On 18th May 2020 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question about demolition of churches and arrest of Christians in China:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL3843 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports of (1) churches being demolished, in particular the demolition of the Donghu Church, Qinghai Province, and (2) Christians streaming religious services at home being arrested, in China Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about demolition of churches and arrests of Christians in China”
On 19th March 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions in the House of Commons on church closures, coronavirus, persecution of Christians, and marriage support. A transcript is below:
The hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners was asked—
Church Closure and Use
Bob Blackman (Harrow East) (Con):
- To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what criteria the Church of England uses to decide when to close a church and offer the building to other denominations and traditions. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Andrew Selous): I am pleased to be able to tell my hon. Friend that the Church opens as many, if not more churches than it closes each year. Parishes may want to focus their mission elsewhere, if the church in question is in a very remote rural location or if there is a very high repair bill. Use for worship by other Christian bodies is generally considered the best use, but there are many other suitable uses.
Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions – Church closures, coronavirus, persecuted Christians, marriage support”
On 6th February 2020 the House of Commons debated a Government motion “That this House has considered the matter of the persecution of Christians.”. The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, spoke in the debate. The full text of the debate can be seen on the Hansard website.
Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire) (Con): It is a pleasure, albeit a sad necessity for many of us, to speak on a debate on this issue yet again in this House. The analysis I have seen from Open Doors and others shows that in the past three years alone more than 10,000 Christians have been killed for their faith—that is a staggering number. We are right to hold this debate today, because, as others have mentioned, the evidence shows that Christians are the target of about 80% of all the acts of religious discrimination or persecution around the world.
Continue reading “Andrew Selous raises persecution of Christians in House of Commons debate”
On 6th February 2020 Lord Suri asked the Government “what plans they have to ensure the protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief in their international development plans.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, following the previous supplementary question*, I understand that in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, there is a champion for promoting freedom of religious belief at director-general level. In the light of the report just mentioned, commissioned by the previous Foreign Secretary, will the Minister consider appointing a similar champion to influence policy formation at the most senior level in her department?
Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks about freedom of religion and belief policy in international development”
On 6th February 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions from MPs in the House of Commons, on behalf of the Church Commissioners.
Questions were asked about LGBT+ equality, civil partnerships, church buildings, church schools and universities, HS2, and Christians in Nigeria.
Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: LGBT+ equality, civil partnerships, church buildings, church schools and universities, HS2, Christians in Nigeria”
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.
On 10th January 2020, Andrew Selous MP, the newly appointed Second Church Estates Commissioner, answered a written question from Jim Shannon MP, about Kurdish and other persecuted Christians:
On 7th January 2020 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke during the second day of debate on the Queen’s Speech, on the topic of the integrated security, defence and foreign policy review:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I want to make a few comments on the integrated security, defence and foreign policy review, which is a welcome development in the Government’s plans for the next five years.
I note that the Government will consider the,
“freedom of speech, human rights and the rule of law”
of foreign nations and how this interacts with our own interests. I hope that the Minister will agree with these Benches that any such review should also include religious persecution, drawing on the work and recent report of the Foreign Office, assisted by the Bishop of Truro, on the persecution of Christians.
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans raises religious persecution in Queen’s Speech debate”
On 25th July 2019 MPs asked questions of Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, the Second Church Estates Commissioner. Questions were asked about social media, telecommunications masts in parishes, FCO support for persecuted Christians, festivals in cathedrals, and funding to the Keighley constituency:
Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: social media, telecommunications masts in parishes, FCO support for persecuted Christians, festivals in cathedrals, funding for Keighley constituency”
On 11th July 2019 Lord Elton led a debate in the House of Lords “That this House takes note of the extent of persecution of people of faith in this century.” The Bishop; of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Elton, for this opportunity to examine the extent of persecution of people of faith. I will not repeat the heart-breaking stories of the terrible atrocities that besmirch our world, but they are of course the day-to-day reality for so many people of faith. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and others for telling those stories—they need to be heard.
The diocese I serve as Bishop of Chelmsford covers east London and Essex and contains some of the most diverse and rapidly changing communities in our land. Here, faith leaders and grassroots worshippers from all religions are engaged in some of the most humbling and encouraging initiatives to hold fast to that most irreducible of godly virtues: peace. Although east London is often a place where bridges are built, sadly, it is also too often an arena where the backwash from religious intolerance, persecution and strife from around the world is felt. We are a global village, but sadly we are also a global playground where much cruelty and intolerance go unchecked.
Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford speaks in debate on religious persecution, welcomes Foreign Office report into persecuted Christians”