Paxtonvic’s Blog

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Everything you have ever wanted to know about Deaneries ( edited to show that Rural Deans can spell!)

Now there’s an exciting title for a blog diary entry.  First of all, did you know that BLOG is short for web log? I only found  that out yesterday…

Here is where St Neots’ Deanery is positioned in the grand scheme of Ely Diocese:

st neots deanery

We are right on the edge of the Diocese on the south west- and indeed if you walk across the very large bridge out of St Neots towards Eaton Ford, you arrive very quickly in St Albans Diocese – out of our Diocese of Ely and Deanery of St Neots’.  With me so far?

Now, the Diocese is divided into two Archdeaconries – that of Cambridge and that of Huntingdon and Wisbech – each with their own Archdeacon. The Archdeaconry of Cambridge has eight deaneries and the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon and Wisbech eight deaneries. AND in our deanery of St Neots we have 16 parishes – honest, Ive just counted them.

gamlingay church

These are piccies of St Mary the Virgin in Gamlingay in St Neots’ Deanery. The Vicar is Rev’d Steven Rothwell  ( who also looks after Everton and Hatley Churches) and their web-site is  where you will find details of their busy parish life.

Every Deanery has a Rural Dean who acts as a sort of go between between the Bishops/Archdeaons and the clergy/parishes – a liason person really with no  authority over other parishes, but certainly a pastoral role of care should that be appropriate. Rural Deans  can be very busy in an  interegnum supporting church wardens in the smooth running of their parish.  Rural Deans make sure that Chapter meetings of clergy/retired clergy and sometimes readers happen regularly,  co-chair the Deanery Synod and make sure they run well and need to have a watchful eye on  something called ” The Deanery Pastoral Plan” – but we won’t go into that now. They  are also meant to do regular check-ups on parishes with regards to their  care of church fabric  and other matters – called inspections.

One morning I woke up in September 2007 and found I was a Rural Dean – it hasn’t been as painful as I had thought – but it’s another layer of meetings – such as the Huntingdon and Wisbech Archdeaconry Mission and Pastoral Committee meeting at Ely this Thursday. I could also go to the Diocesan Finance Liason Group meeting in the evening at Ely – but can’t as I need to do a baptism visit. There are two lady rural deans in Ely Diocese ( the other one does a  fab job in the Bourn Deanery and is called Cheryl ) – generally we are  quite a rare breed.

Why am I writing all this? Just to remind myself I suppose that we are all part of a large team of people – hierachical to some extent, who make the Church of England happen. Or, to get theological – we are all part of the Body of  Christ – and not least with finance and paying the Deanery Share, if one of us falters, it effects the whole body.

I am thus sometimes very busy – but  although I quite like meetings and committees  I most enjoy  chatting to people today as I did in GP churchyard and getting out and about around the parishes stirring up fresh initiatives.

Now you know  some of my   ministerial secrets … off to plant some sweet peas in the now very soft soiled back garden ( very grateful for the rain)

sweet pea 2

June 8, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Fame at last! Thanks RD St N love RD B

    Comment by Allrevedup | June 8, 2009 | Reply

  2. I receive a little publication every now and then about women’s ministry which faithfully reports on women who are being offered ” senior” posts – they seem to count RDs in this – and there do seem to be a few female RD’s now being created – soon it will be world domination – well, probably not! We remain, Im sure, humble at all times…

    Hope all is well in Bourn….

    Comment by paxtonvic | June 8, 2009 | Reply

  3. Don’t really know how to tell you this, but in Norwich Diocese they actually have a lady Archdeacon !!!!!!! Oh my God they’ll be making them Bishops next.
    Its good to know all you silly southerners bathing in the glow of that beatified city of Cambridge have not only Vicars but also Rural Deans in your parishes, and, it would seem a Parish Plan as well!!!!!!!!
    Up here in the frozen north wev’e had parishes existing for the past 6 years with no Vicars, relying on retired clergy for Sunday services when these are not taken and organised by Lay teams. Thank God for the good old Diocese of Ely.
    I see, to add to the debate, that in Church Times on Friday, a number of ordinands will be leaving colleges this summer with NO title parishes to go to.
    Makes you wonder whether the CofE is in a simmilar state to the economy “*/%+’d”.
    I’d give you a blow by blow account of the Dio. Finance Liason meeting on Friday morning if you like, but I fear it would have your bloggers leaving your wonderful blog site in droves. Anyway the highlight of my day today is a Deanery Standing Ctee. meeting this evening; remember us all in your prayers, please?

    Comment by Wingy | June 9, 2009 | Reply

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