A plea to free Wakefield diocese from Scheme

by
05 July 2013

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From the Dean of Wakefield, the Archdeacon of Halifax, the Chairs of the Diocesan Houses of Clergy and Laity, His Honour Judge John Bullimore, and others

Sir, - The General Synod will soon determine the future of the Church of England in West Yorkshire. Many of us in Wakefield hope that they will reject the present Scheme from the Dioceses Commission. We welcome the opportunity for change and renewal, but believe that this Scheme will rearrange the dioceses without addressing most of the pressing challenges facing our Church.

The principal mission initiatives in the report focus on the creation of an Area Bishop Scheme (a format that is in the process of being rolled back in many dioceses), and an alignment with local-authority boundaries (which themselves are bound to change, leaving us once again out of kilter).

Where is the needful emphasis on church growth, on focused training and support for clergy and laity, on building morale, and on facing the challenge of too many listed buildings? And why risk the ministry of the three cathedrals in these dioceses, by forcing them to reinvent themselves and putting their funding in jeopardy, when these are making missional headway?

Tensions in this part of the world are running high, and to force this restructuring on us will lead to a lengthy period of rebuilding relationships, long-winded negotiations, complicated administrative reshuffling, and the reinvention of the diocesan wheel, all of which will distract us from our primary purpose of worship, ministry, and mission.

For two years, Wakefield has been asking the Commission to allow Bradford to join with Ripon & Leeds, which is their desire, and to leave us free to rediscover our missionary roots. The Commission has not listened to us. We hope and pray the General Synod will.

(The Very Revd) JONATHAN GREENER, Dean of Wakefield; (Judge) JOHN BULLIMORE (Wakefield Diocesan Synod; Bishop's Council); (the Revd Dr) MATT BULLIMORE (Wakefield Diocesan Synod); (Canon) DAVID BURROWS, Rural Dean of Brighouse and Elland (Wakefield Deanery Synod); (the Revd) RICHARD BURGE (Wakefield Diocesan Synod); ANGELA BYRAM, Chair of the Diocesan House of Laity, Wakefield; (Canon) ROBERT COOPER, Rural Dean of Pontefract (Wakefield Diocesan Synod, Bishop's Council); (the Ven. Dr) ANNE DAWTRY, Archdeacon of Halifax; JOHN HANSON, JP (Wakefield Diocesan Synod; Bishop's Council); (Canon) ANDREA HOFBAUER, Canon Precentor of Wakefield Cathedral; (Canon) JOHN LAWSON, Canon Librarian of Wakefield Cathedral (Wakefield Diocesan Synod); (the Revd) JUNE LAWSON, Priest Vicar of Wakefield Cathedral (Wakefield Diocesan Synod); (Canon) TONY MACPHERSON, Canon Missioner of Wakefield Cathedral and Chair of the Diocesan House of Clergy; JOHN MCLEOD, Chair of Wakefield Cathedral Council (Wakefield Diocesan Synod); (Canon) MICHAEL RAWSON, Sub-Dean and Canon Pastor, Wakefield Cathedral, and Chair of Wakefield Diocesan Advisory Committee; JOHN SEACOME (Wakefield Cathedral Chapter, Bishop's Council); ROD WALKER (Wakefield Diocesan Synod; Wakefield Cathedral Chapter), Churchwarden; SHELAGH WING (Wakefield Cathedral Chapter), Churchwarden

c/o Cathedral Centre
8-10 Westmorland Street
Wakefield
West Yorkshire WF1 1PJ

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