The former Bishop of Bradford, the Right Reverend Nick Baines, has been inaugurated as the first Anglican Bishop of the new Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales.
The service at York Minster was packed with a 3,000-strong congregation.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, led the historic service to celebrate the new diocese which has been created by merging the dioceses of Bradford, Leeds and Ripon, and Wakefield.
The service was unprecedented in that it combined both a Eucharist and the legal hearing in which Nick Baines became what will be known as the Bishop of Leeds.
Bishop Baines admitted he had some feelings of trepidation about taking on the role as head of the ‘super diocese’ which is the largest in the country covering an area of 2,425 square miles.
“I am excited and daunted by the task,” he said. “In the power of the pentecostal Spirit we will show that we have the nerve and vision to do something new – with all the risks and opportunities this brings.”
In July, in another first, Bishop Baines will be enthroned three times – in each of the diocese’s cathedrals, Bradford, Ripon and Wakefield.
The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, said: “It is with great joy that we welcome and witness Bishop Nicholas Baines becoming the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Leeds, in West Yorkshire and the Dales.
“At Pentecost we celebrate the inauguration of the Church when God the Father poured out the Holy Spirit on a group of Jesus’ friends who were frightened but were faithful followers who went on to change the world.
“That call remains the same for us all, especially in the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales.
“In the midst of our excitement or our fears about the future, God the Father pours out the Holy Spirit to renew our lives as well as enabling us to tell others about Jesus Christ and to participate in transforming our communities.”
The service included an eclectic range of church music, including a brass band and several cathedral choirs, including that of Bradford.
Canon Sam Corley of Bradford Cathedral, said: “We had no less than four cathedral choirs – from Bradford, Ripon, Wakefield and York Minster – together with an eight-piece brass ensemble and a worship band from St George’s Church in Leeds.”