Restructuring In The Rural Community
Christmas and Social Change On The Canadian PrairiesOver the winter of 1996-97 I was involved in teh leadership of a small prairie Pastoral Charge with two town in it. One was a small village on marginal land, and struggling farms and businesses. The other was located on better land, and was made up of modern commercial farmers for the most part. It was in this context I encountered the situation facing farmers in the whirl of today's rural an agricultural life. Once I realized just what it was the farmers were up against, I realized I had absolutely no idea how to minister to hem. Appropriate ministry presupposes a basic knowledge and understanding of the contest within which parishioners are struggling to earn a living and conduct community life. I knew how to sympathize with loss but had no idea about how to be of any further assistance beyond that.
The Gospel has much to say to any situation beyond the counsel of comfort, important at that of course is. Over the last five years, I have sought to understand what he nature of the rural reality actually is and ask what exactly the perspective of the gospel might bring to such a situation.
It is not so much that I needed to have all (or any) of the answers to such a complex a problem. What I wanted was a starting point from which to build as I walked with people through the complexities of their lives on the Canadian Prairies in these opening years of the new millennium. It is this base perspective of both context and overall orientation of the gospel that I wish to present in this section of the web-site.
The target group I wish to speak to are protestant clergy on the Prairies who are facing the same dilemma I faced five years ago, and are looking for a place to start their exploration. I trust that other readers will bear this in mind and do their own translation so to speak into an idiom of their own.
The site section is constructed with a series of hub pages listed below. The "Basic Concept" segments on the first of these pages are linked sequentially in a narrative so that a reader can read them through as a unit. Other links are added to each page with resources and these will be added to over time. The overall thrust of what has happened and how people have responded is in the initially (linked) sections and the theological thread is woven throughout.
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- Entitlements Amidst Social Change (*)
- The Initial Pre-European Economy (*)
- The Colonial Export of Staples Economy (*)
- A Cultural Commitment to Educational Excellence - Step One (*)
- Resulting Agricultural Success - Step Two (*)
- Subsequent Population Shift - Step Three (*)
- Exacerbated Industrial Growth - Step Four (*)
- The Quest For Global Markets - Step Five (*)
- Second and Third World Join The First- Step Six (*)
- Non-Ag Natural Resource Extraction Centers (*)
- Value Added Industry - The Industrial-Agricultural Response (*)
- Human Resource Development - The H.R Response (*)
- Civic Change - The Governmental Response (*)
- Changes In Social Support Institutions - The Institutional Response (*)
- Group Downside-Gift Behavior - The Social-Psychological Response (*)
- Changes in People - The Individual Response (*)
- Christmas, A Key Step In God's Community Development (*)