Bishop of Southwark urges vigilance on Zimbabwe, stresses positive role played by churches

On 7th December 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Luce, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the situation in Zimbabwe; and what plans they have to work internationally to facilitate the recovery of that country.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I have come to your Lordships’ House today from Lambeth Palace, where I have been chairing the Zimbabwe round table. Also present at that meeting was the Bishop of Harare, the right reverend Dr Chad Gandiya, who is staying with me on his brief visit to this country. Yesterday Bishop Chad met with Rory Stewart, the Africa Minister. My conversations with Bishop Chad have further informed my own thinking on Zimbabwe—a country with which I have a long association, particularly through close links between my diocese and four of the five Anglican dioceses in Zimbabwe. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark urges vigilance on Zimbabwe, stresses positive role played by churches”

Church Commissioner Questions: Marriage Registration, Religious Minorities in Egypt

On 7th December 2017 MPs put questions to Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, on the Bills she and the Bishop of St Albans are sponsoring to enable mothers names to be registered in equal terms alongside fathers on marriage certificates, and on attacks on religious minorities in Egypt.

Marriage Certificates: Equal Registration

Gillian Keegan (Chichester) (Con): What recent discussions the Church of England has had with the Government on enabling mothers to be registered on an equal basis with fathers on marriage certificates. [902808]

 Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills) (Con): What recent discussions the Church of England has had with the Government on enabling mothers to be registered on an equal basis with fathers on marriage certificates. [902809]

Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) (Con): What recent discussions the Church of England has had with the Government on enabling mothers to be registered on an equal basis with fathers on marriage certificates. [902814]

The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Dame Caroline Spelman): I have had many recent discussions with Departments, particularly the Home Office, not least because of my Registration of Marriage (No. 2) Bill, which is in train. There is an identical Bill before the House of Lords that would achieve the same purpose of allowing mothers to sign marriage certificates. I am not precious about which Bill gets to the finishing line first—we just need to do it. Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: Marriage Registration, Religious Minorities in Egypt”

Bishop of Coventry asks about China – human rights and freedom of religion or belief

On 7th December 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received written answers to four questions on human rights and freedom of religion or belief in China:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the revisions to the regulations on religious affairs in China, and of their potential impact on freedom of religion or belief in that country.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China about the disappearance and current situation of Chinese lawyer Gao Zhiseng, who went missing in August.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China concerning restrictions on freedom of religion or belief for Tibetan Buddhists in China, including the detention of religious leaders and the demolition of places of worship.

(iv)  To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information they hold about the demolition of religious sites and buildings in China, including Tibetan Buddhist institutions and Christian churches in the past two years. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks about China – human rights and freedom of religion or belief”

Bishop of Southwark asks about Israel – freedom of religion, Holy Land sites, church property

On 20th and 21st November the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received written answers to six questions on Israel – freedom of religion, Holy Land sites, church property and the Church Lands Bill before the Knesset:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the Church Lands Bill which is being considered in the Israeli Knesset.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding the Church Lands Bill which is being considered in the Israeli Knesset.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of freedom of religion or belief in Israel.

(iv) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of recent alleged breaches of the Status Quo of the Holy Land sites in Jerusalem.

(v) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel on the importance of respecting the Status Quo of the Holy Land sites in Jerusalem.

(vi) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel on the importance of protecting Church property in the Old City of Jerusalem, following the decision in July of the Jerusalem District Court in the Jaffa Gate case. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks about Israel – freedom of religion, Holy Land sites, church property”

Bishop of Coventry asks if there will be a focus on freedom of religion or belief at Commonwealth summit

On 20th November 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received a written answer to a question on whether the Commonwealth Summit would fund a proposal on freedom of religion or belief for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2018:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many funding proposals on freedom of religion or belief have been received by the Cabinet Office’s Commonwealth Summit Unit’s Kickstart programme; how many of those proposals were successful; and what was the value of the successful proposals. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks if there will be a focus on freedom of religion or belief at Commonwealth summit”

Bishop of Leeds asks about religious freedom and the 2018 Commonwealth Summit

On 20th November 2017 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received two written answers to questions on religious freedom and the 2018 Commonwealth Summit:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what priority they have given to addressing freedom of religion or belief across the Commonwealth at next year’s Commonwealth Summit; and what funding, if any, has been allocated by the Cabinet Office’s Commonwealth Secretariat to deliver a programme of events around that issue in the run-up to the Summit.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are taking steps ahead of the Commonwealth Summit in 2018 to document levels of government restrictions and societal hostility towards religious freedom across the Commonwealth. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks about religious freedom and the 2018 Commonwealth Summit”

Bishop of Southwark asks Government to support peaceful transition of power in Zimbabwe

On Wednesday 15th November a Government statement about the situation in Zimbabwe was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the Minister is only too aware both of the United Kingdom’s historic links with Zimbabwe and of the difficult relationship with ZANU-PF; that is reflected in the Statement, which has won support around the House. Speaking as chair of the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Zimbabwe round table, I pass on the concern of Anglican bishops in Zimbabwe that any transition should not be allowed to lead to a reoccurrence of conflict in a country that has suffered much. I ask that the UK offers help sensitively and purposefully where it is possible to do so, supporting key stakeholders who are committed to a peaceful transition and who are prepared for it. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government to support peaceful transition of power in Zimbabwe”