Bishop of Southwark asks Government to extend full recognition to the Palestinian state

On 27th February 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Tonge, “To move that this House takes note of the United States’ proposals for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, announced on 28 January.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Tonge, for securing this important debate. I also express my gratitude to the Minister and to his officials for the careful but clear Answers to my Parliamentary Written Questions relevant to this debate that he gave on 11 and 13 February.​

Your Lordships’ House will be aware from my interventions in earlier debates that I am the only Anglican bishop who is a member of the Vatican-mandated Holy Land Co-ordination group, which visits Christian communities in Israel and Palestine every January. I also make at least one other visit to the region each year and will be on ecumenical pilgrimage there next week. Last year, I was also in Egypt with His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Archbishop of London, and other church leaders. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government to extend full recognition to the Palestinian state”

Bishop of Gloucester asks Government what is being done to support diversion and alternatives to custody for women

On 27th February 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Bates, “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the Checkpoint programme, run by Durham Constabulary, to reduce reoffending rates and custodial sentences.” The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I too would like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Bates, not least for his important mention of mercy, which is so important to me in my Christian faith. I too would like to commend the work of the Checkpoint programme, especially on behalf of my right reverend friend the Bishop of Durham, who also wanted to pay tribute to Ron Hogg—so it is good to have heard that. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks Government what is being done to support diversion and alternatives to custody for women”

Bishop of Gloucester leads debate on early years interventions to support children and families

On 27th February 2020 the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, led a debate in the House of Lords on improving early years interventions to support children and families. Her opening speech and that of the Minister responding is below, and the whole debate including the speeches of all others taking part can be seen here.

Children and Families: Early Years Interventions

Motion to Take Note

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: That this House takes note of the case for improved early years interventions to support children and families. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester leads debate on early years interventions to support children and families”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about plans to address low achievement of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children in schools

On 25th February 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Whittaker, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to implement the recommendations of the report by the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee, Tackling inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, published on 5 April 2019.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, Gypsy, Roma and Travelling communities face a great deal of marginalisation, which is why I am so grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Whitaker—a redoubtable and feisty campaigner in this area—who keeps bringing this before us. I thank her for that. I am glad that we are raising this issue yet again in your Lordships’ House. She has quoted some of the many stats; I can add a few more and I guess that we will all add a few as we go along.

We know that 90% of Traveller children face racial abuse. The Government’s race audit showed that GRT pupils

“had the lowest attainment of all ethnic groups”.

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about plans to address low achievement of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children in schools”

Bishop of Gloucester responds to Government plans to end early release for terrorist offenders

On 24th February 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill at its Second Reading (and remaining stages). The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I am grateful to those contributing to this subject today who have far greater knowledge than I do, and I will aim to keep my comments brief.

Certainly, if a society that relies on government to deliver justice has lost confidence in the current system, it is right that we try to address those fears, and we must look at the bigger picture. I share concerns already expressed about the manner in which this legislation has been brought before the House, and particularly the very short time that we have to consider it.

If the justice system is to serve the common good and the flourishing of people and place, there needs to be an emphasis on a radical mutual responsibility, in which we are all truly responsible for one another. Offenders must be expected to take responsibility for their actions. This should be about not only taking the consequences and punishments imposed by a criminal justice system but having the opportunity to take responsibility for past actions, and the possibility of taking responsibility to restore their relationship with society.

Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester responds to Government plans to end early release for terrorist offenders”

Bishop of Worcester praises Adoption Support Fund and highlights needs of adopted children

Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester praises Adoption Support Fund and highlights needs of adopted children”

Bishop of St Albans on the importance of planting more trees and native species

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 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”