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Ethical investing monitor hired for Church of England: The Church of England Newspaper, February 7, 2014 February 17, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Church of England has engaged an American firm to help monitor its investments to ensure it conforms to church policies on ethical investment.

The Church Commissioners, the Church of England Pensions Board and the CBF Church of England signed the deal with MSCI ESG Research to identify within their £8 billion of assets firms engaged in the tobacco, pornography, gambling, armaments, coal extraction and pay-day lending industries.

Companies that have breached standards set by the UN Global Compact – a set of 10 principles covering human rights, the environment and anti-corruption – will also be identified from the over 9000 firms in which the church holds direct or indirect investments.

Last month’s agreement follows revelations last year the church had indirectly invested in pay-day lender Wonga. While the £75,000 investment represented 0.3 per cent of the pooled fund in question, the Archbishop of Canterbury was ridiculed in the press as he had previously denounced pay-day lending as predatory and unethical.

Edward Mason, Secretary to the Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group, said “The Church of England national investing bodies have a very broad suite of ethical investment policies. We are delighted by the commitment that MSCI ESG Research has shown to meeting our changing needs as we continue to seek to reflect the Church’s values in an ever more complex investment environment.”

Church Commissioners report to Parliament on metal thefts: The Church of England Newspaper, February 24, 2012, p 6 March 1, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Mr. Tony Baldry MP has responded to questions from Parliament about the rash of metal thefts affecting the Church of England.

On 20 Feb 2012 Mr. Baldry was asked by the member for Thirsk, Anne McIntosh (Cons.) “what steps the Church Commissioners are taking to seek amendments to planning laws applying to church buildings to permit a substitute for lead following theft.

Mr. Baldry wrote in response the Church Commissioners “are not taking such steps at the present time. Guidance issued by the Cathedral and Church Buildings Council strongly advises the use of traditional materials.”  However, the Church Commissioners recognized that there were some situations where alternative materials were acceptable “especially for roofs that are not visible or where there have been multiple thefts.”

The previous month Mr. Baldry was asked by the member for Kingston upon Hull North, Md. Diana Johnson (Lab) and the member for North Wiltshire, Mr. James Gray (Cons.) of the estimated costs of metal thefts from churchs.

Mr. Baldry stated on 19 Jan 2012 that “Ecclesiastical, the insurance company that insures the vast majority of churches, reports that last year alone more than 2,500 churches suffered thefts of lead, and that the cost of the resulting claims was about £4.6 million. Each of those claims represents a loss to a local community and a distraction to parishes from using their resources for local community life.”

Ms. Johnson thanked the Second Church Estates Commissioner for his response and added that she knew that members “on both sides of the House are concerned about the theft of metal from churches and from war memorials, and we hope that legislation or regulation will be introduced fairly quickly to deal with the problem.”

She asked whether Mr. Baldry would “confirm that Ecclesiastical has placed a cap of £5,000 on claims against thefts of metal from churches? If that is correct, what is he doing about it?”

Mr. Baldry responded that Ecclesiastical was a private company.  “It has nothing to do with the Church Commissioners. It has to make commercial decisions about the cover that it can provide to churches, and it has clearly taken the view that churches that have had lead stolen from them present a higher risk in regard to actuarial cover. That is all the more reason for us to find a resolution to the problem of metal theft as soon as possible.”

The member for North Wiltshire then rose and asked about the state of Britain’s war memorials on church property.  “I have had meetings with people at the Imperial War museum, who told me that, of the estimated 100,000 war memorials in England today, only 60,000 are recorded. Will my hon. Friend enter into discussions with the Imperial War museum—perhaps in association with the Heritage Lottery Fund—to find not only funding but volunteers, so that we can complete the registration of all 100,000 war memorials?”

The Second Church Estates Commissioner answered that with the coming centenary of the First World War “I am sure that there will be considerable interest in war memorials. In my constituency and elsewhere, parishioners are writing books recording the history of those who took part, and I am sure that the Church would want to co-operate constructively with the Imperial War museum, the War Memorials Trust and any other organisation that sought to ensure that we protect war memorials.”

The theft of lead from war memorials was a “particularly despicable crime,” Mr. Baldry added.

Church Commissioners pledge support for embattled African Christians: The Church of England Newspaper, January 27, 2012 p 7. February 2, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria.
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Tony Baldry, MP

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Second Church Estates Commissioner has pledged the support of the Church of England in aid to Africa’s embattled Christians.

On 20 January 2012 — the same day as 200 Nigerians were killed in terror blasts by al-Qaeda linked terrorists — the member for Bury North, Mr. David Nuttall (Con) asked the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Mr. Tony Baldry, what plans the church had to provide “support for Christian communities in Nigeria.”

Mr. Baldry responded that “Lambeth Palace” was in “regular contact” with the Church of Nigeria and that Dr. Rowan Williams has followed closely the “ongoing situation in the region.”

He added that the the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev. Justin Welby was “currently visiting Nigeria on behalf of the archbishop” and that the Church of England supports the Church of Nigeria’s effors to “end the murder and violence. It is putting its efforts into supporting movements for peace and reconciliation within the northern and central belt communities of Nigeria.”

Mr. Nuttall pressed the Second Church Estates Commissioner to condemn the terror campaign mounted by Boko Haram and “to take whatever action is necessary to bring such attacks to an end.”

Mr. Baldry responded that to “murder people simply for their religion or simply because they are Christians is totally barbaric, taking us back through the centuries. I very much hope that the Government of Nigeria will do everything they can to prevent the continuing murder of Christians. It is particularly disturbing that the person accused of bombing St Theresa’s church just outside Abuja was found hiding in the home of a local state governor.”

The member for Edinburgh North and Leith, Mr. Lazarowicz (Lab/Co-op) rose and asked whether the Second Church Estates Commission agreed that the issue of the “persecution of Christians—or, indeed, of those of any faith—must now be taken much more seriously by international agencies, by this Government and by other bodies that can play a role?”

He added that this was “the third month in a row in which the hon. Gentleman has had to answer questions relating to persecution or discrimination against Christians.”

The member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Simon Hughes (LD) rose and noted that his borough contained the “largest African community in Britain.”

He asked whether the church might find a way to “communicate better to Christian Africans in Britain what is being done” by the Church of England and the Christian churches in Africa to respond to persecution as well as find a way of involving British Africans in the peace process who “may be able to build a bridge” between the warring communities – points to which Mr. Baldry concurred, stating he would raise them with Dr. Williams.