As part of the Church of England’s Renewal and Reform agenda, an independent panel of experts has praised the Diocese of Leeds for its ‘strength of purpose’ and for the huge demands of time and energy that have been used in the reorganisation of the new diocese.
A national team of peer reviewers recently visited the senior leadership team as part of a series of visits to dioceses across the country to ensure accountability in the use of central resources and grants.
The reviewers say that the Diocese of Leeds has been on a ‘challenging journey’ but that there is “a degree of hope that strong building blocks are now in place, that the hard work is beginning to bear fruit, and that the diocese is well‐placed to focus on the implementation of its emerging strategy.”
The Church of England’s Renewal and Reform process is aimed at reversing the decline of the church so that it becomes a growing church open to and for everyone in England. The Renewal and Reform programme covers issues of mission, strategy, finance, management, and training.
As part of Renewal and Reform, the diocesan peer review process is aimed at helping each diocese's mission and finance to be strengthened.
Financial concerns take up part of the review of the Diocese of Leeds. The review group notes that there is a continued budget deficit, and recommends that trained lay volunteers are involved in the work with parishes on stewardship, that low levels of some parish share collection are addressed, and that a financial plan which will bridge the funding gap is created.
Commenting on the review, Bishop Nick said, "Overall the Reviewers gave us very positive feedback and will not return before the next required session in two years.
"The Bishop's Strategy Group, now pulling together our preliminary work from 2017, will be working at ensuring that the Board and officers will be able to make clear and prioritised decisions about resources and direction of travel in the next few years.
"It is vital that all the work of the diocese and its support/administration functions are coordinated, prioritised and disciplined as we build on the foundation set since the creation of the diocese at Easter 2014."