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A ‘small quantity’ of asylum seeker conversions may not be actual, says bishop

A ‘small quantity’ of asylum seeker conversions may not be actual, says bishop


The Bishop of Chelmsford, Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani

The Bishop of Chelmsford has mentioned that it’s “very tough” to know if a conversion to Christianity is actual, no matter whether or not the particular person is from the UK or not.

Bishop Guli Francis-Dehqani appeared on the BBC Sunday Programme to debate claims that the Church of England has been complicit in asylum seekers gaming the system with faux conversions. 

She mentioned that “inevitably” there can be “a small variety of circumstances” of individuals making an attempt to “rip-off us”, however that preparation for baptism was “very rigorous” and that some individuals even abandon it as a result of it takes too lengthy. 

“We take severely our duties, however we additionally know that as Christians, our main duty is one in all welcome and hospitality and assist and educating, however we have to try this in a method that’s that’s clever and, and is conscious that often there are individuals who would possibly attempt to rip-off us,” she mentioned. 

The bishop, who got here to Britain as a refugee from Iran, mentioned she was open to a evaluate of the Church of England’s present steerage for vicars round conversion, however added that there may by no means be full certainty. 

“It’s very tough to look into the hearts of individuals ever and be 100 per cent. And that goes for whether or not that particular person is from Britain or an immigrant from elsewhere,” she mentioned. 

“But we completely advise clergy to do the perfect they’ll. And I believe what’s occurring right here is that inevitably there will likely be a small variety of circumstances.” 

Later within the dialogue she mentioned that the onus was on clergy to “be as assured as they presumably may be” {that a} candidate for baptism is honest and understands what it means. 

“Preparation is most often very rigorous and that is proper and correct. I believe, God forbid, you do take that severely no matter the place individuals are coming from. It’s simply that ultimately, it is inconceivable to show 100 per cent,” she mentioned. 

“But we do have this steerage and we do make it very clear that clergy should be as assured as they presumably may be that these searching for baptism totally perceive what it signifies.

“As we have heard already, some individuals fall away from the system if they’re making an attempt to rip-off it as a result of they realise it is taking longer than they’d ideally like.”

However, she mentioned it was “fallacious” that focus was being centered on “a really small quantity” of alleged abuses as a result of “it is diverting consideration away from the systemic issues, which is that we have now an immigration system that is overwhelmed and inefficient”. 



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