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Diocesan moment

15 February 2013


From Mr Philip Johanson
Sir, - With the announcement that the Bishop of Liverpool is to retire in August (News, 1 February), and given that the bishoprics of Blackburn and Manchester are currently vacant, is it not an ideal opportunity for the Dioceses Commission to consider the future of the dioceses in the north-west, as it is currently doing with regard to dioceses in Yorkshire?

It is extremely unlikely that the three neighbouring dioceses will all be vacant again at the same time. Surely it is an excellent time for blue-sky thinking.

While the Crown Nominations Commission has already had meetings with regard to Blackburn, surely a final decision could be put on hold until the Dioceses Commission reports. The process regarding Manchester likewise could be put on hold until such time as long-term decisions are made.

Bishops are often keen to suspend a living during a vacancy to allow time to consider future strategy and parochial units. The same could also happen with regard to vacant bishoprics.

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