What is Deanery Synod?

Before asking what a Deanery Synod is, you might want to know what a Deanery is?  In the Church of Engand, individual churches or parishes are clumped together into larger local units called Mission Communities.  These Mission Communities are clumped together into larger geographical areas called Deaneries.  These Deaneries are clumped together into much larger county-sized units called Dioceses.  This website is for the Honiton Deanery, one of the deaneries in the Diocese of Exeter.   Our deanery is comprised of 8 Mission Communities to the east of Honiton in Devon.

The word 'synod' means 'way' and 'together'. In other words it is a meeting that seeks to find a way together.

Church government works on the Synodical system: the word Synod comes from two Greek words meaning ‘the way’ and ‘together’ – it is a partnership of all church members; people, clergy and bishops – together.   Deanery Synod has two Houses:

a) of lay people elected by the parishes;
b) of clergy, largely the Licensed clergy of the deanery.

Starting in parishes, PCCs provide the first step in the Synodical System.  At each step there is a Standing Committee who plan business and act between meetings.  In addition, there are specialist Councils and Committees, some statutory, who handle particular aspects of the church’s work.  In the Deanery the clergy meet as the Deanery Chapter, and there is also a Pastoral Committee.

At the end of the last century, the General Synod of the Church of England set up a review of Synodical Government under Lord Bridge of Harwich.  There was agreement that no major change is needed in Synodical Government.  There was strong hostility to the suggestion that Deanery Synods might be removed from the synodical system and replaced by ad-hoc diocesan arrangements.  On the contrary, there was a strong desire that Deanery Synods should be affirmed, strengthened and used.  This website is, therefore, offered to help those in the Honiton Deanery give effect to this affirmation and their hopes.