Church Commissioners: salaries

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On 23rd March 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Jon Trickett MP about pay grades in the Church Commissioners:

Jon Trickett (Hemsworth): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2017 to Question 64993, on procurement, what the pay grades are of the (a) five members of staff in the property investments team and (b) seven members of staff in the investment team. Continue reading

Church Commissioners: Yoga on church premises

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On 23rd March 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Thangam Debbonaire MP about yoga on church premises:

Thangam Debbonaire (Bristol West): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what guidance is issued to churches on allowing church premises to be used for yoga classes. Continue reading

Bishop of Leeds asks about direct aid to hospitals in Gaza strip

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leeds-20117-bOn 21st March 2017, Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the present state of public health in the Occupied Territories of Palestine; and the prospects for agreed international action, in particular action by Israel, to keep the Gaza Strip habitable. The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines asked a supplementary question about direct aid from the UK to particular hospitals.

The Lord Bishop of Leeds My Lords, does the Minister agree that the health sector in the Gaza Strip is really on life support and that while the blockade remains and while there is a lack of public water, this will continue? Does he see any way of encouraging direct aid from the United Kingdom towards particular hospitals? There are two Anglican hospitals, for example, serving the whole community, often free of charge: the Al Ahli Arab Hospital; and the Al-Wafa Medical Rehabilitation Hospital, which has had to be relocated because of damage to St Luke’s Hospital in Nablus. These are beacons of hope in a fairly desperate place. Is there a way of enabling direct funding there as we continue to urge an end to the blockade? Continue reading

Bishop of Chester responds to Government statement on EU Court ruling on religious symbols

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On 15th March a Government statement was repeated in the House of Lords on the EU Court of Justice Ruling on Religious Signs. The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, responded to the statement.

The Lord the Bishop of Chester: My Lords, given that there have been some very obvious differences between the UK and some continental countries in this area, does the Minister agree that the general approach in the UK of welcoming religious and cultural diversity must mean that welcoming its reasonable manifestation within the overall rhythms of British culture has stood us well in the past and will do so in the future, notwithstanding this court judgment?

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Bishop of Chester praises efforts to improve church accessibility

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Chester1On 15th March 2017, Baroness Deech asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what plans they have to improve accessibility for disabled people to public premises.’ The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a follow up question on church buildings.

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, the noble Lord who asked the previous question did not include churches—and with good reason because there have been herculean efforts across the estate involving quite difficult church buildings to make them accessible to people with limited ability to get up steps and so forth. Will the Minister join me in paying tribute to the local efforts, normally paid for locally, which have transformed the access to historic churches? Continue reading

Bishop of Durham asks about Home Office officials’ roles in France, Greece and Italy

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On 14th March 2017 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question to Government about Home Office officials in France, Greece and Italy.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what Home Office officials are based in (1) France, (2) Greece, and (3) Italy; and what is the operational role of each official. Continue reading