Rural Scene (ii)

Rural Zip Code Ministry : I moved to 35447 in January when I became the bivocational missionary for the Pickens Baptist Association. Carrollton, Alabama. About 1,000 people in town. 20k. In the county. 12/8. It is 30 miles either to Tuscaloosa or to Columbus to shop in a Walmart. Appalachia and Blackbelt. Forestry and poultry. Some cattle ranching. Governmental service. Transfer of payments. Commuters.

Rural Churches in America : The white clapboard meetinghouses with spires puncturing the sky of New England, modest red brick tee-shaped structures with wrap-around cemeteries across the South, grey rock and stained glass transplanted European village churches across the upper Midwest, earth-tone adobe chapels in the southwest–such are the images of the rural church across America. Reality is far more diverse.

The Rural Community and Its Church : What comes to your mind when I say “rural community?” To mine comes a collage of rural communities and churches where I have worked and worshiped. No one of them is typical, nor does my collage encompass all of the types of rural communities one can find in our land. But by sharing with you my experiences briefly, we will come to have a clearer focus upon our subject and some common elements will emerge.

Identifying Your Place In Rural America
: Rural America has changed significantly in the past 30 years. Anyone who has been involved in the life of rural and small town communities is very much aware of this change. Certainly in any gathering of pastors of rural churches one hears long refrains about change. Some places are growing, many are declining–all are changing. The Church is being affected. How does one make sense of all of this?

What You Should Know about Small Towns and Rural Areas : 1. About as many people live in rural America—60 million—as ever. 2. While rural farm population has fallen since 1920 to less than 6 million, during the same period rural non-farm has grown from 20 million to 55.6 million people.

The Wal-marting of the Rural South : Few of us in the rural South live more than 30 minutes by car from a Walmart discount center or superstore. Here we find a greater variety of consumer goods for less cost than most rural mainstreets ever offered.

Rural Values/Christian Values : Scarce is the country funeral where Psalms 23 is not read and commented upon. Usually, it is perceived by family and friends as a summary statement of the stockpile value around which the life of the deceased was organized. The Psalm affirm the life lived in a vital, experimental relationship with God, both in the good times and in the bad… Interestingly, sociological studies of rural values take little note of this value of experimental religion. Rather, they identify with integrity, independence, freedom, patriotism and the like.

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