Church Commissioner written answers: Sri Lanka aid, Christian persecution in Africa

On 13th May 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered two written questions from Jim Shannon MP, on aid to Sri Lanka and on persecution of Christians in African countries:

Jim Shannon (Strangford): 252642 To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to tackle the persecution of Christians in African countries; and what steps the Church of England is taking with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to highlight the persecution of Christians in those countries.

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Bishop of St Albans asks if DfID will work with churches on relief effort following Cyclone Idai

On 19th March 2019 Lord Elton asked the Government “what response the UK is making to help address the impact of Cyclone Idai in parts of southern Africa”. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, such is the devastation that reports are only slowly coming in from some of the most damaged areas. We are hearing reports from a number of the Anglican dioceses in different parts of the Communion and from a number of bishops, including Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, who has launched an appeal and is mobilising people on the ground. Will the Minister assure us that DfID will work closely with those networks and organisations on the ground, such as the dioceses and the Christian communities which have the networks in place and know what is going on locally? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks if DfID will work with churches on relief effort following Cyclone Idai”

Bishop of Durham asks about Burundi Constitutional Referendum

On 5th June 2018, the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a response to a written question about the UK Government’s representations to the government of Burundi: 

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Burundi following the Constitutional Referendum there on 17 May. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about Burundi Constitutional Referendum”

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 “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about Chinese investments in Africa”

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

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