“Problematic” UK visa and immigration system affecting international work of churches – speech by Bishop of Chester

when we try to get the visa and immigration authorities to tell us what we have to do as a diocese and what the conditions are, we find that letters get lost. My colleague who deals with this is in despair. We write letters but nothing comes back. Time is ticking away and the training curacy of the chap I am talking about is coming to an end.” – Bishop of Chester

Lord Steel of Aikwood tabled a question for short debate: ‘to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the operation and accountability of UK Visas and Immigration. The Bishop of Chester raised some examples of failures in the system.

The Lord Bishop of Chester:

14.03 Bishop of ChesterMy Lords, I associate myself very closely with all that has been said, although the second half of the contribution from the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, focused a bit too much on mammon for my level of expertise. However, I take him as an authority on that aspect. The introduction the noble Lord, Lord Steel, gave, was powerful and shocking in equal measure, and made the case on its own. I can say to the noble Baroness, Lady Neville-Jones, that I am aware of the Hereford situation; indeed, clergy are among those who are able to come under the scheme she mentioned.

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In pictures: Introduction of the Bishop of Chelmsford


14.03.25 Chelmsford 1On Tuesday 25th March 2014 Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell, Lord Bishop of Chelmsford, was introduced and took the oath, supported by the Bishop of Chester and the Bishop of Leicester, and signed an undertaking to abide by the Code of Conduct.

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Schools: Bad Behaviour

On 25th March 2014 Baroness Massey of Darwen asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what policies they promote to prevent bad behaviour in schools, apart from punishment?’. The Bishop of Leicester asked a supplementary question:

The Lord Bishop of Leicester: LeicesterMy Lords, in view of the Minister’s clear endorsement of the policy of positive reinforcement of good behaviour, does he agree that we should be doing much more to promote a culture of mutual respect more widely in society so that the benefit of the positive work of many schools is not lost when our children step out of the school gate?

Lord Nash: I agree entirely with the right reverend Prelate. I know that the church has a particularly strong record of promoting community cohesion across its schools. A culture of mutual respect and of respecting other races and religions is essential to a modern school.

Ukrainians in Crimea

14.03 Bishop of St AlbansOn 25th March 2014 Lord Trimble asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what steps they are taking to support the Government of Ukraine’. The Bishop of St Albans asked a supplementary question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, can the Minister tell us what representations are being made on behalf of Ukrainians who are still living in Crimea and find themselves living there now under the Russian state? How are their interests going to be protected?

Baroness Warsi: My Lords, that is the most difficult community for us to access. The right reverend Prelate asks an important question about a community which is probably most at risk. Unfortunately, we understand that OSCE monitors will not be allowed into Crimea at this stage, but I will write to the right reverend Prelate if I have any further details.


Bishop of Truro receives answers to written questions on settlements in East Jerusalem

Written Questions, answered on 24th and 25th March, 2014:

The Lord Bishop of TBishop of Truro 20.6.13ruro: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding the recent announcement by the Jerusalem municipal authorities of their approval of building permits for 558 new units in East Jerusalem, in Har Homa, Neve Yaakov and Pisgat Zeev.

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Somalia: Religious Freedom

Written Question, answered on 25th March, 2014:

13.10 Bishop of CoventryThe Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of freedom of religion and belief in Somalia.

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The vast majority of people in Somalia are Muslim (around 99.8%) and Islam is recognised as the official state religion in Somalia’s provisional constitution. The majority of reports of restriction of religious freedom relate to human rights abuses by Al Shabaab.

(via Parliament.uk)