Category Archives: Latest News

Synod Sermon

on Luke 5.1-11
June 25th 2019

A good moment to think about what is a Deanery? And what is it for?

1)    The Deanery is a necessary legal and administrative function, a means of communication and connection between the parish and the Diocese, between the clergy and the Bishop.

2)    The Deanery is a reminder of the breadth of the Church of England in all of its range and adventure, that we are connected and united across different ethical positions and different ways of reading Scripture and listening to the voice and guidance of God. We do not get to choose who we worship next to Sunday by Sunday and we do not get to choose who else is an Anglican. The challenge in that is to make sure that we actually actively engage with each other and don’t leave those differences unspoken but dominant in the corner.

3)    The Deanery is a community of prayer and worship who support and encourage each other, and journey together-

e.g. Synod

  • when someone local introduces an idea
  • the prayer cycle
  • the new support groups we are setting up of Wardens and Treasurers… all allow us to know that we don’t travel alone but are part of something bigger and broader and wider and more effective than just us. In some ways the Deanery is a local antidote to too much parochialism. It opens us up to new ideas and new possibilities and in that openness and potential God can work wonderfully.

4)    And in all of this, as the Church, we are called to let down our nets in deep water. At Diocesan Synod this month Bishop Steven gave an address on the reading we have just heard from Luke Chapter 5. He establishes two principles-

  • that the call to let down our nets is from Christ himself and Christ alone,
  • that letting down our nets will look different in every Deanery and parish. It will not be the same because every place is unique and particular and so is every Church community. Such difference is, to quote, “something to delight in for its own sake.”

Continue reading Synod Sermon


The Diocese of Oxford is divided into four smaller ‘episcopal Areas’, three of them overseen by their own Area Bishop. One such area is Reading. Each area is then further split into deaneries. The deaneries of the Reading Episcopal Area are: Bracknell, Bradfield, Maidenhead and Windsor, Newbury, Reading and Sonning. Sonning Deanery stretches from Wargrave in the north to Sandhurst in the south. It contains 12 benefices with 23 places of worship in a mixed rural, semirural and urban setting. Our current Area Dean is the Revd Richard Lamey, Rector of the three Churches of the Parish of St Paul, Wokingham. 

What does the deanery give to the parish/benefice?
The deanery represents a manageable level of organisation between a parish/benefice and the Diocese/Archdeaconry. Its aim is to assist churches to do things together that they could not do on their own; to support and encourage clergy in a role which can often be isolated and pressured; to perform an administrative function (eg allocating the Parish Share/organising building inspections); to act for the Archdeacon on inspections; to offer ideas, challenge and inspiration through meetings; to offer prayer and encouragement for each other; to work together towards input to the diocese; and to support mission and ministry in the parish/benefice.

What is a deanery synod?
The deanery synod has a membership of all clergy who are licensed to a parish/benefice within the deanery, plus elected lay members from every parish. The larger your Electoral Roll, the more members you are entitled to elect. Members meet approximately four times a year at varying venues throughout the deanery. All meetings include a financial report, including reports on Parish Share, followed by a talk. Over the past year, lay discipleship, fundraising, and human sexuality have been discussed. All members share in a Eucharist service at one of the meetings. Currently, the Deanery Plan is being finalised. The emphasis of this plan will be on those areas of mission that can be done better as a deanery than as individual parishes: for example, outreach into new communities, empowerment of lay leaders, shared training courses, to name but a few.

What is Deanery Chapter?
Clergy within the deanery meet monthly over lunch at Deanery Chapter. These meetings form an important basis for support, challenge and collegiality for clergy to learn from each other and from those who address the meeting.

Regular Prayer Letters are sent out from the Deanery- do please use those intentions as a way of weaving us all together in prayer.

Pauline Humphreys (Deanery Synod Standing Committee Member)



Deanery Planning Day

A Brief Report on the Deanery Planning Day: 1.12.18
by Revd Richard Lamey, Area Dean of Sonning

The Deanery Plan has been in construction over the past 18 months or so. After two major conversations at Synod the overall plan was discussed by every PCC and received very positive comments: and then on Saturday the 1st of December 2018 50 people from Deanery Synod and from the PCCs of the Deanery came together in Finchampstead Parish Rooms to turn a plan into a plan of action.
The day was led by John Smith (Deanery Lay Chair), Richard Lamey (Area Dean) and Rhodri Bowen (Parish Development Advisor for the Archdeaconry). Continue reading Deanery Planning Day

Living well

Christian Resources for Living Well in the Light of Mortality 
New! Inspirational resources to help ministers and pastoral leaders support conversations on death and dying. Visit this brand new website for a course, workshop, prayer walk, sermon starters, reflection cards, Bible studies and meditations. 

Faculty Rules

Faculty Rules Consultation
If you’re responsible for your church building then there’s an exceptionally important and unique opportunity to share your views on Faculty Jurisdiction Rules. We are preparing a diocesan response but it’s important for parishes to comment individually too. Find out more in the recent DAC newsletter sent to all incumbents and church wardens across the diocese.