New Bishop of Leeds announced
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has named the Right Reverend Nick Baines as the first Bishop of Leeds.
"I am delighted and rejoice for [Bishop Nicholas'] nomination for election as the first Bishop of Leeds, in West Yorkshire and the Dales," said the Archbishop.
The Dioceses Commission recently restructured the Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield into a single Diocese of Leeds.
The Archbishop said it was a strategic move that would offer "unprecedented opportunities to re-think the fundamentals of diocesan strategy and administration ... in order to free up and re-focus resources to support mission".
A rigorous short-listing and interview process preceded the nomination, which has seen Bishop Baines, currently the Bishop of Bradford, be recommended for the new position. His nomination was officially announced by Downing Street today.
The Crown Nominations Commission for the new Diocese of Leeds have noted that Bishop Baines will be expected to provide Episcopal oversight to the diocese in his new role, and to work in partnership with fellow bishops to "give shape to the life of the whole Church and nation in faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ".
He will lead the diocese in many areas, though most notably that of mission and the growth of the Church.
In his statement welcoming Bishop Baines's appointment, Archbishop Sentamu noted the changing "social, political and cultural landscape" of the UK, and in particular the Yorkshire Dales, and addressed the need for the new bishop to "engage effectively" with those changes, "re-imagining and re-envisioning the mission of the Church of England across West Yorkshire and the Dales...to enable churches across the diocese to flourish."
Bishop Baines will also be tasked with resourcing and encouraging three cathedrals within his new diocese, and "driving the local mission of parishes, church schools and networks".
Archbishop Sentamu has asked for Christians to pray for the new bishop and his wife, Linda, ahead of his consecration, and for renewed commitment to seeing the Kingdom flourish in the north of England.
The Diocese of Leeds will come into being on Easter Sunday, 20 April, while the official election of Bishop Baines by the three Cathedral Chapters will be on 28 April.
The inauguration of the new diocese, as well as Bishop Baines's Confirmation of Election, when he officially assumes the role, will take place in a special service on Pentecost Sunday, 8 June, at 4pm.
The Archbishop said the occasion at York Minster promises to be a "fantabulous party".
Archbishop Sentamu concluded his statement by thanking the previous Bishops of Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield for their leadership, and by praying for God's blessing on the new diocese:
"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)."