On 15th June 2016 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from SNP MP Deidre Brock, on deprived communities.
Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, if the Church of England will make an assessment of the effect of austerity on communities in the most deprived areas as measured by the English Indices of Deprivation 2015 .
Mrs Caroline Spelman: The Church Commissioners have no plans to undertake such an assessment. Through its network of parishes and dioceses the Church of England is present in all the communities of England. The clergy and people of the Church of England are well placed to hear, articulate and respond to the needs and concerns of local communities. This plays an important role in informing the public engagement of the Church on social policy matters especially at local level.
On 23rd February 2016 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from David Hanson MP about pay for male and female employees of the National Church Institutions.
Mr David Hanson (Delyn): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what the average hourly earnings for their (a) female and (b) male (i) full-time and (ii) part-time employees was in each of the last five years.
Mrs Caroline Spelman: The following information relates to employees of the Church of England’s National Church Institutions (NCIs). Senior salaries, gender and race information are published each year in the annual reports of Archbishops’ Council, Pensions Board and Church Commissioners. Continue reading “Church Commissioners – levels of pay”
On 8th December 2015 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, held a debate in Westminster Hall about the reform of marriage registration certificates. Mrs Spelman said that certificates should be updated to bear mothers’ as well as fathers’ names and that the process ought also to be part of a wider overhaul of the registration system. She announced her intention to bring forward a Private Member’s Bill to that effect and that an internal consultation within the Church had shown support for the proposal. Her remarks introducing the debate and responding to others are reproduced below, but the full debate can be read in Hansard here.
Mrs Caroline Spelman (Meriden) (Con): I beg to move,
That this House has considered marriage registration certificates.
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Brady. The latest intelligence that I heard is that we might have a vote at 2.45 pm, but of course we are on a running three-line Whip, so we will just have to see.
I am happy to have secured a Westminster Hall debate on this important subject. Since 1837—the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign—marriage certificates in England and Wales have included the names of the spouses’ fathers, but not their mothers. I know that I am not alone in finding this state of affairs unacceptable in our modern society. Indeed, the Prime Minister said as much in August 2014.
The issue has attracted calls for reform from many Members: the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) has tabled two early-day motions on the subject, each of which attracted 100 signatures; a petition on change.org was signed by more than 70,000 members of the public; and the hon. Member for Neath (Christina Rees) has introduced a private Member’s Bill in an attempt to secure the inclusion of mothers’ names on marriage certificates. I believe that the Second Reading of that Bill is scheduled for 22 January, and it underlines the point that this is clearly an issue that concerns Members from across the House and requires urgent attention and reform.
The Church of England recently held an internal consultation exercise of archdeacons and legal officials to gauge the views of the clergy about changing the way we do marriage registration. It received an overwhelmingly positive response. It cannot be that difficult to change the format of marriage certificates so that the mothers’ details can be captured, can it? Continue reading “Second Estates Commissioner leads debate on reforming marriage registration certificates”
On 8th June 2015 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, replied to two written parliamentary questions, on women and LGBT clergy.
Asked by Mr Virendra Sharma (Ealing, Southall) on: 02 June 2015
To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, how many members of the clergy in each of the last 10 years have been women.
Answered by: Mrs Caroline Spelman on: 08 June 2015
The most recent statistics available on the number of women in ordained ministry in the Church of England can be found in the table below. Continue reading “Written answers: Female and LGBT clergy numbers in the CofE”
On Wednesday 17th December 2014 it was announced by Downing Street that the Rev Libby Lane had been nominated to be the next Bishop of Stockport, making her the first woman to be appointed as a bishop in the Church of England. MPs joined those across the country in offering their congratulations. Continue reading “MPs welcome the news of the Church of England’s first female bishop”
A full transcript of the House of Lords debate on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, which took place on 27th November 2014, is below.
A video of the debate can also be watched on the UK Parliament website, here.
The speeches made by the Bishops of Norwich and Birmingham are also available on this website, here and here.
Motion to Take Note
Moved by Lord Harries of Pentregarth
That this House takes note of the role of religion and belief in British public life.
Continue reading “Lords Debate on Religion and Belief in British Public Life”
“Service, in the Christian tradition, is a vocation. When Jesus washed the feet of his disciples he reversed the power relationship between the teacher and his followers. Two thousand years ago, service never made you great; it was a sign of your enslavement. These days, by contrast, everyone wants to do us a service” – Bishop of Norwich, 27/11/14
On 27th November 2014 the House of Lords debated a motion from the Crossbench Peer and former Bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, on ‘the role of religion and belief in British public life’. The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Rev Graham James, spoke in the debate, focusing on themes of trust and a vocation to service in public life.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, like other noble Lords I am very grateful to the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Harries, for securing this debate. I notice that the commission of which he is part is considering how religion may contribute to,
“greater levels of mutual trust and collective action, and to a more harmonious society”.
I will address the reference to mutual trust, especially with regard to our public life, which is far from well. The level of cynicism about our political structures and politicians finds reflection in an all too common assumption that many people in public life are not to be trusted. That is true for religious leaders, too, and for almost anyone in the public eye, and it generates cynicism about the state itself. Continue reading “Service and trust: Bishop of Norwich speaks in Lords debate on religion and belief in public life”