Area Dean- Aston & Sutton Coldfield

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Aston & Sutton Coldfield

Birmingham is the UK’s second city with the youngest urban population in one of the most lively and diverse regions. The Church of England - Birmingham, founded in 1905, is one of the 41 dioceses of the Church of England. It covers an area of nearly 300 square miles and includes parishes in Birmingham and parts of Solihull, Sandwell, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

Right at the heart of what we do there are over 187 worshipping communities with an average weekly attendance of 17,000. In these churches are clergy and churchgoers representing a wide scope of tradition, ethnicity, age and background.

It is a time of new opportunities and potential in the Church of England - Birmingham as we seek to shape ministry for a changing church and world as part of our ‘Transforming Church’ vision, supported by our ambitious People & Places framework. As part of People & Places, we are creating six new deaneries, each having a full-time stipendiary post of Area Dean. One of the primary focuses of the role will be to bring the collaborative, transformational leadership we need to support parishes in growing a culture of local mission and the resourcing and deployment needed for flourishing and growth. Each Area Dean shares the Bishop’s leadership in mission and pastoral care in their deanery, but this considerable resourcing gives them the gift of time and attention wholly for this task.

All the areas of responsibility will require a collaborative style of working, using a range of developmental skills to support, encourage and facilitate others.

The post holder will play an active role in the ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Deanery, ministering in particular parishes as required. It may be appropriate for the Area Dean to be linked with a particular setting.

Vision & Leadership

  • Working with the Oversight Ministers and in partnership with the elected Lay Chair and Local Leaders in the Deanery, develop and support the implementation of a vision for mission in the Deanery.
  • Within the People & Places framework, establish, equip and support Oversight Ministers, Local Ministers and Lay Leaders for the worshipping communities in the Deanery. Be willing to coach, support and develop the gifts of emerging leaders. All of this will involve significant collaboration with others throughout the Diocese.
  • Encourage parishes to work towards financial stability and to meet the costs of ministry identified through People & Places.
  • Ensure Transforming Church is embedded across the Deanery, with each parish having clear and regularly reviewed Transforming Church goals.
  • Support and encourage those undertaking training such as Curates, Readers, Lay Leaders and others.
  • Ensure that good practices for the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults are understood and embedded in every parish.
  • Take the role of Chair of Chapter and Joint Chair of Deanery Synod, developing such local groupings and patterns as agreed appropriate with lay and ordained colleagues.
  • Promote and enable collaboration in ministry and mission, including the sharing of resources across the Deanery and wider.
  • Encourage the study of theology and pastoral ministry within the Deanery.
  • Encourage Deanery-wide collaboration and communication around common interests (for example context specific ministry, administration, finance, buildings etc).
  • Encourage ecumenical and inter-faith relationships across the Deanery.
  • Enable worshipping communities to look wider and build further links with their communities.

Ministerial development and well-being

  • Ensure that all those in ministry and leadership have appropriate pastoral support provided for themselves and their families.
  • Raise matters of concern regarding wellbeing of leaders (clergy and lay) with the Bishops, Archdeacons or others as appropriate, especially in cases of significant illness.
  • Support new clergy and other leaders taking up posts in the Deanery.
  • Help to support retired clergy as they integrate into the mission and ministry of the Deanery.
  • Promote and model good practice in ministry.
  • Provide signposting to resources and facilities to help clergy and other leaders to develop resilience and self-care.
  • Provide regular support for Oversight Ministers (through a culture of reflective practice, peer accountability and other suitable methods) and ensure their full participation in Ministerial Development Review (MDR) process for Licensed Ministers in their Deanery.


This role will only be possible with significant collaboration and sharing resources with many across the Deanery and wider Diocese including (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • The Bishops & Archdeacon
  • Deanery Lay Chairs
  • Other Area Deans
  • Clergy, Lay Leaders, Lay Ministers,
  • Directors of Mission, Ministry, Learning & Development
  • Those leading the People & Places Programme

In particular, Area Deans should:

  • Be a channel of communication between those in their Deanery and the Bishops, Archdeacons and Diocesan staff. This will include attending regular meetings with other Area Deans and the Bishops, Archdeacons and other senior staff.
  • Liaise with the Archdeacons for advice and support on day to day matters concerning the running of a parish.


When a vacancy arises to collaborate with Archdeacon and relevant parties to agree the deployment strategy regarding the parish and oversight area including attending and contributing to the Archdeacon’s Preliminary Meeting with the PCC, and any meeting called under Section 12 of the Patronage (Benefices) Measure 1986

During a vacancy:

  • Act as a Sequestrator along with the Churchwardens and any other person the Bishop may appoint.
  • Assist and support the Churchwardens as they provide for public worship and pastoral cover.
  • If there is no other person in the parish with the necessary authority (such as a Parish Identity Verifier or a Parish Safeguarding Co-Ordinator), hold securely the parish’s Confidential Declarations and other sensitive Safeguarding documents, and handle DBS administration. Support and encourage Curates, Readers and others undertaking training.
  • Provide coaching and support for PCCs as required during the vacancy. Help the PCC to identify the potential gifts within their church and how to encourage them.
  • Share in the recruitment process for new incumbents by agreement with the patron.
  • Work with Assistant Wardens of Readers in supporting Lay Readers.
  • Be responsible for co-ordinating arrangements for new stipendiary parish priests’ Collation, Institution, Induction or Licensing.
  • Ensure that calendar of Confirmation services for the Deanery is co-ordinated in accordance with the Bishop’s current practice
  • Act as Returning Officer for elections when required. (This could be delegated to the Chapter clerk.)
  • If a parish fails to keep an electoral roll, maintain a parochial church council or hold an annual parochial church meeting, verify the facts and then report the cause to the Bishop.
  • Ensure those officiating in the Deanery have the necessary licence or permission.
  • Have an understanding of the Canons, especially those which refer to Area Deans.
  • Make arrangements for a deanery service for the annual admission of Churchwardens when requested by the Archdeacons.
  • Deal with any other tasks required by the relevant Canons.


