The Rural Ministry Symposium
The R. Alex Sim Rural Ministry Symposium is held biennially. It began under the auspices of the Queen’s School of Religion, to nurture and empower rural churches. It is now co-ordinated by an ecumenical Planning Committee, which includes members from Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Salvation Army and United Churches. The location of the symposia alternates between eastern Ontario and Southwestern Ontario.
Why Hold A Symposium
Rural Ontario is in a state of flux economically and demographically. As the number of people employed directly in agriculture and other resource-based industries continues to decline, rural communities can no longer be defined solely on the basis of these sectors of the economy. The resultant social and cultural shifts in rural areas and small towns have significantly affected the life, work and worship of rural churches, of all denominations. Many are now struggling to determine their mission to the “new” communities in which they find themselves and to find ways to respond faithfully to the changes. Clergy and lay leaders in these pastoral charges and parishes are actively seeking information and guidance to assist them in providing leadership during these times of rapid transitions. Similarly, theological students need training in these areas, since many of them will be serving rural churches upon ordination.
Who was R. Alex Sim
Alex Sim was a rural sociologist and educator whose life epitomized concern for, and a commitment to, rural Canada and its people. In recognition of his interests and support of rural communities and the rural church, Queen’s School of Religion established the R. Alex Sim Rural Ministry Fund and named the Rural Ministry Symposium in his honour.