On 10th October 2016, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne moved the motion “that this House takes note of the Report from the Sexual Violence in Conflict Committee (Session 2015–16, HL Paper 123).” The Bishop of Derby, the Rt. Revd. Alastair Redfern, who was a member of the Committee, spoke in the debate.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, served on the committee, and it was a great privilege to be part of it. I pay tribute to the expert chairmanship of the noble Baroness, Lady Nicholson. We were, to put it mildly, a diverse group, but she held us together, and we produced a report that will be significant as a foundation, as other noble Lords have said. I also offer my congratulations to the Minister, who leads by great example, as seen not just at the recent meeting at the UN in September but in all kinds of ways. She has been an encouragement and a force for the right direction within government, and I am very grateful for that contribution. I also pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Hague, for his PSV initiative. I had the privilege of being present at the summit in 2014, which has created a momentum that we need to learn from and develop. I will pick up the theme mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Hague, of the significance of important Governments making a public stand. In doing that, I will also speak as a faith community leader. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby discusses committee report on sexual violence in conflict”
On 23rd February 2016 Lord Grade of Yarmouth led a short debate in the House of Lords to ask Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to increase understanding of the Middle East.” The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Empey, drew attention to our consistent lack of understanding of the Middle East. In the brief time available to me, I should like to highlight one area of that lack of understanding—the religious dimension. What concerns me is the lack of religious literacy in our society even among opinion formers and decision-makers. By religious literacy I mean, as his grace the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury put it recently, not just propositional knowledge but emotional intelligence that enables us to understand the place of faith in other people’s lives. Only with that sort of knowledge will we understand the ideological drivers to discord and violence that poison life in the Middle East, and not just between Israelis and Palestinians. How many understand the disenfranchisement and disenchantment felt in Sunni heartlands, for example? Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester- deep religious literacy fundamental precursor to understanding the Middle East”
“I hope that in this debate we will see how the different strands of soft and hard power can be better combined, and there can be a clearer sense of the narrative which sustains this wonderful country which has in the past given so much to the world when at its best, and has the potential to give even more if the advantages of our history, the skills of our institutions and the courage of our people are combined with a clear aim in view.”
On 5th December 2014, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, led a debate in the House of Lords to take note of the role of soft power and non-military responses to conflict prevention. In his opening speech, he reflected on the UK’s role in the wider world and the soft power assets it has at its disposal – the diplomatic services, the BBC, the British Council, the Commonwealth, overseas development assistance and the Church, particularly through relationships with the Anglican Communion. He spoke of the need to better understand ourselves, so as to be more effective in projecting the values and influence of the UK overseas. He also noted that the next Strategic Defence and Security Review needed to reflect the central relationship between soft and hard power, and called for more joined-up working across Government to ensure this was the case. Following his opening speech, twenty-six other members of the House contributed to the debate, including the Bishop of Derby, whose remarks can be read here. The Archbishop closed with his reflections on the topics discussed in the course of the debate. Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury leads House of Lords debate on conflict prevention”
On 5th December 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s debate on the role of soft power and non-military responses to conflict prevention. He noted that for soft power to be successfully exercised, it requires a great deal of trust – particularly trust in a bigger overview, the dignity of all people, a trust in the goodness of heart of people – and a willingness to learn new things. He also reflected on how the Anglican Church at its best is a model for these forms of trust.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, congratulate my colleague the most reverend Primate—or perhaps I should say from these Benches my honourable friend—on his securing this debate. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby calls for hope in the face of conflict, during Archbishop’s debate”
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: My Lords, perhaps I may focus my question on Ukraine. It seems to me that there are some senses—not exactly repetitions—in which we are seeing replayed some of the things that were not resolved in the early 1990s with the collapse of the Soviet Union. I remember that at that time I was working at Lambeth as the archbishop’s foreign secretary, as it were, and on one occasion the telephone was brought to me in the bath. There was a call from the gatekeeper telling me that Mr Gorbachev was in captivity in the Crimea and he thought that I ought to know so that I could do something about it. Some very good and quite low-key, and low-cost, initiatives were taken by Her Majesty’s Government at that time to support the development of democracy in the various republics that resulted from the collapse of the Soviet Union, including Ukraine. Can we be reassured that, once things become a little more stable, those sorts of initiatives might be looked at again? I am suggesting not carbon copies but that sort of thing.
My other point is that only the churches never recognised the division of Europe. The Conference of European Churches always worked across Europe. There are very serious divisions in the churches in the Ukraine, often reflecting some of the fragmentations that exist in the country as a whole. Again, that is another area where Her Majesty’s Government might work with others to see how one moves towards a more democratic situation.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, I continue to learn how close church links can be across national boundaries. I was in Armenia some months ago and was met by a very chatty archbishop, who seemed to know almost every bishop I had ever met in this country. However, we all know that the Orthodox Church in and across the former Soviet Union is a very complex and divided entity, and not all its branches are committed to anything that we would recognise as a liberal approach to organised religion. Sadly, the different branches of the church in Ukraine represent that rather well.