The Ninth National Conference on the Deanery
Every other year, for the past eighteen years, The Church House Deaneries Group has organised a national conference for those with a concern for the development of the life and action of the deanery. In the afterglow of a very successful conference this year, 2004, it’s difficult to know how to share something of the energy and insights of the Conference. Richard Pratt has achieved this in the report. The report is not only serve as an aide memoir to those 90 or so folk who came to the conference from 38 of the dioceses of the Church of England, it will also be a resource book for Rural Deans, Deanery Lay Chairs, Deanery Synods and Standing Committees and for Senior Diocesan Staff as they continue to explore the new paths along which God is calling his church.
The overview given by writer and broadcaster Christina Rees, the two powerful analyses by social researcher and leadership consultant Jill Garrett and Bishop Mike Hill from Bristol, the inspirational address by broadcaster Pam Rhodes and the masterly resume by Bishop John Flack from the Anglican Centre in Rome, together provide some powerful tools for our ongoing work. The outlines of something of what has been possible in the Windsor and Maidenhead, Warley and Samford deaneries provide practical illustrations from three very different places.
Those who planned the Conference aimed at the sharing of practical experience, exploration of future possibilities and the building of confidence amongst those who work in and with deaneries. There can be no doubt that there is huge potential in our deaneries for the forwarding of God’s work, for local initiatives, for powerful mutual support between parishes and for new forms of more local interdependence and accountability. The best things will only happen if we are prepared to take the necessary risks: but then when did following a Saviour like ours not involve the courage to take risks!
A booklet titled “Releasing the Energy” containing the talks and a review of the discussions has been compiled by Canon Richard Pratt. (ISBN 1 873529 13 9). Details from Parish and People 01258 453939 Parish & People.