Church Commissioners written answers: Church tourism and local economy

spelman170119eOn 26th June 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered two written questions from Jim Shannon MP (Strangford) on Church-based tourism and community development:

Jim Shannon MP: 271461 To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England has taken to promote tourism to its churches and cathedrals.

Dame Caroline Spelman: The Church of England welcomes the Government’s new Tourism Sector Deal, which encompasses all our churches and cathedrals and will give a significant boost to our cultural heritage. Cathedrals in England attract over 10 million visitors a year, the majority as tourists.

The Church supports the work of the Churches Visitor and Tourism Association on several initiatives that help the public learn more about their local churches:

Continue reading “Church Commissioners written answers: Church tourism and local economy”

Bishop of Leeds – heritage railways offer skills and volunteer opportunities for young people

On 6th June 2019 the House of Lords debated a Motion from Lord Faulkner of Worcester, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Rail, Engaging the Next Generation: Young People and Heritage Railways.” The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the debate:

18.12.05 Leeds Brexit deal debate

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, while congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner, on securing this debate, I must confess to some surprise at standing to speak in it. I have little knowledge or experience of heritage railways, despite having had such a beast going through the village where I was for eight years a vicar in Rothley in Leicestershire and now having several in the diocese of Leeds. I am not proud of my ignorance, but engineering never quite got me; I guess I was more of a media studies man. I fully accept that this probably makes me a rarity among clergy in the Church of England, but I do see the import of this report and fully endorse what this debate seeks to achieve.

Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds – heritage railways offer skills and volunteer opportunities for young people”

Bishop of Ely highlights importance of cathedrals to their communities

On 15th November 2017 Lord Beith asked Her Majesty’s Government “when they expect to receive the report of the English Churches and Cathedrals Sustainability Review, which was announced in 2016.” The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, for his intervention, Lincoln having recently won a favourite cathedral award—Ely is not too bad either. Of course, these churches, cathedrals and chapels are part of our shared heritage, but does the Minister agree that even more important is the work undertaken by cathedrals and churches in food banks, in supporting economic regeneration and in working with homeless people and the lonely, especially in remote parts of the country? Does he agree that the Government should endorse that work and will he encourage the way in which they can support it through the use and deployment of these buildings? Continue reading “Bishop of Ely highlights importance of cathedrals to their communities”

Bishop highlights heritage connections of St Albans

Bishop St Albans June 2015On 9th February 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Oates “To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will publish guidance to encourage the protection of existing historical statues and memorials and promote the establishment of new memorials that reflect the broader history of the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I add my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Oates, for this debate, and in particular for the work he is doing on the memorial to those who have been enslaved. We look forward to hearing more about it as it develops. I am pleased that he has focused our minds not just on existing memorials, but on what we ought to be doing as we look to the future, especially for the urgent need to celebrate the wide diversity of people and events that have contributed to our national life, many of which are underrepresented in our public spaces. Continue reading “Bishop highlights heritage connections of St Albans”

Bishop of Leeds seeks Government assurances over future of Bradford’s National Media Museum

LeedsOn 25th April 2016 Lord Stevenson of Balmacara asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the closures of regional museums, particularly in the North of England, and the impact of those closures on the United Kingdom’s creative industry and on the educational services provided to local schools and colleges.” The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, if the rhetoric about the northern powerhouse is to have any reality behind it, it has to include access to culture and cultural developments. In the light of that, will the Minister give an assurance that the sword of Damocles hanging over the National Media Museum in Bradford might at last be lifted? Sometimes up there it feels as if London is saying, “Out, damned spot!”. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds seeks Government assurances over future of Bradford’s National Media Museum”

Bishop of Chester pays tribute to Heritage Lottery Fund support for cathedrals and church buildings

On 17th December 2015 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Holmes of Richmond, “To move that this House takes note, on the occasion of its 21st birthday, of the contribution made by the National Lottery to sport, culture, charities and national heritage throughout the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke in the debate,paying tribute to the positive impact lottery funding has had on cathedrals and church buildings. 


14.03 Bishop of Chester

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, most of us will remember the strapline which launched the National Lottery: “It could be you”. Well, I never quite believed that it would be me but, nevertheless, the lottery has had great success over time. Many people thought that it would slightly fade from view and lose some of its initial gloss. Indeed, people worked out that it probably would not be them at all. It is very interesting how it has become a national institution. In that sense, we have been led into temptation on a grand scale. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester pays tribute to Heritage Lottery Fund support for cathedrals and church buildings”

House of Lords debates ‘the importance of the English Parish Church’

“No other country in Europe has less financial support from the taxpayer for ecclesiastical heritage than England—which, ironically, has an established church” – Bishop of Norwich, 12/6/14

On 12th June Lord Cormack led a debate in the House of Lords on the subject ‘That this House takes note of the importance of the English parish church.’ The Bishop of Norwich spoke in the debate, about the community and financial value of parish churches, their heritage importance and current financial pressures. Lord Ahmad responded for the Government. Their speeches are reproduced in full below. The Bishop’s speech can also be viewed at ParliamentLive.TV and a useful summary of the debate can be found on the Law & Religion UK website, here.

14.06.12 Bishop of Norwich

The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, we are meant to declare our interests in this House, but I think that standing here dressed like this is probably a visual declaration. Noble Lords will not be surprised to learn that I believe that the Motion tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, to take note of the importance of our parish churches, is one that I am happy to endorse. It applies in Wales and Scotland as well, of course, although I need to be a bit careful of the Presbyterian conscience and not presume any authority north of the border. Continue reading “House of Lords debates ‘the importance of the English Parish Church’”