The National Deaneries Network
formerly the Church House Deaneries Group
In the early years of Synodical Government, a number of courses were held at St George’s House, Windsor, which addressed issues relating to the life of the deanery. Brunel University, through its Institute for Organisational and Social studies, was closely connected with these courses. The then Bishop of St Albans, the Lord Runcie, invited Brunel to undertake an in-depth study of the Hitchin Deanery. The Hitchin Deanery Project took nine years and generated much material for the consultations at St George’s House. A large amount of work being done in various other places also found its way into St George’s.
In 1985 a number of people did not wish to see the impetus created at St George’s House evaporate and formed the Church House Deaneries Group to take the work forward. They came from different parts of England and included clergy and laity with deanery, diocesan and national responsibilities. Five Boards of the General Synod contributed £100 each to aid the continuing work. Since then no central church grant has been made. The Group’s membership has changed over the intervening years, but they continue to meet regularly, about three times a year, at Church House Westminster and at their own expense.
In 2012 The group changed it's name to The National Deaneries Network to reflect the developing role of the group and it's increasing work of a network of deaneriers. TOP
The Group stimulates local and national considerations of the real life, work and nature of the deanery and its developing role. This is primarily achieved through National Consultations on the Deanery. The first three of which were held under the auspices of the Edward King Institute for Ministry Development at Lincoln in 1988, 1990 and 1992. It became apparent that the interest was growing and that the Consultation had outgrown the space available at the Edward King Institute. The next Consultation was held at Swanwick in 1994 and since then the last three, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004 have been held at the NUT Conference Centre at Stoke Rochford Hall, near Grantham.
In 2006 the Conference moved back to The Hayes at Swanwick for 2006 and 2008 and 2020 with plans in hand for the 2012 Conference to also be held at Swanwick. TOP
The Group also serves deaneries and dioceses who are seeking assistance in various ways. It facilitates an informal network about deanery thinking and initiatives that impinge upon the church’s deanery, diocesan and national structures. Research projects are undertaken. An annual mailing to deanery lay chairmen takes place. There is interest and participation in the work of “Parish and People”, through which much of the Group’s work is published.
The Group has a strong and on-going conviction about the importance and relevance of a national forum to present the deanery with its tremendous mission potential to the church at large, demonstrating that the life of the deanery may not, nor need to, fit easily into conventional Synod patterns. TOP
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