On 5th December 2018 Baroness D’Souza asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to support and provide resources for reconstruction programmes in Syria.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, given the powerful words of the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at yesterday’s service in Westminster Abbey to mark the contribution of Christians to the Middle East, and in particular His Royal Highness’s moving account of Christians returning to Syria to rebuild not only their homes and schools but their gifts to society—schools, orphanages and hospitals—can the Minister give an assurance that responsible organisations that provide support for returning Christians and other minorities also have the support of the Government? Will the Minister join me in commending the Muslim children who will be joining Christian children to light 1 million candles on New Year’s Day as a sign of their hope for their country and for a shared future together?
Lord Bates: I am very happy to do that. It is indeed a message of hope in this situation. I had the opportunity yesterday to meet some of the clergy and patriarchal representatives who were visiting that initiative. I pay tribute to all involved in organising it. Their stories of what was going on on the ground and what they had gone through were quite horrific and a testament to their ability to keep their light flickering in the darkness that surrounds them.