2018 Conference

The 2018 conference was a resounding success with nearly 100 delegates from all over the world. We will be adding materials and links to conference videos here over the coming weeks. See bottom of this page.


  • To inspire, encourage and equip rural lay and ordained leaders of churches worldwide in their mission and ministry.
  • Provide a forum for the international sharing of rural resources and launch a resource sharing web site.
  • Introduce learning communities as a tool for rural church development and provide materials to participating country groups to be adapted and used in-country.
  • To broaden the range of countries involved in IRCA and support existing country groups.
  • To raise the profile of the rural church.
  • To further build international fellowship and grow international and ecumenical partnerships.


 Dr Rosemary Dewerse

Rosemary is a Kiwi wife and mother who, as part of her growing up, lived with her Presbyterian minister family on a farm in a parish with no town centre during days of deep crisis for the rural community in Aotearoa New Zealand. They were profoundly formative years and a youth group leader remains a mentor to this day. These days, having studied and worked in theological education in England, Central Asia and Australia, she is back in NZ training church leaders, designing for continuing education, supervising a range of doctoral projects, and researching in areas of missional church, intercultural engagement, indigenous spirituality, biblical interpretation and contextual theologies.

 Rev Jenny Dawson

Currently living in just north of Wellington, and working as a spiritual director, supervisor and consultant (see Facebook ‘Eccles Unlimited Consultancy’), Jenny is an Anglican priest who is also a storyteller, gardener, gym-goer, and lover of the South Island mountains.  She grew up amongst sheep in Darfield and is the granddaughter of Scots who came to NZ with the wool industry.  Decades of involvement in the ecumenical movement, both internationally (particularly with the Christian Conference of Asia) and in Aotearoa New Zealand, have formed in her a passion for the church in all its diversities and complexities.  This is expressed in the delight she takes in exploring models of church that are engaging, contextual and theologically sound, for the twenty-first century.

 Jerry Marshall

Jerry is Chair of IRCA and until recently the CEO of Germinate: The Arthur Rank Centre, the UK churches’ rural resource unit. He is an entrepreneur with experience of church planting, ‘fresh expressions of church’ and establishing enterprises with social and poverty-alleviation purposes. After economics at Cambridge and working in engineering and agriculture, he founded several businesses including ‘Transcend’, which employs 100 people in Bethlehem serving Palestinian and Israeli clients. He delivered entrepreneurial training in Africa, Asia and Europe, led a political campaign, and co-leads a church in his local village hall. With the Germinate team he developed the Germinate conferences, Germinate Leadership, rural learning communities and the Germinate Enterprise rural business start-up programme.


Keynote 1: Dr Rosemary Dewerse “Living and dreaming God’s vision for our world”

Media file for “Our Transforming God”

Keynote 2: Rev Jenny Dawson “Shared ministry: a way of being church at the heart of rural ministry?”

Learning community sessions facilitated by Jerry Marshall

Conference Photos

Delegate Feedback summary: NZ feedback report