Deanery Synod 17th Mar 2015

Minutes of the Deanery Synod held at Newton Ferrers on 17th March 2015

The meeting opened with a welcome from Freddy, our Rural Dean.


Andrew introduced himself and his talk, which was based on some writings of Bishop Robert ‘The Good Worship Guide – Leading Liturgy Well’.

Andrew said a little about his varied background, and a formative period with David Watson at York, and his role in the Diocese as a consultant to music in liturgy.

Andrew said that music can divide us into groups due to differing styles of music and worship but the aim is actually to bring people together; there is room to accommodate a variety of tastes.

We had a period of discussion in small groups to answer the question; “what makes good worship”?

Some of the thoughts were:

- "variety"
- "a good sing" 
- "a mix of old and new"
- "something for all tastes"
- "something of a mystery"

Andrew reminded us of what ‘worship’ is: “offering out bodies as a living sacrifice” Romans 12, and from 1 John 4:21, how we behave must match our liturgy.  The basic purpose of worship must not be inward looking otherwise it becomes sterile.

Andrew suggested ways to improve our liturgy by ‘reviewing the product’ and to consider:

- being more visible to our community
- choosing services that are more relevant to how our culture now behaves i.e. Sunday is not the only time we can conduct services
- how our services look from the outside
- how we connect our liturgy to 'aftercare' and 'welcome'

Andrew suggested that encouraging good worship meant exchanging new ideas and including the laity in the responsibility for worship because this encourages collaboration and ‘ownership’.

The Diocese can offer some support to how we conduct worship and Andrews’s role is to facilitate this amongst our churches.  This might include a ‘Wings for Worship’ a course intended to encourage lay people to lead and participate, or a ‘worship workshop’ day to help to skill the congregation.

There was some time spent looking at what music can do and the diversity of how we use music, from the simple unaccompanied chant to Cathedral gatherings.  How music creates sub-cultures that can be divisive but how we need to remind ourselves how transcending music can be and how it is uplifting in our liturgy.  Andrew suggested that we should considered ‘special events’ as a way of reaching different audiences and also of accommodating the variety of tastes and styles.

He ended by suggesting that we need to ‘draw on our heritage’ and learn to develop a wider understanding and experience of music in our liturgy.


A brief mention was made that a new Deanery Secretary (or minute taker) was still required and Freddy Denman asked that the Synod consider who could take on this role. There were no offers to take on the role at the meeting. The minutes were accepted as an accurate record of the previous meeting.

A copy of the accounts was tabled and some key points discussed.
- There was limited expenditure (approx. £450)
- There is a fall in the reserves, but they remain healthy
- How to fund the Deanery? No fees were requested last year but it was agreed that some additional income would be required for the current year.  It was proposed and accepted to request a fee of £25 for each parish, although it was questioned whether this was sustainable.  Nonetheless, the proposal was accepted.
- It was proposed to extend the parish giving scheme (direct debit scheme) as this was beneficial dealing with gift aid and reduces the work of the treasurers

The accounts were accepted.

There was some discussion about the number of meetings that should be held annually and whether two meetings would be sufficient rather than three. No decision was made about this.

The next meeting dates will be : -   Wednesday 17th June at Wembury and Thursday 15th October at Sparkwell.

Wendy Harvey – Deanery Synod (Cornwood)