2018 Conference


  Sunday 15 April Monday 16 April Tuesday 17 April Wednesday 18 April Thursday 19 April Friday 20 April
0900 Worship – Oceania Worship – Africa Worship – Europe Worship – Asia Worship – America
0930 Coming together

Living and dreaming God’s vision for our world

Dr Rosemary Dewerse

Learning together 1

Introduction to learning communities

Workshop: Global trends and implications for the rural church

Learning together 2

Case studies: inspiring and thought provoking rural church case studies from different countries and contexts

Learning together 3

Workshop: Making it happen – communicating vision, working in partnership, releasing people and resources.

IRCA review and next steps
1045 Coffee / tea break Coffee / tea break Coffee / tea break Coffee / tea break Coffee / tea break
1115 Ministry together

Shared ministry: a way of being church at the heart of rural ministry?

Jenny Dawson

Country Groups:

What is?

Reviewing state of church, trends, challenges, needs, opportunities

Country Groups:

What could be?

“Merlin exercise”


Country Groups:

What will be?

Preparing action plans

Rural church resources: pooling knowledge of resources from delegates
12.00 Outing with packed lunch: Hororata area
1230 Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
1330 Airport transfer if reqd

Delegates welcomed

Outing: Christchurch City Free time or group preparation Outing: Choice of Lincoln tours Free time or group preparation
1715 Powhiri then drinks reception Country group feedback Country group feedback Country group feedback and prayer
1830 Evening meal Evening meal Evening meal Evening meal Evening meal Celebration meal, presentations, commissioning prayer and poroporoaki.



Saturday 21 April: breakfast and depart.


1930 Introduction to:

  • conference team
  • NZ and Lincoln
  • programme

+ delegate icebreaker

Evening activity: music night Evening activity: NZ night Evening activity: Global Village (cultural items from different countries) Evening activity: reflections on ‘what I’m taking home’
2045 Prayers Prayers Prayers Prayers Prayers
2100 Close / free time Close / free time Close / free time Close / free time Close / free time


 Aim of the conference

  • 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.


The conference will be centred on a ‘learning community’ approach. Groups of 3-6 people, from one country or region, will work together and learn from other groups. These groups will consider: what IS (what God is doing in their region), what COULD BE (the God-given vision) and what WILL BE (action plan to move towards this vision). This will:

  • Give a clear purpose that will encourage new country groups to participate
  • Provide a forum for national rural church leaders across denominations to pray, listen and plan rural mission together
  • Model rural learning communities, enabling participants to introduce this resource to their nation or region.

Note: while delegates can book as a country group, we recognise that most will be attending as individuals and will work with all delegates to form helpful small groups for this element of the programme.

The Learning Community sessions will be facilitated by Jerry Marshall. The full material and the ‘Germinate Enterprise’ resource will be provided to each participant for local adaption and use as required.

The conference also includes two key note presentations; worship led by different regional teams; a sharing of rural case studies; and an IRCA meeting and selection of office holders.

Intended participants

  • Lay and ordained rural church leaders across denominations and those involved in or supporting rural Christian ministries.
  • There will be a young adult programme for 16-25s. This group will have their own activities as well as taking part in the wider group. Under 18s must be under the oversight of a designated adult.

 Venue and travel

Lincoln University is located on the outskirts of Christchurch, approximately 30 minutes’ drive from Christchurch airport. It is based in a rural community and is largely an agricultural college with about 4,000 students. The attractive campus was set up in the 1870s and all venues are close together.

Most international flights to Christchurch (for example with Emirates) are through Auckland or Australian airports. But Singapore Airways flies direct from Singapore and code shares with a number of other airlines (e.g. Turkish).

Pre- and post-conference

  • Pre- and post- conference options: there are bed and breakfast, marae visit and pre- and post- conference shorts tours  available (at extra cost). For details and to book see here.
  • Hotels in Christchurch: the pre-conference tour and marae visit will leave from Christchurch. There are a number of reasonably priced places to stay in the central area and you may wish to stay in the same hotel as others to facilitate collection. We are therefore suggesting the Breakfree on Cashel, the Ibis Hotel, or the YMCA Hostel.
  • Arrival in Christchurch: we will email you to ask for your arrival time. We expect to have people from local churches meet you individually and take you to wherever you need to be.  They will be at the airport with your name on a card ready to pick you up.


Early bird price to 30 September 2017: NZD 1,300 (approx. US $910, €850 or £730), including single room accommodation, meals, outings and transfer from Christchurch airport if required.

Excluding accommodation (but with all meals including breakfast): NZD 775. Lincoln Motel is near the conference centre and offers a variety of room types. To book and receive a conference discount, email [email protected] quoting IRCA conference.

Full rate NZD 1,500 with accommodation / NZD 950 without.

 Visas and entering New Zealand

Citizens of many countries do not need a visa to visit New Zealand BUT citizens of some countries do need to apply for a visa in advance, which can be done on line. See here for details.

If you do need to apply for a visa in advance, the application process is simple and can be done online. You need a general Visitor Visa and include a cover letter stating the purpose of your visit. Click here, choose Visit, then Other then Visitor Visa. If you have any problems, speak to the helpful call centre (we suggest on Skype!) on +64 508 558855.

If you are travelling through Australia, check whether you need an Australian transit visa.

IMPORTANT: New Zealand has strict biosecurity regulations to protect the beautiful and often pristine environment. Plant and animal products such as wood, and walking boots etc., must be declared so they can be checked (or face an automatic NZ$400 fine!). Look at this useful summary and also at the official page.



 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 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.


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