The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 23rd May 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to UNESCO and the government of Azerbaijan to allow a UNESCO mission unimpeded access to document Armenian and Azerbaijan heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh as part of a reconciliation measures.
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The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 24th March 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 7 March (HL6312), what attempts they have made to document the destruction of Armenian historical sites in Azerbaijan.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): The protection of cultural heritage affected by conflict and the prevention of acts of destruction are priorities for the UK. We are aware of allegations from both Armenia and Azerbaijan that cultural and religious sites have been deliberately damaged over the course of the conflict. Following the 2020 war, the UK has engaged with the Governments of both Armenia and Azerbaijan on this matter. UNESCO are the body best placed to look into this issue and we call on all sides to reach an agreement to enable UNESCO to visit the region soon.
The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answers on 23rd March 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 7 March (HL6312), what assessment they have made as to whether the process of Albanization is occurring in relation to (1) churches, and (2) monasteries, in (a) Nagorno-Karabakh, and (b) the surrounding regions, retaken by Azerbaijan.
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The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 21st March 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to investigate the sale in the UK of ancient artefacts stolen from Ethiopia’s Tigray region as part of the ongoing conflict in that area.
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The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answers on 7th March 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the formation of the government of Azerbaijan’s working group to remove traces of Armenian heritage from Armenian churches.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): The UK Government has and will continue to urge both parties to protect the cultural heritage of all sites in the region and are deeply concerned by reports that both parties have destroyed cultural heritage. We will continue to raise our concerns with the respective governments and urge them to allow UNESCO unrestricted access to the region.
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Andrew Rosindell (Conservative Romford): To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to ensure the future of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Andrew Selous (Conservative South West Bedfordshire): The Church Commissioners and other National Church Institutions have been in regular contact with the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral throughout the pandemic as they have with all the Anglican cathedrals in England. The Church Commissioners made additional financial support available to all cathedrals and dioceses throughout the pandemic over and above the financial support they regularly make available.
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On 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:
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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:
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.
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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”
On 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”