As well as directly supporting Area Deans, Lay Chairs, Deanery Synods and planning groups with the immediate task of producing a plan, deanery planning has given rise to a number of different workstreams:
- A package of training is under development under the heading ‘The Deanery Toolbox’ – resources will soon be downloadable here.
- Work was done to put deanery planning on a firmer footing, and to simplify the workings of Deanery Synods and their committees.
- Research was begun into best practice in the handling of parish vacancies, seeking to find ways that growth can continue rather than stalling.
- Ideas were explored around how we do better at planning for ‘mutual flourishing’ across the different traditions within the diocese and the deaneries.
- The future of some of our deaneries was reviewed, and changes are underway.
- Different models for deanery leadership were evaluated and are available to draw upon.
Underpinning it all was a strand of work to set out to answer some fundamental questions:
- What are deaneries good for, and how do they add value for both the diocese and the parishes?
- How have the roles of Area Deans and Lay Chairs changed and developed, and what are the expectations today? What are the theological foundations?
- What might effective deaneries look like?
- How can the leadership team of a deanery be shaped to suit different contexts?
A set of white papers was produced looking at some of these questions – not setting out to be the last word, but aiming to get the discussion going in all quarters:
- Valuding Deaneries, Empowering Deanery Leadership – a basic paper that underpins all the others.
- Some Essentials for an Effective Deanery – a paper examining the ingredients of effectiveness across a range of areas.
- Models of Deanery Leadership – a paper looking at different ways Area Deans can be appointed and operate.
- Forming a Deanery Leadership Team – a paper looking at how the committee structures of a Deanery Synod might be shaped to work in different contexts.