‘Super diocese’ splits opinions

Jonathan Greener the new Dean at Wakefield Cathedral
Jonathan Greener the new Dean at Wakefield Cathedral

PROPOSALS that could put Wakefield Cathedral at the heart of a new diocese for Yorkshire have been rejected at a meeting of the local church parliament.

Radical plans to merge the dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield were revealed in the Express back in January after they were published by the Church of England’s Diocese Commission.

It said each area would retain its own cathedral, but Wakefield would become the principal cathedral for the new diocese, which would be called the Diocese of Wakefield.

But members of the Wakefield Diocesan Synod, who met last week, voted against Wakefield being at the centre of the diocese, over concerns it would cause division instead of unity.

Some synod members were not against the proposal to create one large diocese, but did not think it was a good idea to name it after any one of the cities.

Others like the Bishop of Wakefield, Stephen Platten, were not happy about plans for a ‘super diocese,’ but supported closer working across the three dioceses.

Other suggestions included calling it The Diocese for West Yorkshire and the Dales - but under current rules a diocese has to be named after a cathedral city.

The Dean of Wakefield, Jonathan Greener, said: “We have to remember that this is a preliminary consultation, and everyone’s views will be taken into account.

“Here at Wakefield Cathedral we believe the draft proposals to put Wakefield at the heart of the new diocese would help to re-invigorate and re-energise our city, but we can be sure that whatever the final proposal, this cathedral has a bright and positive future.”

Within the proposed set-up, each area would retain their own bishop.

But synod members were concerned that the plan was finance driven.

The earliest the scheme could come into effect is 2014.