A significant change that ‘Developing Our Deaneries’ has introduced is the role of the Lay Dean replacing that of Deanery Lay Chair. Ian Henley, Lay Dean for Northern Ryedale, shares some of his insights...

In Northern Ryedale there are 51 churches and, as Lay Dean, I have endeavoured to worship at every one of them – there are still a few to go.

By doing this, the Lay Dean is able to develop his or her relationship with clergy and laity throughout the deanery and gain a full insight into the challenges faced and successes achieved by the individual church communities.

The purpose of the Role is to share in the leadership of the deanery, working collaboratively with the Area Dean and Deanery Leadership Team (DLT), to fulfil the vision of the deanery as “a local network of churches, inspiring, influencing and leading mission and ministry.”

The Role Description of the Lay Dean is set out in Appendix 4 of the 32 page diocesan document “Developing our Deaneries” dated 11 March 2017—you can download this in sections from www.dioceseofyork.org.uk/deanerydev.

Appendix 4 also includes the Lay Dean’s primary responsibilities and key tasks and relationships.

The key word in all of this is collaboration. Thus, it is essential that the Lay Dean’s relationship with the Area Dean is one of mutual respect and friendship. It is also vital that the same applies with members of the DLT, Deanery Synod and the wider deanery community.

To be effective as a Lay Dean requires commitment 24/7. Whether it is leading (with the Area Dean) meetings of the DLT and Synod, drafting the Deanery (Mission) Plan, briefing the Bishop and Archdeacon and attending Deanery Services and Events, the role is time consuming but rewarding.

The establishment and on-going work of DLT sub-groups concentrating on Mission, Communication, Worship, Training, Social Events and Finance all require monitoring and involvement. The role is no sinecure.

As we seek to inspire, influence and lead mission and ministry across the deanery, we ask God to bless us in our various roles.