What is the Deanery?
The Deanery is legally a collection of parishes put together for administrative convenience. In the Diocese of Bristol, we have seven Deaneries.
The Deanery Synod is a key part of the synodical system. Each parish elects representatives to the Deanery Synod, the number depending on the number on the parish’s electoral roll.
The Deanery Synod pulls together the thinking of the Church’s life in the Deanery. It is sometimes asked to consider matters referred to it from the Diocesan Synod and from the General Synod. It is the place where the voice of the parish is first heard beyond the PCC. The Area Dean and Lay Chair preside. The clergy in the Deanery are members and lay members are elected by the Annual Parochial Church Meetings (APCMs) of all the parishes in the Deanery.
The Area Dean assists the Bishop in the pastoral care of the clergy and parishes in the Deanery.
The Lay Chair is elected to share the chair of the Deanery Synod with the Area Dean.
The Deanery Chapter includes all the clergy in the Deanery who hold the Bishop’s licence. They meet for study, prayer and mutual encouragement.
What does the Deanery Synod do?
The Synodical Government Measure gives it a long list of things to do:
- To connect with the parishes of the Deanery and bring together the views on common problems;
- To discuss and formulate common policies on those problems;
- To foster connectedness and community among those parishes;
- To promote in the Deanery the whole mission of the Church: pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical.
In accomplishing even a few of these roles, the Deanery Synod, being a strong link in the connection chain of communication from both Diocesan and General Synods to the parishes and vice versa, has an important part to play in the overall structure.
Click to download the Diocese of Bristol Rules for Deanery Synod.
Why are Deanery Synods important?
Deaneries are an important part of the life of this Diocese. It is vital that the most suitable lay people are elected on to Deanery Synods. Deaneries and Deanery Synods offer opportunities for using the gifts and developing the skills of all God’s people.
It is the lay members of the Deanery Synod who elect the members of the House of Laity in the Diocesan Synod and General Synod and they can lobby General Synod members on any subjects of concern. In this way, they can make the local voice heard in diocesan and national issues.
It is vital that the members you elect to the Deanery Synod represent the views of people in the pews. Please ensure that the people elected will listen, pray and do just that.