Bishop of Southwark asks Government about Chinese investments in Africa


southwark-20feb17On 25th April 2017, Lord Oates asked Her Majesty’s Government “what measures they intend to take to promote United Kingdom–Africa trade and development co-operation in the transitional and post-Brexit periods.” The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a supplementary question:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: The Minister may know that I am a regular visitor to Zimbabwe, where my diocese has links with four of the five Anglican dioceses there. How do Her Majesty’s Government propose to respond to the preponderance of Chinese investment both there and in other African nations, both in infrastructure and major economic undertakings? Continue reading

Church Commissioner questions – European Court ruling, marriage, vocations, metal theft, Christians in Africa, debt, domestic violence, Lords reform


On 20th April 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered questions from MPs on the floor of the House of Commons, on religious symbols in the workplace, marriage, vocations, metal theft and Christians in Africa. She also answered written questions on debt, domestic violence and House of Lords reform:

Sir David Amess (Southend West) (Con): What assessment the Church of England has made of the implications of the European Court of Justice ruling of March 2017 on wearing religious dress and symbols in the workplace. [909693]

​The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Dame Caroline Spelman): The Church of England was very concerned by the judgment of the European Court of Justice that stated that blanket bans on the wearing of political, philosophical or religious signs do not amount to cases of direct discrimination, because that conflicts with the pre-existing rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. By leaving the European Union, we presumably stand some chance of resolving such inconsistencies. Continue reading

Bishop of Winchester on lifting people out of poverty through fairer trade agreements


The welfare of the east African nations is of particular importance to me. I was born in Tanzania and spent some of my teenage years in Kenya. In the 1990s, I was the principal of a small college in Nairobi—indeed, we still keep a home situated on an old coffee farm near Thika. Through this previous experience and from regular visits, I have observed the finely balanced life which Kenyan agricultural workers live. Smallholdings are a significant element in the agricultural sector of Kenya. Many city dwellers also have a smallholding upcountry. A severe drought might mean the end of their children’s education. It may also result in families being unable to afford even the most basic medicines or in workers having to resort to desperate means of generating income to support their families.

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Bishop of Southwark raises Zimbabwe and Senegal during Lords debate on bilateral trade between UK and Africa


On 11th November 2015 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Sheikh: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to encourage more bilateral trade between the United Kingdom and African countries.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke in the debate, raising the situation of Zimbabwe and the tax treaty between the UK and Senegal.

Bp Southwark May 2015The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Sheikh, for a debate so pertinent to the times in which we live. I, too, look forward to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Oates. Although my knowledge of Africa at large is somewhat limited, I am a regular visitor to Zimbabwe, with my diocese having close links to four of its five Anglican dioceses: those of Central Zimbabwe, Manicaland, Matabeleland and Masvingo. The bishops, clergy and people of those places share a good deal of the reality of their lives and faith with me, and demonstrate remarkable resilience and strong hope in the face of adversity. Continue reading

Bishop of Guildford warns of further destabilisation if situations in Sudan and South Sudan are not resolved


On 7th November 2013, Baroness Cox led a short debate on what assessment Her Majesty’s Government have made of the situation in Sudan, and the implications for citizens of the Republic of South Sudan. The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Christopher Hill, took part in the debate.

guildfordThe Lord Bishop of Guildford: My Lords, I completely endorse what has been said so far in this discussion. I want to raise a rather different point, but equally I want to express my distress—and, indeed, my shared anger—about the humanitarian, agrarian and political disaster about which we have been speaking.

My rather different point is a question about the implications of further destabilisation of Sudan for the country’s international neighbours. I think that that is an important point. I visit Nigeria regularly, and I am due to fly out to Abuja on Sunday. Four years ago, I was able to go to the province of Maiduguri up in the north-east. I cannot go there now, at the moment anyway, because of the political situation. Maiduguri is a long, long way from Sudan—many miles away. Nevertheless, I believe that there is a connection. Continue reading