Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales
The Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales, officially the Diocese of Leeds, is a diocese (administrative division) of the Church of England, in the Province of York. It is the largest diocese in England by area, including almost the whole of West Yorkshire, the western part of North Yorkshire, the town of Barnsley in South Yorkshire, and parts of County Durham and Lancashire which were historically in Yorkshire. It includes the cities of Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and Ripon. It was created on 20 April 2014 following a review of the dioceses in Yorkshire and the dissolution of the dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds, and Wakefield.
The diocese is led by the Bishop of Leeds and has three cathedrals of equal status: Ripon, Wakefield, and Bradford. There are five episcopal areas within the diocese, each led by an area bishop: Leeds, Ripon, Wakefield, Bradford and Huddersfield.
Review and 2010 report
The Dioceses Commission (as established in a new form in 2008), began its review of the dioceses of Yorkshire (York, Ripon & Leeds, Wakefield, Sheffield and Bradford) on the 2009 recommendation of the House of Bishops. The review group considered the best ways for the Church of England in Yorkshire to serve the Church's mission to those communities. The group quickly decided that the dioceses of York and of Sheffield would need little adjustment, so focused on the dioceses in West Yorkshire and The Dales.
In its first report, published December 2010, the Commission suggested one large diocese covering the area currently covered by the dioceses of Ripon & Leeds, of Wakefield and of Bradford, but divided into five episcopal areas, each with an area bishop (using the "area model" used elsewhere, e.g. the Diocese of London). Additionally, one of those five area bishops would also be the diocesan bishop over the new diocese. The five areas (and bishops) suggested were based on considerations including civic communities and established foci of local church activity. Those areas are: Ripon, Wakefield, Bradford, Leeds and Huddersfield. Creating this diocese and area system would involve completely dissolving the existing diocesan sees, renaming the two existing suffragan sees and creating a new diocesan see and two more suffragan sees.
The Archdeaconry of Richmond would expand into the current Archdeaconry of Craven (Diocese of Bradford) and be renamed the Archdeaconry of Richmond and Craven, and would form the episcopal area of Ripon, while the Archdeaconry of Halifax would form the episcopal area of Huddersfield. The Leeds episcopal area would consist the Archdeaconry of Leeds, the Bradford area the Archdeaconry of Bradford and the Wakefield area the Archdeaconry of Pontefract.
In the 2010 report, a newly created Bishop of Wakefield would have been the diocesan bishop, and the diocese called the Diocese of Wakefield. Wakefield Cathedral would have been the "principal cathedral", while Bradford and Ripon Cathedrals would have remained as cathedrals of the diocese, with "seat[s] of honour" for their respective area bishops. The current colleges of the cathedrals would merge into one diocesan college, with the Dean of Wakefield as Dean and the Deans of Bradford and of Ripon would become Vice-Deans of that college.
Following extensive consultation with the three dioceses and other interested parties, the Commission issued a second report and Draft Reorganisation Scheme in October 2011. The draft scheme featured a few alterations from the initial report:
- As the largest and most populous city in the area, it was generally felt that Leeds should be the diocesan see. Thus, the new diocese would be the Diocese of Leeds and its diocesan bishop the Bishop of Leeds.
- Accordingly, none of the three cathedrals would be a "principal cathedral". Rather, they would have equal status, with a merged college led by a presiding dean (initially the senior one by tenure – i.e. Jonathan Greener, Dean of Wakefield – but later the one appointed by the diocesan bishop), while each cathedral's dean would remain in charge of his or her own cathedral.
- Additionally, the Leeds Minster would become the pro-cathedral for the new diocese if and when the diocesan bishop decides. The governance of that church would not change, but the rector would become a canon of the diocesan college.
It was announced on 28 September 2012 that the Commission had resolved, having considered all responses to its public consultation, to go ahead with the draft scheme, which will be discussed and voted upon at the three diocesan synods.
