Duties of Deanery Synod members

What is “Deanery Synod”?

The word “synod” comes from a Greek word meaning “assembly” or “meeting”. St Matthew’s and All Saints’ churches are in the Oxford Diocese. A Diocese is the area under the supervision of a bishop. Oxford Diocese is in turn divided into 29 Deaneries, or groups of parishes. St Matthew’s and All Saints’ are both in the Wallingford deanery. Every Deanery is required to have a Synod. This is chaired by the Area Dean and an elected Lay Chair, who work closely with the Area Bishop and Archdeacon.

The Deanery Synod consists of all clergy licensed to a benefice/parish within the Deanery, plus elected lay members.

What does a Deanery Synod do?

The Deanery Synod makes decisions at a deanery level. It acts as an intermediary between the parochial church councils of each parish and the synod of the diocese as a whole. Its priorities include Mission Action Planning and the allocation of the ‘share’ from the deanery to the parishes.

Deaneries also have the power to bring proposals and motions to Diocesan Synod for debate.

Deanery Synod lay members also elect the deanery’s lay representatives to the Diocesan Synod and the Diocese’s members of the House of Laity in the General Synod of the Church of England. 

How are Deanery Synod lay members elected?

Each parish is allocated a number of places on the Deanery Synod based on the size of their electoral roll. St Matthew’s has three places and All Saints’ two. Deanery Synod members are elected at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting to serve a three-year term.

What do Deanery Synod lay members do?

Deanery Synod members are invited to attend four Deanery Synod meetings per year. These are held at various locations in the Deanery, and are generally 7.45pm-9.30pm. The agenda and papers about matters to be discussed are circulated to members in advance. Some decisions are put to the vote.

Deanery Synod members are also automatically members of their parish’s Parochial Church Council (PCC), and so attend those meetings as well. (See separate document on Duties of PCC Members for more details).