Bishop John to enter House of Lords
On Monday 25 June, Bishop John will be officially inducted into the House of Lords.
There are 26 bishops of the Church of England sit in the House of Lords. Known as the Lords Spiritual, they read prayers at the start of each daily meeting and play a full and active role in the life and work of the Upper House.
Bishop John will be expected to be the ‘duty bishop' in the House for three weeks a year and will also attend to speak in debates about which he has an interest.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishops of Durham, London and Winchester are ex-officio members of the House of Lords. The remaining 21 places on the Bishops' Bench are not determined by diocese, but are occupied by those English diocesan bishops that have served the longest.
Bishop John said: "It is a great honour to become one of the Lords Spiritual. Bishops are uniquely placed to speak from first-hand experience of the problems and challenges facing individuals and communities in the area covered by dioceses.
Bishops have been a part of the Lords since Parliament began and their continuing presence reflects the current constitutional arrangements."
Bishops provide an important independent voice and spiritual insight to the work of the Upper House and, while they make no claims to direct representation, they seek to be a voice for all people of faith, not just Christians.
The history of Bishops in the Lords
Bishops have had an active role in the legislative affairs of the country since Parliament began. In the 14th century, bishops and nobles formed the 'Upper House' (the Lords) as, respectively, the Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal. Local representatives formed the 'Lower House' (the Commons). Apart from a brief interruption following the English Civil war, Bishops have played an active role in parliament ever since.
The continuing place of Anglican bishops in the Lords reflects our enduring constitutional arrangement, with an established Church of England and its Supreme Governor as Monarch and Head of State.
Although there are 44 dioceses in the present-day Church of England, the Bishopric of Manchester Act of 1847 limited the number of places for Lords Spiritual to 26. In the Upper House today the 26 Lords Spiritual constitute around 3.5% of its membership.
The Diocese of Worcester is one of 44 dioceses in the Church of England. It covers an area of 671 square miles and includes parishes in the County of Worcestershire, the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, and a few parishes in northern Gloucestershire, south east Wolverhampton and Sandwell.
From: Sam Setchell, Press Officer for the Diocese of Worcester and the Bishop of Worcester
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