2013 diocesan votes and creation
The existing diocesan synods of the dioceses of Bradford, of Ripon and Leeds and of Wakefield voted on the proposed scheme on 2 March 2013. The Bradford and Ripon & Leeds diocesan synods voted in favour of the proposals, while Wakefield's did not; the scheme may go before the General Synod of the Church of England without all three dioceses' approval according to the discretion of the Archbishop of York. On 9 May 2013, the Archbishop announced that he had instructed the chair of the Diocese Commission to set the Draft Scheme before General Synod for consideration (i.e. debate and voting.)
The proposal was approved on 8 July 2013 by the General Synod. The new diocese was created on Easter Day, 20 April 2014, becoming the first new diocese in the Church of England since 1929 and the largest diocese in England by area, covering 2,425 square miles (6,280 km2) and 2.3 million people, served by 656 churches.
The diocese, known formally as the Diocese of Leeds but referred to as the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales, is led by the Bishop of Leeds. There are five episcopal areas within the diocese, each led by an area bishop: Leeds, Ripon, Wakefield, Bradford and Huddersfield.
Bishop of Leeds
Once the three dioceses were dissolved by the scheme on 20 April 2014, the diocesan see of Leeds was newly constituted a diocesan see, whose incumbent, the Bishop of Leeds is bishop over the whole diocese generally and the Leeds episcopal area specifically. He has cathedrals at Ripon Cathedral, at Wakefield Cathedral, at Bradford Cathedral, and (if only and if he designates the minster as a pro-cathedral) at Leeds Minster. 
It was announced on 8 November 2013 that retired Bishop of Southwark Tom Butler will serve as "mentor bishop" for the diocese prior to the first diocesan bishop taking post. During that period, Butler was also the interim area bishop in the Bradford area while the Bishop of Knaresborough was also interim area bishop in the Leeds area. It was further announced on 4 February 2014 that Nick Baines will be the first diocesan and area Bishop of Leeds; it was further announced on 15 April that Baines would be acting diocesan bishop and acting area bishop for Leeds from 22 April.
Bishop of Ripon
After the dissolution of the diocesan see of Ripon and Leeds, the suffragan see of Knaresborough was transferred by Order in Council to Ripon on 19 March 2015. The incumbent is the area bishop over the Ripon episcopal area; James Bell, then Bishop suffragan of Knaresborough, continued in post as the area bishop in the Ripon area and, until the diocesan bishop started acting as area bishop on 22 April, was additionally interim area bishop in the Leeds area.
Bishop of Wakefield
Following the dissolution of Wakefield diocese, the suffragan see of Pontefract was transferred by Order in Council to Wakefield on 19 March 2015. The incumbent is the area bishop over the Wakefield episcopal area; Tony Robinson, then Bishop suffragan of Pontefract, continued in post as the area bishop in the Wakefield area and, until a Bishop of Huddersfield was appointed, was also acting as interim area bishop in the Huddersfield area.
Bishop of Bradford
Once the diocesan see of the same name was dissolved, a new suffragan see of Bradford was created by the Scheme. The incumbent is the area bishop over the Bradford episcopal area; since the appointment of a new area bishop had to wait until the diocesan bishop was in post, the diocesan 'mentor bishop', Tom Butler, initially served as interim area bishop in the Bradford area. On 26 August 2014, it was announced that Toby Howarth was to become the first area bishop of Bradford; his consecration was held on 17 October.
Bishop of Huddersfield
The Scheme also created a new suffragan see of Huddersfield, whose incumbent is the area bishop over the Huddersfield episcopal area. Significant churches in the area include Huddersfield Parish Church, Halifax Minster and Dewsbury Minster. Since no new area bishop could be appointed until the diocesan bishop was in post, the Bishop of Pontefract also served as interim area bishop in the Huddersfield area. On 26 August 2014, it was announced that Jonathan Gibbs was to become the first area bishop of Huddersfield; his consecration was held on 17 October.
Bishop of Richmond
On 29 April 2015, the diocese announced that the See of Richmond would be revived for a suffragan bishop to assist the Bishop of Leeds in his area bishop duties. On 18 June it was announced that Paul Slater is to be consecrated to that See on 19 July.
