On 7th June 2018 Dame Caroline Spelman MP, representing the Church Commissioners, answered questions in the House of Commons from MPs on modern slavery, Middle East peace, Church of Scotland relations, LGBTQ community, bell ringing, Nigerian Christians, religious literacy, overseas orphanages, affordable housing, and gay conversion therapy. A transcript is below:
The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked— Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: modern slavery, Middle East peace, Church of Scotland relations, LGBTQ community, bell ringing, Nigerian Christians, religious literacy, overseas orphanages, affordable housing, gay conversion therapy.”
On 6th November 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Mark Hendrick MP about the Five Articles of Perth:
Mr Mark Hendrick(Preston): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment the Church of England has made of whether to mark the 400th anniversary of imposition of the Five Articles of Perth by James I of England and VI of Scotland on the Church of Scotland. Continue reading “Church Commissioners’ answer: Five Articles of Perth”
On 8th December 2015 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Scotland Bill at Committee stage. The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke during debate on amendments to the Bill from Lord Norton of Louth and Lord Forsyth of Drumlean.
The amendment from Lord Norton proposed the removal from the Bill of two new clauses to be added to the 1998 Scotland Act, namely:
(1) The Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government are a permanent part of the United Kingdom’s constitutional arrangements.
(2) The purpose of this section is, with due regard to the other provisions of this Act, to signify the commitment of the Parliament and Government of the United Kingdom.
Lord Forsyth’s amendment sought to change the wording of (1) so that it instead read
(1) The Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government are recognised as a permanent part of the United Kingdom’s constitutional arrangements.
The Bishop argued against both amendments on the grounds that they conflicted with settled political reality and would send unwelcome signals. The amendments were withdrawn after debate.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, it is always dodgy for bishops to speak about Scottish matters. The kirk has sometimes considered the possibility of introducing bishops but the one condition it has always applied is that they must not be like English bishops—they must be quite different.
I have some credentials inasmuch as I have had a close association with Scotland for 40 years, since I went to Edinburgh as a student. I have had a house in Scotland for 30 years, I have two Scottish degrees and one Scottish wife, who has kept my feet on the ground over the years. I shall also retire to Scotland shortly, and very much look forward to doing so. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester supports measure in Scotland Bill stating permanence of Scottish Parliament and Government”
“A no vote on the EU would hasten the demise of the Union and lead within a generation to a rump nation shorn of Scotland and of membership of the EU and without strategic influence internationally.”- Bishop of Leicester, 1/6/15
On 1st June 2015 the Bishop of Leicester, Rt Rev Tim Stevens, spoke in the debate on the Queen’s Speech, on constitutional, human rights, local government, devolution and welfare reform issues. The full text of his speech is below and it can also be watched online here.
The Lord Bishop of Leicester: My Lords, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, has reminded us, the Prime Minister has offered us what he calls,
“a clear programme for working people, social justice, and bringing our country together—put simply, a One Nation Queen’s Speech from a One Nation Government”.
It is therefore clearly our responsibility to evaluate the Government’s programme against that yardstick, and to measure the gracious Speech on its potential for national unity and social justice, at every point. Continue reading “Bishop of Leicester speaks on constitutional reform, devolution, human rights and welfare in debate on Queen’s Speech”
“To regard the English-Scottish relationship as simply the primary and maximal example of broader devolved relationships in the UK would be to invite a repetition of recent errors of judgment.”
On 29th October 2014, the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, took part in a House of Lords debate on devolution following the Scottish referendum, led by Baroness Stowell of Beeston. The Bishop reflected on his own experiences of studying and living in Scotland, and the relationship between England and Scotland. He urged caution in how politicians and the public approach matters of devolution and nationhood, noting that the post-referendum landscape was a good opportunity to renew the Union, whilst respecting cultural differences and political realities.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, bishops need to tread warily when discussing matters Scottish. Although I am thoroughly English by birth and background, I can, I think, claim rather closer connections with Scotland than some whom I observe wearing the kilt at the Chester Caledonian Association dinners which I regularly attend.
Let me explain. I have a Scottish wife—my one and only wife, I hasten to add—and two Scottish degrees, all three from Edinburgh. I trained for ordination in Scotland as somebody sponsored by the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I have owned a house in Scotland for 25 years and will happily retire there in a few years’ time. I am Anglican co-chair of the current Church of England-Church of Scotland ecumenical conversations. So tread I shall, if nevertheless warily. If I have learnt one thing in my discussions with the Church of Scotland, it is that were the Kirk ever to contemplate having bishops, which remains, I think, doubtful, they would need to be very different from English bishops to be acceptable. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester takes part in debate on devolution and the Scottish referendum”
In advance of Scotland’s referendum on independence on 18th September 2014, we publish below some links to statements and contributions to the debate by Christian commentators, academics and bloggers. It also includes references made by the Lords Spiritual in parliament. Continue reading “Scotland’s Referendum 2014”