Category: News

Latest news from the Network and stories from deaneries acrossthe UK

Update from Shared Ministry Network

May 2016


Following a recent meeting of the Steering Group, we are pleased to report that plans for our next conference are already taking shape. The Steering Group continues to be small in size (recently increased to 4 members with the co-option of Revd Canon Linda Church onto the group), and would greatly benefit from someone with IT skills to help develop the website. We are actively trying to resolve this, but any offers would be greatly appreciated.


We are planning our next conference for the second half of 2017 – final date yet to be confirmed. Drawing on your very helpful suggestions and feedback, we plan to retain, in broad terms, the format and processes used in the last conference. These enabled a deep level of participation and shared learning through group discussion, and helped to inspire and equip us in the practice of missionshaped collaborative ministry. The theme for our next conference is likely to be along the lines of growing disciples through team work, which we hope, given the national church’s emphasis on collaborative ministry and team working, will attract wide interest. We are currently approaching potential speakers/companions and investigating a possible new venue for the conference.


Members of the network may be interested in a new book published earlier this year: “Sharing God’s Blessing: How to renew the local church”, written by Robin Greenwood, an advocate of shared ministry over many years. Research-based at the same time as being a practical resource, the book aims to enable local churches to regain a sense of confidence through exploring God’s blessing and how that can be shared with local churches through group conversations. See: or see the Youtube clip: .

Please remember the Steering Group in your prayers as we seek to discern, through our networking, website and conference planning, how best to resource and inspire dioceses, parishes and people in re-imagining, theologically and practically, mission-shaped collaborative ministry for the challenges of the 21st century.

Penny Evans On behalf of the SM Network

Steering Group: Revd Rob Daborn, Diocese of Lichfield Mrs Penny Evans, Reader & Local Ministry Development Adviser, Diocese of Hereford Mrs Mandy Stanton, Reader & Lay Ministry Development Officer, Diocese of Blackburn Co-opted member: Revd Canon Linda Church, Director of Ministry, Diocese of Ely Treasurer/Conference Administrator: Revd Dr Colin McCarty SSM, Bishop’s Officer for SSMs,, Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich

Data for Deaneries

The Church of England collects a huge array of information about its parishes, from attendance figures to census results. Bev Botting, Head of Research and Statistics told us that this information is most useful to the parishes themselves – who can use it to think about their own mission. She’s excited about the way good data can help local churches identify key opportunities and challenges – and respond with new projects.

Her team have been producing “Parish Spotlights” over the past couple of years, which give a brief summary of significant information for local churches.

She told us about one parish in which the local vicar discovered, to his surprise, that there were many single mothers. He set up a new mums and toddlers group which met a need he hadn’t even known was there! It was only thanks to the statistics from Parish Spotlights that he even knew there was a problem!

Bev Botting and her colleague, Charlotte Aughey, met the NDN Steering Group in May. The discussion focussed on how the Church of England can serve the needs of deaneries in their Mission Action Planning. What information do deaneries need, and how should this be presented?

The group will be meeting with them again in July to look at real examples and discuss ways forward with this. If you have any thoughts and ideas, please contact us in the usual way. In the meantime, the existing data can be found at: Church of England Web Site Statistics

Faith in Research 2016

Research & Statistics Department, Church House
invite you to

Faith in Research 2016

An annual conference giving opportunities to hear and discuss
current research on the Church

Wednesday 18th May 2016
at Novotel Hotel, Birmingham City Centre
9.30am to 5pm

The 10th annual conference, chaired by Bishop David Walker, aims to present current results from research in contemporary theology so that evidence based policy can develop to influence key change agents within dioceses. It also aims to develop networks of informed practitioners in this area of research.

The conference will include invited keynote speakers for the plenary sessions, together with four streams of Curacy, Growing the Church, Millennials, and Ministry.

We particularly want to encourage students to attend in 2016, so there will be an expanded poster section for student research. To apply to have a poster displayed at the conference, please send a brief abstract (up to 250 words) to, by Friday 1st April. Students are also invited to attend a fringe meeting immediately after the conference to network with other students and share their work.

A full programme can be downloaded from our website at

You can register directly for the conference by going to
After registering, you will be emailed an invoice for the conference fee.

The conference fee is:

Standard: £70
Student with accepted poster: £45

This includes a buffet lunch, coffee and tea.

We hope very much to see you in May.

Bishop Christine visits her Deaneries

The newly appointed Bishop of Newcastle has set out to get to know her new diocese by prioritising a visit to each of the deaneries in the diocese. It is her intention in the first six months of her episcopal ministry to spend approximately two days in each deanery during which she intends to spend a short time with each member of the clergy and to then explore the nature of the deanery through the eyes of the laity. In order that she may ‘affirm and value the ministry of the lay and ordained ministry that is going on day by day in the parishes.’


