Oxford Diocese is divided into three Archdeaconries, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxford, under the Area Bishops of Reading, Buckinghamshire and Dorchester respectively, who report to the Bishop of Oxford. The Deaneries of Oxford and Cowley are looked after directly by the Diocesan Bishop of Oxford. The Berkshire archdeaconry is divided into ten Deaneries. The Deanery of Reading has 250,000 people within its boundaries, the largest in the UK.
Within the Deanery there are 33 Parishes, supported by 29 stipendiary clergy together with other unpaid ministers. The Deanery is represented by Deanery Synod which consists of all licensed Deanery Clergy and lay representatives, elected by their Parishes.
The Deanery is responsible for:
Allotting the deanery share of nearly £1.2 million between the 33 Parishes in the Deanery.
Producing and updating the Deanery plan for:
- The disposition of the stipendiary clergy posts, allotted to the Deanery by the Diocese.
- Changes to Parishes, including merging, creation of new parishes (possibly as ecumenical projects) and changes to Parish boundaries.
- Assisting Parishes in new developments and helping those with problems
- Maintaining effective communications between the Parishes and the Diocese, especially when feeding back an input, on behalf of all Parishes in the Deanery, via the Diocese to General Synod on major changes within the Church e.g. marriage regulations.
The Deanery, especially via the Lay chairs and Area Dean and assistant Deans, work closely with the Area Bishop of Reading and Archdeacon of Berkshire, when any changes are made within the Deanery.