THE Dioceses Commission has decided to
press ahead with proposals to merge three Yorkshire dioceses,
despite protests from Wakefield diocese (
News, 29 June).
The Commission has proposed that
Bradford, Ripon & Leeds, and Wakefield should be abolished and
replaced by a single, larger diocese (
News, 10 December 2010).
A statement released last week, says:
"At its meeting on 26 September, the Commission was able to
complete its consideration of all the submissions made to it on the
draft Reorganisation Scheme for the dioceses of Bradford, Ripon
& Leeds, and Wakefield.
"It carefully considered the
representations made to it, both at this stage and earlier, and has
unanimously decided to proceed with a draft scheme bringing all
three dioceses together.
"The Commission firmly believes that
the scheme represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for
reinvigorating mission, which should be grasped."
Details of the revised scheme will be
released by the end of this month. The Commission will also give
its response to the various representations that have been made to
The criticisms of the scheme by the
Bishop and Dean of Wakefield are implicitly acknowledged in the
statement: "The Commission believes that the benefits to the
Church's mission and ministry in West Yorkshire and the Dales will
only be fully realised by a scheme embracing all three
Professor Michael Clarke, who chairs
the Commission, is quoted as saying: "The Commission is clear that
this represents a remarkable and unique opportunity for the Church
The scheme will be considered by the
three diocesan synods affected before the end of March next year.
The General Synod will be invited to debate the scheme in July next
year. If agreed, elements of the scheme could be implemented as
early as next autumn.
Welcoming the announcement, the Bishop
of Ripon & Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, said: "I look
forward to the publication of the revised scheme at the end of
October." The Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, said: "I
look forward to this further opportunity to explore how a new,
bigger diocese could enhance the work of the Church in this part of
"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 Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd
Stephen Platten, said: "We look forward to an open and honest
debate within the diocese of Wakefield. It will be important that
people holding a range of views on the proposal have an oppor-
tunity to contribute to a wide-ranging and fruitful discussion
before the diocesan synod votes next March."