Archbishop of Canterbury leads debate on reconciliation in British foreign, defence and international development policy

On 14th December 2018 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, led a debate in the House of Lords on the Motion: “that this House takes note of the role of reconciliation in British foreign, defence and international development policy”.  The Archbishop’s opening and closing speeches in the debate are below. The Bishop of Coventry also spoke in the debate and his speech can be seen here.

The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I am grateful to the usual channels for permitting this debate; to the noble Lord, Lord Collins of Highbury, for responding on behalf of the Opposition; to the noble Lord, Lord Alderdice; and to the Minister, the noble Earl, Lord Howe, for their time and contributions today. My noble kinsman Lord Williams of Elvel said when I came into the House some years ago, “The wonderful thing about the House of Lords is that whatever you say, there will be a world expert listening to you”. Looking down the list of those who will contribute today, I am conscious of the expertise in the House, including a Nobel laureate, and I am greatly looking forward to hearing from noble Lords whose combined expertise and experience is sure to provide us with much to reflect on.

Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury leads debate on reconciliation in British foreign, defence and international development policy”

Bishop of Coventry speaks on peacebuilding and reconciliation

On 14th December 2018 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, led a debate in the House of Lords on the Motion: “that this House takes note of the role of reconciliation in British foreign, defence and international development policy”. The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Chruistopher Cocksworth also spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I am grateful to follow the moving tribute from the noble Lord, Lord Elton, to the Coptic Orthodox Church. I join him in that. I join others in thanking the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury for his ground-breaking speech. I pay tribute to his deep commitment to reconciliation on multiple levels.

Like the most reverend Primate, I have been shaped by the Coventry story, with its profound narrative of both the human propensity towards disruption of relationships, with the danger, destruction and death that ensues, and the power of hope to prevail over even the darkest forces—a hope built on the restorative capacity of reconciliation, a virtue that needs to be operative even during war, preparing the way for peace.

Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry speaks on peacebuilding and reconciliation”

Bishop of Coventry asks Government to support organisations helping Christians and other minorities returning to Syria

On 5th December 2018 Baroness D’Souza asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to support and provide resources for reconstruction programmes in Syria.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, given the powerful words of the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at yesterday’s service in Westminster Abbey to mark the contribution of Christians to the Middle East, and in particular His Royal Highness’s moving account of Christians returning to Syria to rebuild not only their homes and schools but their gifts to society—schools, orphanages and hospitals—can the Minister give an assurance that responsible organisations that provide support for returning Christians and other minorities also have the support of the Government? Will the Minister join me in commending the Muslim children who will be joining Christian children to light 1 million candles on New Year’s Day as a sign of their hope for their country and for a shared future together? Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government to support organisations helping Christians and other minorities returning to Syria”

Bishop of Coventry leads debate on the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in post-conflict Iraq

On 11th January 2018 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, led a debate in the House of Lords on the question: “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their post-conflict strategy for protecting the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq.” His speech is reproduced in full below, as is that of the Government minister responding. All speeches by those taking part in the debate can be read here.

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, imagine what it was like, having been hounded out of one’s home when Daesh took control of Mosul, to be back there on Christmas Eve among 2,000 worshippers for the first celebration of the Mass in three and a half years. But then imagine the scene only hours afterwards— ​not only the church but also the city again almost entirely bereft of Christians because it is still not safe enough for them to return permanently.

What can be done to give Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, Sabeans, Yarsanis, Shabaks and other vulnerable religious and ethnic communities in Iraq confidence that they have a future in their own land—and why is it vital for that land and that region that their confidence is regained? Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry leads debate on the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in post-conflict Iraq”

Bishop of Coventry: Britain has moral responsibility for long-term reconstruction, if involved in conflict

On 23rd November 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Soley, “That this House takes note of the case for maintaining United Kingdom defence forces at a sufficient level to contribute to global peace, stability and security.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I join others in commending the noble Lord, Lord Soley, for securing this debate and for framing it in this way. He made it clear that UK defence forces exist not only for the protection and promotion of immediate British interests but to contribute to global peace, stability and security. The scale of that task has obvious implications for the size of the defence budget and its distribution. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry: Britain has moral responsibility for long-term reconstruction, if involved in conflict”

Bishop of Coventry asks Government about peace efforts in Central African Republic

On 13th July 2017, the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received a written answer to a question about the Central African Republic:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the peace accord between the government of the Central African Republic and 13 armed groups, signed in Rome on 19 June. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about peace efforts in Central African Republic”

Archbishop asks Government about peace-building and reconciliation in Burundi

On the 20th and 21st April 2016 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, received three written answers to questions he had tabled to Government about peace-building and reconciliation in Burundi. This followed his recent visit to the country.

Archbishop of CanterburyThe Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to support the President of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa, in his efforts to mediate in Burundi.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The UK strongly supports the East African Community-led dialogue; it is crucial to finding a sustainable political solution in Burundi. We welcome their decision to appoint the former President of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa, as Facilitator of the Burundi Dialogue. Continue reading “Archbishop asks Government about peace-building and reconciliation in Burundi”

Bishop of Coventry leads Lords debate on the 70th Anniversary of the Dresden Bombing

“I hope that we will be ready to proclaim afresh to the world that the story of our nations over the last 70 years proves that peace is possible and that friendship is better than enmity” – Bishop of Coventry 12/3/15

On 12th March 2015 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth, led a debate in the House of Lords on the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden. His opening speech can be seen below, along with the Minister’s response. The speeches of other members in the debate can be viewed on the UK Parliament website, here.

13.10 Bishop of Coventry

Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry leads Lords debate on the 70th Anniversary of the Dresden Bombing”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about UK involvement in South Sudan peace settlement

On 28th July 2014, Conservative Peer Baroness Hodgson of Abinger asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that any future peace settlement in South Sudan is inclusive. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:

Bishop of St AlbansThe Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, it is evident that the long-term process of finding an inclusive Sudanese-led reconciliation can begin only once hostilities cease and a political settlement and resolution is reached. This is why international diplomacy is so vital. Will the noble Lord tell the House what plans the Government have to address the current understaffing of the UK Sudan unit, which has a role in this?

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, the number of staff in the UK Sudan unit has fluctuated over the past few months; my understanding is that it is now rather larger than it was two or three months ago. I do not think that we can wait until the fighting stops to begin negotiations; local fighting is likely to continue for some considerable time and we have to start to move to construct at least the basis of some form of government now.

(via Parliament.uk)

Bishop of Derby urges caution over response to recent violence in Middle East

On 1st July 2014, the Baroness Warsi made a statement on the Middle East Peace Process. The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, asked a question about what the government is doing to promote a measured response to the recent events in the Holy Land.

DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: On behalf of these Benches, we associate ourselves with the condolences to the families and the widespread grief on all sides. We welcome the statement by the unity Government but an inevitable reaction to grief, especially with the death of the young, is anger. Yet grief is something that is never handled by anger; it requires time for reflection, engagement and a deeper kind of approach to the issue at stake. Can the Minister assure us that, in our work to seek peace, we will do everything we can to mitigate the knee-jerk reaction of anger and invite people to think more deeply about the human content of grief and how to deal with it?

Baroness Warsi: We will of course do that. The right reverend Prelate makes important points, but I think he would also say—and on a very personal basis, I acknowledge this as a mother—that it must be incredibly difficult to reach that second phase when you have just lost your children.

(via Parliament.uk)