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New super-diocese planned to become reality next Easter

16 August 2013


Winding: a road in the Yorkshire Dales

Winding: a road in the Yorkshire Dales

THE new super-diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales ( News, 12 July) will come into existence next Easter, a timetable published this week suggests.

The "roadmap" agreed by the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, and the existing diocesan bishops, besides setting out all the formal procedures that have to be completed, includes celebrations to honour the three existing dioceses of Ripon & Leeds, Bradford, and Wakefield, which will vanish after the "Appointed Day" next Easter.

The first significant step on the journey will be the appointment of a diocesan Bishop of Leeds. The process begins this month with a transitional Vacancy-in-See Committee, from all three dioceses, producing a "statement of need".

The Government's Crown Nominations Commission will meet on 12 November to consider candidates. Its choice will be revealed in February. If all goes to plan, the new Bishop would be elected during Holy Week, and enthroned in the summer.

The first diocesan synod will meet in the autumn of next year, and a new diocesan synod will be elected in 2015. The final pieces should fit into place during 2016.

In addition, a number of important behind-the-scenes administrative tasks will need to be completed by the end of this year, including the formation of new companies, financial management, human resources, and other consultations. To ensure their swift progress, Dr Sentamu has appointed the current project manager, John Tuckett, to the post of acting diocesan secretary. Other transitional appointments to come will include an acting chancellor, diocesan registrar, and a director of education.

The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, said that the roadmap gave "welcome clarity to the planning for the new diocese, and will enable parishes, individuals, and organisations to better understand the process. By concentrating our efforts on the efficient handover of responsibilities, we can all ensure that the new diocese is given the best possible start."

Diocesan celebrations in Wakefield will take place in Lent and Holy Week next year.

The Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, said: "I'm very pleased to see publication of a clear timeline for the creation of the new diocese. I am confident that this gives the existing dioceses time to prepare properly, but also that there is a clear process for setting up this new and exciting venture. We will need to be both diligent and patient as we now proceed in the months ahead."

The Bishop of Ripon & Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, said: "I welcome the roadmap, which gives us clarity as we look forward to the future. There is a vision here to be seized, and I pray that we will all work together to take this opportunity to further the work of the Kingdom of God in West Yorkshire & the Dales".

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