THE LAY CHAIR : DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
As part of the team sharing in the episcope with the Bishop, the role of the Area Dean and the Deanery Lay Chair, working together, is:
- to lead and unite the deanery
- to foster the well-being of the deanery's clergy and people
- to foster the development of the mission of the Church in the deanery, diocese and beyond.
Duties of the Lay Chair under the Synodical Government Measure 1969
1. To act as joint Chair of the deanery synod with the Area Dean, ‘they shall agree between them who shall chair each meeting of the synod or particular items of business on the agenda of the synod’ (see CRR23(1)a), and to chair meetings of the deanery house of laity. It is appropriate for both synod and standing committee that the chairing of meetings should alternate between the Area Dean and the Lay Chair, or be shared. The Lay Chair is ex officio chair of the deanery House of Laity.
2. Jointly with the Area Dean to call meetings of deanery synod and to determine the date and places of such meetings with the deanery standing committee.
3. In the terms of the Pastoral Measure 1983, (s)he is to be consulted as an interested party on all matters of pastoral re-organisation.
Overall objectives of the Lay Chair
1. To encourage the deanery laity to participate fully in the planning and running of the affairs of the deanery, and especially to encourage attendance at synod meetings.
2. To facilitate a two-way channel of information between the deanery laity and the wider Church.
3. In order to discharge these responsibilities, (s)he may convene occasional meetings of the house of laity. Some Lay Chairs find it helpful to share regularly in worship at all churches within their Deanery, to get to know churchwardens and PCC Treasurers in their deanery and, by invitation, to meet PCCs.
Guidelines for non-statutory responsibilities
The Deanery Lay Chair is expected
- To attend institutions and licensings and to welcome new clergy on behalf of the laity of the deanery.
- To respond to the notification of a vacancy in the post of Area Dean and to make recommendations regarding the nomination of a new Area Dean.
- To be an ex-officio member of all deanery committees.
- To conduct together with the Area Dean, the Visitation of the parishes (see p9) and to check presentment forms in advance of the Archdeacon’s Visitation.
- To respond to requests made by the Bishop or by other appointing bodies, for information and advice about deanery appointments.
- To make arrangements for the assessment of parishes for the payment of Parish Share. They should help the deanery standing Committee to apportion and collect the Deanery Share, and to encourage parishes to pay their contribution on time. They are expected to support the Chairman of the Diocesan Board of Finance in communicating with parishes in their Deanery, and with educating them on Christian giving and the financial facts of Church life. The deanery may appoint a Parish Share Committee.
- To encourage parishes in speedy return of accounts and other requests for membership and attendance returns.
- To be responsible for ensuring that the regular programme for Quinquennial Inspections of each church in the deanery is carried out, through either the deanery standing committee or an appointed deanery Quinquennial officer.
- To be available with the Area Dean to visit each parish in the deanery, by arrangement, to meet the incumbent and other staff, both lay and clerical, and the PCC to discuss matters of common pastoral concern.
- To work with the Bishop and the Deanery Pastoral Committee to ensure that the wider mission needs of the deanery are taken into account. These will supplement, but not replace, the parish’s own representations. However, if a Vacancy Meeting is convened, both the Area Dean and the Lay Chair will be invited to attend.
- To share with the Area Dean in the spiritual and strategic leadership of the Deanery by developing its strategy for mission in and to the community it serves. They should foster the corporate life of the deanery and encourage local initiatives appropriate to the work of the Kingdom of God in their area.
- To be fully briefed about the proceedings of Synod. Lay Chairs are encouraged to stand for election to Diocesan Synod.