What is Stroud Deanery?
Like many aspects of the Church of England, deaneries have a long and varied history. The first mention of a Rural Dean (now more often known as Area Dean) was in the time of Edward the Confessor and the role seems to have been to support the bishop by supervising the clergy in a particular part of the diocese.
After various ups and downs, by the nineteenth century rural deaneries had been established as part of the structure of the C of E, and have continued in existence ever since. They provide an intermediate structure between the diocese and the parishes as a channel for communication and for work at a more local level than the diocese and are led by an Area Dean.
Stroud Deanery is one of 9 Deaneries in Gloucester diocese and consists of 10 benefices. There are three main Deanery activities
1. We aim to share the good things that are part of our life together as Christians in this part of Gloucestershire, including news of services, events and further mission activities; we make sure that communications flow both ways between the diocese and parishes.
2. The Deanery Chapter gathers all the clergy of the deanery regularly for discussion to share the good things and the challenges of their ministry. It provides an important source of support.
3. The Deanery Synod is part of the way the Church of England gives people at different levels a chance to discuss key issues and organise the church's ministry and mission. It’s convened by the Area Dean (Malcolm King) and Lay Chair (Margaret Sheather) and consists of the clergy in the Deanery and lay people elected by the parishes at their Annual Parish Church Meeting. It’s not a formal decision-making body, but communicates its views to the leadership of the diocese in a variety of ways
Lay members serve for three years and once every five years have the important task of electing the Diocese’s lay representatives on the General Synod, the church’s national “parliament.”
The Synod meets three times a year and its meetings include:
• visiting speakers
• reports from Diocesan and General Synods
• sharing new developments and good practice
• the Deanery's action plan
• financial matters including Parish Share
You can keep in touch with the deanery on http://www.stroud-deanery.org.uk/synod.html
Margaret Sheather, Minchinhampton Deanery Synod representative