Caroline Spelman raises plight of displaced Christians and religious minorities in Mosul, Iraq

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On 12th July 2017 the Secretary of State for International Development, Rt Hon Priri Patel MP, made a statement to the House of Commons about the humanitarian situation in Mosul, Iraq. The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, asked a follow up question:

Dame Caroline Spelman (Meriden) (Con): Mosul was home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the region, but religious minorities suffered dreadfully at the hands of ISIS. What can DFID do to ensure that such minorities are able to return to their place of origin? Continue reading

Church Commissioners’ answer: bats in churches

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On 10th July 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Matthew Offord MP about bats and church buildings:
Dr Matthew Offord (Hendon): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions the Commissioners have had with Church of England representatives on encouraging clergy to install bat boxes to provide alternative accommodation for these mammals. Continue reading

Church Commissioners’ answer: Camping in church buildings

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On 10th July 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Matthew Offord MP about camping inside church buildings:
Dr Matthew Offord (Hendon) To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions the Commissioners have had with Church of England representatives on expanding the availability of champing in England’s churches.

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Caroline Spelman raises Christian persecution worldwide and blasphemy case in Pakistan

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On 4th July 2017 the House of Commons debated a motion from Jim Shannon MP (DUP), ‘That this House has considered persecution of Christians and the role of UK embassies.’ The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, spoke in the debate:

Dame Caroline Spelman (Meriden) (Con): Thank you, Mr Hanson, for calling me because I omitted to put in to speak last night, for which I apologise. It was an oversight, but one that I should not have committed.

An interesting cross-section of Members of Parliament is in attendance to support my hon. Friend the Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) who, as chair of the all-party group on international freedom of religion or belief, had the foresight to call for this debate. We welcome to the Chamber new Members who are showing their concern for the persecuted, and returning Members who we know through their faith will take a stand for the persecuted. As my hon. Friend the Member for Torbay (Kevin Foster) so eloquently put it, we are all here to show our solidarity, and that is the important point. Some Members may not even speak, but we are numerous and we wish the persecuted out there to know that. Continue reading

Church Commissioners: projects tackling homelessness

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On 24th April 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Kevin Foster MP about homelessness:

Kevin Foster MP: [71313] To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to support local projects tackling homelessness.

Dame Caroline Spelman: At parish and diocesan level the Church is closely involved in providing support to homeless people through night shelters and other activities, and raising funds and awareness. Recently in the House of Lords bishops supported the Homelessness Reduction Bill. Continue reading

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

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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 Commissioners: St Botolph, Peterborough

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On 18th April 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Stewart Jackson MP:

Mr Stewart Jackson: [70163]: To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions she has had with the Diocese of Peterborough on the proposals for alterations to St Botolph’s Church in Longthorpe, Peterborough; and if she will make a statement.

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