Deanery News Jan 2017

At all of our Parish APCMs in April this year, we will elect new Deanery Synod representatives from among our congregations. My question is: “are YOU being called to be a Deanery Synod Member?”

The Deanery has a key role in issues such as finance, deployment, shaping of local mission projects, training and development and encouraging the parishes to work collaboratively in mission and ministry. This is an exciting time to be a member of Deanery Synod and if elected you will have a key role in developing a Town Wide Mission planned for May 2018. As your parish moves towards its Annual Parochial Church Meeting, please consider prayerfully if you may be called to serve God in this way; in 2017 Deanery Synods Members will be elected to serve a three year term.

What is “Deanery Synod”?
A Diocese is the area under the supervision of a Bishop. St Alban’s Diocese is in turn divided into Deaneries (groups of parishes). Every Deanery is required to have a Synod. This is chaired by the Area Dean and elected Lay Chairs, who work closely with the Archdeacon and the Bishop. 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?
Deanery Synod does have some formal things that it needs to do. The Deanery Synod makes decisions at a Deanery level and acts as an intermediary between the Parochial Church Councils of each parish and the Synod of the Diocese as a whole. 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. Synod is also a place to have a voice in the wider debates of the church, e.g., Deaneries debated the question of women bishops. However, as well as the more formal roles and responsibilities, it is up to the Deanery to develop a way of working together for the benefit of extending God’s kingdom. Our aims and values as a Deanery are:

  • To emphasise mission rather than maintenance in its outlook and planning
  • To train, equip and empower laity to be active in mission in whatever their context
  • To affirm existing expressions of church and also support and resource new expressions of church
  • To be realistic, practical and creative in identifying and using our resources of money, buildings, paid workers and volunteers
  • To be willing to take risks and learn from our mistakes as we do our best to follow Jesus.

What time commitment will I need to make?
Deanery Synod members are invited to attend a number of Deanery Synod meetings per year. These are usually held at various locations in the Deanery, and are generally in the evenings. 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.

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. Your PCC Secretary will be able to tell you how many are to be elected in your parish and Deanery Synod members are elected at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting to serve a three year term.

Our hope
Our hope is that leaders with vision, creativity who think strategically and have the ability to speak up in constructive ways, would consider being part of the Synod in order to work together across Luton for the glory of God. Please consider prayerfully your response to this.

What’s on in the Deanery?
I also want to update you on some of exciting things happening in the Deanery in the next few months.

  1. Bishop Richard is coming to Luton on the 23rd February for a day of mission and an evening of celebration. During the day Bishop Richard will be doing a range of activities focused on making the church visible; from shopping in Asda for the Foodbank, to having a sofa in the mall encouraging people to have a chat and a pray, to visiting schools and youth groups and giving young people the chance to ask questions. I hope you will join us at 7.30 p.m. for the celebration and relaunch of the Diocesan vision “Living God’s Love 2020”, which will take place at All Saints in Bury Park. The evening will include worship, interactive prayer stations, opportunities to engage with each other and learn as well as hear from the Bishop. We will also be asking representatives from each parish to bring a MAP commitment form and an offering of their unique contribution to mission in Luton. I hope you will make this meeting a priority and look forward to seeing you on the 23rd February.
  2. We are running a Deanery Lent Course facilitated and taught by Bishop Richard in multiple locations around the Deanery. This will be a great opportunity to set time aside during Lent and to join in with other churches from around Luton.
    7 March – St Francis, Luton – To live your love with GENEROSITY
    14 March – St John’s, Farley Hill – To live your love with JOY
    21 March- St Andrew’s, Woodside – To live your love with IMAGINIATION
    28 March – All Saints with St Peter’s, Bury Park – To live your love with COURAGE
    4 April – St Margaret’s, Streatley – To live your love for the sake of the World
  3. We are beginning to plan a Town Wide Mission for 2018 which will take place on the 19th May 2018 during the day, with a celebration at Pentecost Praise on the 20th May. The mission will have three aspects:
    1. Worship in St George’s Square all day with robed choirs, gospel choirs and church worship bands playing.
    2. Social action projects in different church partnerships across the town spanning the variety of denominations and traditions.
    3. Follow up with Alpha, Christianity explore courses or Emmaus running from different partnerships.
  4. The Deanery Synod meetings will increasingly be places of preparation and planning for the Town Wide Mission in 2018. I would love you to come to hear Laurence Singlehurst on 8th June at Holy Trinity, Biscot for 7.15pm at our Deanery Synod meeting – he will be speaking on ‘Sowing, Reaping and Keeping’.

Every blessing as we work together for the sake of God’s Kingdom in Luton.
Joe Pienaar
Vicar of St.Hugh’s & Area Dean of Luton