February 2015

Minutes of Reigate Deanery Synod Meeting

Tuesday 10th February 2015 at St Mary’s Church, Reigate


Chair: Rev’d Andrew Cunnington – Area Dean

Members present: 63  Apologies: 18


1.   Rev’d Phil Andrew welcomed everyone to the meeting and then lead members in a time of worship based on unity; a time of worship in the form of liturgy and song.


  1. Rev’d Andrew Cunnington introduced Christine Elliott as the new Deanery Secretary.


  1. The minutes of the last meeting were signed, there being no corrections or additions.


  1. There were no matters arising from these minutes.


  1. Rev’d Stephen Crabtree, the newly appointed Headteacher at St Bede’s School was introduced by Rev’d Andrew Cunnington.  Stephen explained he had been in post since September 2014 and that he had taught at St Bede’s 25 years ago.  He outlined some of the history of St Bede’s and said that reports of the school were very good; good exam results, a vast range of extra curricular activities and that he had received a letter from the Secretary of State congratulating the school. 


He said the school had a lovely Christian ethos and one of his challenges was to encourage a more distinctively Christian school.  In order to achieve this he was trying to welcome more people into the school and was trying to open the doors to the local Christian community.


One of the other challenges was the painful cutbacks causing major financial problems in funding and the need to save £500,000.  This was coming at a time when the school was oversubscribed and many more children were applying for places.


He expressed that it was an exciting place to be with all the significant challenges ahead and   Rev’d Andrew Cunnington assured him of the prayers of the Deanery.


  1. Rev’d Andrew Cunnington then introduced Rev’d Tim Goode who is the Diocesan Disability Advisor.  Tim began by saying it was a nice coincidence that the worship was centred on unity as engagement with disability is part of unity.  He then went on to explain who he was and the papers he had written on disability and his role with the diocese. Further information on this can be found at www.southwark.anglican.org/dac/accessibility.  He also explained his role on the DAC and how this was so that he could engage with all church reordering and how he wished to enable people with disability to participate in church worship to the full both inside and out.  He looks at access to church buildings and also does work on the educational side, building relationships with the community.  He has links with L’Arche, Kairos Forum and Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital engaging with people and giving advice on the treatment of those with learning disabilities in hospital.


“As children of God we have a new dignity and God calls us to fullness of life”, he said and “this means all of us”.  He emphasised we need to have a wider breadth of understanding and to welcome all into every aspect of church life.  He pointed out that there was no disabled access to the speakers’ platform at the General Synod and that the steps in Canterbury Cathedral meant that the Archbishop has to be able bodied and that buildings do challenge the inclusion of worship for all. 


He outlined the four models of disability and encouraged members to keep calm when addressing those with disability and to listen; to allow people to tell their story.  He considered impairment a better word than disability and suggested we should be aware of hidden impairments in others.  He reminded us we are all the same in Christ Jesus quoting 1 Corinthians ch 12 v 22-24.





  1. Parishes to Share


  • Rev’d Sue Weakley talked of Pippa’s Progress, a production being put on by the Gatton Community Theatre and told of workshops for this event which were taking place on 21st and 22nd March from 2pm – 4pm at Gatton Park.


  • It was announced by Ian McMillan, a member from St Matthew’s Church, that Peter James who ran the food bank at St Matthew’s with his wife and others had died suddenly and his funeral was on Ash Wednesday at 12 noon.  He emphasised that the food bank would continue.


  •  Hilary Richardson told of a series of meetings at St Matthew’s Church discussing the church at prayer comprising ten evenings talking of different ways of praying.


  • There will be A Little Jazz Mass at St Michael’s Church, Betchworth on Saturday 21st March at 7pm.


  • There is a concert at St Michael’s Betchworth on 9th May.  Details are on their website.


  • Christ Church, Brockham has a series of special 6.30pm services in April, June, September and November.


  • Libby Green reported that the last service at the Church of the Epiphany in Merstham, lead by Bishop Jonathan, was held in a packed church on 1st February.  The Café Church was now being held in Furzefield School on the first Sunday and members had continued to come from the Church of the Epiphany.


  • St John’s Church will be holding a table top sale on 7th March and having a concert on 25th April.  Both items are on the Deanery Website.


  • Most of these events and others were now going on the Deanery Website reigatedeanery@gmail.com. which was deemed to be a good way of advertising up and coming events.


  1. Reports

Diocesan Board of Finance Report

Unfortunately, Peter Siggs, the Deanery Lay Member to the Diocesan Board of Finance, was absent as he has broken his arm and therefore, there was no Finance Report.


Rev’d Doug McHardie has volunteered to be the clergy Archdeaconry Representative to the Diocesan Board of Finance.


Board of Education Report

Rev’d Carol Coslett reported that at the meeting on 20th November Trinity Oaks School in Horley which was officially being opened on 21st November.  Developments have been made with the Greenwich peninsula and the provision for a new church school was discussed along with Southwark Policy for Higher Education chaplaincy for those who are 18+.  The Board also discussed the future structure of becoming a multi academy trust and agreed for further research into the implications particularly financial.  The next meeting will be held on 19th March.


Diocesan Synod Report

Chris Elliott reported on the Diocesan Synod that took place on November 14th.  Questions had been asked about the amount of paper used by the Synod and the answer suggested that this could be reduced by the start of the next Synod.  Chris encouraged Deanery members to put forward questions and motions for debate.  He also spoke of a presentation on the 2015 budget and an update on the Strategy for Ministry.  Further presentations had been one on the environment and one by Bishop Michael on, “Being Built Together – A Story of New Black Majority Churches in the London Borough of Southwark”.  Finally, there was a farewell to Simon Parton who had been Diocesan Secretary for several years.  His successor is Ruth Martin.  Chris reminded members that they had received a Diocesan Synod nomination form and asked members to consider whether it was something for them.  For further details the minutes of the Diocesan Synod are on the Deanery Website.


Deanery Mission and Pastoral Group Report

Hilary Richardson said that at the meeting in January they reviewed Catch It and the plans for the next one.  She had been on a workshop entitled, “Spirituality with Parents with Small Children” and hoped to marry some of that with Catch It.  They also spoke about MAPs, the Deanery Website, Twitter and the Quiet Day.  As a result of the Hugh Ridsdill-Smith meeting a Children’s Champion for the Deanery was being sought as well as a Youth Champion and a Building Champion.


  1. Deanery Quiet Day


Chris Elliott said the response to the Quiet Day had been so good that it was now sold out and any new applicants would have to put on a waiting list.


  1. Area Dean’s Notices


  • Rev’d Andrew Cunnington announced that the next meeting to discuss the Parish Support Fund will be on 3rd March and all parishes would need to be represented.
  • The trip to the Holy Land now has 32 people and it would be possible to take 2 or 3 more.
  • Rev’d Andrew Cunnington reminded members that as a result of the talk on children and youth work by Hugh Ridsdill-Smith, each parish has to appoint a Parish Representative.
  • Rev’d Andrew Cunnington said that we had someone who was prepared to stand as Deanery   

Youth Champion and that the job description had been circulated for consideration.


  1. A.O.B.


There being no other business the meeting ended with prayer and the Grace.


The next Deanery Synod meeting will be held at St Peter’s, Woodmansterne on 17th June 2015 when we hope to be looking at our response to environmental issues.