God of the Whenua: Rural Ministry in Aotearoa New Zealand
The rural church has been profoundly affected by economic and social change, and by theological and liturgical revolution in the wider church. How have these forces for change affected rural congregations in Aotearoa New Zealand, and where are they heading in future? With an ecumenical scope, Bill Bennett looks in depth at the traditional churches that still maintain a rural presence and their ministries - Methodist, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and Anglican. He includes revealing profiles of several parishes and rohe (Maori districts). While he writes from a Pakeha perspective, Bennett also honours the unique theology and flavour of the Maori church. Bennett develops a theology of land in Aotearoa New Zealand, and a theology of mission and ministry that may be seen as a starting point for all who minister in rural areas. He flags the issues and developments that the rural church is facing and will meet in coming years. This book is based on Bennett's thesis submitted to the Ecumenical Board of Theological Studies, NZ, for the Diploma of Scholar in Theology. It will be a valuable resource for rural clergy and lay leaders, theological college tutors and students, and all who are interested in rural ministry.