The Bishop of Knaresborough, James Bell, has taken on the task of acting Diocesan Bishop following Bishop John’s retirement last month.
As the Bishop of Knaresborough , Bishop James has worked closely with Bishop John Packer throughout his thirteen and a half years as the diocesan bishop, and recognizes that it is a hard act to follow. But he said that he won’t be alone in the task. “I am looking after as much of the Episcopal work as I am able, with the help of Bishop Clive Handford in particular, as well as working with our excellent Archdeacons of Leeds and Richmond (and Craven).”
Bishop James will continue the responsibility into the new diocese when it is created on Easter Day: “The Archbishop has asked me to take responsibility for the Ripon Episcopal Area from Easter Day, and to have oversight for the Leeds Episcopal Area until the arrival of the new Bishop, whose Confirmation of Election will take place at a special service to inaugurate the new Diocese at York Minster at 4pm on Pentecost Sunday, 8th June."
Meanwhile, plans are taking shape for a celebration of the faith, work and witness of the churches of Ripon/ Ripon & Leeds at Ripon Cathedral on Mothering Sunday, 30th March at 5pm.
Bishop James said, “The idea is to begin the celebration in each church where people gather by identifying what that church (or group of churches) has contributed to the wider community over the course of the history of the Diocese.
“The wider community may mean something local, the village or town or city, or it may mean the region or the nation, or, indeed, the world! It might be something specific, including a person or a place of worship, or a place of education; or it might be something on-going, like prayer, a charity, hospitality, relief of poverty. We hope people will come to church that morning having thought about the contribution that they most want to celebrate.
“Representative of each church will then, we hope, gather at the Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving, bringing with them some representation or record of the contribution which will be recognised and offered in the service. I have invited former bishops (of Ripon & Leeds and Knaresborough), former Archdeacons (of Richmond and Leeds) and a former Dean and had positive responses already!”