When Nigel resigned the living of Crediton, Sandford with Upton Hellions and Shobrooke, the post of Rural Dean of Cadbury also fell vacant. The role of Rural Dean is normally discharged by one of the incumbents in a deanery over and above their parochial responsibilities. According to the Diocesan Handbook for Rural Deans the job includes:
– helping the Bishop in his/her episcope (ie oversight) and care of the Deanery, including the support and pastoral care of clergy and lay leaders in the parishes;
– working collaboratively with colleagues to promote the mission and ministry of the parishes in the Deanery;
– convening Deanery Chapter (the beneficed and licensed clergy and licensed Readers of the Deanery with representatives of the retired clergy with ‘Permission to Officiate’ – ‘PtO’ – and the Lay Chairman of the Deanery Synod) and co-chairing Deanery Synod, and encouraging them to be joyfully rooted in prayer and theological reflection, in discipleship and service, in mission and outreach;
– assisting the Archdeacon in key tasks, including parish visitations (for example midway between Quinquenniel Inspections to assess progress in meeting the requirements identified by the inspecting architect to maintain the building, and to examine registers) and supporting parishes during vacancies.
The Cadbury Deanery consists of four benefices/mission communities, encompassing twenty eight parishes with a total of thirty seven churches. ‘Staffing’ amounts to four incumbents, when there are no vacancies (Katie Cross at Nether Exe, Kingsley Cross at North Creedy East, and Lindsey Starrs at North Creedy West, with a vacancy here), and currently part-time associate priests at Nether Exe (Sue Sheppard who works at SWMTC training ordinands) and Crediton (Paul, who is Deanery Training Officer) and, of course, our assistant curate Helen (‘serving her title’ in the Crediton benefice). There are also two licensed Readers – Carol and Sandra (and a very active one with ‘PtO’ – Jack – who is also Lay Chairman of the Deanery Synod) – here and one – Laura Ford – in Nether Exe. With the assistance of retired clergy with ‘PtO’ and, increasingly, valuable input from lay parishioners in their own churches the ‘show is kept on the road’.