A NEW single diocese for West Yorkshire is set to be created after the Queen agreed to replace the three existing dioceses of Bradford, Wakefield and Ripon and Leeds.
The Queen met with her Privy Council 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 in time for Easter next year.
The three existing dioceses will be then be dissolved and a small number of parishes will transfer into their neighbouring dioceses of Blackburn and Sheffield.
The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu welcomed this next step on the road to creating a new diocese.
In a statement he 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.”
The process to choose the first Bishop of West Yorkshire and the Dales has already begun and it is hoped an announcement can be made around February with an enthronement around July.
In addition to the Bishop of Leeds, the new diocese will also be served by four area bishops of Bradford, Huddersfield, Ripon and Wakefield, with 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.
Bradford, Ripon, and Wakefield will be home to cathedrals of the new diocese.
There is also a provision for Leeds Minster to become a pro-cathedral in the future if the Bishop of Leeds so directs it.