As foreshadowed in last year’s Report, Caterham Deanery merged with Godstone Deanery in the autumn to form the new Tandridge Deanery. Much of the time in 2016 was taken up with the arrangements necessary to form the new Deanery, seeking the necessary agreements and appointing officers.
So what is a Deanery and a Synod and what does it do and who are the members?
Deaneries are groups of parishes in a geographical area (in our case Tandridge). They form an important bridge between parishes and the wider church, including the Diocese. Churches within a deanery work together, through the Representatives of each parish, elected for a 3 year term at the APCM, supporting each other and sharing resources as well as information on Mission Action plans and Parish Support pledges for example.
Deanery Synods are the formal meetings of a deanery which focus on the mission and ministry in the area as well as providing a channel for the sharing of information whether down from the Diocese or up from the parishes. Synods also take formal decisions from time to time, usually by means of a vote.
All licensed clergy in a deanery are automatically members and crucially also representatives from the congregations, normally PCC members, elected for a 3 year term at their APCM. St. Mary’s will be electing its lay members at this year’s APCM to serve until 2020. Deanery Synod members form the electorate on both Diocesan Synod and the General Synod. Synod membership is an important role in the life of our church and also helps the wider church flourish and grow.
This merger is very welcome and means that the 2 deaneries in the Archdeaconry of Reigate (Tandridge and Reigate) will be of roughly equal size, which should improve efficiency, decision making and communication within the archdeaconry.