Wakefield Diocese will cease to exist

editorial image

Little more than a week since the Wakefield Diocese celebrated its 125th anniversary, a decision has been made to scrap it.

The General Synod, which is the governing body of the Church of England, has today approved a draft reorganisation scheme that will see the creation of a new Diocese of Leeds, serving West Yorkshire and The Dales.

It will replace the current dioceses of Wakefield, Bradford and Ripon and Leeds.

The new diocese will come into existence on a date to be set by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, after the scheme has been confirmed by The Queen.

The process of appointing Bishop of Leeds will begin soon.

It’s the first time synod members have voted to dissolve a diocese against its will, after Wakefield voted against the proposals earlier this year, saying bigger isn’t always better’ and that the benefits of the change do not justify its considerable cost’.

Tonight a tweet posted by Wakefield Cathedral simply read: “Sad, but we have to work for the future.”

Professor Michael Clarke, chairman of the Dioceses Commission that prepared the scheme, said: “Synod’s historic decision confirms the commission’s judgement that the radical creation of a new diocese centred on Leeds offered the best way of meeting the mission challenges facing the church in West Yorkshire.”

In addition to the Bishop of Leeds, the new diocese will be served by four area bishops of Bradford, Huddersfield, Ripon and Wakefield

The Cathedrals of Bradford, Ripon, and Wakefield will be the cathedrals of the new diocese.

Existing archdeacon and deaneries will be reorganised under the scheme, and a small number of parishes will transfer to neighbouring dioceses. Detailed arrangements about the workings of the new diocese are still to be decided.

The parish church of All Saints became Wakefield Cathedral in 1888, and the Wakefield Diocese, which celebrated its 125th anniversary last week, was born.