Changing our deaneries - a consultation

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Published: 28th July 2020

Last week we launched a consultation on a proposal to reduce the number of deaneries from 13 down to six.  All are welcome to contribute to this consultation, which will run until Friday 4 December.

Reducing the number of deaneries is an important step towards ensuring our diocese is fit for purpose going forward. Our current deaneries are very small and moving to larger groupings will offer more flexibility when considering where ministers are placed as well as provide a broader canvas for mission planning. It makes sense to carry out significant restructuring in one go rather than make a series of changes over time and also to align our structures more closely to civic ones – at the moment, the Metropolitan borough of Dudley is spread across three deaneries, and the City of Worcester is divided across two.

It is proposed to move to six deaneries, with each having a mix of urban and rural and a town (or towns) working in partnership with their rural outlying areas. 

  1. GREATER DUDLEY DEANERY uniting Dudley, Kingswinford & Stourbridge Deaneries. We examined establishing two smaller deaneries – Dudley North and Dudley South, but the natural dividing line ended up with too small a Dudley South. 
  2. REDDITCH & BROMSGROVE DEANERY made up of the current Bromsgrove Deanery plus the Wychebrook benefice and the benefice of Elmley Lovett w Hampton Lovett & Elmbridge w Rushock and Hartlebury and Ombersley w Doverdale currently in Droitwich Deanery.
  3. KIDDERMINSTER & STOURPORT DEANERY uniting the current Kidderminster and Stourport deaneries.
  4. WORCESTER DEANERY uniting the Worcester East and Martley & Worcester West Deaneries, plus the Saltway Team Ministry from Droitwich Deanery.
  5. MALVERN & UPTON DEANERY uniting the Malvern and Upton deaneries.
  6. PERSHORE & EVESHAM DEANERY uniting the Pershore and Evesham deaneries plus the Bowbrook benefice from Droitwich Deanery. 

As a result of benefices being in different deaneries, the Bowbrook and Wychebrook group ministry will no longer exist.  The Deaneries of Greater Dudley and Redditch & Bromsgrove would form the Archdeaconry of Dudley, the other four will be the Archdeaconry of Worcester.

The Church of England suggests that the size of a deanery synod should be between 50 and 150 members. Currently nine of our deaneries are too small, and the biggest deanery synod only has 59 members when full. By moving to six deaneries, synods would have between 70 and 135 members, helping to make them more effective. However, having larger deaneries doesn’t prevent smaller mission areas meeting together, including with ecumenical colleagues. Mission and ministry structures might look different in different deaneries.   For the largest deaneries, it might be that clergy preferred to meet in smaller chapters, and that a Sub-Dean could be appointed. Rural Deans will become Area Deans, as some parts of the diocese are not rural. We will also need to consider their workload, and whether some administrative support is needed.

Moving to six deaneries in this way also largely unites existing deaneries to ease the change process, with only the current Droitwich deanery being pragmatically divided into different new deaneries. Going to a larger or smaller number would lead to more disruptive change.  All parishes will continue to have representation on deanery synod and larger deaneries would not be disadvantaged at Diocesan Synod as the number of places available to a deanery is linked to the size of that deanery (number of clergy, total of electoral rolls).

The concept of simplification was raised at the Open Conversations, where it was broadly supported. This proposal has been shaped by discussion with the Rural Deans and Lay Chairs, and with the Diocesan Mission, Pastoral and Resources Committee.

To respond to this consultation, please email: john.preston@cofe-worcester.org.uk.


Page last updated: 3rd August 2020 2:29 PM
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