THE Anglican Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield will vote on proposals next month that they be dissolved and a new single diocese for West Yorkshire and the Dales be created in their place.
The Right Reverend Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford, gives his view on the decision set to be taken March 2.
He said: “It was in November 2010 that the Dioceses Commission did what it had been asked to do and published proposals for reorganizing the Church of England in West Yorkshire and the Dales.
“Having taken soundings from people across church, civic life and wider society, it proposed the dissolution of the Dioceses of Wakefield, Bradford and Ripon & Leeds, and the creation of a completely new diocese to cover (with a bit of tidying up around the edges) the same region more effectively.
“This wasn’t an indictment of the past, but a ‘getting ahead of the game’ as we look to the future – and how the church can best serve the communities we are called to.
“The proposal to have one large diocese, organised in five episcopal areas (each with their own bishop who would work together as a team), offers the benefits of scale together with the intimacy of smaller, more homogenous areas. Clergy get better care and parishes get better attention.
“Area bishops are closer to the ground, offer better pastoral care and strategic leadership more locally, whilst forming a wider and more coherent diocesan team with the potential for a greater spread of gifts and experience. It’s a win-win.
“And the Church of England, believe it or not, should be even more ready to change than other organisations. So I hope we won’t be limited by fear, nostalgia or protection of our own comfort, but that we’ll have the vision to take faith seriously and vote for change.”