From 1 May 2019 the new Deanery of Aston and Sutton Coldfield came into formal being through a Bishop’s order. This followed considerable diocesan and local consultation and no objections have been raised. The aim is to make a larger unit which will have more resources to share and bring our diversity closer together in Christian unity, ministry and mission. Under the People and Places Framework the new full time Area Dean will work alongside access to enhanced resources for parish supporting bookkeeping, buildings and HR functions. Through 2019 there will be an agreed process to shape and ‘launch’ this new deanery as the first larger unit within CofE Birmingham. We hope that by the end of 2020 we will have moved from our 13 Deaneries to 6 new ones.

Aston & Sutton Coldfield Deanery covers a ‘slice’ of the city region from one of the most deprived and industrial/post-industrial areas to the direct north of the city centre at the end of the A38M, where it meets the M6 expressway, an elevated stretch of motorway running across north-Birmingham. Moving further out it embraces the former Warwickshire Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield and some bordering rural and urban communities.

The Aston end is crossed by fixed road boundaries such as the A38 and M6 motorway and these influence relationships and evangelistic possibilities alike. It is largely without much green space and predominantly is poorer residential housing, estates and industrial/post-industrial areas. Sutton Coldfield may be part of Birmingham administratively, but it is not entirely “of” Birmingham with a range of socio-economic contexts; everything from gated mansions to social housing. There are first class schools and the delights of Sutton Park. It is mostly fairly comfortable suburbia, but with one rural multi church benefice and one parish covers an estate in north Birmingham. There is considerable change both in the suburban and post-industrial areas with regeneration, new housing, changing transport patterns and developing social infrastructure growing across the region according to local plans.

Across the area there are considerable medical, educational, industrial and recreational institutions including Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield and Aston Villa Football Club near the heart of the city.

The Deanery School (Primary) was established as a resource for all the churches of the former deanery of Sutton Coldfield, with the Area Dean usually serving on the Governing Body.

The deanery has 16 parishes and 24 Churches with a variety of ministry provision including full-time stipendiary, SSM, Readers and a variety of local lay ministers, all collaborating with a large number of voluntary officers and ministry leaders in the churches.

The chapter and Synod of the new deanery will be developing their arrangements for meeting and support under the new Area Dean. However, both former deaneries have traditionally had a strong ethos of clergy and lay support and both are keen to extend that to each other in their new arrangement. They have both been very willing to embrace the deanery developments and are keen to further grow their culture of mutual appreciation and support of their different contexts.


  • Has a desire to promote and enable change and can inspire others to follow vision;
  • As well as excellent leadership, is also a demonstrable team player;
  • Has a passion for living the mission of Jesus that excites others to follow
  • Excellent communication skills and an ability to relate across a wide range of church traditions and social and ethnic contexts;
  • A strength of character and ability to make difficult decisions and implement them.
  • Has excellent influencing skills with the ability to ‘lead from the middle’ as they are the a key link between Bishops/Senior Staff and Oversight/Local Leaders and also the connector between multiple teams within the Deanery.


Previous experience should include:

  • Ministry as a priest in the Church of England with at least three years ministry post-curacy. Ideally with experience of primary responsibility in a parish;
  • Proven ability to build good working relationships;
  • Experience of encouraging and developing others (this may take a variety of forms e.g. coaching, mentoring, spiritual direction, being a Training Incumbent etc.)
  • Experience of delivering projects and tasks through to completion;
  • Strong knowledge and experience of safeguarding practices for children and vulnerable adults
  • Good understanding of financial management;
  • A deep and practical understanding of parish life;


Personal qualities should include:

  • A compelling, warm and open demeanour with a collaborative working style;
  • A desire and ability to develop others and a willingness to be developed themselves;
  • Excellent listening skills;
  • Reflective and prayerful with healthy established patterns to nurture their spiritual wellbeing;
  • The capacity to be flexible and to work under pressure, with good levels of personal organisation and an ability to work to deadlines;
  • Confidence and ability in handling sensitive information;
  • Confidence in using technology such as smart phones, tablets, laptops and social media;
  • An ability to model a responsible and healthy life balance;
  • Resilience and good humour

Must be able to commit to efficient and effective travel across the region by car or other suitable means as appropriate.


This is a full-time permanent office held under Common Tenure.

The stipend is £26,130 (2019/20 rate)

A house in the Deanery will be provided.

The office holder will be a member of the Church of England Funded Pensions Scheme.

Annual leave is 6 weeks.

The office is subject to three months’ notice from the office holder.

Reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed in line with the Church of England Birmingham’s Expenses Policy. Business car mileage is reimbursed at the prevailing diocesan rate, currently 45p per mile within Birmingham diocese and 30p per mile outside the diocese.

References and Checks

This office is subject to an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check and Barred List check and an unconditional commendation from the individual’s current diocesan bishop.

Deadline for Applications: 26th June 2019

Interviews will take place over two days: 11th and 12th July 2019

(overnight accommodation will be provided if needed)

Interested candidates are welcome to contact the Archdeacon of Aston, Ven Simon Heathfield, for further conversation on 07769 187435 or

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons, particularly from those who are currently under-represented such as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups and women.