Diocesan reorganisation referred to General Synod.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has announced that the Dioceses Commission Draft Reorganisation Scheme for Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield will now be voted on by General Synod in July.
Bradford, Ripon & Leeds, Sheffield and Blackburn Dioceses all voted in favour of the draft scheme progressing - Wakefield Diocese voted against.
Dr Sentamu said: ‘The General Synod will be able to form its own view and hear and assess the arguments that will be put to it from a range of perspectives. There are wider considerations affecting the Province of York which require the draft scheme to be submitted to the General Synod - and I am grateful that we will all have a further opportunity to reflect prayerfully on the proposals that are before us.’
Bishop Nick says, ‘I am pleased that the Archbishop is asking the wider church through the General Synod to debate this matter. It is vital that the church has vision and can handle wise change.’
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The essential proposal is that there would be a single diocese for West Yorkshire and the Dales made up of five areas (Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Ripon and Wakefield), each with their own area bishop. The Diocesan Bishop would be the Bishop of Leeds (and also the area bishop for Leeds). All three cathedrals would be retained on an equal basis (each with distinctive missional strategies).
In the words of the Dioceses Commission: ‘A single diocese would combine the best of the intimacy of the local with the advantages of scale.’
Diocesan Secretary, Debbie Child, says, ‘The Dioceses Commission responded to Bradford's desire to retain the family feel that our size allows, by proposing the five areas which correspond more logically with current city and county boundaries.’
The new diocese would decide its own organisational structure and ways of working, so much of the detail is yet to be worked out, but the group overseeing the preparation has begun to explore which services would be best provided centrally (eg - safeguarding and education), which by the areas and which would be shared between both.
The vote in March will just be a yes or no for the basic scheme and the framework it provides - some of the advantages of which can be summarised as follows:
The full texts of the scheme can be found on the diocesan website www.bradford.anglican.org
Bishop Nick says, ‘I welcome the decision by the Dioceses Commission to go ahead with their proposals for a new diocese for West Yorkshire and the Dales. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the church to take responsibility for being creative - making a diocese that is truly new, and not a merger of three. As we explore the potential, and the pros and cons, it will test our creative vision, prophetic courage and commitment, and will ensure that our eventual decisions are fully informed and made for the right reasons’.
The full text of the Dioceses Commission statement can be found under News on the diocesan website www.bradford.anglican.org
From Bishop Nick’s Blog 29/9/12:
… ‘Forget the fate of bishops. Two will retire. I took on Bradford knowing that acceptance of the proposals would mean me losing my post. That is fine. The church does not owe me a living and it is not about my security. That is irrelevant to any consideration of the merits of this scheme.
We now have until March to weigh up the details and make a decision about the proposals as a whole. There might be deal-breakers. But, until we see the detail, we won't know. So, for now, we need to ask serious questions about our motivation, vision and theological basis for our handling of what will inevitably be difficult proposals. I don't know what I will think until I see the final scheme. But, I can start working on my rationale.
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