From “Rural Deans” to “Area Deans”

You may have noticed some changes to our newsletter headings (and other deanery correspondence) including the new titles for our Dean and Assistant Dean according to the new diocesan policy: “This small change from “Rural Deans” to “Area Deans” is to reflect the fact that the 12 areas which make up our diocese are spread over urban, suburban and rural areas,” explains Bishop Andrew. “Our now Area Deans play a key role using their detailed knowledge of parishes in their area to link local issues to the overall strategic development of our diocese.”
Formalised in the mid-nineteenth century, the role of Rural or Areas Deans is to report to the bishop on significant matters such as illness and vacancies, and to investigate any problems in parishes. In addition to these duties, modern Area Deans frequently take on a strategic role in the diocese. The Area Dean is the joint chair, with the Lay Chair, of the deanery synod.
The Miscellaneous Provisions Measure of 2000 provides that the Bishop may declare that the office of any rural dean, in any deanery of the diocese, shall be called area dean. This has duly taken place, making Guildford the latest in a series of dioceses that have changed the name of this role to be more relevant to the modern landscape.