Church Commissioners Written Answers: Housing for older people and support for persecuted christians

Andrew Selous MP, representing the Church Commissioners, gave the following written answerto questions from MPs on 11th November 2022:

Jim Shannon MP (DUP): To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, if the Church of England will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing accommodation on their land for people aged 55 and over with shared values.

Continue reading “Church Commissioners Written Answers: Housing for older people and support for persecuted christians”

MPs pay tribute to the Speaker’s Chaplain, Rose Hudson-Wilkin

On 31st October 2019 MPs paid tribute in the House of Commons chamber to the Speaker’s Chaplain, Reverend Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin, on her final day before leaving to take up her new role as Bishop of Dover. A full transcript is below:

Tributes to the Speaker’s Chaplain

Mr Speaker: As people will speedily see, we move from one subject to another quite quickly, and we now come to the very happy business of the motion on tributes to the Speaker’s Chaplain. I have the great pleasure of calling the Leader of the House to move the motion.

The Leader of the House of Commons (Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg) I beg to move,

That this House congratulates the Reverend Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin on her twenty-eight years of ordained ministry in the Church of England, nine years of which have been in the service of Mr Speaker and this House as Chaplain to the Speaker, the first woman and the first BAME holder of that post; expresses its appreciation for the generous, ecumenical and compassionate spirit of her work among hon. Members and staff of the House; and wishes her every success in her forthcoming ministry as Bishop of Dover and Bishop in Canterbury. Continue reading “MPs pay tribute to the Speaker’s Chaplain, Rose Hudson-Wilkin”

Bishop of Durham supports Early General Election Bill, hopes for respectful campaign

19.01.07 durham bOn the 30th October the Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Evans of Bowes Park) moved the Second Reading of the Early Parliamentary General Election Bill. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, contributed to the debate: 

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, it is an honour to follow the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, but it is always slightly daunting as well. I believe that the House should expedite this business as simply and as quickly as it can. While I have much sympathy with giving the vote to 16 and 17 year-olds, that should be done with full due consideration and process at another time. Perhaps such a Bill could be introduced by the next Government. I also have sympathy with giving EU nationals the vote, but since that would be an example of the UK offering fuller and better rights than any current EU nation, it too would require proper scrutiny. Rushing it now would be inappropriate.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham supports Early General Election Bill, hopes for respectful campaign”

Oaths and Affirmations

Any MP wishing to take their seat in the Commons has by law to either swear an oath or make a solemn affirmation of allegiance to the Crown. After this June’s General Election, 483 of Parliament’s 650 MPs, three quarters of the whole, chose to swear their oath of allegiance on a religious text (Christian or other faith). The option to affirm, for those MPs not wanting to involve God in their declarations of allegiance, was taken up by 160 MPs.

Prime Minister Theresa May swearing the parliamentary oath whilst holding the King James Bible, June 14th 2017

While swearing in habits might give some general insight into trends of religious and cultural affiliation, they don’t help us to pinpoint with exact precision numbers of the faithful on the green benches. Over half of all MPs, 378 in total, chose to swear an oath of allegiance on the King James Bible, but that may say more about tradition and precedent than about personal Christian commitment. Historically the option to affirm instead of swear on a religious text was as much about providing conscientious alternatives for the religious as well as for atheists, and choosing to affirm instead of swear is still practised by a small number of MPs of Christian and other faiths (both Sikh MPs affirmed, whilst one MP affirmed whilst holding the King James Bible). Even with those caveats, it’s possible to notice some broad trends. Continue reading “Oaths and Affirmations”

Church Commissioner Sir Tony Baldry MP Highlights Archbishop’s Ash Wednesday Eucharist in Parliament

During Business Questions in the House of Commons, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, drew attention to the Ash Wednesday Eucharist taking place the following week in the Parliamentary Chapel, at which the Archbishop of Canterbury would preside. The Leader of the House responded.14.01 CCQ Baldry

Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury) (Con): Will my right hon. Friend ensure that on Tuesday evening, the House finishes its business promptly at 7 o’clock, so that we can all get home, finish our pancakes, and have an early night, as on Wednesday, the first day of Lent, at 7.45 am, the Archbishop of Canterbury is celebrating Holy Communion in the Undercroft chapel? Everyone working in the Palace of Westminster is very welcome to attend.

Mr Lansley: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend, and I am sure that the House appreciates the opportunity to go to the Ash Wednesday service that he advertises. I think that there is nothing on the Order Paper at the moment that would require us to extend our proceedings beyond the moment of interruption at 7 o’clock on Tuesday.


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