Wednesday 13 August 2014

Pastoral Theology for Rural Ministry - Examination Paper

Answer all the questions.  Do not attempt to keep everyone happy. You haven't got that long.

1. The Shornsheep Benefice has eight churches, an average of six miles apart. Each has a service on Sunday. When does the vicar eat?

2. Compare and contrast the lives of the clergy in Jane Austen's novel. How jealous does that make you?

3. Piddlington Emmanuel Baptist Church has 5 members. Piddlington Free Baptist Church has 4. Why can't they just get over that row about the new crockery set in 1923?

4. St Mary's, Verging-on-the-Brink, has the tallest spire in the county, is 100m long and seats over 500 people. Yet the village, even at its height, has only ever had a population of 200. What did the squire, Sir Roger de Courtney-Cox, think he was playing at in 1368?

5. "If the Victorian Era had never happened, it would have been a good thing." Discuss.

6. The average tenure of an incumbent in the Chitterlings Benefice is three years. The average vacancy is 30 months. To the nearest six months, how long will it be until they realise the problem isn't with the ministers?

7. Just how primitive is Jimsthorpe Primitive Methodist Chapel? Use the standard 3-age model.

8. The adult congregation of St Quiverfull's consists of three teachers, two stockbrokers, three solicitors and a retired judge. Surely they could run a family service for themselves once in a while?

9. There are 9 children in Year 2 at St Martin's Lower (C of E). They all look remarkably like the last vicar. What could possibly explain his rapid "calling" to a mission in Siberia? Illustrate your answer with a diagram of a shotgun.

10. The congregation of Minchin-in-the-Marsh Methodist is 12, with an average age of 75. Exactly the same as in 1980. What on earth is going on?

11. The church of St Agnes, Ammersleigh, has on average 24 weddings, 17 baptisms and only one funeral each year. Its normal Sunday congregation is 7. Imagine how pretty it must be. Deconstruct the explanation for why the wedding fees are so high.

12. St Colin's has to raise £400K for a new roof. Does the thermometer outside the church really need to be that big?

13. With reference to the table showing the price of lead since 1990, explain why Jeb has taken to shooting thieves off the roof. Try to think of a convincing alibi.

14. The church has just bought a new 1kg tub of Fair-Trade Coffee. If the average congregation is 12, and the average teaspoon holds 5g - why can't they buy something nicer?


  1. We're still trying to raise £200 to buy a "progress" thermometer. There is a smaller thermometer which says how far we've got with that (£1.73 and 500 nectar points).

  2. Number 5 might take me the whole exam time to answer.

  3. :-) love it, but the mention of the word 'thermometer' has me coming out in a nasty rash!!

  4. It's recognising some elements of truth in each one that brings back happy memories of my time in a Rural Benefice, which might explain my rapid exit to pastures new.

  5. Contemplating substituting this for the current "any last questions" session of our regular Rural Ministry Course :-)

    1. When I was shown it by a friend (both of us Clergy) my first reaction was ‘Oh, wow, they are really trying to teach this stuff now!’ It took me until about question 3 to realise it was a joke.

  6. 10 - You got the chapel name wrong, that is one of mine....

  7. Oh so true of every church !


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