country parishes can be very different than their urban counterparts in customs, expectations and key relationships.
But even those who have previously served a rural parish quickly recognize that rural communities and congregations are highly unique. It takes considerable time to know a community and for them to get to know and trust you. And sometimes clergy serve several congregations and communities in a multi-point parish, requiring much more time to connect well. Yet most rural clergy spend less than 3 years, on average, in their calls.
We would like to help ministers make a gracious and informed entry into their new rural site by connecting them with a local guide to their community’s history and cultural dynamics.
Mentoring Team Training
Ministers will be paired with a local mentor who can help them come to understand the history, key players and important customs of the community, including its strengths, formative stories and buried “landmines”. The community guide will help the minister to see their ministry site from the outside and how it connects to other community institutions. Each minister will be assisted to identify an insightful, long-time member of the community with whom they can form a mentoring team. This person may be a professional—a teacher or doctor, for example—but will not be a member of the clergyperson’s congregation. This allows for some freedom and confidentiality in their conversations.
Once a mentor has been identified, clergy-mentor teams will come together for a one-day training event that will help them get to know each other in a structured way and provide some tools for intentionally exploring the life and culture of their community. It will also help to set expectations for the mentoring relationship.
Ongoing Team Support
During the two years of the formal mentoring relationship, mentoring teams will be brought into contact with each other once a year face-to-face and at other times by email, video conference, or other means. They will celebrate their rural ministry experiences and share mentoring strategies.
What Does it Cost?
Participants will be responsible for their transportation. Accommodation can be arranged very inexpensively. Since CiRCLe M is a non-profit, we only try to cover basic costs. The training itself will cost $450 per team per year. However, in some cases subsidy for training and other costs is available from grants that support this program.