On 21st July 2022 the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Rt Revd Paul Williams, delivered his maiden speech in the House of Lords during Lord Alton’s debate, “that this House takes note of (1) the impact of the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports on food insecurity in developing countries, and (2) its contribution to the danger of famine in (a) the Horn of Africa, and (b) East Africa.”
The Lord Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham (Maiden Speech): My Lords, I begin by thanking fellow Members for their gracious welcome and expressing my gratitude to the parliamentary staff and officers who have so kindly supported my introduction to the House.
It is an honour to make this maiden speech in such an important debate, which focuses so clearly on the needs of the most vulnerable: those affected by the sudden steep rise in global food prices resulting from Russia’s terrible war and blockade in Ukraine. I pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Alton, both for bringing this debate to the House and for his long record of campaigning advocacy on behalf of those whose suffering is too often overlooked.
On 4th July 2022 the House of Lords heard the repeat of a statement made by the Prime Minister in the Commons, on the Commonwealth Heads of Government, G7 and NATO meetings.
The Lord Bishop of Manchester: My Lords, we on these Benches support Her Majesty’s Government in their response to President Putin’s invasion, as I am sure will our General Synod which is debating the matter this weekend. Aggression must not be rewarded. My right reverend friend the Bishop of St Albans has previously assured this House that the Church stands ready to use its reach and connections to pave the way to a solution, and we also stand ready to use our extensive links to humanitarian organisations.
May I therefore ask the Minister to expand on what is being done to ensure UK aid support reaches all those who need it, particularly through the informal volunteer groups, which have so far received only 0.24%—less than £1 in every £400—of direct donations, and to consider how faith organisations, including the Church, can pay their full part?
On June 23rd 2022 MPs put questions in the House of Commons to the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP:
Persecution of Christians Overseas
Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP)
What steps the Church is taking to support the implementation of recommendations in the final report of the Bishop of Truro’s review on persecution of Christians overseas. (900659)
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Andrew Selous): The murder of 50 Catholics in church this month in Ondo state in Nigeria and the ongoing murders for alleged blasphemy are a stark reminder of why the Church of England stands foursquare behind the implementation of the Bishop of Truro’s review.
On 10th March 2022 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions from MPs in the House of Commons, freedom of religion or belief overseas, family hubs, supporting Ukrainian refugees, affordable housing, the Queen’s platinum jubilee, and the Commissioners’ Scottish landholdings.
Global Summit: Freedom of Religion or Belief
Caroline Ansell (Eastbourne) (Con): What role the Church of England has in supporting the global summit to promote freedom of religion or belief, to be hosted by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in July 2022. (905957)
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Andrew Selous): The Church is making every effort to support that important summit to promote freedom of religion or belief. A debate was held on the lack of global religious freedom at last month’s General Synod and I am pleased that my hon. Friend the Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce), in her capacity as the Prime Minister’s special envoy for freedom of religion or belief, was able to brief Synod members on the huge cost of following Jesus in many parts of the world.
On the 18th December 2017 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, responded to a Government Statement on the recent European Council Meeting: He asked about the UK approach to Russian foreign policy and the progress made with the Brexit negotiations:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, the Leader seems disappointed that the Statement has not been welcomed as it might have been. I do welcome it but I do not think it is as it has been portrayed; that is, the progress that has been made thus far is simply the opening gambit and the real hard work is going to come in the next phase. It seems to me that so far not a great deal has been achieved, except that we can go on to talk about the next phase. I will make a quick observation and then put a question. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds says conduct of Brexit is aiding Russian policy of destabilising the West.”
“We need a more adequate humanitarian response to the human suffering resulting from the conflict, and to support and strengthen the efforts of the churches and faith communities of Ukraine for justice and peace.” – Bishop of St Albans, 24/3/15
On 24th March 2015 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, took part in a debate tabled by Lord Tugendhat “that this House takes note of the Report of the European Union Committee on The EU and Russia: before and beyond the crisis in Ukraine (6th Report, HL Paper 115)”.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I add my congratulations on the maiden speech of the noble Earl, Lord Oxford and Asquith, and I thank the noble Lord, Lord Tugendhat, for securing this debate, which provides a valuable space in which to explore the multifaceted and fast-changing situation in the region. The EU Committee’s report has opened a welcome opportunity to reassess the UK’s relationship with both Russia and Ukraine on a bilateral level and as part of the EU. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans highlights role of churches in building peace and stability in Ukraine”
On 8th January 2015 Lord Spicer asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what is their most recent assessment of the position in Ukraine’. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Rev Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans:
My Lords, we must not forget those Ukrainians living in Crimea who now find themselves under the Russian state. Could the Minister update us on what representations have been made on their behalf and, in particular, whether the OSCE monitors have made any progress in gaining access and finding out what is going on?
On 13th October 2014, Lord Spicer asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they took to encourage negotiations between the two sides at the start of the conflict in Ukraine. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, as well as seeking a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk, it is vital that we do not forget those Ukrainians who remained in Crimea and now find themselves under the Russian state. Can the Minister tell us what representations have been made on their behalf, and what progress, if any, has been made by the OSCE monitors in gaining access to Crimea? Continue reading “Ukrainians in Russia: Bishop of St Albans raises concern”
On 21st July 2014, a Government statement on the Ukraine (Shooting Down of MH17) and Gaza was repeated in the House of Lords by the Leader of the House, Baroness Stowell of Beeston. The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, perhaps I may return us to the tragic event of the downing of flight MH17 to join others in expressing deep and profound condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those who died. In particular, I express the deep sympathies of those of us who spend quite a lot of our time caring for those who are bereaved and, in so doing, I pay tribute to the Protestant, Anglican, Old Catholic and Roman Catholic ministers who have been trying to care for the stricken families at Schiphol Airport. They have a very demanding task. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry responds to statement on MH17 and Gaza”
On 2nd April 2014 the Bishop of Wakefield, Rt Revd Stephen Platten, received answers to written questions on EU and UK relationships with the Republic of Moldova, which borders Ukraine. The questions focused on:
the EU’s Association Agreement
political and military assurances about territorial independence and sovereignty
EU visa waiver programme
Tensions between Moldova and the autonomous regions of Transnistria and Gagauzia.