The Bishop of Manchester has approved the proposal to amalgamate 20 deaneries of the Diocese of Manchester into seven, and to seek to appoint a full time Area Dean to each, following an extensive consultation between November 2019 and February 2020.
Bishop David’s decision was communicated to the Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee and members of Bishop’s Council earlier this week. Bishop David has written a report setting out the basis for his decision together with his reflections on the most substantial issues raised during the consultation. Access report here.
Bishop David considered whether the coronavirus situation provided grounds for delaying a decision, and concluded that the missional drivers behind the proposals are if anything strengthened by the issues that will need to be addressed as we emerge from the pandemic. He noted that 94% of responders to the survey recognised a need for change to the way we are organised, and felt that delaying a decision would prolong uncertainty in addressing these issues.
In his report, Bishop David recognises the need for further work to embed the new deanery arrangements in the wider plans for the diocese before moving to implementation, as we assess the immediate impact of coronavirus. He has therefore asked for further work on the future shape of the diocese to be undertaken over the summer, ahead of any recruitment to the new posts of full-time Area Dean and the move to the new deanery structures. Progress with this piece of work will reported back to Bishop’s Council in July.
Bishop David concluded “The coronavirus epidemic has itself demonstrated that we can move quickly and show flexibility when called to worship and witness, nurture and serve, in a very changed situation. The new deanery structures and full time Area Deans will have a major part to play in helping us to achieve the necessary changes so that we can ever more fully inhabit our calling to be God’s Church for a Different World.”