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Church fails to reach agreement over super diocese
THE Archbishop of York will decide whether a plan for one large diocese covering West Yorkshire and the Yorkshire Dales should be discussed nationally after local synods failed to reach agreement.
Church leaders from the dioceses of Ripon and Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield voted on a proposal to dissolve and create a single diocese on Saturday.
While Ripon and Leeds and Bradford synods voted in favour, Wakefield rejected the plans.
With no consent to the scheme from Wakefield, it will be up to the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, to decide whether to allow the scheme to go forward for debate at General Synod, possibly in July.
The plans to restructure the Church of England in West and North Yorkshire were put forward by the Dioceses Commission in a bid to make the church more efficient.
If the proposals go ahead, it would create a new Diocese of Leeds, to be known as West Yorkshire and the Dales.
It would be led by a diocesan bishop based in Leeds and divided into five areas - Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Ripon and Wakefield.
Two neighbouring dioceses are also involved in the process - Sheffield and Blackburn - as they stand to gain extra parishes from the arrangement.
Sheffield has already agreed, but Blackburn diocese’s vote will only be known in April.
The Archbishop will only be in a position to announce his decision after Blackburn diocese's vote is known.
The Ripon and Leeds vote took place at a meeting at St Aidan’s CE High School in Harrogate where church leaders voted 70 votes in favour, 18 against with 2 abstentions The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Right Reverend John Packer, voted in favour of the plans.
He said: “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.”
Until a decision is reached, the current post of Archdeacon of Richmond will only be filled temporarily. The post became vacant following the departure of the Venerable Janet Henderson to Wales.
The Reverend Nicholas Henshall has stepped in to fill the role until a permanent successor can be appointed.
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