Mixed vote on new ‘Super Diocese’

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The Archbishop of York will be now asked to rule on whether controversial plans for a “super-diocese” can move forward.

Voting on the future of the Church of England dioceses of Ripon and Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield, took place on Saturday.

But the plans will now be referred to the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, after Wakefield voted against the decision.

Bradford, and Ripon and Leeds dioceses voted in favour of the reorganisation, and the mixed result means it is now up to the Archbishop, Dr John Sentamu, to decide if the plan should be placed before General Synod for a final decision.

The Bishop of Wakefield, Stephen Platten, who voted against the scheme said: “I am in no doubt of the need for change, but not this change. We know the church needs development, that we need new ideas, new vision and we must recommit ourselves to working for a new vision across the diocese and across Yorkshire.

“Here in Wakefield, we shall all work together to strengthen our churches and give them new life.”

Under the recommendations, the three existing dioceses would be dissolved, and a new, de-centralised diocese would be created, led by a diocesan bishop based in Leeds and divided into five areas – Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Ripon and Wakefield.

Critics have previously complained that the proposed new set-up will be dominated by Leeds and others believe the changes are financially-driven.

Once fully established, the net savings in revenue costs will be about £800,000 a year.

The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, John Packer, who voted in favour, said “I welcome the clear approval of the Diocesan Synod for the scheme. I am also grateful for the open and honest debate we have had.

“I hope that this will mean the Archbishop of York can take the scheme to General Synod in July – further delay and indecision would be damaging to the mission of the church in this region”.