“No other country in Europe has less financial support from the taxpayer for ecclesiastical heritage than England—which, ironically, has an established church” – Bishop of Norwich, 12/6/14
On 12th June Lord Cormack led a debate in the House of Lords on the subject ‘That this House takes note of the importance of the English parish church.’ The Bishop of Norwich spoke in the debate, about the community and financial value of parish churches, their heritage importance and current financial pressures. Lord Ahmad responded for the Government. Their speeches are reproduced in full below. The Bishop’s speech can also be viewed at ParliamentLive.TV and a useful summary of the debate can be found on the Law & Religion UK website, here.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, we are meant to declare our interests in this House, but I think that standing here dressed like this is probably a visual declaration. Noble Lords will not be surprised to learn that I believe that the Motion tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, to take note of the importance of our parish churches, is one that I am happy to endorse. It applies in Wales and Scotland as well, of course, although I need to be a bit careful of the Presbyterian conscience and not presume any authority north of the border. Continue reading “House of Lords debates ‘the importance of the English Parish Church’”
On 12th June 2014 Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what action they are taking to increase the supply of affordable housing.’ The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Rev Graham James, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, eight years ago the Affordable Rural Housing Commission estimated that we needed at least 11,000 affordable new homes every year in rural areas. We have scarcely ever managed more than a third of that number, and the proportion is falling. That means that those who need such homes in rural areas move to urban areas, adding to the numbers of the urban homeless and further obscuring the rural problem. What remedy does the Minister have for this state of affairs? Continue reading “Bishop of Norwich presses Government on lack of affordable new homes in rural areas”
Church Commissioners’ Questions: 12th June 2014
Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked questions in the House of Commons on 12th June, on the service of remembrance for Stephen Sutton, school chaplains, persecuted Christians overseas, listed church building repairs, credit unions and biblical literacy amongst children. The transcript is below:
Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con):If he will visit Lichfield cathedral to discuss the service of remembrance and celebration of the life of Stephen Sutton. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Sir Tony Baldry): I am always happy to visit Lichfield cathedral. The whole country will have celebrated the life and achievements of Stephen Sutton. The recent service of remembrance and celebration at Lichfield cathedral demonstrates the importance of cathedrals as a focus for unity at times of local and national celebration, commemoration and mourning. Continue reading “MPs questions to Church Commissioners’: Stephen Sutton, school chaplains, persecuted Christians, church repairs, credit unions, biblical literacy”
“Notable cases have caught public attention, but they are the tip of a dark and deadly iceberg of often hidden harm to women, part and parcel of a wider picture of human rights abuse, societal vulnerability and underdevelopment that needs our persistent attention”- Bishop of Coventry, 11/6/14.
On 11th June 2014 in the ninth and final contribution to the debate on the Queen’s Speech from the Lords Spiritual, the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth, spoke on foreign affairs. He focused on n violence and those suffering persecution for their religious beliefs. The Bishop commended the Government for its efforts to combat sexual violence, but questioned the Government’s focus on the OIC-led defamation of religion initiative. He also pressed the Government to help resolve the problem of political factionalism within the Syrian opposition.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I should like to comment on four themes of the Minister’s inspiring opening speech. First, on gender-based violence, I join the noble Lord, Lord Collins, and other noble Lords in commending the Government’s excellent work, in particular that of the Foreign Secretary. As we have heard, gender-based violence is pervasive, not only in the extreme evil of wartime rape but in other appalling examples of oppression that have been mentioned, including recent incidents in Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia and, if I may add, the recent gang rape and subsequent hanging of three young girls in India. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry focuses on sexual violence, religious persecution and Syria in Lords response to Queen’s Speech”
I want to draw attention briefly to a remarkable cultural development—the renewal of our cathedrals where, I hope and pray, the first female diocesan bishops will be enthroned – Bishop of Norwich, 11/6/14
On 11th June 2014, in the eighth contribution to the debate on the Queen’s Speech from the Lords Spiritual, the Bishop of Norwich, Rt Rev Graham James, focused on constitutional and heritage issues. The Bishop spoke of his hope that female bishops would soon be able to join the Bench of Bishops in the House of Lords, and highlighted the cultural and economic impact of cathedrals in the life of the country.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, the Scottish referendum means that we face constitutional change, or the possibility of it, on a massive scale. I recall someone remarking that constitutional change in Britain is a bit like unpicking a ball of wool—once it unravels, it is hard to stop without creating a knotty mess. That is neither an argument against constitutional change nor against knitting but it does call for a good pattern to follow.
“Young people…have been told that their value and contribution to the world is in work and their economic contribution. They have been told a lie…We have to help our young people to understand their true value as human beings first and foremost—but yes, we have to help them to find good, meaningful work” – Bishop of Durham, 10/6/14
On 10th June 2014 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Rev Paul Butler, gave his maiden speech to the House of Lords, during the debate on the Queen’s Speech. The Bishop spoke about the attributes and needs of the Durham diocese, his experience of the global church, and his concern for young people’s social and economic welfare. He voiced his support for the Living Wage and plans within the Queen’s Speech for laws to tackle the emotional abuse of children.
This was the seventh contribution to the debate on the Queen’s Speech from the Bishops’ Benches. You can also watch a video of the Bishop delivering the speech on parliamentlive.tv
The Lord Bishop of Durham (Maiden Speech): My Lords, I begin by thanking your Lordships for the way in which I have been welcomed and supported as I have entered this noble House. That support has been full of wisdom, including guiding this Bishop as to how to kneel correctly during Prayers, for which I was extremely grateful. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham gives maiden speech in House of Lords”
On 10th June 2014 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth, received a response to three written questions on religious freedom:
Continue reading “Religious Freedom- Written Questions from Bishop of Coventry”