Extreme Risk Management: Bishop of Leicester highlights benefits of including faith groups in planning for response to crises

On 12th January 2022, the House of Lords debated a motion to take note of a report from the Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee: Preparing for Extreme Risks: Building a Resilient Society (Session 2021–22, HL Paper 110). The Bishop of Leicester spoke in the debate, advocating for greater inclusion of faith groups in emergency planning:

The Lord Bishop of Leicester: My Lords, I, too, am grateful for the Select Committee’s work in tackling such an important subject and, in particular, I concur with the authors’ recognition that,

“the UK must move away from a risk management strategy which … often ignores or fails to appreciate the interconnected nature of our society”,

and that we must instead,

“produce a risk management system that ties all sectors of society together.”

Interdependence is a fundamental part of human nature and policies that follow the grain of that nature are far more likely to succeed.

I was disappointed, therefore, that although the report advocated for a whole-society approach, no reference was made to the role of faith groups in emergency planning and response. Faith groups and leaders across the country were an integral part of the response to Covid-19. A 2020 report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society, based on research with local authorities, found that faith communities were instrumental in local responses by offering buildings, running food banks, information-sharing, befriending, collecting, cooking and delivering food, and providing volunteers for local authority programmes. Accordingly, the APPG found that local authorities developed a new-found appreciation for the agility, flexibility and professionalism of faith-based organisations, and that local authorities were keen to continue and build on those relationships in the future.

Continue reading “Extreme Risk Management: Bishop of Leicester highlights benefits of including faith groups in planning for response to crises”

Bishop of Gloucester on building strong local communities of shared values

On the 2nd December 2016 the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, spoke in the debate led by the Archbishop of Canterbury on shared  values and their role in shaping public policies. She highlighted the compassionate hospitality which this country has shown generations of refugees alongside the work she is undertaking in Gloucestershire to build community, standing ‘with’ rather than ‘othering’ people to promote human flourishing. 

gloucesterThe Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I thank my noble friend the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury on his foresight in tabling this debate on shared values. I also add my own congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord McInnes of Kilwinning, and the noble Baroness, Lady Bertin, on their poignant and insightful maiden speeches.

In the diocese of Gloucester, I have recently been talking to young people about body image and reflecting with them on how their true worth begins deep within, the place from which true values emerge and are lived. Last Saturday, I hosted a huge community party in Cheltenham to publicly launch our new vision for the diocese of Gloucester. The vision has emerged from conversations in local communities, urban and rural, involving about 6,000 people, churchgoers and otherwise, discussing what sort of church they want to see in their communities.The vision is one of human flourishing and transformation, emanating from those words of Jesus from the gospel of John:

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”.

That is a good starting place when it comes to talking about values. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester on building strong local communities of shared values”

Archbishop of Canterbury leads Lords debate on shared values

On 2 December 2016 the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, led a debate in the House of Lords “That this House takes note of the shared values underpinning our national life and their role in shaping public policy priorities.” His opening and closing speeches are below. The Bishops of Ely and Gloucester also spoke in the debate.


The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I am most grateful to the usual channels for making this debate possible. I should also like to thank noble Lords who have made the time and taken the trouble to attend today in considerable numbers, the Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, and those who look after us so well in this House.

In case noble Lords are wondering what the Motion is [laughter]…I decided to change it at the last minute…It reads:

“The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury to move that this House takes note of the shared values underpinning our national life and their role in shaping public policy priorities”.

It will be an especial pleasure to hear maiden speeches from the noble Baroness, Lady Bertin, and the noble Lord, Lord McInnes of Kilwinning. The noble Baroness brings her knowledge of communications, issues of disability among children and education. The noble Lord will enable us to have a wider view of issues in Scotland.

The UK, especially perhaps England, is a pragmatic country with a bias towards the empirical over the theoretical. Not for us the cries of “liberty, equality and fraternity”, to be followed by years of bloodshed to ensure true fraternity was established. Rather, ours is an untidiness of cumulative reforms and changes, worked out in practice through the highways and byways of our constitution. We relish the irony of a constitution that works in practice but never could in theory.

Great times of change in mood and culture demand from us a reimagining of what we are about as a nation. As we move into a post-Brexit world, alongside the other events that buffet and deflect us, unless we ground ourselves in a clear course and widely accepted practices, loyalties and values—what I will call values in this speech—we will just go with the wind. Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury leads Lords debate on shared values”

Bishop of Derby questions the drive for efficiency in the use of technology instead of assisting meaningful face-to-face pastoral engagement

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On the 14th April 2014 the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern spoke during a debate on the Deloitte report ‘Technology and people: The great job-creating machine published in August.’ Bishop Alastair spoke about the competing pressures of company supply chains and corporate responsibility, the values of society and the impact technology is having as efficiency cuts across the face-to-face pastoral engagement of professions such as healthcare. The Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe responded for the Government and addressed a number of the questions highlighted by the Bishop.

Continue reading “Bishop of Derby questions the drive for efficiency in the use of technology instead of assisting meaningful face-to-face pastoral engagement”

Bishop of Derby’s speech on inequality and social mobility

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord McFall, for his analysis, not least his observation that growth is not the answer and the unintended consequences of marketisation, as he called it. I probably want to explore what he might have meant by “the social, stupid”—there is an important clue in that.

I am engaged in this issue. In the City of Derby, where I work, I chair the inner city renewal project. That is the local authority and all kinds of voluntary and faith groups looking at how we can tackle this at grass-roots level, where there are a lot of people who are disadvantaged, with no social mobility and no equality in terms of finance, environment or opportunity. There are two ways of doing this. One is a needs-based approach—what are the needs and what resources can you put in to try to improve things?—and there is what they call an asset-based approach, which means asking what these people have in their own potential, as the noble Baroness, Lady Eaton, said—what do they have that can be grown so that they can contribute? Continue reading “Bishop of Derby’s speech on inequality and social mobility”

Maiden Speech from the Bishop of Winchester

Bishop of WinchesterOn the 14th May 2013 the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin gave his maiden speech in the House of Lords. Following the convention of the House the Bishop spoke about his diocese and then addressed the debate covering his areas of interest education, social cohesion and agriculture.

Continue reading “Maiden Speech from the Bishop of Winchester”

Bishop of Birmingham responds to the Queen’s Speech addressing reforms of business, employment and economics

Birmingham 171115On the 13th May 2013 the Bishop of Birmingham responded to the Queens Speech focusing on the areas of unemployment, business and the economy. The Bishop welcomed proposals for economic development and investment in transport which he hope would bring benefits to Birmingham and the wider region. He hoped the Government would tackle three areas, youth unemployment, personal debt and banking reform, quoting former Archbishop William Temple  he urged the Government to “Give us the tools in the regions and we will finish the job”.  Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham responds to the Queen’s Speech addressing reforms of business, employment and economics”

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