Standing for Deanery Synod

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What does the Deanery Synod do, and why should I be on it?

  • The Deanery Synod is a representative body for C of E churches in the local area (Deanery), to which each Parish is entitled to send (usually) two or more lay representatives. Licenced and Beneficed Parish clergy are also members, and those with PTO are also entitled to representation.
  • In most Dioceses, Parish Share is allocated by Dioceses to Deaneries, and Deanery Synods are then responsible for dividing up the total amount between Parishes/Benefices in the Deanery however they see fit. This can often feel as though Deaneries are expected to do the Diocese’s dirty work! (Please note that some Dioceses will have different systems in place, and Deanery Synods do not have this function.)
  • Deaneries have a Pastoral Committee, which may also be the Deanery Standing Committee, that is responsible for discussing pastoral reorganisation (i.e. Parish/Benefice mergers etc.) within the Deanery. Any member of Deanery Synod (clergy or laity) can stand for election to this Committee.
  • Deanery Synod members are also the electorate for the General Synod, as well as being able to nominate candidates. Because the electorate is not all that large, one vote can sometimes really make a difference.
  • Deanery Synod meetings take place three, or sometimes four, times a year. Sometimes, meetings might seem tedious or pointless; but they are the price to be paid for being in the room when important decisions are taken. ‘The world is run by those who turn up!’ (There is, of course, no obligation to turn up for every meeting.)

Who is eligible for election to Deanery Synod, and how do I get onto it?

  • Licenced and Beneficed clergy are automatically on their local Deanery Synod.
  • Clergy with PTO are entitled to choose/elect one in ten of their number to the Deanery Synod.
  • Lay Deanery Synod members are elected at the Annual Parish Church Meeting (APCM) every three years. Deanery Synod elections are due to take place this year (2023). The timing of APCMs varies between Parishes, but by law they must take place by 31st May—so yours might be coming up very soon.
  • Any lay person who is on the Electoral Roll of a Parish church can stand for election to the Deanery Synod. You do not have been on the PCC before, although all Deanery Synod members become ex officio members of their PCC. (You should bear in mind that PCC members are generally expected to do their best to turn up for PCC meetings, circumstances permitting. PCC meetings are likely to be more frequent than Deanery Synod meetings, but they are often found to be more useful, since they discuss practical matters pertaining to the running of your Parish church.)
  • It is often difficult to find people who are willing to be on Deanery Synod, so if you put your name forward, it is quite likely that there will be no competition. For laity, it is a good idea to mention your interest as soon as possible to your PCC Secretary and/or incumbent, since they may be looking for volunteers to fill places. You could also talk to the existing Deanery Synod members in your church, and indicate that you would be interested in taking on the role if they have had enough. For clergy with PTO, elections are likely to be organised through the Deanery Chapter: speak to whoever organises these.
  • If there are more candidates than there are places (and one of the candidates doesn’t decide to stand down), an election will take place at the APCM. Although every APCM is different, it is unlikely that you will have an opportunity to make any formal election statement. If an election is on the cards, you will improve your chances if people know you, and you have taken an opportunity to talk to people informally beforehand about why you are standing.