The new priest in charge of four local country parishes has been talking of the challenges he faces in this area.
Revd Canon Ed Pruen was speaking to a meeting of Four Marks and Medstead Rotary about the responsibility of looking after four parishes - Medstead, Bentworth, Lasham and Shalden - and their four historic parish churches.
Revd Pruen told Rotary members that he saw his responsibility as that of serving one congregation that worshipped in four scattered church buildings.
He said that there was a need to develop new ways of worship that communicated with those unfamiliar with traditional forms of church worship.
In his talk, Revd Pruen outlined his varied career, from student days at King’s College, London, to working as a priest in Nottingham, Basingstoke and Alton.
Revd Pruen also served as a chaplain at the Royal Marsden Hospital and St Michael’s Hospice in Basingstoke, and at Treloar College in Alton.
He said: “My experience at Treloar’s changed my life - there the pupils taught me so much and asked me very tough questions.”
Revd Pruen next moved to Southwell Cathedral in the Midlands and then to an area of great economic deprivation in Cornwall.
He said it had been a huge privilege to work in so many different communities, some of which were in great poverty.
Revd Pruen plans to visit refugee camps in Israel and the West Bank soon, with a group of volunteers, to put on a series of concerts.
He said there was a need to “open the doors of the church to all humanity”, and that it was important to remember that Christianity and the Anglican Church was continuing to grow substantially around the world.
He added: “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”