THE sprawling Church of England diocese that covers most of the Yorkshire Dales could be about to disappear – swallowed up in an even bigger area.
Radical re-organisation plans are being discussed this weekend which could see three existing dioceses dissolved to create a new, combined “super-diocese.”
The Ripon and Leeds synod meets in Harrogate on Saturday, March 2, at the same time as the synods of Bradford and Wakefield.
And voting will take place simultaneously at all three meetings on the plan to dissolve the three different dioceses to create a single new Diocese of Leeds.
The de-centralised diocese would be led by a diocesan bishop based in Leeds and divided into five areas - Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Ripon and Wakefield - to achieve what the Church calls “a strong element of devolution within a context of rationalization.”
Should all three dioceses vote in favour, then the scheme is expected to be placed before the General Synod for final approval at its July meeting.
If the General Synod gives it the go-ahead, then the new combined diocese, to be also known as West Yorkshire and the Dales, could be launched as soon as Easter 2014.
However, if one or more dioceses votes against the plan then the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, could still decide to place it before the General Synod for a final decision.