Church Commissioner Questions: parishes, freedom of religion, housing, Channel crossings, marriage, new clergy, arts and culture

On 28th April 2022 MPs asked Andrew Selous MP, representing the Church Commissioners, about parish ministry, freedom of religion & belief, affordable and sustainable housing, illegal migrant crossings in the Channel, families parenting and marriage, candidates entering Holy Orders, and supporting arts and culture. A transcript is below.

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Archbishop of Canterbury raises concerns about P&O Ferries, worker wages and security

On 22nd March 2022 the Archbishop of Canterbury responded to a statement by the Government on the behaviour of P&O Ferries towards its workers. The Archbishop raised three points relating to reporting to Parliament on progress of talks, the wages of P&O staff, and the security of services in British waters.

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Church Commissioners’ Question Time, 10 March 2022

On 10th March 2022 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions from MPs in the House of Commons, freedom of religion or belief overseas, family hubs, supporting Ukrainian refugees, affordable housing, the Queen’s platinum jubilee, and the Commissioners’ Scottish landholdings.

Global Summit: Freedom of Religion or Belief

Caroline Ansell (Eastbourne) (Con): What role the Church of England has in supporting the global summit to promote freedom of religion or belief, to be hosted by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in July 2022. (905957)


The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Andrew Selous): The Church is making every effort to support that important summit to promote freedom of religion or belief. A debate was held on the lack of global religious freedom at last month’s General Synod and I am pleased that my hon. Friend the Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce), in her capacity as the Prime Minister’s special envoy for freedom of religion or belief, was able to brief Synod members on the huge cost of following Jesus in many parts of the world.

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Church Commissioner Questions: church buildings, racial inequality, freedom of religion or belief, parenting and marriage, gay and lesbian Christians, Christians in the Middle East, church schools

On 27th January 2022 MPs asked the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions in the House of Commons chamber:

Churches and Cathedrals: Sustainability

Jerome Mayhew (Broadland) (Con)

What assessment the Church of England has made of the steps needed to put the maintenance of churches and cathedrals on a sustainable basis. (905258)

The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Andrew Selous): The Church estimates that over the next five years at least £1.14 billion of maintenance and repairs are needed for churches and cathedrals. The Church is very grateful that 550 churches and cathedrals have already benefited from the culture recovery fund, but there remains an urgent need for predictable and sustainable sources of funding, which enable us to keep skilled builders and craft people in work.

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Bishop of Coventry asks about training for police on access for ministers of religion to dying people at scenes of accident or injury

On 22nd November 2021 in the House of Lords Lord Moylan asked the Government “what plans they have to establish a multi-professional strategy for the emergency services concerning the attendance of ministers of religion at the scene of situations involving serious injury”. The Bishop of Coventry asked a further question:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I greatly welcome the joint study group announced by the cardinal archbishop. Does the Minister agree that good outcomes from that study would include both further training and education to ensure that police officers understand the significance of spiritual comfort at the point of death, for the dying of whatever faith, and an increased role for police chaplaincy?

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Bishop of Southwark asks Government about deportations to Jamaica

The following written question was replied to on November 22nd 2021:

Deportation: Jamaica

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken following the remarks by the High Commissioner for Jamaica on 4 November: “from a human rights perspective I am deeply concerned about cases in which persons are being removed having lived in the UK since childhood and have no known relations in Jamaica or familiarity with Jamaica”. [HL3845]

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Church Commissioner Written Answers: Asylum Seekers and Baptism

22nd November 2021

Baptism: Asylum

Chris Loder: [76831] To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, how many services the Church of England has conducted specifically for the purposes of Baptising people seeking asylum in each of the last five years.

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Church Commissioners Written Answer – Vision and Strategy

Question for Church Commissioners, UIN 31286, tabled on 12 July 2021

Michael Fabricant, (Conservative, Lichfield): To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, with reference to the article by the Revd Marcus Walker, Rector of the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great, London, entitled, Is this the last chance to save the Church of England, published in the Spectator on 10 July 2021, what assessment the Church has made of the implications for its policies of the (a) findings of Revd Walker and (b) potential merits of proposals to create 10,000 new lay-led churches in the next 10 years in private homes and public halls.

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Church Commissioner Questions -worship, choral singing, bereavement support, marriage, rewilding, tree planting, net zero targets, regenerative agriculture, Westminster Abbey

On 17th June 2021 MPs put questions to Andrew Selous MP, Second Church Estates Commissioner. Text of the oral and written answers is below.

Oral Questions


Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes) (Con): Whether the Church of England plans to support online and in-person communal worship as covid-19 restrictions are lifted. (901321)


The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Andrew Selous): The Church of England is strongly encouraging churches to support both in-person and online communal worship, and training has been given to thousands of clergy to enable this. It is up to local churches to decide how best to do this.

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Bishop of Leeds raises inconsistency of covid rules on singing in churches

On 15th June 2021 the House of Lords heard a repeat of a Government statement on covid-19 rules.

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, regardless of matters of hindsight, does the Minister agree that prolonging the restrictions might be justified for certain reasons? I do not demur from that, but the prolonging of inconsistencies is a serious impediment to public adherence to the rules. You do not have to look very far to see where the discipline broke down a long time ago. For example—this is not special pleading; it is just at the forefront of my mind—you can sing in a pub but not in a church. This is what brings the rules into disrepute, and therefore people do not agree with them.

Secondly, can the Minister say something in response to Michael Gove’s reported comments about acceptable death rates? We have learned to live with acceptable death rates from flu and other seasonal diseases. Will the Government do some work on what might be an acceptable death rate from Covid in future and be up-front with the country as to what that might be? I think we can take it.

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