Deanery Synod works on a three year cycle (a triennium). New members are elected from parishes every three years and remain in post until the next election. This is a rough guide to the roles, committees and groups in the Deanery.

Deanery Synod

Deanery Synod is the “parliament” of the Deanery. It sets policy and strategy rather than dealing with day-to-day business. We try to meet “cafe-style” to maximise interaction and include worship as part of our sessions. There are normally three main meetings every year. Synod consist of:

  • All Licensed Clergy
  • Lay representatives of parishes: note that the numbers are set by the Diocese, and members are elected to represent their parish not their church.
  • Members of Diocesan Synod – who are elected at a different point in the three year cycle.
  • Deanery Funerals Minister – co-opted by Synod.
  • One representative of clergy with Permission to Officiate (PTO) – elected by PTO Clergy.

Synod usually meets as one body, but can divide into a House of Clergy and a House of Laity – if required.

Appointed Deanery Roles

  • Area Dean: The Area Dean is appointed by the Bishop. Milton Keynes has a full-time Area Dean who has responsibilities for strategic development and mission alongside the chairing of Synod. 
  • Assistant Area Dean: Assistant Area Deans are appointed by the Area Dean. We currently have one. Assistant Area Deans can deputise for the Area Dean and take on specific projects or areas of work.
  • Chapter Clerk: The Chapter Clerk has responsibility for Deanery Chapter and the pastoral care of clergy.
  • Administrator: The Deanery Administrator supports the work of the Deanery – with a focus on data, communication, events, and projects.

Elected Officers

The following Deanery officers are elected at the first Synod meeting of the triennium. If there is a vacancy, the other officers will take on the responsibility until a new person can be elected.

  • Lay Chair
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer

Full role descriptions can be found on the Deanery website, and summaries are included below.

Standing Committee

The Standing Committee meets monthly. It sets agendas and monitors progress. Includes:

  • Deanery Officers (ex-officio): Area Dean, Lay Chair, Assistant Area Deans, Secretary, Treasurer, Chapter Clerk
  • One from House of Laity – elected by House of Laity
  • One from House of Clergy – elected by the House of Clergy

Note: We have not had a full Standing Committee for a while, and have operated with a Deanery Leadership Team (DLT).  The Diocese has advised us to set up a Deanery Charity (CIO) this year which would be capable of employing staff, holding property or supporting projects. The Standing Committee may become the trustees of this charity, so now would be a good time to ensure that it is in place. 

We need to have equal numbers of elected lay and ordained members. We will review the number during the year as part of the charity registration process.

Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committee

The DMPC meets three or four times a year. This group takes on a more detailed role with respect to deployment and other key issues. The DMPC also takes the lead in the development of a Deanery Mission Action Plan.

  • The Deanery Officers: Area Dean, (Assistant Area Dean), Lay Chair, Treasurer, Chapter Clerk and Secretary.
  • 5 lay members elected by Deanery Synod.
  • 3 clergy members elected by Deanery Synod.

Note: the constitution of the DMPC is set by Synod. If we want to change it, we will need to put a proposal to Synod. This year, a proposal will be tabled, which would amend the constitution to include the Assistant Area Dean as an ex-officio member.

Diocesan Synod members are encouraged to stand for DMPC so that we have a good flow of information between DMPC and the Diocese.

The Rules

The rules for the running of Deanery Synod and DMPC can be found on the Deanery Web Site.

Deanery Action Groups

There are a number of groups which report to Synod. They are not sub-committees because they are not made up predominantly of Synod members. We would expect at least one member of the standing committee to be part of each group so that there is good communication and accountability. The current “action groups” are:

  • Understanding Mental Health
  • Deanery Organising Group
  • Deanery Preaching Team
  • Deanery Finance Group

We will recognise these groups at the first meeting of the new Synod and pray for their work.

Review of Communications and Data Management

In the post-COVID world, we want to have a review of communications and data management. We will therefore form a working group to look at our needs, and make suggestions about how we might address them.

Election Dates

  • 30th November: Contact PTO clergy to request nominations for PTO rep. [No nominations have been received so far. It will be impossible for PTO reps to stand for elected roles at this stage.]
  • 22nd December: Nomination forms for Lay Chair, Secretary and treasurer, DMPC and Standing Committee are sent to new Synod members – with a “Welcome to Synod” pack. Election of PTO rep if necessary.
  • 5th January: Papers for Synod sent out – including voting papers for DMPC and Standing Committee.
  • 19th January: Deadline for return of voting papers for DMPC and Standing Committee
  • 20th January: Deanery Synod – election of Lay Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. Announcement of results of other elections.

Summary Role Descriptions of Elected Roles

Lay Chair

  • Attend Synod, DMPC, Finance Group, Standing Committee, the Archdeaconry Mission and Pastoral Committee and other meetings as required by the Diocese
  • To share with the Area Dean in the spiritual and strategic leadership of the Deanery by developing its strategy for mission in and to the community it serves
  • To act as joint Chair of the deanery synod and chair of the deanery House of Laity
  • To be consulted as an interested party on all matters of pastoral re-organisation.
  • To attend institutions and licensings and to welcome new clergy
  • To conduct together with the Area Dean, the Visitation of the parishes
  • To make arrangements for the assessment of parishes for the payment of Parish Share
  • To encourage parishes in the speedy return of accounts and other requests for membership and attendance returns
  • To be responsible for ensuring that the regular programme for Quinquennial Inspections of each church in the deanery is carried out

Deanery Secretary

  • Attend Synod, DMPC and Standing Committee
  • Ensure that proper process and procedures for meetings are followed
  • Take minutes and ensure that they are checked
  • Track the progress of business and action
  • Act as contact point for communication with Synod and the Diocese

Deanery Treasurer

  • Attend Synod, DMPC and Standing Committee
  • Manage the assignment and payment of Parish Share
  • Support parish treasurers
  • Chair the Deanery Finance Group
  • Liaise with the Diocese and the Mission Partnership
  • Manage the finances of the Deanery – which may include a new Deanery Charity


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