Rural Dean of Taunton


As I mentioned in my letter, I have recently been appointed as Rural Dean of Taunton. This was following an invitation from the Bishop and the Archdeacon of Taunton. I will be licensed as Rural Dean at a special service of Holy Communion on Thursday 18 January at 10.00 am at Creech parish church. The Archdeacon of Taunton, the Ven Simon Hill, will conduct the licensing. Everyone is welcome to come to this service. Colleagues from the Taunton Deanery are also being invited, which is why it is on a weekday, rather than a Sunday. I do hope that some people will be able to attend from our parishes.

Some of you may be wondering what a Rural Dean does! The Rural Dean is a kind of Area Manager; like a bridge between the parishes and the Diocese. Part of the role includes the pastoral care of the clergy in the Deanery which for us includes the whole of Taunton and the outlying villages, including ours, and the parishes between here and Staplegrove and over to Trull. The Rural Dean is invited to attend meetings with the Senior Staff of the Diocese, Bishops and Archdeacons, along with other Rural Deans, to share in the strategic development of the Diocese, and feedback matters of development to their Deaneries and parishes. The Rural Dean is also invited to take part in the appointment of new clergy in the Deanery, representing the Deanery, as well as chair the local chapter meetings of clergy. The Rural Dean also share chairing the meetings of Deanery Synod with the Lay Chair.

This will mean a significant increase in my workload. When this first came up, I was given some time to think and pray about it. I shared this with the meetings of our three PCCs in November. We felt that this was an important role and that if I was going to do it, I would need to be released from some of my parish responsibilities, in order to give proper time to it. We therefore decided that this was the right time to look to appointing a part-time Administrator in our Benefice, to work in conjunction with Liz Evans in the Benefice office at the Rectory. We have therefore been advertising the role recently, and at the time of writing have had some applications and are hoping to interview potential candidates on 8 January. The new post-holder will be appointed to release me from administrative duties, as well as support me in the role of Rural Dean.

I feel honoured to have been asked to take this on, and although it feels daunting, I also feel called to do it. It will be a great opportunity to find out more about the ministry and mission of our Deanery and Diocese and be able to share some of that with you. I would much appreciate your prayers as I take this on, and hope for your support. Please ask me now and again how it is going! I’m sure I’ll be delighted to tell you!

Rebecca Harris

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