Challenges and Opportunities
16 July 2019 IN: Bishop
Before the summer break our Diocesan Synod had a first look, and encouraged us to go forward in producing proposals to change the number and structure of deaneries. Put baldly, that may feel a rather internal matter, but the proposals lie at the heart of enabling us to be Fit for Mission at a time when big challenges and huge opportunities face us. After the summer break, meetings in each Archdeaconry will discuss and refine the proposals further, before they come back to Synod in the autumn for approval.
In summary, we want to move to a place where we have fewer deaneries - potentially only seven - which largely follow civic boundaries. Larger deaneries will strengthen mutual support, and crucially will allow each to have an Area Dean whose full time ministry is a combination of the normal duties of that role (but across a larger number of parishes) and hands on support for those parishes in vacancy or undergoing significant change. No longer will Area Deans have to fit their duties on top of being full time vicar in their own parish. At a time when we are anticipating many new, younger clergy completing training and beginning parish ministry, we will have stronger support structures to equip and sustain them. Lay chairs may work in small informal teams within a deanery, so that responsibilities are shared.
A number of other dioceses are considering similar proposals to ours. But I do believe this can be another opportunity for Manchester to be at the front of enabling both ourselves and the wider Church of England to fulfil our calling and vision to be a Church for a Different World.