Area Dean - Handsworth & Central

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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.

1. Vision & Leadership

(a) Working with the Oversight Ministers and in partnership with the elected Lay Chair and Local Leaders in the Deanery and diocesan teams including the Transforming Church Action Planning Team to develop and support the implementation of a vision for mission in the Deanery.

(b) 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.

(c) Encourage parishes to work towards financial stability and to meet the costs of ministry identified through People & Places.

(d) Ensure Transforming Church is embedded across the Deanery, with each parish having clear and regularly reviewed Transforming Church goals.

(e) Support and encourage those undertaking training such as Curates, Readers, Lay Leaders and others.

(f) Ensure that good practices for the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults are understood and embedded in every parish.

(g) 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.

(h) Promote and enable collaboration in ministry and mission, including the sharing of resources across the Deanery and wider.

(i) Encourage the study of theology and pastoral ministry within the Deanery.

(j) Encourage Deanery-wide collaboration and communication around common interests (for example context specific ministry, administration, finance, buildings etc).

(k) Encourage ecumenical and inter-faith relationships across the Deanery.

(l) Encourage strategic engagement across the Deanery with schools and especially church


(m) Enable worshipping communities to look wider and build further links with their communities.

2. Ministerial development and well-being

(a) Ensure that all those in ministry and leadership have appropriate pastoral support provided for themselves and their families.

(b) 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.

(c) Support new clergy and other leaders taking up posts in the Deanery.

(d) Help to support retired clergy as they integrate into the mission and ministry of the Deanery.

(e) Promote and model good practice in ministry.

(f) Provide signposting to resources and facilities to help clergy and other leaders to develop resilience and self-care.

(g) 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.

3. Collaboration

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 & Archdeacons

* Deanery Lay Chairs

* Other Area Deans

* Clergy, Lay Leaders, Lay Ministers,

* Directors of Parish Mission Support, Ministry, Learning & Development

* Those leading the People & Places Programme

In particular, Area Deans should:

(a) Be an enabler 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.

(b) Liaise with the Archdeacons for advice and support on day to day matters concerning the running of a parish.

4. Administration

(a) 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

(b) During a vacancy:

(i) Act as a Sequestrator along with the Churchwardens and any other person the Bishop may appoint.

(ii) Assist and support the Churchwardens as they provide for public worship and pastoral cover.

(iii) 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.

(iv) 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.

(v) Share in the recruitment process for new incumbents by agreement with the patron.

(vi) Work with Assistant Wardens of Readers in supporting Lay Readers.

(c) Be responsible for co-ordinating arrangements for new stipendiary parish priests’ Collation, Institution, Induction or Licensing.

(d) Ensure that calendar of Confirmation services for the Deanery is co-ordinated in accordance with the Bishop’s current practice

(e) Act as Returning Officer for elections when required. (This could be delegated to the Chapter clerk.)

(f) 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.

(g) Ensure those officiating in the Deanery have the necessary licence or permission.

(h) Have an understanding of the Canons, especially those which refer to Area Deans.

(i) 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 (see the summary in Appendix 1).


On 1 August 2019 the new deanery of Handsworth and Central came into formal being through a Bishop’s Order, following considerable diocesan and local consultation.The aim is to form a larger deanery unit which will have more resources to share and celebrate our diversity 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 parishes supporting book-keeping, buildings and HR functions.Through 2019 and 2020 there will be an agreed process to shape and ‘launch’ this new deanery as the second new deanery within C of E Birmingham.

Handsworth and Central Deanery covers the city centre of Birmingham and the urban sprawl out to the northwest, through Ladywood, Handsworth as far as Great Barr.This includes some areas of extreme deprivation, but also some more affluent areas, particularly in the newer city centre developments.This a superdiverse deanery and there is a great ethnic and cultural mix with a whole range of backgrounds and faiths (including those of no faith.)The churches vary from a large gathered church in Gas Street, with leaders coming from Holy Trinity Brompton, established near the city centre; a recently-launched church plant alongside St Paul’s in the Jewellery Quarter; the Cathedral; the ‘civic’ church of St Martin in the Bull Ring; small inner city parishes of the Anglo-Catholic tradition; outer-estate parishes and a whole collection of parish churches covering the range of traditions within the Church of England.Many of the churches in the deanery are underpinned by a strong sacramental tradition and three of the churches are members of The Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda.

