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ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE FIRST BISHOP OF LEEDS; in West Yorkshire and the Dales: The Rt Revd Nicholas Baines

Bishop Nick Baines

Tuesday 4th February 2014

The Archbishop of York's Press Statement in Full follows:


On behalf of the Crown Nominations Commission for this new Diocese of Leeds, and as Archbishop of the Province of York, I am grateful to Her Majesty the Queen (the Supreme Governor of the Church of England) for approving the nomination of the Right Reverend Nicholas Baines for election as the first Bishop of Leeds, following the restructuring (by the Dioceses Commission) of the Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield, in West Yorkshire and the Dales.

Bishop Nicholas Baines was the Crown Nominations Commission’s preferred candidate after prayerful-deliberations, and a rigorous short-listing and interview process.

Should someone be tempted to ask, “why nominate Bishop Nicholas Baines?” There are two main reasons. First, the rationale (Opportunities for Mission) for creating the new Diocese of Leeds, in West Yorkshire and the Dales, was put before the three current Dioceses and the proposals were overwhelmingly endorsed by the General Synod of the Church of England; and the new Diocese of Leeds was approved by Her Majesty’s Order in Council. Secondly, The Statement of Needs, drawn up by the three Vacancy in See Committees “working together as one body”, chaired by Bishop Nigel McCulloch and serviced by Canon Martin Miller (Manchester Diocesan Secretary) and the Memorandum drawn up (after extensive consultation in the three current Dioceses) by the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary and the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments, gave the Crown Nominations Commission for the new Diocese of Leeds, in West Yorkshire and the Dales, a clear and compelling missional imperative. Namely that:

The new Diocese of Leeds offers unprecedented opportunities to re-think the fundamentals of diocesan strategy and administration, in West Yorkshire and the Dales, in order to free up and re-focus resources to support mission.

Consequently, the Crown Nominations Commission for the new Diocese of Leeds concluded that the Purpose, Opportunities and Challenges of the Role of the first Diocesan Bishop were:-

  1. To provide episcopal oversight to the Diocese of Leeds, serving West Yorkshire and the Dales and to work with fellow bishops to give shape to the life of the whole Church and Nation in faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  2. To lead the Diocese in:

(i) Re-imagining and re-envisioning the mission of the Church of England across West Yorkshire and the Dales in a changed and changing context to enable churches across the diocese to flourish and grow.

(ii) Shaping episcopal leadership and engagement across the whole social, political and cultural landscape so as to engage effectively across the diocese and to speak with a uniting voice to and for the region.

(iii) Forming and leading an episcopal team focused in a coherent area scheme.

(iv) Driving the local mission of parishes, church schools and networks through strategic support and resourcing, enriching and sharing good practice.

(v) Encouraging the distinct ministry of three cathedrals within and across one diocese, resourcing and using them as centres of mission across the diocese.

(vi) Keeping under review this role description identified by the Crown Nominations Commission for the new Diocese of Leeds.

Given the Purpose, the Challenges and Opportunities of the Role, the context of the vows and duties undertaken by Bishop Nicholas Baines at his ordination and consecration as a bishop in the Church of God, and the Canons of the Church of England, the Crown Nominations Commission concluded that he was their preferred candidate to nominate him to the Crown. And I am delighted and rejoice for his nomination for election as the first Bishop of Leeds, in West Yorkshire and the Dales.

Please join me in praying for him and his wife Linda as they prepare to take on this exciting new Diocese. I am also glad that the new Diocese has been created in God’s own Counties. So, let us commit ourselves to pray and to seek God’s face.

The Diocese of Leeds, in West Yorkshire and the Dales, will come into being on Easter Sunday, 20th April 2014.

The Election of Bishop Nicholas Baines by the three Cathedral Chapters will be on Monday 28th April 2014.

The Inauguration of the New Diocese will take place at York Minster, on Pentecost Sunday, 8th June at 4.00 pm. The Election of Bishop Nicholas Baines will also be confirmed at the same service which will make him the new Bishop of the Diocese of Leeds, in West Yorkshire and the Dales. You are invited to come to a FANTABULOUS PARTY.

Please allow me to thank two Bishops. First, Bishop John Packer, of Ripon and Leeds for his Episcopal Leadership. May he and Barbara enjoy their retirement.

Secondly, Bishop Stephen Platten, of Wakefield. Thank you and may the Lord continue to bless you as you lead the Diocese of Wakefield up to the Appointed Day.

May the Lord Richly Bless the new Diocese of Leeds, in West Yorkshire and the Dales.

 Finally, my brothers and sisters, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).



 4 February 2014

 Feast of St Gilbert, Founder of Gilbertine Order 1189.


For Tickets

Due to space and safety regulations, the Inauguration and Confirmation of Election of Bishop Nick on the 8th of June at York Minster, will require an invitation. Every deanery of the new Diocese will be allocated a number of places, and tickets will subsequently be issued by York Minster.  


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