Bishop of Worcester asks Government about transmission of Covid-19 by UK military personnel in Africa

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On 11th May 2020 the Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, received a written answer to a question on the transmission of COVID-19 to civilians among UK military personnel and staff deployed in Africa.

The Lord Bishop of Worcester: HL3572 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have put in place to deal with the potential transmission of COVID-19 to civilians among UK military personnel and staff deployed to UN peacekeeping missions in Africa.

Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester asks Government about transmission of Covid-19 by UK military personnel in Africa”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about action to address “dreadful crisis” in care homes

On 6th May 2020 the House of Lords heard the repeat of a Government statement on Covid-19. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, yesterday the deputy chief scientist said that we needed to “get to grips” with what is occurring in our care homes. As data shows that deaths in care homes are rising while hospital deaths are plateauing, what specific actions are Her Majesty’s Government taking to put a stop to this dreadful crisis, which is unfolding before our very eyes? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about action to address “dreadful crisis” in care homes”

Bishop of Derby maiden speech focuses on welfare of children

On 6th May 2020 the Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, led a debate in the House of Lords on the motion that the Lords “do consider the case for increasing income equality and sustainability in the light of the recent health emergency.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Libby Lane, made her maiden speech in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Derby (Maiden Speech): My Lords, Jesus said,

“seek first the Kingdom of God”,​

and in your Lordships’ House, I have caught glimpses of that kingdom: in the warm welcome, in the kind advice of officers and staff, in the patient support of the Church of England Parliamentary Unit, and in the substance of the work noble Lords do, as today.

In January 2015, I became the first woman consecrated bishop in the Church of England. I take this opportunity to thank my friend, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of York for his support and encouragement, and to pay tribute to his integrity and influence. It is true to his priorities that he uses this debate to champion the poor and continue the fight for justice. It was a particular gift to be “called home” a year ago, to serve as Bishop of Derby and I am proud of the ways in which diocesan staff, clergy, schools and congregations have stepped up in these difficult times. Derby and Derbyshire have responded generously to meet the needs of the most vulnerable: they have made known the kingdom of God. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby maiden speech focuses on welfare of children”

Archbishop of York leads Lords debate on the case for income equality and sustainability

On 6th May 2020 the Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, led a debate in the House of Lords on the motion that the Lords “do consider the case for increasing income equality and sustainability in the light of the recent health emergency.” The Archbishop started the debate, and summed up afterwards, referring to many of the speeches made by other Members over the course of nearly three hours. Amongst the other speakers were the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishops of Durham and Derby. The entire debate can be read in Hansard here, and the Archbishop’s opening and closing speeches are reproduced below:

Income Equality and Sustainability: Motion to Consider

Moved by The Archbishop of York, That the Virtual Proceedings do consider the case for increasing income equality and sustainability in the light of the recent health emergency.

The Archbishop of York: My Lords, I am grateful to the Government Chief Whip and the usual channels for granting me this opportunity to move a Motion that is very dear to my heart—thank you. I commend Her Majesty’s Government for their rapid action in the current crisis and, through unprecedented public spending, working to protect jobs and avert millions of redundancies. It is in the light of this recent health emergency that I beseech your Lordships’ House to take note of the case for increasing income equality and sustainability.

Last Thursday, the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett of Manor Castle, opened a Question for Short Debate on Covid-19 and people living in poverty. I believe that what we are doing today has the potential to make a lasting difference. As Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, said:

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”

As long ago as 28 April 1909, Winston Churchill, then president of the Board of Trade, gave a speech in the other place in which he said:

“It is a serious national evil that any class of His Majesty’s subjects should receive less than a living wage in return for their utmost exertions.”—[Official Report, Commons, 28/4/1909; col. 388]

Not much has changed since. That principle remains as strong as ever in our national life. Continue reading “Archbishop of York leads Lords debate on the case for income equality and sustainability”

Archbishop of Canterbury asks about support for UN call for global ceasefire

On 6th May 2020 Lord Oates asked the Government “what support they are providing to African countries in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, asked a follow-up question:

The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I declare an interest as a member of the Secretary-General of the UN’s High-level Advisory Board on Mediation. What specific steps are the Government taking to support the very successful call for a global ceasefire as it applies to sub-Saharan Africa, particularly among those countries that already have some kind of ceasefire in place, to support the mediation and peace process? I am of course referring to the Secretary-General’s call. Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury asks about support for UN call for global ceasefire”

Church Commissioners Written Answer: Churches and VE Day

On 6th May 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered a written question from Chris Loder MP, on VE Day anniversary commemorations:

Chris Loder (West Dorset): 43168 To ask the Right Hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to fly Union Flags on its churches for the 75th Anniversary of VE Day.

Andrew Selous: The House of Bishops revised their guidance on access to churches on the 5th May 2020.

The new guidance can be read here: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/house-bishops-backs-phased-approach-revising-access-church-buildings

Government guidance states that ‘a minister of religion or worship leader may leave their home to travel to their place of worship’. In most cases, they will do so in order to pray or to stream a service of worship.

If clergy wish to mark VE Day by ringing a church bell or flying a flag from their church buildings, that is within government guidance. This advice does not extend to bell-ringers, sextons or other church officers or volunteers.

Continue reading “Church Commissioners Written Answer: Churches and VE Day”

Bishop of Winchester asks about FE teaching hours during pandemic

On 6th May 2020 the Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, received a written answer to a question on FE students and teaching hours:

The Lord Bishop of Winchester: HL3165 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that all further education students who are (1) 16 or17 years old receive at least 540 teaching hours, and (2) 18 years old or over receive at least 450 teaching hours. Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester asks about FE teaching hours during pandemic”

Bishop of Durham asks Government to revisit two-child limit benefit policy in light of new report

On 5th May 2020 the virtual House of Lords heard the repeat of a Government statement on welfare benefit claims during the pandemic. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I thank the Minister for repeating the Statement. I add my thanks to all those in DWP for the incredible amount of work that they are doing.

I want to return to the two-child limit. I am sorry but it simply will not do to keep parroting back the same answer every time we raise this issue. Today, the Church of England and the Child Poverty Action Group published our latest information and a report on the impact of the limit. It includes evidence from the early days of the Covid crisis. Sixty thousand more families will be impacted. The policy is utterly flawed. I have been assured by Minister after Minister that if we give them the evidence, they will re-examine the limit. It is time that it be re-examined. Please agree at least to look at our report and re-explore the arguments around this issue. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government to revisit two-child limit benefit policy in light of new report”

Church Commissioner Written Answers: Church closures, status of churches and clergy

On 5th May 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered two written questions from Alexander Stafford MP about church building closures and status of clergy during coronavirus restrictions:

Alexander Stafford (Rother Valley): 42227 To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, when churches will be re-opened for worshippers.

Andrew Selous: It is essential that when church buildings reopen for public worship or private prayer by members of the public, that it is done safely. In the meantime, churches across the country are holding virtual services and offering support to the vulnerable and elderly. Where they are unable to do this locally national resources are available such as the national church service on a Sunday and the Daily Hope phone line. Continue reading “Church Commissioner Written Answers: Church closures, status of churches and clergy”

Bishop of Coventry asks about impact of coronavirus on refugees in Syria and worldwide

On 30th April and 4th May 2020 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received written answers to questions on refugees in Syria and around the world and vulnerability to coronavirus:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: HL3255 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to limit the vulnerability of refugees around the world to the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks about impact of coronavirus on refugees in Syria and worldwide”