Our Vision

The International Rural Churches Association is a network of people with a passion for rural communities, based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We seek to support one another in our mission of connecting the gospel and rural life in our own local context. We share our stories of struggle and our stories of hope, joined by our reliance on the land and sea for our livelihood and by determination and hope because of faith in the triune God.

Our vision is to be a voice for the rural community worldwide and to encourage sustainable rural communities and practices.

Our Objectives

As God’s people we are committed to:

  • Sharing the faith, values and hopes of the Kingdom of God in Rural Communities worldwide.
  • Encourage and promoting the Christian ministry and mission of local congregations through local, regional and national ecumenical gatherings of the Christian Church.

On a worldwide basis, in cooperation with other appropriate entities, we work to:

  • Facilitate the sharing of ideas, information and insights.
  • Offer mutual support and fellowship.
  • Represent the needs and concerns of rural communities, churches and institutions to both secular and church decision-making bodies.
  • Encourage and initiate research, writing and the production of other resource materials relevant to rural life and ministry.
  • Arrange continuing programmes for conferences and seminars.

Our Emblem

Our Statement of Faith

  • We affirm the central truths of the Christian Faith as expressed in the Bible and historic creeds.
  • We believe the whole creation belongs to God – the land, the waters and all creatures. We believe that God seeks all creation to be cherished.
  • We affirm that, in Jesus Christ incarnate, God’s love for all humanity is expressed. The knowledge that Jesus stands beside them can encourage rural people in their struggles. This knowledge is power for personal, social and economic transformation.
  • We believe the Holy Spirit works to bring order out of chaos as the whole creation groans for its fulfillment. The Spirit inspires the church to cooperate in this mission.
  • We acknowledge different emphases within the various Christian denominations. We recognise that some denominations are more at ease than others in drawing on insights from secular theory and practice.

Our Leadership

The core for our networking is a group of people who have acted as a pilot between face-to-face conferences and are a forum for developing ways and means to keep connected and support one another as rural churches.  The Leadership Group/Executive is appointed at each face-to-face conference. In 2023, in Dubuque, the following were confirmed:

  • Dr Heather Major, chair, Scotland
  • Rev Eric Skillings, secretary, Canada
  • Rev Dr Mark Yackel-Juleen, immediate past chair, USA
  • Papa Dave Ruesink, member emeritus, historian, USA
  • Rev Catherine Christie, Canada
  • Rev Dr Robyn McPhail, communications, Aotearoa New Zealand
  • IRCA-Africa: Bishop Andrew Wafula, Kenya
  • IRCA-Asia: Bishop Deva Prasada Rao Boyineni, India; Rev June Hee Kim, South Korea
  • IRCA-Europe: Rev Laszlo Gyula Mark, Romania
  • IRCA North America: Ms Lisa Robison, USA; Rev Dr Inba Inbarasu, India and USA; Papa Dave Ruesink, USA; Rev Catherine Christie, Canada
  • IRCA-Oceania: Rev Dr Robyn McPhail, Aotearoa New Zealand
  • IRCA PARTNER: Rev Matt Jeffrey, Arthur Rank Centre, UK

Read our bios here

Leadership group will consider retaining previous regional representatives once they have been asked if they want to continue.

Our Constitution

Click here for the document put in place in 2010 at the IRCA Conference in Altenkirchen, Germany

Our History

In 1993, a small group of international rural church leaders gathered in England to celebrate 21 years of the Arthur Rank Centre. This ecumenical centre is the focus for the rural work of all the churches of Great Britain and helps the churches understand their rural context much more clearly. Plans were made for a future international conference.

“Rural Culture and Spirituality” was the theme of the conference held in Durham, England in August 1998. About 100 people from a variety of countries attended and at the end of the Conference the International Rural Church Ecumenical Association, as it was then called, was established (IRCEA).

Click here to read more… including names of past office-bearers

News, Resources and Prayers through IRCA

Rural Christians around the world share news, details of rural resources, prayer requests and items for reflection through our occasional e-news in a regular emailing. Fill in the simple form on the ‘Join’ page.

Joining IRCA

If you want to belong to IRCA, simply go to the ‘Join’ page. Individuals, congregations, church boards, Synods or bodies associated with rural ministry are welcome to join the IRCA network.


We rely on donations as well as membership to enable us to support the rural church. Please donate here.