Developing Deaneries update - Spring 2015

Since the launch of presentations at Deaneries, which began last Autumn, all deaneries have now had a presentation of the Vision for Developing Deaneries.

The majority of deaneries also explored the purpose of the deanery and did an exercise to find the common ground.

The questions asked were:


Q. What is the best thing that has happened recently at your church?

A. community engagement, good worship, work on buildings, evangelism , youth ministry

Q. What do you worry about most in your PCC?

A. A. Finance,  buildings, evangelism,  children and young people

Q. What would make you excited to be coming to deanery synod ?

A. mission, sense of purpose, making a difference to the kingdom of God

Q. If funding was not an issue what new thing would you like to do?

A. re-order the building, employ youth workers and administrators  or another ministers

The results highlighted the potential areas to develop shared learning, agenda items for synod, training opportunities and partnership working for the purpose of local mission.


We (Archdeacon Christine and Church Growth officers) undertook an exercise to gain feedback from the new Peak Deanery about their early response to being part of a new bigger deanery.

The results were very positive and some strong themes were identified.


  • Huge appreciation of larger meeting and of sharing in fellowship with new people
  • A sense of being in it together – discovering  Common Ground and the bigger picture, recognising other experiences as valuable, appreciating diversity, 
  • Great support for Lambeth Lectio – praying and studying the Bible together in a non-judgmental and honest approach


  • More vibrant a sense of energy and a richer understanding
  • Pooling of talent and resources
  • Hearing positive news when you are struggling
  • Sharing faith with people who were strangers but now feel very close
  • Creative learning
  • Feeling resourced

It was extraordinary to have 50 positive comments with only one who wrote  “ Jury out… wide mix of people.” 

Following a learning exercise about taking risks they were asked a question about what could be out there in the deanery if they stepped out and took a risk?

The response was overwhelmingly aspirational and optimistic - someone wrote “watch this space!”

Themes around liberation: Overcoming barriers, facing difference, leaving comfort zone, a sense of no right or wrong and being a learning opportunity.

There was a confident tone around: Faith, Growth, mission, outreach, bigger vision, new energy, ideas and opportunities, enrichment and influence.


The new Area Dean takes up post on 23 April and we are now preparing to develop the Deanery Leadership Team, appoint a part-time paid administrator and continue to develop the life of the Peak Deanery.



From January to March, following the deanery presentations the two Church Growth Officers met with deaneries to carry out a SWOT and receive questions about the proposals.

We have collated the results and below is a summary of the findings.:


  • Better sharing of human resources and support across parishes (41)
  • Increased number of clergy available across the deanery (14)
  • Rural dean has dedicated time with greater input (14)
  • Greater pool of skills across the deanery (20), Better focus on mission / Growth in the Kingdom in (11) – appropriate to context
  • Dedicated funded administrator (9) / rather than relying on volunteers
  • ‘Shake-up’ will bring a fresh perspective (7)
  • Using natural geographical/ community boundaries(5)
  • Feeling a part of something bigger (6)


  • Geography leading to travel times etc. (33) – environmental impact?
  • Unwieldy (7) / reduced communication  / decision making will take more time (4)
  • Top down – agenda set by central group / increased centralisation (9)
  • Less personal / difficult to get to know people (5)
  • Too big (and the assumption that therefore this is worse) (11)


  • Sharing best practice and challenges, learning from one another (25)
  • Training opportunities and resources (16)
  • Widen horizons / celebrate difference (8)
  • Share resources (6)
  • Group encouragement / fellowship (18)


  • Loss of close relationships / identity / control (13)
  • Change management difficult (10) /
  • Current lack of collaboration could be carried forward (9) / lack of buy-in / protective of ‘patch’
  • Swamping of small churches / Intimidation by numbers / new and exciting dominates (6)
  • Lack of locality leading to lack of engagement (7)
  • We might carry on as we are but costing more (5)
  • Loss of deanery / parish identity and tradition / commonality (5)

NB: The score against the responses is the number of times it was given. However for one deanery the information was collated without giving the numbers of the responses. However the picture was fairly constant and in line with the other data.


Just before Easter we met the rural deans and some lay chairs to discuss the findings of the SWOT. On-going questions of clarification were answered and those present were invited to begin to map some new deanery boundaries and establish some partnership conversations .

The next step is to meet with deanery leadership groups to continue the conversations, develop the map and address the fears around this process of change.   

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