Deanery Synod Report

April 2024

This has been an important year for the Deanery Synod as the church addresses serious issues of continued falling church attendance, financial constraints, and reduction in clergy numbers.

On the 10th of June 2023 the deanery synod held a ‘Shaping the Future’ day at St Lukes Church Wallsend, it was introduced by Bishop Helen-Anne. At the meeting the draft proposal for the Deanery’s 3-year plan which was to be finalized and submitted to the diocese by the 30th of June 23 was presented by the Deanery Development group. Those attending the day held small group discussions and then gave feedback on the proposed draft. The Deanery development group took note of the fee -back given before presenting the final proposal at the Deanery Synod meeting held on the 20th June 2023.

The key proposals of the plan were:

  • To reduce the number of clergy deployments by 2 stipends (from 14 to 12, St Georges Cullercoats would remain as 0.5 stipend)
  • To increase and development of Readers and Lay Ministry.
  • To increase services of the word, these services are not communion services and so can be led by a Lay person. This would free-up clergy to lead worship in other areas of the Diocese.
  • To sustaining and develop the ministry of retired clergy.
  • To increase outreach work to schools and new communities and work to attracting young people to the church.
  • To identify churches for closing and repurposing.
  • To promote parish giving scheme.

The plan was approved at the Deanery Synod meeting of the 20th June 2023 and subsequently submitted to the Diocese.

A meeting was held by the Deanery Synod on 5th October 2023 to confirm the officers of the Synod and membership of the development group. Feedback was given on the progress of the 3-year plan.

The last meeting was on 7th March, where Tara Russell (Children and Youth Team Leader for the Diocese) gave a presentation and led discussions on bringing young people into the life of the church.

Tim Mayfield has stepped down from his position of Area Dean on completing his 5th year.

Some sobering figures.

In the 4-year period from 2018-2022 across the Deanery, on average:

  • Baptisms are down by 5%
  • Marriages have dropped by 24%
  • Funerals have dropped by 24%
  • Easter day attendance is down by 23%
  • Christmas attendance is down by 22%
  • Child Sunday usual attendance is down by 46%
  • Adult Sunday usual attendance is down by 26%
  • And so, the Usual Sunday attendance Figure is down by 28%
  • Electoral Rolls are down by 11%
  • However, the statistic for Worshipping Communities is almost the same as 2018.

Sean Dowinton.

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