In a small but significant change, the Rt Revd James Bell, until now the Bishop of Knaresborough, has, by royal assent, been given the title of Bishop of Ripon to reflect his role as Area Bishop of the Ripon Episcopal Area.
Meanwhile the Bishop Tony Robinson will now be the Bishop of Wakefield instead of Pontefract.
The Order in Council changing the Bishops' titles was approved by the Queen with the Privy Council following a petition from the Bishop of Leeds. It is the final hurdle for a change of names which first had to be approved by General Synod last November before going forward to Her Majesty for royal assent. It comes into immediate effect.
Moves to change the titles of the two Area bishops to Ripon and Wakefield began with the creation of the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales a year ago, Easter 2014.
It is the first time that there has been a ‘Bishop of Ripon’ since 1999. In 2000, the new diocesan bishop, Bishop John Packer, was enthroned as the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds.
“It is great to have the change of title confirmed by the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty in Council” said Bishop James Bell. “It is a small but significant piece of the jigsaw in the formation of the new Diocese.”
The Ripon Episcopal Area is the biggest of the five areas of the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales covering parishes across North Yorkshire part of the diocese.
“It is a huge privilege and delight to serve as Bishop of Ripon for this Episcopal Area and as part of the team for West Yorkshire and the Dales,” said Bishop James. “Let's together get on with being and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in our communities from Knaresborough to Kettlewell, Barnoldswick to Bentham, Harrogate to Hawes, Wetherby to Richmond.”
The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, said “At last, all our bishops have their right titles and another piece in our transformation jigsaw is in place. I am glad that the new titles will make sense of our episcopal areas."