On 27th January 2022 MPs asked the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions in the House of Commons chamber:
Churches and Cathedrals: Sustainability
Jerome Mayhew (Broadland) (Con)
What assessment the Church of England has made of the steps needed to put the maintenance of churches and cathedrals on a sustainable basis. (905258)
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Andrew Selous): The Church estimates that over the next five years at least £1.14 billion of maintenance and repairs are needed for churches and cathedrals. The Church is very grateful that 550 churches and cathedrals have already benefited from the culture recovery fund, but there remains an urgent need for predictable and sustainable sources of funding, which enable us to keep skilled builders and craft people in work.
Asked by The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches of Jerusalem on 11 May that the violence in Jerusalem “violates the sanctity of the people of Jerusalem and of Jerusalem as the City of Peace”; and what plans they have to call on relevant parties (1) to halt further violence, and (2) to ensure the safety of worshippers. [HL192]
On 20th May 2021 the Bishop of Southwark asked a question in the Lords about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: Some of your Lordships may be aware that I returned from Jerusalem yesterday evening, where I attended the very joyful installation of the new Anglican archbishop there. From an earlier answer given by the Minister, I take it he agrees that, until the underlying causes that gave rise to the clashes on Temple Mount, in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood where I was staying, and the conflict between Hamas and Israel, are addressed, Israelis and Palestinians will not enjoy security, experience justice or build a relationship of mutual respect and regard? Does the Minister agree that, for violence to permanently end, Israel’s occupation must also end?
On 27th February 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Tonge, “To move that this House takes note of the United States’ proposals for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, announced on 28 January.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Tonge, for securing this important debate. I also express my gratitude to the Minister and to his officials for the careful but clear Answers to my Parliamentary Written Questions relevant to this debate that he gave on 11 and 13 February.
Your Lordships’ House will be aware from my interventions in earlier debates that I am the only Anglican bishop who is a member of the Vatican-mandated Holy Land Co-ordination group, which visits Christian communities in Israel and Palestine every January. I also make at least one other visit to the region each year and will be on ecumenical pilgrimage there next week. Last year, I was also in Egypt with His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Archbishop of London, and other church leaders. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government to extend full recognition to the Palestinian state”
On 11th and 13th February 2020 the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received written answers to five questions, on Israel & Palestine.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: HL1278 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they had with the government of the United States about their proposal Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of Palestinian and Israeli People prior to its publication on 28 January.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The US Administration shared details of their proposals with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in advance. The Prime Minister discussed the United States’ proposals during a call with President Trump on 28 January and the Foreign Secretary has also spoken to Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Pompeo.
On 4th, 5th and 6th February 202o the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received written answers, to questions on freedom of religion and belief.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: HL750 Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to negotiate a United Nations Security Council Resolution calling on all governments in the Middle East and North Africa region to (1) ensure the protection and security of Christians, and other faith minorities, (2) facilitate the establishment of security and protection arrangements for Christians, and other faith minorities, within the legal and governance structures, and (3) permit UN observers to monitor the protection and security arrangements for Christians and other faith minorities, in each of those countries.
On 18th July 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Cope of Berkeley (Con) asking Government “what assessment they have made of the government of the United States’ Peace to Prosperity economic plan for Palestine, published on 26 June”. The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I add my congratulations to those already offered to the noble Lord, Lord Cope of Berkeley, on this timely and important debate. As many of your Lordships may know, I generally visit the Holy Land twice a year. Each January, I accompany the Vatican’s Holy Land co-ordination group to the area as the sole Anglican bishop. I have experienced much Israeli and Palestinian hospitality down the years. I am only too well aware of the State of Israel’s just concerns for its security and its safeguarding of the holy places of Jerusalem, but I have witnessed Bethlehem walled in on three sides, Palestinian agricultural land divided and appropriated by military structures, and the acquisition of swathes of the West Bank and east Jerusalem for the settlement of Israel’s citizens and the exclusion of Palestine’s.
On 11th March 2019 Baroness Tonge asked the Government “what discussions they have had with the Government of Israel about the increase in settlement building in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I attend annually the Vatican-mandated Holy Land Coordination, as well as attending other things in the Holy Land. I shall be there in a week’s time with my curates. In the visit of the co-ordination group in 2017, we noted the injustice of the separation barrier built across Palestinian land in the Cremisan Valley and the creeping annexation of territory through settlement building. Will the Minister accept the denial of hope to the young people of Palestine that this taking of their land represents and reconsider the Government’s stand on delaying recognition of the state of Palestine in support of the two-state solution? Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about separation barrier in Cremisan Valley”