In the first of a series of articles on our new deaneries, learn more about the Greater Dudley Deanery and it's leadership team.
The Greater Dudley Deanery largely matches the area of Dudley Borough Council and incorporates the three former deaneries of Dudley, Kingswinford and Stourbridge.
The Deanery leadership team of the Greater Dudley Deanery includes people from across the Deanery. John Nicholson had previously been Lay Chair for Stourbridge and had initially decided to step back to let someone else take the role on. He said: “Having decided not to put myself forward, I had a few people calling me about it so I prayed about it and decided I would stand. I’m really pleased that I did; it’s a very exciting time and I feel that as a bigger deanery we can be a big voice to get things done! Our leadership team is very diverse and very strong. It was important to have a range of views represented as well as different parishes.”
David Hoskin said: “As Area Dean and sub-deans, we’ll each be taking on specific roles as our planning develops, but will also be able to substitute for each other with any one of the three of us representing the Area Dean role at interviews, licensings etc. It will be vital for us to work collaboratively as a team. As a leadership team, it will be down to us to put in place the foundations to enable our new deanery to function in a purposeful way.”
The leadership team is currently working to bring together different groups of people from across the deanery. David said: “We are very aware from our initial conversations that people don’t really know each other. We’re a very big deanery and we want to enable creative conversations between those in similar roles in different parishes. This will be initially led by the leadership team, but we’re hoping as they develop that someone from each of the groups will take it forward so they can continue to support and encourage each other.”
The clergy have a natural group through the Chapter meetings, but Readers, worship leaders, children’s workers and people in a range of other roles are also being encouraged to meet together – initially virtually, but then in person, to look at how they might work collaboratively beyond their individual parishes.
John said: “We want to take the first six months as a new deanery to work out where we are, who we are and where we want to be. Then we’ll spend some time exploring where our focus should be, rather than trying to do everything. In a year’s time, we hope that all our different groups will be working effectively together, knowing what they want to do and what support they might need in that.”
An early example of how the new deanery is hoping to work is Community Link – a project on the high street in Cradley Heath, which was set up by the local parish to serve their community. David said: “The vicar there has recently left the Diocese and the project needed some fresh leadership and direction. We were able to create connections with the Churchwarden at Quarry Bank (previously in a different deanery) who has recently retired, is exploring his vocation and has experience of taking over businesses that are struggling. He has agreed to take on the leadership at Community Link and we hope that this will develop into a collaborative, deanery-wide community project.”
David continued: “We know that over the coming months and years we’ll have difficult decisions to make about our resources and buildings – we are about to embark on our first local discussion as to the future ministry in a particular area. However, if we want to see lots of growth and development, we can’t dodge those difficult questions and hopefully we can build enough trust between people to have those conversations well – with honesty and integrity.”