Six years ago I was commissioned by Bishop Richard, then Bishop of Hull, as Area Dean for East Hull. During the past six years I have seen a number of changes, not least in Bishop and Archdeacon, and also Rural, latterly Area Deans.
My first task almost was to work with Archdeacon David Butterfield on ‘Church Inspections’, checking that everything was where it should be! Often it wasn’t,and that did bring frustration; but the joy was that it gave me the opportunity to meet with and begin to get to know the churchwardens in the parishes of East Hull.
One of the things I have valued most is appreciating the wider perspective: the monthly meetings of Area Deans in the East Riding with the Bishop and Archdeacon have, amongst other things, reminded me that we are part of something much bigger than our own particular parish or Deanery – and that is important, especially in an area like East Hull where we very often are up against it.
I think it’s because of this – being ‘up against it’ that I have always found East Hull clergy very supportive of each other (though inevitably, as in any walk of life, there are those who wish to go it alone!). It has been a privilege to be part of the Chapter, and for the last six years to be Area (Associate) Dean.
I am excited by the developments which are happening, especially that concerning the role of the Deanery, to be a fellowship of churches engaged in mission and making disciples. That is, after all, what our Lord sent out his first disciples to do – to proclaim the good news and make disciples. It is my prayer, and will continue to be, that the Deaneries (and that means all church members, not just clergy) will indeed do just this!