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Rural Dean

Each diocese in the Church of England is divided into deaneries. The rural dean is the bishop's deputy in the deanery. He is sometimes elected by the clergy, but more often chosen by the bishop. The office in England dates back to the eleventh century, although its modern form largely stems from the nineteenth century. His chief duty is to preside over the chapter (the clergy in the deanery) and at rural deanery conferences of clergy and laity. With synodical government he is a joint chairman of the deanery conference (clergy and lay), and in some dioceses new titles are being introduced for the office since particularly in large towns the title “rural” is inapposite. Other functions include an annual inspection and seeing that provision is made for services in parishes where for whatever reason there is no minister.