THINKING ANGLICANS

proposed new diocese for West Yorkshire

Updated Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening

The final version of the proposal to replace the dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds, and Wakefield by a new diocese of Leeds (or West Yorkshire and the Dales) was discussed by the three diocesan synods this morning.

Bradford voted in favour.
Voting: 90 for, 4 against, no abstentions

Ripon & Leeds voted in favour.
Voting: 70 for, 18 against, 2 abstentions

Wakefield voted against.
Voting: 40 for, 76 against, 4 abstentions

The Church of England quickly issued this press release after the votes.

Results of vote on new single diocese for West Yorkshire
02 March 2013

Bradford and Ripon & Leeds dioceses today voted in favour of a scheme from the Dioceses Commission to reorganise Church of England structures in West Yorkshire and the Dales. Wakefield diocese rejected the scheme.

The neighbouring dioceses of Blackburn and Sheffield receiving six and two parishes respectively from the area of the proposed new single diocese also need to vote on the scheme: Sheffield gave its consent on 16 February; Blackburn votes on 13 April.

The overall proposal is to replace the existing dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield and create a new single one.

Now consent has not been given by at least one of the dioceses, it is up to the Archbishop of York to decide whether to allow the scheme to go forward for debate at General Synod (possibly in July). This could happen if he is satisfied either that

(a) the interest of the diocese is so small that the withholding of consent should not prevent the scheme being submitted to the General Synod; or

(b) there are wider considerations affecting the province or the Church of England as a whole which require the scheme to be submitted to the General Synod.

The Archbishop won’t be in a position to announce his decision until after Blackburn diocese’s vote is known in mid-April.

Speaking today after the votes, Chair of the Commission, Professor Michael Clarke said: ‘It is good to know that the Dioceses of Bradford and Ripon & Leeds support the Commission’s proposals. Looking at the voting in Wakefield, there is significant support there, even though the vote was lost.. The process, however, continues. Blackburn votes next month. It will then be for the Archbishop of York to decide how to take this forward.’

The three diocese have also issued their own press releases.

Bradford votes for new, single diocese
Ripon and Leeds approves plans for a new diocese
Wakefield says No to Dioceses Commission Draft Plan for new single diocese

Sunday update

The Radio Leeds Johnny I’Anson programme gave extensive coverage at intervals to this story this morning. This included interviews with Nick Baines, the Bishop of Bradford, (starting at 1 hour 9 minutes) and Stephen Platten, the Bishop of Wakefield, (starting at 2 hours 7 minutes).

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Mike Benwell
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Mike Benwell

I was at the Ripon & Leeds synod meeting this morning. There would be much disappointment in this diocese, and I imagine in Bradford, if the scheme came to nothing after all the work that has been done, in the face of the enthusiasm for the scheme, and in the light of the majorities in the synod votes of thse two dioceses. Perhaps the Archbishop will still take it to General Synod, or perhaps a way can be found to bring forward a scheme involving just Ripon & Leeds and Bradford more quickly that we are told is possible.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

Wakefield in denial. Speaks volumes for its leadership team and where it is. The scheme will go through. Better to be in the tent with a voice than outside with the future being dictated to you.

Tim Moore
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Tim Moore

Why has Wakefield Diocese voted against?