By Chuck Wolterink
On March 7, I attended the meeting of our Deanery, which was held immediately after the Bishop’s Town Hall meeting. I have been to a number of Deanery meetings before, but I have never been entirely clear about exactly what a Deanery is or about the details of our own Deanery in particular. So, for those who might have similar questions, here is an introduction to the Deanery.
In the Episcopal Church, a Deanery is a grouping of parishes within a Diocese. It is headed, appropriately enough, by a Dean. (This is different from the Church of England, in which a Dean is usually associated with a cathedral.) The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan, or EDWM, is divided into five Deaneries, each of which contains from nine to fourteen parishes. Grace is part of the Traverse Deanery, along with eleven other parishes and a summer chapel. Our own Rector, Daniel, is the Dean. The Traverse Deanery is the largest in the Diocese in terms of geographical area, extending from Manistee and Cadillac to Beaver Island and Harbor Springs, with Grace approximately in the middle.
One of the duties of each Deanery, aside from any general regional concerns, is to elect representatives to Diocesan Council. Each Deanery is required to send at least one clergy and one lay delegate to the Council.
I was startled to learn that within our Deanery almost half of our parishes are “in transition.” This is defined as being in the period from the announcement of the resignation of a Rector through the end of a new Rector’s first complete liturgical cycle. In our Deanery, five parishes are currently in transition: Four are searching for a new Rector, and one has had a new Rector for less than a year. We are asked to pray for those congregations.
At Grace, our elected or appointed delegates to Diocesan Convention, as well as their alternates, are also our delegates to Deanery meetings. The meetings are usually held four times a year. The next meeting of the Traverse Deanery will be at Grace on Saturday, June 6, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. All are welcome to attend.
Sources include the Diocesan website, www.EDWM.org.