On 8 June (4pm), York Minster will be packed for a unique Church of England service in which the Rt Revd Nick Baines will officially become the first Anglican Bishop of Leeds for the new Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales, and in which 3000 people from across the region will join together to celebrate the creation of the diocese.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, will be preaching and presiding at the service. He says, “The occasion of the Inauguration of the new Diocese of Leeds (West Yorkshire and the Dales), on Pentecost Sunday, will be a fantabulous party. New Diocese, First Bishop! It is with great joy that we will be welcoming and witnessing Bishop Nicholas Baines becoming the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Leeds, in West Yorkshire and the Dales. At Pentecost we celebrate the inauguration of the Church when God the Father poured out the Holy Spirit on a group of Jesus’ friends who were frightened but were faithful followers who went on to change the world. That call remains the same for us all, especially in the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales. In the midst of our excitement or our fears about the future, God the Father pours out the Holy Spirit to renew our lives as well as enabling us to tell others about Jesus Christ and to participate in transforming our communities. Let the Holy Spirit fill us, empower us and send us out with grace and wisdom. We have lift off!”
Bishop Nick Baines (who is the former Bishop of Bradford), says, "I am excited and daunted by the task that will be inaugurated on Pentecost Sunday. In the power of the pentecostal Spirit we will show that we have the nerve and vision to do something new - with all the risks and opportunities this brings."
The service is unprecedented in that it will combine both a Eucharist and the legal hearing in which Nick Baines officially becomes the Bishop of Leeds. All parishes will be represented and the Lord Lieutenants of North and West Yorkshire will also be in attendance.
The service will include an eclectic range of the best of Church music, including a brass band and several Cathedral choirs. Canon Sam Corley from Bradford Cathedral, says, “We have no less than four cathedral choirs - from Bradford, Ripon, Wakefield and York Minster - together with an eight-piece brass ensemble and a worship band from St George’s Church in Leeds. It’s been quite a spatial challenge fitting them all in, but I can guarantee that the music will be truly stunning.”
The service will last around one and a half hours and at the end everyone will be given a packed lunch provided by Morrisons.
In July, in another first, Bishop Nick Baines will be enthroned three times - in each of the diocese’s Cathedrals: Bradford, Ripon and Wakefield.
Photography at the end of the service
The service begins at 4pm and will last approximately 1.5 hours. After the Archbishop gives the dismissal, the procession goes out to the West Door. Photo ops on the steps outside.
The Diocese of Leeds (West Yorkshire and the Dales)
The Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales came into being on Easter Sunday, replacing the former dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield. Known formally as the Diocese of Leeds, but generally referred to as ‘the Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales’, it’s the first new diocese in the Church of England in over 85 years.
The diocese is made up of five ‘Episcopal Areas’ (Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Ripon and Wakefield) each with its own Area Bishop. The Areas are small enough to engender a sense of belonging, yet big enough to respond creatively to particular local needs, and each will develop their own unique identity. As the Areas are largely defined by local authority boundaries, the Church will also be able to engage more effectively than before with local organisations and communities.
Uniquely, the Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales has three Cathedrals (Bradford, Ripon and Wakefield) along with 656 churches, 496 clergy, 248 church schools and 45,000 regular worshippers. It runs from Barnsley in the south, through West and North Yorkshire, to parts of County Durham in the north and covers an area of 2,630 square miles.
Bishop Nick Baines says, “This unprecedented organisational change in the Church of England is to facilitate the Church’s mission; combining the intimacy of the local with advantages of scale. It will enable the Church of England to have a coherent regional voice at the same time as paying attention to distinctive local character.”
“We’ve been given a unique opportunity to look afresh at what we do and why we do it, at who we are and for whom we exist, as we help shape the mission of the wider Church across West Yorkshire and the Dales.”