From Kate Taylor
Sir, - The recommendation of the Dioceses Commission that the
dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds, and Wakefield should be
brought together will come before the General Synod on 8 July.
Since, after a very full consideration, Wakefield diocesan synod
is opposed to the scheme, it is to be hoped that the General Synod
will reject it. It would certainly be premature to accept it before
the implications of some of the more radical proposals are fully
explored at a national level.
Recognising the immense importance of episcopal care, the scheme
provides for a diocesan and four further area bishops. It is,
however, difficult to see how - more compellingly after the
consecration of women as bishops - the differences in churchmanship
which exist between the parishes in any one area can be happily
accommodated by this model. The present arrangement of a bishop and
a suffragan, complementing each other and serving together across a
(smaller) diocese, could continue to work well.
Then there is arguably the perversion of the very nature of a
cathedral, and the anomalous position in which the three present
cathedrals would be left. They would lie in three of the new
episcopal areas. The diocesan, serving also as the fifth area
bishop, may choose to have Leeds Parish Church elevated to a
pro-cathedral. The fifth area would have no cathedral at all within
Moreover, the focus, love and loyalties built up over at least a
century of mission by each of the existing cathedrals will be
broken. Regrets about this are not to be dismissed as mere
nostalgia. Relationships matter to the people in the pews.
I question whether the scheme is the right way forward for the
Church, or a rather messy pragmatic and uncertain answer to
(Hon. Lay Canon of Wakefield Cathedral)
19 Pinder's Grove
Wakefield WF1 4AH
From Mr Timothy Slater
Sir, - A full-page advertisement in the Church Times
(21 June, page 27) draws attention to a leaflet published on the
website of the diocese of Wakefield.
The leaflet seeks to influence members of the General Synod as
they consider the proposals of the Dioceses Commission for the
creation of a new diocese to serve the communities of West
Yorkshire and the Dales, as laid before the Synod by the Archbishop
of York, Dr Sentamu, in regard to his responsibilities under the
Dioceses Pastoral and Mission Measure 2007.
Dr Sentamu, in giving his reasons for this, recognises the
concerns of some in the diocese of Wakefield, but goes on to
explain that, under the Measure, he has to have regard to wider
concerns affecting the mission and ministry of the Church. Members
of the Synod should read his explanations carefully, along with the
report of the Dioceses Commission.
Both documents seek to focus on the needs of the wider Church
rather than on the interests of any single diocese. The Bishop of
Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, in an article in the most
recent diocesan paper, about his ten years as Bishop, states: "We
have to keep looking outwards."
In stark contrast, the leaflet on the Wakefield website ignores
the bigger picture and looks only inwards.
Bishop Platten is also on record as saying that he looked
forward to an honest and open debate on the proposals of the
Dioceses Commission. There are some of us in the Wakefield diocese
who find it difficult to reconcile those admirable concepts in
terms of an anonymous leaflet and a large advertisement paid for by
an anonymous donor.
17 Wentworth Street
Huddersfield HD1 5PX