Parishioners from across the new diocese have been telling the bishops what they think the priorities should be in the new diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales at a series of meetings held the length and breadth of the new diocese. Between them Bishop James Bell, the Bishop of Knaresborough and Bishop Tony Robinson, the Bishop of Pontefract held 26 deanery meetings during March and April, and in the process have gathered a vast quantity of comments and ideas from those who came.
Among the questions being asked were “how can the diocese best support the deanery and parishes in ways that will enhance the work of the church locally?”, “what one thing would you see as a priority in the new diocese?” and “what would you want to take forward into the new diocese?”.
The outcomes from the meetings are now being analyzed and fed back to each deanery, and will form the basis of a document that will help senior staff shape the vision and strategy for the new diocese. But already several common themes have already clearly emerged including the importance of good communication across a large geographical area, the importance of local access to resources and training opportunities, and the importance of reaching out to children and young people.
Every deanery meeting started with a time of prayer, and all those who attended the meetings were given a calendar of prayer from Easter Day up to the inauguration of the new bishop on June 8. Bishop Tony, who is the Area Bishop for the Wakefield Episcopal area and acting Bishop for the Huddersfield Episcopal area said, “Easter Day is a good day for us to start, it marks new life, resurrection, and now it’s over to us to make it happen. This is a new opportunity, a God-given opportunity, to create something new”.
Bishop James, who is the Area Bishop for the Ripon Episcopal area, told the meetings that the new diocese would be “the best diocese in the country - it would be rooted in prayer and love and would make a difference.”
It is still not too late to tell the bishops your views – email lentenvisits [at] wakefield.anglican.org