Had a great Deanery Synod this evening. Arranged the room with tables of five so that people could talk in small groups. We handled initial business in twenty minutes and then were able to give over an hour to the main item of the evening - Deanery Strategy.
People spent ten minutes reviewing the past before switching groups to talk about the Diocesan strategy. We then switched groups again to talk about the future...
It actually worked very well and there were some really good conversations. No-one dominated and a lot of listening took place.
One person said that meetings should have more prayer in them - which was good since we finished the meeting by 9:30pm in time for compline - with five minutes of open prayer.
As I said, it was a good meeting - requiring a fair bit of discipline and preparation. I don't think we could do it this way every time but it did work well. Perhaps we need to vary the format - meeting in a circle, around coffee tables, around one table for a meal, perhaps even like a trade fair? - but never again in rows with a table at the front - that's just asking for trouble!