Operating through the Hereford Diocese and the Shropshire and Marches Methodist Circuit, Borderlands Rural Chaplains work in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Eastern Powys. We are a confidential, listening ear offering pastoral support to farmers, farming families and agricultural communities.
Since our inception in 2013 we have helped over 100 individuals and families through difficult situations such as animal disease, family problems, mental ill-health and the demands of farming processes. Funded, supported and managed by churches of different denominations including Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal and Anglican, we assist in various ways from a one-off phone call to on-going pastoral care. We collaborate with national agencies who can assist farmers with emergency finance.
Working alongside other agencies such as the Farming Community Network, Shropshire Rural Support, The Arthur Rank Centre and The National Farmers' Union, we are "church without walls", committed to serving our rural populations.
Historically both the Methodist District and the Diocese of Hereford had employed their own ordained agricultural chaplains. These two specialised ministers were tasked with providing a degree of pastoral cover for an area containing at least 6,000 registered agricultural holdings and six or more cattle markets. Coincidentally, both posts became vacant in 2011/12. In response, the Methodist Church appointed a lay chaplain (half time during 2012 but full-time since April 2013) whilst the Anglican diocese licensed an Associate Chaplain who was a Self-supporting Minister (i.e. a priest working in secular employment). Both denominations had independently produced discussion papers which advocated a network of volunteer chaplains supported by a limited number of paid posts. Given this convergence of opportunity and ideas it was determined to combine forces, resulting in the development of Borderlands Rural Chaplaincy.
Borderlands is a genuinely ecumenical venture involving financial commitments from both the Anglican and Methodist churches, with chaplains drawn from both denominations, and a joint governance structure established to support our work.