Area Dean - Coleshill & Polesworth Deanery

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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, Staffordshire, 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.

More information about the diocesan vision and people and places programme can be found on our website here:

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. The Dean will be supported by a half time Deanery Support Officer providing organisational and administrative support for the Dean and Deanery. This considerable resourcing gives them the gift of time and attention wholly for this task.


From 1 November 2019 the new Deanery of Coleshill and Polesworth came into formal being through a Bishop’s order. This followed considerable diocesan and local consultation. 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. This is the third new Deanery in Church of England Birmingham, created by joining two existing deaneries together. We hope that by the end of 2020 we will have moved from our 13 Deaneries to 6 new ones.

The western edge of Coleshill and Polesworth Deanery is approx. 5 miles due East of Birmingham city centre, and then stretches further East through a combination of low-income outer estates and more affluent suburban neighbourhoods, moving out to the far North East where some of the most rural parts of the diocese are found. The vast majority of the land covered in this newly created Deanery is rural, however the more urban parts of the Deanery are much more densely populated. This makes the geographic and socio-economic context of Coleshill and Polesworth Deanery extremely diverse. Indeed, the Deanery includes 4 Councils: Birmingham, Solihull, North Warwickshire and Tamworth Borough Council in Staffordshire.

The Deanery is crossed by the M42 (North-South from North Warwickshire to Coleshill and Marston Green) and the M6 (West to East from Hodge Hill to Coleshill).. There are large areas of green space, including the popular Kingsbury Waterpark. The villages range from affluent areas with gated properties to ex-mining communities where there are pockets of poverty. There is a large community of farmers across the areas in North Warwickshire and Staffordshire.

Many of the rural parishes have been developed into multi-parish benefices, or multi-church parishes. Each benefice has its own identity and looks to differing areas for shopping and socialising. Those in North Warwickshire tend to look towards Coventry or Nuneaton, whereas those in Staffordshire look to Tamworth town centre. Many of the villages in the North of the Deanery have poor access to public transport and local services.

Within the more densely populated areas there is also a great deal of diversity. There are a number of suburban towns and villages where there are new housing estates and a growing number of families and young professionals. Equally there are large estates with high levels of poverty and social housing. Parts of the urban West end of the Deanery are seeing significant growth in the number of people with Asian and African heritage, many of whom are Muslim. There are also small but growing numbers of refugees and asylum seekers finding temporary or permanent accommodation in these areas.

Across the Deanery there are considerable medical, educational and recreational institutions. These includes 9 Church of England Primary Schools.

The deanery has 24 parishes / multi-parish benefices with 35 churches. There is a variety of ministry provision including full-time and part-time stipendiary, full-time and part-time SSM, Readers and a variety of local lay ministers, all collaborating with a large number of voluntary officers and ministry leaders in the churches. There is a celebrated diversity of worship style and tradition across the Deanery.

Recently, the parish of Coleshill has been the chosen venue for “The Wall”, a giant sculpture dedicated to displaying the answered prayers of the present time and throughout history. This will be a huge area of land which will incorporate an interactive area, prayer spaces and chaplains. ( North Warwickshire has a rapidly expanding population. 27000 new homes are planned mainly along the A5 corridor around Dordon and Polesworth and can be seen as an extension of Amington.

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.

A. KEY AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY (for all Stipendiary Area Deans)

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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Encourage parishes to work towards financial stability and to meet the costs of ministry identified through People & Places.
  4. Ensure Transforming Church is embedded across the Deanery, with each parish having clear and regularly reviewed Transforming Church goals.
  5. Support and encourage those undertaking training such as Curates, Readers, Lay Leaders and others.
  6. Ensure that good practices for the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults are understood and embedded in every parish.
  7. 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.
  8. Promote and enable collaboration in ministry and mission, including the sharing of resources across the Deanery and wider.
  9. Encourage the study of theology and pastoral ministry within the Deanery.
  10. Encourage Deanery-wide collaboration and communication around common interests (for example context specific ministry, administration, finance, buildings etc).
  11. Encourage ecumenical and inter-faith relationships across the Deanery.
  12. Encourage strategic engagement across the Deanery with schools and especially church.
  13. Enable worshipping communities to look wider and build further links with their communities.

2. Ministerial development and well-being

  1. Ensure that all those in ministry and leadership have appropriate pastoral support provided for themselves and their families.
  2. 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.
  3. Support new clergy and other leaders taking up posts in the Deanery.
  4. Help to support retired clergy as they integrate into the mission and ministry of the Deanery.
  5. Promote and model good practice in ministry.
  6. Provide signposting to resources and facilities to help clergy and other leaders to develop resilience and self-care.
  7. 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.

  1. 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 Chair(s)
  • Other Area Deans
  • Deanery Support Officer
  • Clergy, Lay Leaders, Lay Ministers,
  • Directors of Parish Mission Support, Ministry, Learning & Development
  • Those leading the People & Places Programme

In particular, Area Deans should:

  1. 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.
  2. Liaise with the Archdeacons for advice and support on day to day matters concerning the running of a parish.
  1. Administration
  1. 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

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

2.Assist and support the Churchwardens as they provide for public worship and pastoral cover.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5.Share in the recruitment process for new incumbents by agreement with the patron.

6.Work with Assistant Wardens of Readers in supporting Lay Readers.

  1. Be responsible for co-ordinating arrangements for new stipendiary parish priests’ Collation, Institution, Induction or Licensing.
  2. Ensure that calendar of Confirmation services for the Deanery is co-ordinated in accordance with the Bishop’s current practice
  3. Act as Returning Officer for elections when required. (This could be delegated to the Chapter clerk.)
  4. 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.
  5. Ensure those officiating in the Deanery have the necessary licence or permission.
  6. Have an understanding of the Canons, especially those which refer to Area Deans.
  7. Work with the Archdeacons on arrangements for annual visitations and admission of Churchwardens.

Deal with any other tasks required by the relevant Canons (see the summary in Appendix 1).



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 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 either rural ministry and/or outer estates but who can demonstrate an ability to understand, support and advocate for whichever context is not primary in their experience.
  • 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 clear love for people of all ages, stages and backgrounds;
  • 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 (please note that the rural parts of this deanery have very limited public transport).


  • 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.

Reference & 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.

You are encouraged to contact the Archdeacon of Aston, Ven. Simon Heathfield for informal conversation prior to application on 07769187435 or at

Discernment Process (all shortlisted candidates required for both days): 6-7 February 2020 (overnight accommodation will be provided if needed)

Following the discernment process preferred candidate(s) will be invited to meet with the diocesan Bishop for further detailed, personalised discussion on 25 February 2020

We welcome applications from any qualified persons, particularly those currently under-represented such as Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic groups & women.