What is a Deanery (Synod)?

What is a Deanery?

A Deanery is  a group of neighbouring parishes presided over by an Area Dean.  Camberwell Deanery comprises eight parishes and nine churches.

An Area Dean is generally an incumbent from one of the parishes within the deanery[1].  The Area Dean is appointed by the Bishop.[2]

What is a Deanery Synod?

Each Deanery has a Deanery Synod which is split into a House of Clergy and a House of Laity[3].  The Area Dean and an elected member of the House of Laity (often called the Lay Chair) are joint chairs of the deanery synod.[4]  The House of Clergy is led by the Area Dean, and the House of Laity by the Lay Chair.[5]

The House of Clergy comprises priests who are licensed to parishes within the deanery (including the Area Dean) and other clergy members to whom specific rules apply.  

The House of Laity comprises lay people (aged 16+) who are elected by their parishes every three years and serve for a term of three years.  The Lay Members must be on the electoral roll of a parish.  The rules governing the numbers of lay representatives that may sit on a Deanery Synod are determined by a Diocese, but in general, the larger the electoral roll, the more representatives may sit.  The Lay Chair is always elected by lay members of the Synod.

What are the functions of a Deanery Synod?

The functions of a Deanery Synod are set out formally by law[6], but may be summarised as follows:

a) to consider matters relating to the Church of England and to think about how to address them in the Deanery.  Also to express opinions about matters of religious or public interest.

b) to foster community among the deanery parishes and promote the mission of the church.  Also to  bring together the views of individual parishes on common problems and to formulate shared Deanery policies 

c) to share news and put into effect policies from the Diocesan synod in the Deanery.

d) to think about some of the same issues as the Diocesan Synod especially where they're also being considered by General Synod.

e) to raise matters from the Deanery Synod to the Diocesan Synod


[4] Davie, Martin "A guide to the Church of England"