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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.