The Queen has said yes to a new single diocese for West Yorkshire and the Dales to replace the three existing dioceses of Bradford, Wakefield, Ripon and Leeds.
The Queen met with her Privy Council last Wednesday night and gave her approval to the reorganisation scheme and the formal orders for this are now being sent out.
This means the new diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales will come into existence at Easter 2014 when the three existing dioceses will be dissolved and a small number of parishes will transfer into their neighbouring dioceses of Blackburn and Sheffield.
The Archbishop of York welcomed this next step on the road to creating a new diocese and said: “On July 8 this year, The General Synod of the Church of England made the historic decision to create the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales: Leeds – a diocese which will bring together the diversity and life of Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield.
“Our beloved Church of England is all about Mission and Ministry – living and proclaiming the Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ in every part of our Parishes and communities. This new Diocese will give the Church the flexibility to deliver God’s message of love, justice and mercy afresh to this generation.
“As we, in God’s Own County, take on this exciting challenge, we look to our Risen and Ascended Lord, Jesus Christ, as the author and perfector of our faith, to teach and guide us as we labour in God’s Mission field in West Yorkshire and the Dales, for the salvation and well-being of all.”
The process to choose the first Bishop of West Yorkshire and the Dales has already begun and it is hoped that an announcement can be made around February with an enthronement around July.
In addition to the new diocesan Bishop who will have resposibility for the area of Leeds, the new diocese will also be served by four area bishops of Bradford, Huddersfield, Ripon and Wakefield (the latter two being renamed Sees currently occupied by the Bishops of Knaresborough, the Rt Revd James Bell and the Bishop of Pontefract, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson).
The Cathedrals of Bradford, Ripon, and Wakefield will be the cathedrals of the new diocese. There is provision for Leeds Minster to become a pro-cathedral in the future if the Bishop of Leeds so directs.
The scheme was drawn up to enhance the ability of the Church to respond to the challenges of mission in the West Yorkshire region