The Dioceses Commission has released details of its finalised draft scheme for the reorganisation of Church of England diocesan structures in West Yorkshire and the Dales. In short, the proposal now is to replace the existing three dioceses of Ripon and leeds, Bradford and Wakefield and create a new single diocese. The report explains in more detail than was previously the case how, if the scheme is approved by the three Diocesan Synods and the general Synod, the three dioceses will come together. There is also an accompanying document that tells us why, in the Commission's opinion this will be better for mission across this part of Yorkshire. The Commission has concluded that a new single diocese would be the best way to meet the challenges and opportunities of the region.
The scheme provides a legal framework which would enable the following to happen:
You can read the full Scheme and the accompanying commentaries here
- The creation of one new diocese of Leeds, also to be known as the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales.
- The appointment of a Bishop of Leeds in overall charge of the new diocese (the bishop will also be area bishop for Leeds)
- Bishops in each of the five areas (Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Ripon and Wakefield), dedicated to the parishes in their area and therefore more closely in touch.
- Five archdeaconries, of which the most northerly will be Richmond and Craven.
- Parishes on the Durham and York borders to remain within the newly created diocese.
- The Retention of the cathedrals in Wakefiled, Ripon and Bradford on a co-equal basis. Any possible future changes in staffing at the discretion of the diocesan bishop.
- The possibilty of the creation of a new pro-cathedral (Leeds Minster) in Leeds at some point inthe future at the discretion of the new Bishop of leeds.
- Providing a framework for the new diocese to decide its own organisational structure and ways of working. The Commission anticipates that this will allow the new diocese to make savings that it can reinvest in mission.
I shall comment further when I have had time to digest the implications but I welcome the fact that the Commission has recommended one new diocese, I think the Episcopal Areas and archdeaconries are workable, and I am glad that we are now much clearer about what the future holds. The bishops and senior staff are very willing to come to Deanery Synods and PCCs with a presentation about the Scheme and to speak to Diocesan Synod Members to answer questions and discuss anxieties between now and March 2nd when the Diocesan Synod has to vote on whether or not to adopt the Scheme. If you would like to take advantage of this please contact the Diocesan office or my office as soon as possible to book a date. Don't leave it until February!!