A Deanery is a group of parishes that constitute a district within an Archdeaconry (Hertford in our case) and the Archdeaconry forms part of a larger entity called the Diocese (St Alban’s), the Church of England administrative region under the supervision of a bishop.
St Michael’s Church is a member church of the Deanery of Bishop’s Stortford, which extends through East Herts from Stortford/Sawbridgeworth to just beyond the A10. So our Deanery is quite a mix of town and country, and the parishes represented within it have quite varied demographics and issues that are important to their circumstances.
The Deanery Synod is the representative body for the Deanery and is led by the Rural Dean (clergy chair) assisted by a lay chair and other officers (clergy and lay) elected by the Synod.
The Synod members come from all the parishes within the Deanery and include the clergy plus lay members elected from each parish in proportion to its electoral roll. St Michael’s currently has a quota of 4 lay members, who are elected once every three years at the APCM.
The Deanery Synod is a forum for discussion of current issues of importance to the Deanery itself, the Diocese or to the Anglican Communion as a whole. These may include issues on which the Diocese would like the opinion of the Deanery, and may require a vote to be taken to ascertain the strength of support/opposition to a resolution. The Deanery Synod is a means of discussing local issues affecting the member parishes, and the parish representatives are responsible for a two-way communication between their PCC and the Synod. Likewise, the Deanery’s representatives to Diocesan Synod are responsible for communications between those two bodies.
Deanery Synod members are responsible for electing the Diocesan representatives to the Houses of Clergy and Laity at General Synod. This is a vital function, as the balance of the membership in these Houses, if not representative of the generally-held opinion of the Church community, can prevent or delay the passing of important decisions by General Synod. This was seen most notably recently in the changes to allow the introduction of women bishops.
If you would like more information about the Deanery Synod, please speak to Peter Rixson.