This exacting schedule will make for a very busy first six months, however, Bishop Christine is determined to get a flavor of her new diocese and what better way than to begin with placing deaneries as her priority.

More to follow as she travels the diocese and discovers the beauty of Northumberland and warmth of the Geordie folk!

General Synod

In July we were present at the residential meeting of General Synod in York, with a stand over the weekend to raise our profile and a fringe meeting attended by nearly fifty. Bishop Alastair Redfern spoke about how deaneries are integral to mission and ministry in the Derby Diocese.

NDN York Stand picture

Key Rings

imageKey rings have been produced with our new web address. There may be some available at the next meeting of General Synod…

Deanery Lunches Bring People Together

In Milton Keynes we were worried that the culture of the Deanery had become one based on structures and rules rather than relationships and creativity. In many ways, this may have been an unintended consequence of positive ideals…

For years we had been working to bring the denominations together in the growth of the new city. This meant a necessary focus on ecumenical structures and the organisational life of LEPs (Local Ecumenical Partnerships). This may sound simple, but each church, issue or plan would need to take into account four or five denominations and the rules and expectations that each denomination may have…

In the meantime, the non-LEP parishes found the whole thing very difficult and often wanted nothing to do with any of it…

Suspicion, bureaucracy and legalism easily became part of our organisational culture – and I don’t think it was doing us any good…

During the past year or so, we’ve been trying to do things that help change the culture of the Deanery. It won’t happen overnight, but I hope that a few little things will slowly help us to build trust and work together better.

One of the most successful things that we’ve done has been what we’ve called Deanery Lunches…

The way this works is that we invite five or six people each week to meet together for lunch. That’s all.

The guest list is large, however, and includes ministers, lay leaders and ecumenical partners. We also try to mix things up, so it’s never the same group and people don’t always come with people from their parish.

At each lunch people often meet each other for the first time, talk about things that matter to them – and often make plans…

I have to say that I’ve often found Deanery Lunches to be moving and deeply significant as people have shared with each other.

This isn’t a big thing, but we hope it will be part of the way we shift the culture of our Deanery from suspicion to trust – from an emphasis on structures to an emphasis on relationships – from a fear of decline to a delight in our common life…

Tim Norwood
(Area Dean Milton Keynes)

National Deaneries Conference Booking Opens

2014 Conference Masthead

Organisers of the National Deaneries Conference have announced booking is open from today for the 2014 conference which takes place on Friday 3 October to Sunday 5 October at the Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire. Full details of the programme will be sent out shortly.

Under the title “Deaneries: Mission or Mystery- Shaping up for Mission … the challenge for Deaneries” the conference will focus on exploring and sharing ways in which Deaneries can support and lead mission, engagement with the community, and growth initiatives.

Tug Wilson, one of the organisers of the conference and himself a deanery lay chair with over 20years experience, said: “Increasingly Deaneries are seen as having a key role in leading mission and the vision to re-shape the Church to achieve sustainable Christian presence in every community. This is reflected in the growing numbers attending these important and strategic Deanery events”.

Conference will hear from and engage with speakers selected for their expertise, experience and insight in developing and implementing successful deanery mission initiatives.

Key sessions will include:

  • The Ecumenical Dimension
  • Successful Mission Strategies
  • Developing Mission Shaped Deaneries – The Practicalities
  • Unlocking the Mystery of Reaching Young Adults

Speakers already confirmed:

  • Revd Leslie Griffiths: Superintendent Minister of the Wesley Chapel, London
  • Rt Revd Peter Price: former Bishop of Bath & Wells
  • David Jennings: Senior Strategy Officer Church Commissioners and Archbishop’s Council
  • Ven Christine Wilson: Archdeacon of Chesterfield
  • Penny Stradling: Co-Chair Fresh Expressions Young Adult Round Table and CMS Vocational Recruitment Officer

Fringe Sessions

As with past Deanery Conferences the Conference Book shop will be operating and there will be a comprehensive programme of fringe sessions including:

  • Using statistics to shape mission efforts,
  • Why bother with a communications strategy
  • Engaging the media – friend or foe
  • Internal Communications – getting the message across
  • Creating Deanery opportunities and using the Pilgrim course
  • The Role of Credit Unions in a Deanery strategy to serve the community.

The cost per delegate including access to all sessions and fringe events is £263.00. To reserve a place complete the attached booking form and send with deposit to:

The Conference Booking Secretary
National Deaneries Conference 2014
49 Oakhurst
Staffordshire, WS14 9AL.

Further details of the 2014 National Deaneries Conference are available either by email: or call 01543 268678.