The 13th National Conference on the Deanery took place at the Hayes Conference Centre from 5 – 7 October 2012.
120 people took part in the 2012 Conference on the theme: “The Shape of Things to come? – The Deanery’s task in God’s Mission”
The question was not so much, “Is your deanery in good shape?” (a question worth asking!), but rather:
- What shape would you expect to have in five years time?
- What shape would you prefer or aspire to?
Two bishops set the scene:
A Flexible Deanery …
In his introductory address to the Conference, Bishop Alistair Redfern, Bishop of Derby, located the deanery in “the weak middle ground” between the diocese and the parish. The deanery, he suggested, is essentially “flexible”. The problem is when it lacks clarity of purpose and is merely “floppy”.
Bishop Alistair identified three ways in which a deanery’s shape might be visualised:
- A tool of compliance
- An agent of management
- A Forum for inter-active leadership
Bishop Peter Maurice, Bishop of Taunton, provided the second main input to the conference, highlighting how deaneries are contributing to a more flexible approach to mission in the diocese of Bath and Wells.… For a Flexible Mission
Nearly ten years ago, the diocese launched its strategy for ministry and mission under the banner: ‘Changing Lives, Changing Churches for Changing Communities.’ The deaneries were a key part of that strategy.