Church Commissioner Answers: evangelical congregations, Lambeth Conference, lay membership, church attendance, pastoral support for pregnant women

On 8th and 9th April 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered five written questions from Sir John Hayes MP on a diverse range of issues: evangelical congregations, the 2020 Lambeth Conference, lay membership, pastoral support for women with unplanned pregnancies, and increasing church attendance.

Sir John Hayes (South Holland and The Deepings): (241392) To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church is taking to ensure the evangelical makeup of its congregations is reflected in the custom and practices of the Church’s leadership. Continue reading “Church Commissioner Answers: evangelical congregations, Lambeth Conference, lay membership, church attendance, pastoral support for pregnant women”

Vote: European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill

On 8th April 2019 the House of Lords considered the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill. A vote took place on the question that Clause 2 stand part of the Bill:

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Bishop of London asks about regulation of internet platforms based in other countries

On 8th April 2019 a Government statement on new proposals for online safety was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, welcomed the proposals and asked a follow-up question about international cooperation:

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I add my voice to those of my friends, the right reverend Prelates who sit on these Benches, who have welcomed this White Paper as a first step. Many of the platforms that would fall under the proposed regulator are based overseas. I hope that the proposals set out in the White Paper will give sufficient power to any regulator to hold these and future international companies to account.

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Bishop of London asks about impact of air pollution on children

On 8th April 2019 Baroness Kennedy of Cradley asked the Government “what action they are taking to reduce air pollution.” The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for her answers so far. Can I pick up the issue of children? As the Bishop of London, I am very grateful for the ultra-low emission zone being implemented today. Can the Minister reassure us that money is going to be put into research to ensure that we know the long-term effects on the health of those children who have already incurred high emissions?

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Week in Westminster, 1st-5th April 2019

This week in the House of Lords bishops spoke on the 70th anniversary of NATO, charities and anti-corruption measures,  and voted on procedure for the European Union (Withdrawal) (Number 5) Bill.  They asked questions about rough sleepers,  religious freedom in China, street preachers, religious literacy in asylum applications, immigration detention, the benefit cap, Rwanda and Uganda, hare coursing. In the House of Commons the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered questions from MPs on mining companies and dam safety, and forestry holdings. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 1st-5th April 2019”

Votes: European Union (Withdrawal) (Number 5) Bill

On 4th April 2019 the House of Lords considered the European Union (Withdrawal) (Number 5) Bill, which sought to require the Prime Minister to request a later exit date from the European Union and a further extension of the Article 50 period. Continue reading “Votes: European Union (Withdrawal) (Number 5) Bill”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about freedom of religion in China

On 4th April 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a question he had tabled on religious freedom in China. The exchanges, and the follow-up questions from other Members, are below:

China: Religious Freedom

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their current assessment of freedom of religion in China.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): My Lords, there are several recognised religions in China, with tens of millions of practising Christians, Muslims and Buddhists, among others. However, we are deeply concerned about developing restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in China, including reports that authorities are tightening control over how certain religions are practised. At the United Nations Human Rights Council last month, I raised directly our concerns about restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in China, including on Muslims and Christians in Xinjiang.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for his reply. There are deeply worrying reports coming out of China, not least about persecuting the Christian churches there—an ancient Christian church there was founded in the 7th century. Will he comment particularly on the developing situation concerning Uighur Muslims and the development of the network of re-education camps in Xinjiang province? What representations have Her Majesty’s Government made and what are they planning to do?

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