"Deaneries are a vital element in the functioning of the diocese: they have a part to play in the decision-making structures, and they are also crucial in helping us understand both the richness and the challenges that exist across the diocese.” Bishop Ruth
The Diocese of Bath and Wells has 18 deaneries, within the three archdeaconries of Bath, Taunton and Wells. Deaneries differ in size, but most are made of around 20 to 30 parishes grouped together in benefices. Deaneries and their synods have an important role in representing parishes and in shaping the mission of the Church of England.
Over the last few years, the role of our deaneries has grown and evolved with deanery leadership shared between Area Deans and Lay Dean and each deanery has taken responsibility for local planning which aims encourage growth and discipleship in the local area and makes proposals on strategic matters such as ministry resources and pastoral reorganisation.
Below are some resources for you to access directly.
In 2023, deaneries across our diocese are involved in significant pastoral reorganisation. You will find guidance on the process of proposed pastoral reorganisation in the Deanery Handbook.
We have also put together
- Some simple learning on the informal consultation stage of proposed pastoral reorganisation, which you may find helpful.
- Support for benefices and incumbents in parishes affected by proposed pastoral reorganisation looking to begin to work together. This support is provided by the Ministry Training Team and the Deanery and Parish Support Team, liaising with the archdeacon and deanery leaders.
Deanery and Parish Development Advisers
Each archdeaconry has a designated Deanery and Parish Development Adviser to support deaneries in their work, so don't hesitate to make use of them. They have a broad remit and can offer both a sounding board and support in helping you review and refresh ministry in your context. Amongst other things, the team are all skilled in facilitation, as well as having particular remits around rural ministry, Magnificat contexts, peacebuilding and developing teams. Please do get in touch with one of the advisers for your archdeaconry, even if all you want to do is to talk something through and receive some encouragement.
- Bath Archdeaconry: Claire Horton
- Taunton Archdeaconry: Rob Walrond
- Wells Archdeaconry: Caroline Bruce
Sandra O’Shea and Helen Fenn work alongside Claire, Rob and Caroline. Please note that all of the team work part-time and share work between them.
Each deanery also has a Deanery Accompanier from diocesan Support Services.
Church. What we are and what we could be...
As we seek to enable the flourishing of a range of ministries across the diocese, take a look at the Enabling Ministries website section to find all the resources you need to help your deanery communities engage with thinking about how we can share in ministry together in our different contexts.
Who to contact
Julia Hill, Head of Deanery and Parish Support