Friday, 5 February 2010

Should someone kill off Deanery Synods?

I've just been reading loads of tweets about people who are going off to Deanery Synods up and down the country. The common feature is they're all negative. In fact when I think about it I've never been to a useful synod. The only time I go is when they talk about money how it might effect the share we have to pay in Aldridge.

I can't believe that for 14 years I've put up with mediocrity of all this. This can't be the way to do it. I'm virtually always the youngest in the room (and I'm 42). The tendency is always to avoid change. The rooms tend to be full of ancient suspicions of the next door parishes. The debates are almost certainly thin and don't have much, if at all, to do with sharing the Good News of Jesus let alone the Kingdom of God.

I know a few years ago there was a CofE report which suggested Deanery Synods should end. I think the Deanery Synods voted this down. Isn't it time some bishops got together and sorted this out. We need some fresh vision invested in them or else someone should take the 'bull by the horns' and kill them off.

If we are being negative about them, we need to sort them.


  1. Richard - I can't say too much about this, because I was the speaker at the last Deanery Synod Meeting in Walsall, talking about the Mission to Seafarers! We then had a really good talk about the Senior Citizens Link Line.

    I think Synods could be good - it is just what we make them.

  2. Hi Richard,

    The interesting thing was that the Diocesan authorities in Gloucester reckoned that the deanery ought to be the "engine of mission" - which ought to make the deanery synod something like the gearbox. You will no doubt have heard stories about the legendary Austin Maxi gearbox - well, Cheltenham deanery synod was like that. But a lot worse.

    The thing that crippled it most of all was that Trinity, much the biggest church in town, refused point-blank to turn up to it. But if they had, I still suspect that no-one would have been willing to put aside "the way we do things" in favour of a common goal. Mind you, the fact that the so-say vision was actually about cost-cutting didn't help one little bit.

    There are some good and simple lessons to learn from this: humility and honesty would be two things that would make a lot of synods work better.


    James McLaren