Callington Cluster is a group of five churches across four rural parishes in South East Cornwall, which work together as a team ministry. The cluster spans a whole swathe of the Cornish countryside, taking in rural towns, large villages and tiny hamlets, and all four parishes fall into the most deprived 40% of parishes nationally. The congregations are diverse in their style of worship and the demographic of their communities varies too, but in all five church contexts, discipleship is central to everything that goes on.
Across the cluster, church members are involved in hosting weekly pop-up cafés and community lunches which offer food, hospitality and conversation to local people. In a rural area like Cornwall, where isolation is a prevalent social issue, this is particularly valuable. Two of the cluster churches offer parent and toddler groups which provide similar opportunities for young families to build relationships with each other and with the church. St Mary’s in Callington is developing a ‘Friday Night Church’ initiative aimed at gathering local families for activities and discussion around faith, followed by a hot meal. Having a church building and presence in several different communities also allows people to grow in their faith and feel connected to each other without having to travel further afield, as is the case for many other public services in the area.