Across the deanery there are a considerable number of medical, educational, industrial and recreational institutions including City Hospital (and a brand-new super-hospital to be opened soon), the Alexander Stadium and the National Indoor Arena, both to be key venues in the Commonwealth Games 2022 as well as the International Convention Centre, Symphony Hall and the Bullring Shopping Centre.The deanery is home to Aston University and Birmingham City University, as well as a number of the UK’s large banking, financial services and legal firms.There are significant residential, industrial and infrastructure developments taking place in many parts on the deanery, including the introduction of a Clean Air Zone, which will affect the City Centre and the HS2 rail network. It is hoped that the new Area Dean will be able to work with the deanery and represent the local churches to civic partners in consultation where local contexts are affected by these developments.

There are 7 church primary schools within the deanery which enjoy close relationships with their churches; in addition most of the churches enjoy fruitful partnerships with local non-church schools.Three of the church primary schools are part of Birmingham Diocesan Multi Academy Trust (BDMAT) with an additional non-church primary school being affiliated to BDMAT.ARK St Alban’s Academy is one of the current two Church of England secondary school within the diocese and is based within the deanery; the Parish Priest of St Alban’s Church enjoys combining this ministry with being chaplain to the school.

The deanery has 21 parishes with 23 Churches, which includes the cathedral, with 2 BMOs also meeting in the deanery. Two of the parishes are in the process of becoming a united benefice and there is an existing tradition of churches within the deanery being mutually supportive in mission and ministry.There is a variety of ministry provision including full and part time stipendiary, SSM, Readers and a variety of local lay ministers, all collaborating with a large number of volunteers and church officers.Some churches within the deanery are intentionally intercultural with diverse BAME representation amongst their leadership (lay and ordained) and with the liturgical provision being representative of and embracing the cultures of those who have found a home in these churches. A number of the churches have significant and growing numbers of Sudanese, Nigerian and Zimbabwean Christians and there are also new Christians from Iranian and Persian heritage. A number of the churches within the deanery would describe themselves as inclusive and three are signed-up to the aims and objectives of “Inclusive Church.”

The Chapter and Synod of the new deanery will be developing their arrangements for meeting and support alongside the new Area Dean.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. The deanery is looking forward to working with their new Area Dean to support and promote the deanery vision of sharing our resources in common for the furtherment of mission and ministry, the celebration of the Sacraments and the proclamation of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, alongside their culture of mutual appreciation and support of their different contexts.



We are looking for someone who:

·can demonstrate leadership across a range of traditions and ministries whilst having a desire to promote and enable change, inspiring others to follow vision.

·is a team player and knows when to lead and when to let others lead

·is a true collaborator who will value their colleagues, lay and ordained

·has a strength of character and ability to make difficult decisions and implement them and the ability to encourage others in this area

·has excellent influencing skills with the ability to ‘lead from the middle’ as they are the key link between Bishops/Senior Staff and Oversight/Local Leaders and also the connector between multiple teams within the Deanery

and due to the super-diverse nature of this deanery:

·has excellent communication skills and an ability to relate across a wide range of church traditions and social and ethnic contexts and cultures

·is an enabler of mutual flourishing amongst those from differing ethnic backgrounds, cultures or those holding divergent beliefs and has a commitment to equality, diversity & inclusion

·has understanding of and commitment to the fostering of vocations of those from the widest range of backgrounds

·is committed to ecumenism and encouraging local missional partnerships across 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 abilities in building good working relationships
  • Experience of and a genuine commitment to inclusion and diversity amongst all members of the body of Christ
  • Experience of living and working in an Urban setting with an understanding of the joys, challenges and opportunities that this brings
  • 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 practice and policy for children and vulnerable adults
  • Good understanding of financial management and the ability to encourage others in this area
  • A deep and practical understanding of parish life


Personal qualities should include:

  • An open demeanour with a collaborative working style;
  • A desire and ability to develop others and a willingness to be developed themselves;
  • Excellent listening skills
  • The ability to articulate and enthuse others with their faith
  • Reflective and prayerful with healthy established practices to nurture their spiritual wellbeing
  • The capacity to be flexible and ability to work under pressure, with good levels of personal organisation and an ability to work to deadlines
  • Confidence, ability and discretion 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 work-life balance
  • Resilience, good humour and being comfortable in their own skin

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: 20th October 2019

First interviews will take place over two days: 11th and 12th November 2019

Second interviews will take place on: 20th November 2019

(overnight accommodation will be provided if needed)