Thinking Anglicans

Yorkshire Dioceses: Formal consultation begins

We have previously reported on the proposals of the Dioceses Commission on the four Yorkshire dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds, Sheffield and Wakefield, and their boundaries with the Diocese of York in July and last December.

The Dioceses Commission has now begun the formal consultation phase of its proposals for the Yorkshire dioceses with the publication of a Draft Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield Reorganisation Scheme. The Commission’s report, draft scheme and associated documents can be read at

There is also this press release, Formal consultation begins on reorganisation of West Yorkshire dioceses, which is copied below the fold.

Formal consultation begins on reorganisation of West Yorkshire dioceses

01 November 2011

The Dioceses Commission has begun the formal consultation phase of its proposals for the Yorkshire dioceses with the publication of a Draft Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield Reorganisation Scheme. Consultation on the Draft Scheme will run until 30 April, 2012 and follows consideration of more than 140 written responses to the Commission’s initial vision for the Yorkshire dioceses in its December 2010 report.

“There has been a general welcome for the main thrust of our proposals,” said Prof Michael Clarke, who chairs the Dioceses Commission, “namely the dissolution of the existing dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield, and the creation of a new diocese in their place. Our vision of a new diocese more aligned to today’s communities, with reconfigured episcopal ministry closer to the parishes, and a streamlined administration, has clearly struck chords with many. We have nevertheless listened carefully to what we have been told and our Draft Reorganisation Scheme includes a number of important changes.”

After careful reflection on the responses to the first report, the Commission has accepted the consensus view that the new diocese should be called Leeds (rather than Wakefield) and that it may also be known informally as the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales. The diocese would, as originally proposed, be configured with five episcopal areas.

The three cathedrals of Bradford, Ripon and Wakefield will be retained with equal status; but the Scheme leaves open the possibility of a future Bishop of Leeds giving Leeds Parish Church ‘Pro-cathedral’ status.

Some parishes not in West or North Yorkshire that might have moved to neighbouring dioceses will now definitely remain in the new diocese.

In most other respects the Commission has confirmed its original thinking as set out in its earlier report. There have been a range of responses on some aspects and the Commission will welcome further comments on these and the proposals as a whole over the next six months. This current draft reorganisation scheme can be amended in the light of further submissions.

“We recognise the short term uncertainties created within the three dioceses by our proposals,” said Prof Michael Clarke. “This is an inevitable consequence of change of this kind, but we want to keep these to a minimum. We welcome the establishment by the three bishops’ councils of a Preparation Group, which will enable the clergy and people of the prospective new diocese, with their staff, to shape its future by filling in all of the details that can only be decided locally.”

Alongside the detailed draft scheme, the Commission has published its latest explanatory report; a statement of the effect of the proposals on the mission of the Church of England; and a financial estimate for the changes. The financial estimate indicates that the new diocese could, within five years, cost about £0.8 million a year less than keeping the current diocesan structure. The Commission is clear that its work is mission-led and not finance-driven.

This formal consultation period will run for six months until 30 April, 2012. The Commission will then produce a final draft scheme for consideration by the relevant diocesan synods before it is debated by the General Synod. The earliest the scheme could come into effect would be late 2013 to early 2014.

Note The Commission’s report, draft scheme and associated documents can be read at

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12 years ago

I think a Diocese of Leeds is a very good idea indeed – but I think that the number of Cathedrals needs reducing – Bradford should go back to being a pro-cathedral as should Wakefield. Ripon should be the Cathedral of the diocese and LPC should be a pro-cathedral. More savings to be made by down-grading in those areas.

Fr James
Fr James
12 years ago

Is it just me or are they treating pro-cathedrals as something completely different? Surely there can be many pro-cathedrals but only one cathedral, where the actual throne is…

Michael Saunders
Michael Saunders
12 years ago

Not a good idea for those of us who live in north Yorkshire. We have little in common with West Yorkshire. i would much rather be in York Docese.
I do not think these changes will add anything to the mission of the Church. That is a complete nonsense.

i suppose this will go ahead. Ripon should be the cathedral. it is by far the best building. a diocese needs one cathedral.

12 years ago

There is good precedent in Yorkshire for subsidiary cathedrals. Ripon itself, together with Southwell and Beverley, served as a “bishopstool” during the Middle Ages – a subsidiary cathedral to York. Indeed, Southwell had certain privileges as though it were a full cathedral. and the seat in Choir which would normally have been the Dean’s was and is the seat of the (arch)bishop. There seems to be something of a fashion for declaring old major parish churches to be Minsters: maybe Bradford and Wakefield can be Collegiate Minsters.

Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

You cannot, logically, ‘reduce the number of Cathedrals’. Perhaps, though, with a reduction in the number of Bishops to cover the area, it would not be against the grain to have a portable ‘sedia gestatoria’ to be used in each of the buildings in turn, to accommodate the Diocesan Bishop on his/her rounds of the new Diocese?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x