Alternative episcopal oversight (for petitioning parishes in the diocese who on grounds of theological conviction are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests) in the diocese is provided by Tony Robinson, Bishop of Wakefield.
At the first diocesan synod, two retired honorary assistant bishops were welcomed:
- Clive Handford, former Presiding Bishop in Jerusalem and the Middle East and diocesan Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf, was licensed in the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds from 2007. He lives in Kirby Hill, Harrogate.
- David Hawkins, area Bishop of Barking, retired to Skipton.
Immediately prior to the formation of the new diocese, there were four other retired honorary assistant bishops licensed in the three predecessor dioceses:
- Retired Bishop of Durham David Jenkins lives in Barnard Castle, Teesdale and was licensed in Ripon & Leeds diocese from 1993.
- Colin Buchanan, former area Bishop of Woolwich and Bishop suffragan of Aston lives in Alwoodley, Leeds and was licensed as an honorary assistant bishop in Bradford diocese from 2004 and in Ripon & Leeds from 2005.
- A former Archbishop of York, David Hope, Baron Hope of Thornes, lives in Hellifield, Craven. He was licensed as an honorary assistant bishop in Bradford diocese in 2005 and in the Diocese of Blackburn in 2008; it was reported on 31 October 2014 that Hope had resigned his license in Leeds diocese.
- Tom Butler, retired Bishop of Southwark and former interim area bishop in Bradford was licensed in Wakefield from 2010 and in Bradford from 2013. He lives in Walton, Wakefield.
- Diocese press release, College of Arms website (both accessed 16 August 2014).
- Launch poster (Accessed 20 April 2014)
- The Transformation Programme – First new diocese for more than 85 years created on April 20 (Accessed 19 April 2014)
- The Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield Reorganisation Scheme 2013 (Accessed 3 February 2014)
- The Transformation Programme – Archbishop appoints interim area bishops (Accessed 10 January 2014)
- "New Bishops announced for West Yorkshire and Dales" (Press release). Diocese of West Yorkshire & The Dales. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Diocese of Leeds — Archdeacon of Bradford to retire (Accessed 24 July 2015)
- The Dioceses Commission – Review Report No. 2: Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds, Sheffield and Wakefield
- A New Diocese for West Yorkshire and the Dales – The Draft Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield Reorganisation Scheme (Report)
- The Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield Reorganisation Scheme 201?
- Thinking Anglicans – Dioceses Commission announces draft scheme
- Yorkshire Post – Baines: Fear of change shouldn't obscure mission (Accessed 22 February 2013)
- Thinking Anglicans – proposed new diocese for West Yorkshire (Accessed 4 March 2013)
- Archbishop of York – Reorganisation Referred to General Synod (Accessed 9 May 2013)
- The Church of England – Synod approves new Diocese of Leeds for West Yorkshire and The Dales
- "First New Diocese For More Than 85 years Will Be Created On Easter Day". Website of the Archbishop of York. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
- The Transformation Programme – Former Bishop of Southwark to be 'mentor bishop' (Accessed 10 January 2014)
- Number 10 – Diocese of Leeds: the Right Reverend Nicholas Baines approved (Accessed 4 February 2014)
- Orders in Council, 19 March 2015 (Accessed 25 March 2015)
- Diocese of West Yorkshire & The Dales — New Suffragan Bishop for the Diocese (Accessed 30 April 2015)
- Diocese of Leeds — Archdeacon Paul Slater to be new Bishop of Richmond (Accessed 18 June 2015)
- Handford, Rt Rev. (George) Clive. Who's Who 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- Historic first Synod strikes a positive note as key decisions made (Accessed 29 November 2014)
- Diocesan Synod accepts ‘innovative’ governance proposals (Accessed 25 March 2015)
- Jenkins, Rt Rev. David Edward. Who's Who 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- Buchanan, Rt Rev. Colin Ogilvie. Who's Who 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- Hope of Thornes, Baron, (Rt Rev. and Rt Hon. David Michael Hope). Who's Who 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- Butler, Rt Rev. Thomas Frederick. Who's Who 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 26 April 2014.