Appropriate arrangements for archdeaconry / deanery synods
This User Guide provides guidance for the arrangements for Archdeaconry/Deanery Synods. Unless noted to the contrary, they are not intended to be a mandatory set of requirements and it is understood that the local arrangements will need to take account of local circumstances.
Nonetheless, they set out some of the key points that lay and clergy leaders in Archdeaconries/Deaneries should take into consideration.
You can find more formal detail in the Church Representation Rules and the Diocesan Constitution. (Please note that the Church representation Rules refer to ‘Deanery Synods’ – this has the same meaning in our Diocese as both Archdeaconry and Deanery Synods)
Matters for local consideration
Frequency of meetings: needs to be at least once per year – this is mandatory.
Form of Meetings: Ideally should be ‘in person’ but events in 2020/2022 have shown that web-based meetings can be of value where in-person meetings are not appropriate. The cost savings to Chaplaincies and the environmental impact are also matters to be considered in this respect
Membership: The membership of Archdeaconry/Deanery Synods is set out in Sections 42 and 43 of the Diocesan Constitution and the Church Representation Rules and is mandatory (NB it might be helpful to congregations if this were outlined in your local Archdeaconry/Deanery Synod arrangements.
Structure of meetings: This will depend on the business to be undertaken and the actual agendas should accordingly be a matter for local consideration. They will typically include ‘business’ matters associated with the running of the Archdeaconry/Deanery, elections of officers at the beginning of each triennium, matters referred from Diocesan Synod or from Chaplaincies, and Bible Study.
Standing Committees: These are an important mandatory requirement and would typically comprise the archdeacon, the lay chair, secretary and treasurer plus a further member of the clergy (perhaps an Area Dean) where the responsibility for arranging the Synod is delegated by the Archdeacon. They are responsible for organising the Synod including ensuring that appropriate financial arrangements are in place to cover all costs and considering urgent matters that arise between Archdeaconry/Deanery Synods.
Travel costs: to ensure travel costs are shared across all chaplaincies irrespective of their distance from the venue, a scheme for sharing costs is prudent.
Residential meetings: If it is the intention that the Synod is to be a residential event (which can greatly enable exchanges between members) then this should be appropriately specified for the avoidance of misunderstanding.
Charges for attendees and guests: it is useful to have a clear policy on how charges will be set against both members (chaplains and elected Chaplaincy lay members) and guest, again for the avoidance of misunderstanding.