Church Commissioner Questions – Coronavirus, Access to Worship, Family Life, Education, Clergy Discipline Process and Hospital Chaplains

On 19th May 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions in the House of Commons on coronavirus, access to worship, family life, education, the clergy discipline process and hospital chaplaincy. A transcript is below:

Church Commissioners

The hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—

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Bishop of Durham asks Government about families affected by two-child benefit limit due to Covid-19

On 13th May 2020 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of the benefit cap on the incomes of Universal Credit claimants following the increase in the Universal Credit standard allowance announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 20 March”. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:

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Lord Bishop of Durham: I thank the noble Baroness for again highlighting how the benefit cap is trapping families in poverty. In light of the report published last week by the Church of England and CPAG which estimates that around 60,000 more families will be affected by the two-child limit due to Covid-19, what assessment have Her Majesty’s Government made of the impact of this limit on families who have made a new universal credit claim since the lockdown?

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Bishop of Gloucester leads debate on early years interventions to support children and families

On 27th February 2020 the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, led a debate in the House of Lords on improving early years interventions to support children and families. Her opening speech and that of the Minister responding is below, and the whole debate including the speeches of all others taking part can be seen here.

Children and Families: Early Years Interventions

Motion to Take Note

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: That this House takes note of the case for improved early years interventions to support children and families. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester leads debate on early years interventions to support children and families”

Bishop of Worcester praises Adoption Support Fund and highlights needs of adopted children

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Church Commissioners’ Written Answers: carbon emissions, religious freedom, strategic development funding, church planting, green investments, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, the Primates’ Meeting, new technologies, marriage and family life

On 13th February 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered written questions from Jim Shannon MP, on carbon emissions, religious freedom, strategic development funding, church planting, green investments, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, the Primates’ Meeting, new technologies, marriage and family life.

Continue reading “Church Commissioners’ Written Answers: carbon emissions, religious freedom, strategic development funding, church planting, green investments, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, the Primates’ Meeting, new technologies, marriage and family life”

Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill ‘discourages possibility of reconciliation’ – Bishop of Portsmouth

On 5th February 2020 the House of Lords debated the Government’s  Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, expressed concern about the Bill, saying that divorce needed to be kinder to all involved, rather than easier. In his view “the Bill before the House discourages reflection and hence the possibility of reconciliation”.

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Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill ‘creates more difficulties than it resolves’ – Bishop of Carlisle

On 5th February 2020 the House of Lords debated the Government’s  Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke in the debate and his remarks are below. He highlighted several problems with the Bill, which he said would create more difficulties than it was intended to resolve.

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I am greatly looking forward to the maiden speech of the noble Baroness, Lady Hunt of Bethnal Green, and I welcome her to this House, which I am sure will benefit greatly from her expertise, campaigning zeal and commitment to debates on justice and equality.

Let me begin by saying that I appreciate the motivation behind the Government’s Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill. As we have already heard, they want to make divorce less complicated, less acrimonious and less harmful. Who could possibly argue with that? I like the revised terminology that the Bill suggests, and I agree that, at first sight, this looks like a sensible response to shortcomings in a process that is currently unsatisfactory and often seems to lack transparency or fairness.

However, this deceptively simple piece of legislation actually creates more difficulties than it resolves. One has to do with the nature of marriage itself and our commitment to it as a society—I shall confine my comments to marriage rather than civil partnership.

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Archbishop of Canterbury responds to statement by new Prime Minister, stresses importance of support for families

Canterburydebate081217cOn 25th July 2019 the Leader of the House of Lords  (Baroness Evans of Bowes Park) repeated a statement made in the House of Commons by the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I welcome the repetition of the Statement. We on these Benches wish to express our thanks to the Chief Whip, the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, and to Mr Evans. We tend to turn over numbers rather more regularly than your Lordships and have always been very well welcomed. We are deeply grateful and will miss them both very much indeed. I say that on behalf of all Members of these Benches—including the ones in disguise [indicates Lord McFall, sitting beside].

To move away from Brexit for a moment, the Statement talks powerfully about ambitions for education, tackling crime, social care and health, and about increasing funding for them very significantly.

All that will of course be most welcome—if it comes. The issue, though, is that money does not do it all. In all those areas, the impact of households and families in their many diverse forms today is crucial. Social care is best handled—most effectively and affectionately—from within the home.

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Bishop of Chester asks Government about inheritance tax relief for cohabiting family members

On 21st March 2019 Lord Lexden asked the Government “what plans they have to extend fiscal and legal protection to close family members, particularly siblings, who live together long-term in jointly owned property.” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a follow-up question:

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Bishop of Carlisle supports Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill

On 15th December 2017 the House of Lords debated the Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill [HL], a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Baroness Hamwee. The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke in support of the Bill:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I too am most grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. I am delighted that this debate is about families, which is an apt topic as Christmas approaches. I am not speaking of the nostalgic image of a nuclear family around a groaning table; the Christian table is plainer but more welcoming and inclusive, a table around which all are welcome.

Round the table gathers a family. Our country has for so long and so rightly emphasised the family as a—perhaps the—key building block of society. At the present time we seek urgently for social integration, a society where shared values and shared culture bind us all into an ethos of mutuality which naturally, organically, squeezes out extremisms, violence, injustices and hate. Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle supports Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill”