Seven full-time Area Deans appointed

First published on: 26th February 2021

Seven full-time Area Deans have been appointed by Manchester Diocese to enable it to achieve its inspiring vision for 2030 of being ‘a worshipping, growing a transforming Christian presence at the heart of every community’.

Working closely with the Lay Chairs and other ordained and lay leaders in each deanery, this new cohort of Area Deans will lead the delivery of the diocese’s transformation programme at local level. They will be responsible for carefully targeted interventions on the ground to achieve the diocese’s ambitious targets for increased church attendance, particularly in the most deprived areas; greater opportunities for people to explore their faith, especially children and young people and their families; and for the Church to be able to lead the way in every local community, supporting those who are deprived and excluded.

The appointments have been made following an extensive consultation exercise on proposals to streamline the diocese’s deanery structure from 20 to seven – and also on the new role of full-time Area Dean for each of the new deaneries. The new Area Deans will enable parishes across the diocese to flourish by supporting them with mission and growth, as well as new ways of working together.

The new Area Deans represent the breadth of traditions and spirituality in the Church of England. Four men and three women, they also reflect the diversity of the communities they will serve.

The new Area Deans are:

Bolton Deanery - Revd Simon Cook
Currently Assistant Archdeacon of Bolton, Area Dean of Bury and Incumbent of Kirklees Valley (Manchester Diocese)

Bury and Rossendale Deanery - Revd Canon Dr Rachel Mann
Currently Area Dean of Withington, Incumbent of St Nicholas Burnage and Curate of St Chad Ladybarn (Manchester Diocese)

Manchester North and East Deanery - Revd Helen Scanlan
Currently Assistant Archdeacon of Manchester, Area Dean of Heaton and Team Vicar in the Heatons Benefice (Manchester Diocese)

Oldham and Ashton Deanery - Revd Daniel Ramble
Currently Vicar of St James Hill (Birmingham Diocese)

Rochdale Deanery Revd Canon Karen Smeeton
Currently Assistant Archdeacon of Rochdale, Area Dean of Rochdale and Incumbent of St Clement Spotland and St. George Oakenrod (Manchester Diocese)

Salford and Leigh Deanery - Revd Colin Pearson
Currently Area Dean of Peak Deanery and Priest-in-Charge of St Thomas Becket, Chapel-en-le-Frith (Derby Diocese)

We anticipate being able to announce the new Area Dean for Manchester South and Stretford in the coming weeks.


Speaking about the appointments, the Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, said:

“I am delighted with the appointment of our new full-time Area Deans who will be working closely with our parishes to lead the development of local ministry in our diocese. After a robust selection process, we have appointed seven talented and energetic leaders who reflect the diversity of our congregations and who I am confident will be able to lead the major changes needed to ensure a healthy and vibrant future for our Church here in Manchester.”

The role of the new Area Dean

The Area Deans will share in the Bishop’s leadership of mission and pastoral care in each deanery. They will focus on transforming our churches by leading and developing a clear strategy for each deanery, identifying the opportunities for mission and growth and driving through the changes that are needed in collaboration with other lay and ordained leaders. Alongside this, they will promote team-building amongst clergy and laity and promote new ways of working to ensure that parishes work well together and support each other in their various ministries. They will support all clergy in the deanery with their personal and professional development and will act as mentors to the new younger clergy who are coming into ministry.

The Area Dean posts have been created with support from the Church Commissioners who awarded the Diocese of Manchester Transformation Funding of £1.74m in December 2020.  This funding will help create a step-change in the diocese’s capacity to support new ways of working and to deliver the fundamental changes necessary on the ground to release missional energy in order to meet the diverse needs of the communities it serves.

For more details on the proposal to move from 20 to seven deaneries, please see our document Transforming Manchester Diocese: Briefing Document on the Proposals for Mission Communities




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