On the 11 February 2016 the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke during the second reading debate on the Government’s Armed Forces Bill. He highlighted the work of the Church of England to support the military covenant, the need to support service families and the significant work of military chaplains.
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, by happy coincidence, this debate takes place almost exactly on the anniversary of the signing of the Armed Forces corporate covenant by the right reverend Primates the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. There has been excellent work with the Minister in developing the impact of that covenant, and it is a pleasure to mark that anniversary today and anticipate the maiden speeches this afternoon.
This Bill properly clarifies the obligations and responsibilities of those serving in the Armed Forces and strengthens provision for maintaining good order and handling any instances of indiscipline with proper regard for justice. These provisions and the contributions that we have heard already remind us, although they are often technical, that individuals in our Armed Forces serve, and occasionally offend, in situations of stress and danger.The House will not be surprised therefore if I briefly draw attention to the importance—and I hope the Minister in summing up can confirm this—that we should all give to the areas of pastoral and family support for those who volunteer to serve us and the nation in this way in the Armed Forces, even when their behaviour falls below highest standards. Continue reading “Armed Forces Bill: Bishop of Portsmouth highlights support for service families and work of military chaplains”
On the 19th January 2016 the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alistair Redfern took part in a short debate tabled by Lord Hanningfield “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to help improve education standards in United Kingdom prisons.” The Bishop spoke from his own experience of visiting a number of prisons in his diocese and of the important work of chaplains, musicians and arts projects within prisons.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, for his introduction to the debate, especially for linking education with vocation for people in prison. As the noble Lord, Lord Addington, said, it is a very complex territory with very deep needs. A lot of research shows that the prison population represents people with multiple needs. Therefore, the task of education and vocation will be challenging. I see the importance of formal education for literacy and numeracy to help people to get jobs. I am all in favour of that, but I want to look behind that at the informal fashioning of vocation and the development of character and confidence, which allows people to enter formal learning. I will draw on my own experience of going into prisons. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby highlights work of prison chaplains and value of educational and arts projects”
On the 8th of July 2015 the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill, received two written answers to questions about the future of hospital chaplaincy and palliative care.
Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol asks Government about palliative care and the future of hospital chaplaincy”
On 23rd June 2015 Lord Farmer asked Her Majesty’s Government “in the light of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s report Dying Without Dignity, what steps they are taking to ensure that everyone in need has access to good palliative care.” The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Mike Hill, asked a further question about chaplaincy.
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, given that both NICE and NHS England have commended the services of spiritual, pastoral and religious care in the care of all people and in delivering great services to patients, clients and staff, can the Minister give us any assurances that a chaplaincy will be funded, going forward, in all NHS facilities that provide palliative care?
Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol asks Government about chaplaincy and palliative care”
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”
“NHS staff may often be the only point of contact that trafficked individuals have with society…This is just one of many reasons why the significant reduction in chaplaincy hours by some trusts seems to be short-sighted and ill advised”- Bishop of Carlisle, 9/6/14
In the sixth response from the Bishops’ Benches to the Queen’s Speech, the Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Rev James Newcome, focused on health matters, drawing special attention to the need for action on elderly social care and on the health aspects of proposed legislation on modern slavery. He also criticised some Trusts for the recent significant reduction in chaplaincy hours.
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Willis, that the quantity of legislation does not equate to its quality. As we have already heard, we doubtless all agree that the noble Earl, Lord Howe, and the NHS deserve a bit of a rest. However, there are none the less those who regret the fact that so little of the gracious Speech related directly to health. For instance, the charity Age UK expressed its disappointment that an opportunity was lost to put in place safeguarding legislation that would have helped prevent the abuse of older people.
Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle regrets “short-sighted and ill advised” reduction in NHS chaplaincy hours during Queen’s Speech debate”
“I hope that as these covenants are rolled out, we can think about how we can draw in the voluntary sector to offer real and significant support to those who put themselves on the line in the defence of our country.” – Bishop of St Albans, 7/4/14
On 7th April 2014 Lord Dannatt tabled a question for short debate, ‘to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of whether they have sufficient manpower and the right balance of regular and reserve forces within the Armed Forces in order to meet the United Kingdom’s current national and international responsibilities and requirements’. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Rev Alan Smith, spoke: Continue reading “Peacekeeping, Reservists, Chaplaincy and the Armed Forces Covenant: Bishop of St Albans”