Decision day due on future of Bradford's Church of England diocese

The Right Reverend Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford

The Right Reverend Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

A decision day which could see Bradford losing its status as a Church of England diocese is getting closer as synod members get ready to take part in a key vote on Saturday.

When the Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield simultaneously vote on ‘radical’ reorganisation plans it could lead to a new single super diocese for West Yorkshire and the Dales being created.

Bradford synod members will be asked to vote on the plan in a secret ballot held in Skipton on Saturday. At the same time, 12.30pm, synod members of the other two dioceses involved will also be meeting in Harrogate and Wakefield to take part in their final debates and votes, which will then be counted and revealed.

If all three dioceses vote yes, then the scheme is expected to be placed before the General Synod for ultimate approval at its July meeting.

If the General Synod gives the go-ahead, the shake-up could take place as soon as Easter, 2014.

Even if one or more of the three dioceses vote against the scheme it could still happen because the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has the power to decide whether to put the issue before the General Synod anyway.

The Bishop of Bradford, the Right Reverend Nick Baines, is adamant the formation of a single diocese would be “good news”, despite the district losing its standalone status and his existing position as a fully-fledged Bishop of Bradford being made redundant.

He said: “A Bradford episcopal area with a local area bishop within a larger Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales will bring the benefits of scale and earthed local focus. Area bishops are closer to the ground, offer better pastoral care and more local strategic leadership, and the area itself would be able to draw on a larger pool of expertise and experience.

“Change always brings challenges, but we need to change and these proposals offer a way forward from which all can benefit.” He said effectively Bradford would get two bishops, one to hold the diocese together and another working in the Bradford and Keighley area covering 50 churches.

He said: “When I was Bishop of Croydon, the area identity was strong for some purposes and the Diocesan (Southwark) identity strong for others. There will be a Bishop of Bradford, who will be the Bishop for Bradford; identity is not tied up purely in a church organisational structure.”

The Bishop also said there were no plans for compulsory redundancies if the change goes ahead.

A diocesan spokesman said the Bishop “potentially but not inevitably” will be asked to take on a new role in the new West Yorkshire and the Dales diocese if the changes go ahead.

Comments (4)

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10:32am Thu 28 Feb 13

ertnec says...

The days of churches are numbered and we see so many closing down and standing empty or turned into houses or shops. I live in a area were there is two churches owned by the church of England one of them St James needs handed other to a trust as why should the parish have to look after this at the cost of the other one. Sadly I had to go to the other church recently for a funeral and found it cold with no heating on and the place looked liked it needed a lot of work in side decorating etc. Churches are surpose to be welcoming sorry this was not, the diocease neds to look at its stock and sell of some of it so the money can be put back into the ones there have left.
The days of churches are numbered and we see so many closing down and standing empty or turned into houses or shops. I live in a area were there is two churches owned by the church of England one of them St James needs handed other to a trust as why should the parish have to look after this at the cost of the other one. Sadly I had to go to the other church recently for a funeral and found it cold with no heating on and the place looked liked it needed a lot of work in side decorating etc. Churches are surpose to be welcoming sorry this was not, the diocease neds to look at its stock and sell of some of it so the money can be put back into the ones there have left. ertnec
  • Score: 0

11:02am Thu 28 Feb 13

Albion. says...

The day when churches no longer exist in Bradford, is very easy to imagine.
The day when churches no longer exist in Bradford, is very easy to imagine. Albion.
  • Score: 0

11:17am Thu 28 Feb 13

Outraged English Subject says...

Not just Bradford! A few other places too.
Not just Bradford! A few other places too. Outraged English Subject
  • Score: 0

5:32pm Sun 3 Mar 13

A Anstee says...

This is a very secular approach to a very spiritual problem. The only people who are going to suffer are people who need the church to have its own individual base. ie those who have issues which make attending church difficult orthose who are abused. It would have been a better move to have individual diocese with peripetetic
Bishops with no particular allegience to a particular parish but with the capacity to be available at any for prayer, and as i have once suggested having monthly surgeries with an open invitation to the public to see the bishop and discuss concerns as a parishoner. That way if there was any mischief going on in a church people in or out of the church system could raise the alarm. But also at the same time the Bishop will be more approachable and much good come come from the personal contact. But anyway i applied for a job but God got there first lol
This is a very secular approach to a very spiritual problem. The only people who are going to suffer are people who need the church to have its own individual base. ie those who have issues which make attending church difficult orthose who are abused. It would have been a better move to have individual diocese with peripetetic Bishops with no particular allegience to a particular parish but with the capacity to be available at any for prayer, and as i have once suggested having monthly surgeries with an open invitation to the public to see the bishop and discuss concerns as a parishoner. That way if there was any mischief going on in a church people in or out of the church system could raise the alarm. But also at the same time the Bishop will be more approachable and much good come come from the personal contact. But anyway i applied for a job but God got there first lol A Anstee
  • Score: 0

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