Rural Chaplaincy 

Working with people of all faiths and none

We are a confidential, listening ear offering pastoral support to farmers, farming families and agricultural communities.

Agricultural Chaplains have been a feature of church life for almost 40 years and offer a focused approach to the needs of the land-based sector, helping the church to engage with this vital component of rural life. Operating through the Hereford Diocese and the Shropshire and Marches Methodist Circuit, Borderlands Rural Chaplains work in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Eastern Powys.

80% of land in the UK is farmed or forested and agriculture remains at the heart of the rural economy. Agriculture is directly responsible for almost 10% of employment within Herefordshire and South Shropshire on the 6,000 or so registered holdings within the area. Its impact, however, is far greater through the effect land management has on landscape, biodiversity, water management, tourism and recreation and the many ancillary industries that depend on a successful and viable agriculture for their own economic health.

Borderlands Agricultural Chaplains have a varied role:

  • We are accredited by the church and independent of government, business or sectoral interests. We act as advocates for rural needs and especially social issues, working with policy makers, service providers and politicians at local and national level. We routinely contribute to the Defra-accredited local Rural and Farming Network, the national Agricultural Chaplains Association and national church structures.
  • We offer confidential support to those engaged in farming and land management, tourism, rural businesses and rural life. Support may range from a listening ear to utilising practical skills on-farm, advocacy and networking. Borderlands Chaplains work in close association with other helping agencies, farming charities and rural support groups.
  • We inform the national and local church about rural and farming issues and help to train and equip a broad range of church ministries. This includes training at local agricultural shows and chaplaincy training events. Borderlands Chaplains are available to preach or lead talks and discussions for church and faith-based groups, contribute to newsletters, web-sites and develop liturgical resources.
  • We support colleagues working in ancillary networks and farming organisations.Borderlands Chaplains are involved in mental health initiatives with Young Farmers Clubs, working with environmental schemes and social support networks and interacting with a wide range of statutory, business and voluntary sector associations including trade associations, vets, environmental and animal health officers, auctioneers, healthcare professionals and the Rural Hub.

“Many of our farmers live a hand to mouth existence, they need encouragement they need to be understood. Borderlands Rural Chaplaincy is about a growing movement of volunteers, of people called as part of the whole people of God,
to exercise that caring ministry.”

Rt Revd. Alistair Magowan, Bishop of Ludlow