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Good Practice in Deaneries

Good Practice in Deaneries Front Cover
Report to the General Synod by the Deanery Sub-Group of the Bridge report Follow-Up Group (GS Misc 639)

Commenting on the positive aspects of mortality, the Church Times diarist wrote recently: “There will not always be purificators and deanery synods...” But for the time being at least there is no end to the wiping of chalices and the gathering together of Anglicans in formal structures at a level between the parish and the diocese.

The 1997 Bridge Report sought to cut the Gordian knot by recommending that it should be possible to abolish deanery synods in the interests of allowing groups of parishes to work together more flexibly in furthering the Church’s mission.

After careful consideration and in the light of widespread opposition to the Bridge Report’s suggestion, the Follow-Up Group decided to recommend that such proposals be set on one side.

Instead it sought to gather and disseminate guidance to help deaneries and deanery synods work more effectively. The Follow-Up Group received many helpful comments, suggestions and examples of good practice in response to their request for such help. Many took the trouble to share their experience and expertise, which the Group have tried to distil into the Report.

The Report seeks to do three things:

(i)         to set out some basic principles about working together in the deanery;

(ii)        to give examples of good practice;

(iii)       to make some specific recommendations, set out in the form of a checklist to help deaneries work through them efficiently and comprehensively.

Deaneries and the Deanery Synod

There is an important question about the use of the terms “deanery” and “deanery synod”. The responses received referred to both entities, sometimes making a precise distinction between them and sometimes using them interchangeably. In most cases it was clear that the deanery synod is the key player in the planning and carrying out of tasks within the deanery. However it is possible for deanery activities to thrive where the life of the synod itself would appear to be at a low ebb.

As the Church House Deaneries Group, an independent church group which seeks to promote good practice in deaneries, said in its response:

Deanery synods are the public face of the deanery but are by no means the only indicator of the life of the deanery. A lively deanery synod is usually indicative of an active and vibrant deanery, but a poorly attended or dull synod does not automatically indicate a completely dysfunctional deanery.

Further Information

Good Practice in Deaneries       Price £2.50

is published by the General Synod of the Church if England and on sale at Church House Bookshop, 31 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3NZ.


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Last modified: December 15, 2012