On Wednesday 17th June 2015 the House of Lords debated a motion in the name of Lord Sterling of Plaistow “to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider that the current defence budget is sufficient to enable the Armed Forces to meet the needs of the United Kingdom’s long-term foreign policy.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke in the debate, highlighting the need to resource conflict resolution and post-conflict stabilisation in Syria and other parts of the region.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I too welcome this debate and thank the noble Lord, Lord Sterling, for securing it. With the strategic defence and security review we have an opportunity for a wider debate on the politics of defence that might help to reshape our understanding of the purpose and task of our Armed Forces. The fundamentals that have underpinned UK foreign policy and defence spending in the past will need to be adapted to the changed circumstances we face, especially in the Middle East and our European neighbourhood. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark calls on Government to invest in peacekeeping and post-conflict role of armed forces”
On Thursday 28th May the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Rev Christopher Chessun, spoke during the debate on the Queen’s Speech. He focused on the Middle East, the importance of a two-state solution for Israel/Palestine and the partnership role between churches and Government in delivering overseas aid. The full text of his speech is below and a video can be viewed here.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, it was encouraging to hear the commitment of Her Majesty’s Government in the gracious Speech to various foreign policy objectives in the Middle East. The chaos in the Middle East is all too familiar and arises not from isolated pockets of trouble but from multiple interconnected challenges. Syria’s misery shows no sign of ending; Libya appears torn in half; ISIS continues to make gains in Iraq; and Yemen appears to be sliding into a humanitarian crisis. We are confronted by a Middle East that is coming apart at the seams. These are problems that will not just evaporate. They need careful attention and strategic patience, and I encourage Her Majesty’s Government to remain vigilant to broader aims throughout the region, as well as giving appropriate attention to the constituent parts. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark on Middle East Peace and Role of Churches in Delivering Aid”
The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun spoke in a short debate about the Israel Palesine two state solution. Bishop Christopher spoke of the importance to maintain freedom of religion across the region and some of the issues he had seen with the building of the ‘peace and security wall’ following a recent visit to the region.
Baroness Anelay responded to the debate for the Government and addressed a number of the bishops points. Her comments can be found below.
Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark speaks about Israel & Palestine and the Two State Solution”
On 23rd February 2015, the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received answers to three written questions on the situation in Gaza.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the funding available to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East in Gaza. [HL4862] Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark – Gaza (Written Answers)”
On 29th January 2015, Lord Steel of Aikwood moved that the House of Lords take note of the Resolution of the House of Commons of 13 October 2014 that “this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel, as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution”, and that this recommendation has also been adopted by the European Parliament, and the Parliaments of Sweden, France, Ireland, Portugal and Luxembourg. The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke during the debate on the motion. He reflected on a recent visit to the region, as an Anglican participant in the annual visit of the Holy See’s co-ordination group of bishops in support of the church in the Holy Land. He raised questions about how best to protect the rights of minority groups in the region and the need for a strong commitment to religious freedom to ensure the participation of all parts of the population in diplomatic and reconciliation efforts.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I was privileged earlier this month to spend a week in Gaza and the West Bank. I went as an Anglican participant in the annual visit of the Holy See’s co-ordination group of bishops in support of the church in the Holy Land. It was very challenging to see at first hand the current situation in Gaza and more widely in the West Bank.
Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark takes part in debate on Palestinian statehood”
On the 22nd January 2015 the Bishop of Southwark gave his maiden speech to the House of Lords on the subject of the Local Government Finance Settlement. Bishop Christopher introduced himself his interests to the House in the usual manner before turning to address the debate. Speaking about the importance of local government Bishop Christopher addressed the impact cuts to funding have on people in greatest need, the importance of early intervention alongside the ease of losing sight of people in need during complex financial discussions instead of focusing on ensuring human flourishing. The Bishop was formerly welcomed to the House in the usual manner by Baroness Donaghy and the Mininster Lord Ahmad.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark (Maiden Speech): My Lords, I address your Lordships’ House on this first occasion with some trepidation. As I was advised not to drift into preaching mode, I will resist the temptation to expound on the interesting passage from scripture that the noble Lord has just quoted.
As a student of history, I am conscious of the dignity and importance of this House in the life of our nation, and I am acutely aware of the privilege of sharing in your Lordships’ deliberations. Throughout my life I have been inspired by the model of service found in the life of Jesus Christ, and I am humbled when I reflect on where that service has led me—not least, now, to your Lordships’ House. I will seek to serve to the best of my ability, using the gifts that God has given me. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark gives maiden speech in debate on the Local Government Finance Settlement”
On 15th December 2014 the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, was Introduced to the House of Lords and took his seat. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark Introduced to Lords”