THE diocesan synods of
Bradford and Ripon & Leeds voted last Satur-day in favour of
their respective dioceses' being replaced by a single, larger
"diocese of Leeds" (News, 11
March). The proposals were rejected by the Wakefield diocesan
Bradford approved the scheme
by 90 votes in favour to four against, with no abstentions; Ripon
& Leeds approved it by 70 votes to 18, with two abstentions;
and Wakefield rejected the scheme by 76 votes against 40 in favour,
with four abstentions.
In percentage terms across
all three dioceses, 66 per cent of voters approved the scheme, and
31 per cent voted against it, two per cent abstaining.
It is now up to the
Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, to decide whether to place the
scheme before the General Synod in July for a final decision.
Church House said in a
statement that, in order to approve the scheme, Dr Sentamu would
have to be satisfied either that "the interest of the diocese is so
small that the withholding of consent should not prevent the scheme
being submitted to the General Synod"; or that "there are wider
considerations affecting the province or the Church of England as a
whole which require the scheme to be submitted to the General
Dr Sentamu will not announce
his decision until Blackburn diocesan synod has voted on whether to
receive six parishes from the three dioceses concerned. The vote
takes place on 13 April. Sheffield diocese has already voted in
favour of receiving two parishes.
The chairman of the Dioceses
Commission, Professor Michael Clarke, said: "It is good to know
that the dioceses of Bradford and Ripon & Leeds support the
commission's proposals. Looking at the voting in Wakefield, there
is also significant support there, too, even though the vote was
lost. The process, however, continues. Blackburn votes next month.
It will then be for the Archbishop of York to decide how to take
this forward." The Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Nick Baines,
said that the Bradford result was "very encouraging, and not
entirely a surprise". He continued: "I hope that when the
Archbishop of York makes his decision on a referral to the General
Synod in July, he will bear in mind all the factors that have led
to this particular result. We look forward to how this will develop
in the next few months."
The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, said:
"These last few weeks have been quite difficult for all three
dioceses; so this vote was a welcome end to that part of the
process. Now let us discover with prayer and consideration where
God is leading us all in this part of Yorkshire in the future."
'Courageous' to unite
Super-diocese plans voted