Wednesday 28 January 2015

HG Bishop Angaelos speaks at the Houses of Parliament regarding 'The characteristics of our British national identity'

On 27 January 2015 the Maranatha Community in the United Kingdom presented a statement in the Houses of Parliament regarding ‘The characteristics of our British national identity’. The meeting, chaired by Fiona Bruce MP, was attended by members of Parliament, various faith leaders and members of the public. The meeting was introduced by Dennis Wrigley, co-founder and co-leader of the Maranatha Community, who said the following:

“Our British values are firmly rooted in Judeo-Christian inheritance…it is not a question of making a Christian assertion but recognising what the historians have noted over centuries. Every man, woman and child is of value…These foundations if removed will lead to the collapse of our society.”

Presentations then followed from Phil Quenby who gave a historical perspective, John Scriven from a legal perspective, Edmund Matyjaszek as Headmaster, and His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom who spoke of the importance of the issue at this time in the life of our nation, and within the context of global events.

In speaking of the nature of British society, Bishop Angaelos said:

“It is not about declaring ourselves a Christian country, but continuing to be a country that embraces all according to the Christian origins of its laws and ideology.”

Commenting on the common misconception that Christianity is exclusive and alienating he went on to say:

“It is disconcerting that whenever Christians overtly live their faith and speak of Christian understanding and values, they are often perceived to be radicals who reject all others; yet this is certainly not the case. What we must remember as Christians however, is that in speaking prophetically and powerfully we must at the same time speak with sensitivity and empathy.”

In conclusion His Grace offered words of encouragement, saying:

“Through a realised, truly lived and visible unity as Christians, we must work within our complex societies and through obstacles set before us to always give a reason for the hope that is in us.”

After the presentations speakers took questions from the floor, and Dennis Wrigley concluded with the following aims:

“The need for a recognition of a set of values is desperately and urgently needed before the general election…the time has now come for Christians to define how human love and human kindness in the name of Jesus operates…there is hope when we reaffirm our values.”

After the meeting the statement was delivered to 10 Downing Street for the Rt. Hon. David Cameron as well as to Buckingham Palace for Her Majesty the Queen.