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Country Life and the Church

Country Life and the Church
By Rol Mitchell
Glenlea Publishing
RRP $39.00 post paid from
28 Western View Drive
Albury NSW 2640

This book is a record of Rol Mitchell’s six years research which included an 18 month “live in” study of “Countrytown”.

It explores as an academic social research project the significance of the Christian Church in an Australian rural community. The town ultimately selected for this project (identified only as “Countrytown”) is a town of around 3000 people in central western New South Wales.

Being an academic research project there is a fair amount of detail to wade through but it is far from dull. In fact, to anyone who has spent, or will spend, any time at all in Australian country towns this will be a very interesting and important read.

In his summary Rol concludes, “when considered in its entirety this research project has shown that the rural church, in spite of the erosive influences of recent times, can still claim to be a significant component of contemporary rural life in Australia.” There is no doubt that this summary is based on solid, validated research.

The book is more than the research process and findings. I found the book excellent in providing me with ideas, concepts and methodology to encourage my own exploration of the significance of the Christian Church in any given community, be it rural, regional or metropolitan. Having lived and ministered in a number of country towns in Queensland what Rol presented rang true with me and confirmed as well as challenged some of my own thinking.

Bruce Cornish is Presbytery Minister for the Presbytery of North Queensland