We understand many of the specific challenges of those called to rural areas; however, there are many exciting opportunities. The church culture can be one of stability and preservation, which can lead to resistance to change. When it’s time to try something new or think outside the box, that’s where we come in.

For over sixty years, RM has worked with churches, pioneers, and others in rural areas to support them in church planting, rethinking mission and discovering new ways of sharing and living out their faith.


We are RM

We are a growing network of rural churches, pioneers and practitioners. We exist to inspire, empower, and support denominations, churches, pioneers, and those with just a glimmer of an idea who are called to live in rural communities across the UK.


What we do

Encouraging innovation, enabling collaboration, and increasing expectation that God has not finished with the rural church

We listen to you, to the context and to God. We come alongside to support, to encourage innovation, enable collaboration and increase expectation that God has not finished with the rural church. We think differently; where others see problems, we see opportunities. 


We partner with others. We are not seeking to be a brand, or a dominant voice. We are simply seeking to join in with what God is already doing. This means we partner with like-minded mission agencies, church funding organisations, denominations, theological colleges, and other networks, helping them in what they are called to do.

Saturday. Summer. Beautiful sunny day, so my friends and I decided to make a picnic and wa

We connect. We love linking people together, who have a call to the rural context. We link with various prayer communities around the UK, working strategically with them to create rural mission hubs.

We resource. If you have a dream for community transformation, think outside the box, or need help leading change in a culture of stability and preservation, we should talk.


Our Story

Birthed in 1962, Rural Ministries (formerly known as Datchet Evangelical Fellowship) continues with a passion for mission that was in our founder, Herbert Goddard. Over the years we have adapted and changed how we have worked, concentrating on the rural context, and wanting to see this served by people who are grace filled, God empowered and contextually relevant.

We see no reason why rural churches shouldn’t demonstrate as much energy and passion for mission as their urban and sub-urban cousins. The word is the same. The message is the same. His love is the same, but the available resources may be lacking. 


We specialise in 'out of the box' thinking, enabling, and encouraging those who serve God within the margins of the rural context. We love to inspire, facilitate and resource to enable people to join in with what God is already doing'



Years Running



Churches Resourced



Pioneers Enabled


Our Network

Stretching across the UK, RM is a growing network of churches, people and organisations who are in the rural context and passionate about Jesus. Together we are rethinking mission and reimaging what church needs to look like to make disciples who make disciples, who in turn make disciples. We believe the future will favour a well-connected network of pioneers, practitioners, and permission givers. Click on ‘our network’ to see a UK map showing those linked with RM, or better still why not see how you can become part of the network on our ‘Get Involved’ page.


Our Values

Image by Jon Flobrant

Meet the team

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Simon Mattholie

Chief Executive

Revd Simon Mattholie has served in a number of rural churches throughout his ministry, and regularly teaches on rural mission.

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Alistair Birkett

Director: Scotland and Northern England

Alistair Birkett has a background in running church initatives in the Scottish Borders where he is a farmer.

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Alison Griffiths

Director: Wales and South West England

Revd Alison Griffiths was the minister of a church in the Forest of Dean for seveal years and has also worked as a solicitor and a community mediator.

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Nick Jones


Nick Jones works for Rural Ministries as our administrator, and supervises the care of our properties. Nick also manages our conferences and events.

The work of our staff team is overseen by our Board of Trustees


Board of Trustees

As a registered charity, Rural Ministries is directed by a Board of Trustees, consisting of individuals from a number of denominations and church backgrounds who have a passion for mission and church growth.

Stephen Spurgeon (Chair)

Stephen leads our Board of Trustees who are instrumental in guiding and advising the work of Rural Ministries on both practical and spiritual issues. Stephen is one of the leaders at All Saints, Sproughton.  

Elaine Fisher

A former teacher and lecturer in Business Studies, now semi-retired and working part-time in Education Administration. Formerly a free evangelical church leader.

John Witts

John is the pastor of Wychwood Baptist Church, Milton under Wychwood where he has been in post since 2010. He is the Governor of Wychwood Primary school, keen runner and can be seen treading the boards of Wychwood amateur dramatic society.

Tim Lea

Tim has works as a consultant with wide ranging clients across the education, voluntary and faith sectors after thirteen years of community work and developing innovative church. Tim is a member of the National Fresh Expressions team as Project Manager for vision event coordination and networking, and an Associate for the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity Imagine Project.

Chris Hughes (Deputy Chair)

Chris retired as a solicitor in 2020 He is a former Minister of Bishopstoke Evangelical Church and is now a member of Above Bar Church in Southampton. He is a member of Hampshire RE Advisory Body (SACRE) where he chairs their Monitoring Group.

Paul Susans

A former accountant Paul is also elder of the Butts Evangelical Church, Alton; Vice Chair of East Hampshire CAB Ltd; trustee of charity working in the Middle East specifically for the relief of hardship among refugees and children. Chair of Governors of local CofE Primary School.

Hilary Taylor

Hilary is the Small Church Enabler for the London Baptist Association and author of 'A Toolbox for Small Churches.' A serial blog writer, Hilary works with the Small Church Connexion, eight busy small church leaders, passionate about encouraging the 112 small Baptist churches across London.

Yann Debreuil

Yann is the Vicar of the parish of All Saints, Headley  located on the Hampshire-Surrey border. He has previously overseen rural ministry within New Wine.