Developing Deaneries

Deaneries of the Lindisfarne and Northumberland Archdeaconries


In recent years the Diocese has embarked upon a risky path of discerning the way forward: new lighter structures, greater participation, joint action, learning together, trying to free people to ‘get on with it’, living with creative ‘chaos’, have all been mantras in what some would call a whole system approach that has sought to help us renew our vision.

What has emerged is a Diocesan Programme in which all can find a place and share a bigger purpose. The Strategic Development Group, working on behalf of Bishop’s Council, has responsibility for progressing the programme. At its heart is a vision for the church that we want to work together to co-create in this our place and our time.

One of the key strands of work identified through the discernment process has been the importance of the Deaneries. There is a recognition that in the future the parish cannot do everything on its own. The Deanery is a key unit of support, encouragement and collaboration. We have set about developing the Deanery role in a clearer way and one of the strands of work of the Strategic development Group is the continuing development of Deaneries

The Deaneries Development change process is about;

  • Strengthening the recognition that the Deanery is an important organisational entity in planning for the future life of the church with a mission led focus.
  • Developing the extent to which parishes see Deaneries as having a valid and important role in helping to shape the future life of the whole church in the Deanery.
  • The ways in which the Bishop and the Diocese will in the future engage with the Deanery Development process in an open and collaborative way.
  • Enhancing the extent to which Deaneries are able and willing to ‘pick up the ball and run with it and share responsibility for shaping the future and using Diocesan resources to help them.

The new processes

Since 2010, in each Deanery, a Deanery Development Group has been established. The membership of this group may be chosen by election from Deanery Synod and partly by co-options. The group is able to operate in various modes and perform the functions of:

  • Deanery Standing Committee
  • Deanery Pastoral Committee
  • Deanery Development planning

The group is supported by facilitators from a newly formed Deaneries Development Task Group.

Through this new process

  • Parishes may increasingly recognise that Deaneries have a significant role to play in shaping the future plans and will be willing to engage in discussion with the Deanery Development Groups who will take time to understand Parish needs in depth.
  • There is greater involvement of the Bishop and staff with the Deanery in exploring options as Deanery Development plans are emerging and being formed.
  • The range of subject matter that Deanery Development Groups might address in a Development Plan will be expanded to include mission, ministry, finance, buildings, structures and groupings, discipleship and learning.
  • More key lay and clerical players may want to become involved in the Deanery level processes because they see this work as strategic, creative and important.
  • Deanery Development planning is seen as a ‘living process’ in which plans are owned by the Deanery following discussions with Parishes, Bishop and the Diocese and not something that are prepared and sent to ‘the centre’ on the expectation that they have been understood and agreed.
  • There will be greater willingness to collaborate and share resources between Parishes for the good of the whole.
  • Difficult issues could be confronted more openly and addressed in a joint problem solving style to enable forward movement. 

Click here to view a copy of the Deanery Development Guide.

To view a PDF copy of the PowerPoint Presentation - 
Developing the Role of Deaneries in Shaping the Church of the Future, please click here.  Should you require a copy of this presentation in PowerPoint format, please contact Josie Pinnegar at Church House tel: 0191 270 4142 or e-mail:


Go to Deaneries home page