The shift of emphasis in the function of the deaneries to a focus on mission and nurture - the idea of being 'a network of churches inspiring, influencing and leading mission and ministry' inspired us to change from ‘Synod’ to ‘Gathering’, and the laity and clergy all together working out three priorities.

As a result there are working groups in each of those areas: developing children and youth work, growth through discipleship workshops and also 'LYCiG local' around the deanery. We set and have just reviewed objectives in each priority for a year, and are now looking at how to bring these three things together under one umbrella, to run alongside one another as expressions of church growth and nurture. This has been greatly nourished and inspired by those who have attended LYCiG training.

The Gatherings have become places to pray, worship and study together as well as discuss the synodical business issues. People are engaging enthusiastically with bible enquiry and exploring concepts like Christlikeness.

There has been a shift towards equipping and enabling people and there is talk of 'a breath of fresh air blowing through the deanery'. People are becoming excited... and expectant.

Jo Bowden - Southern Ryedale Deanery Gathering

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