On 13th February 2020 the Lords debated a motion from Lord Russell of Liverpool, “That this House takes note of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Adoption and Permanence’s Report Investing in families: the Adoption Support Fund beyond 2020, published in July 2019”. The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, spoke in the debate, drawing on his own family experience:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I add my congratulations and thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Russell of Liverpool, for securing this debate. I declare an interest: mine is one of the 50,000 or so families who have received support from the adoption support fund. I am immensely grateful for that support. It came at a very difficult time after the death of my wife, my children’s adoptive mother, six years ago, when they were very young. It was invaluable. That is the most important thing I have to say this afternoon. It is a privilege to be able to speak from first-hand experience as an adoptive parent and as someone who has benefited immeasurably from the ASF.
Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester praises Adoption Support Fund and highlights needs of adopted children”
On 13th February 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Kinnoull, “that this House takes note of the threats posed by pests and diseases to native trees in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I too thank the noble Earl, Lord Kinnoull, for obtaining the debate and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Cope of Craighead, for his excellent introduction. For these Benches, and indeed for many Members of your Lordships’ House, trees have a special significance. They feature in the first chapter of the holy scriptures in Genesis and they reappear in the final chapter of the Bible in the Book of Revelation chapter 22, where we find that enigmatic phrase:
“the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans on the importance of planting more trees and native species”
On 12th February 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Clement-Jones, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to assess the full implications of decision-making and prediction by algorithm in the public sector.” The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I declare an interest as a board member of the CDEI and a member of the Ada Lovelace Institute’s new Rethinking Data project. I am also a graduate of the AI Select Committee. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, for this important debate.
Almost all those involved in this sector are aware that there is an urgent need for creative regulation that realises the benefits of artificial intelligence while minimising the risks of harm. I was recently struck by a new book by Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, entitled Tools and Weapons—that says it all in one phrase. His final sentence is a plea for exactly this kind of creative regulation. He writes:
“Technology innovation is not going to slow down. The work to manage it needs to speed up.”
Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford calls for agreed principles against which public-centred use of Artificial Intelligence can be assessed”
On 6th February 2020 the House of Commons debated a Government motion “That this House has considered the matter of the persecution of Christians.”. The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, spoke in the debate. The full text of the debate can be seen on the Hansard website.
Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire) (Con): It is a pleasure, albeit a sad necessity for many of us, to speak on a debate on this issue yet again in this House. The analysis I have seen from Open Doors and others shows that in the past three years alone more than 10,000 Christians have been killed for their faith—that is a staggering number. We are right to hold this debate today, because, as others have mentioned, the evidence shows that Christians are the target of about 80% of all the acts of religious discrimination or persecution around the world.
Continue reading “Andrew Selous raises persecution of Christians in House of Commons debate”
On 6th February 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Browne of Ladyton, “That this House takes note, further to the report by UK FIRES, Absolute Zero, published in November 2019, of technological and lifestyle efforts (1) to address climate change, and (2) to meet the 2050 net zero carbon emissions target”. The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I warmly welcome this report and this vital debate. Never before in the scale of human history has there been such a wide and deep threat to our ecosystem or to human flourishing that was so clear and predictable on the horizon. Technology alone is not enough.
In his letter to the whole world in 2015, Pope Francis notes how
“the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor”.
Our response must be nothing less, he argues, than an “ecological conversion” of every person and every part of society. Responding to the current emergency is the responsibility of every family, workplace, village, town and city, company and public institution.
Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford on climate emergency and work of church”
On 6th February 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Hunt of King’s Heath, “That this House takes note of the National Health Service’s performance in relation to its priority area targets; and the impact of adult social care pressures on patients of the National Health Service, and their safety.” The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, this is a very timely debate. I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, for securing it. I also look forward very much to the maiden speech of the noble Baroness, Lady Wilcox. We have already heard many statistics with regard to NHS targets and shall no doubt hear many more. But there seems to be general agreement that one of the biggest problems facing the NHS is what many now call a crisis in social care, which has been highlighted by this debate and emphasised by the noble Baroness, Lady Pinnock, and to which I will address this contribution.
Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle speaks on need for investment in adult social care”
On 5th February 2020 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, expressed concern about the Bill, saying that divorce needed to be kinder to all involved, rather than easier. In his view “the Bill before the House discourages reflection and hence the possibility of reconciliation”.
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, I add my warm welcome to the noble Baroness, Lady Hunt, and congratulations on her fine maiden speech.
I hope that ordained speakers can bring a distinct perspective to the deliberations of your Lordships’ House today, since—unless I do noble Lords a grave disservice—the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Carlisle and I from this Bench and the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Harries, are the contributors to our debate who conduct marriages.
I have never lost the sense of immense privilege of being with two people at such a significant moment in their lives, and of the joyfulness of the occasion, their commitment to one another and the commitments they make so significantly together and before others. Such commitments are integral to the foundations of their lives together, but also to the lives of their friends, communities and society as a whole. If your Lordships will forgive my brief lapse into theological jargon, marriage represents not just a contract but a covenant between two people, and between them and society. It is about not contractual rights but covenantal generosity. It represents a good for them and for us all.
Continue reading “Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill ‘discourages possibility of reconciliation’ – Bishop of Portsmouth”