The Parish Magazine June 2023

Serving the communities of Charvil, Sonning, and Sonning Eye since 1869

Serving the communities of Charvil, Sonning, and Sonning Eye since 1869


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Christians persecuted in<br />

nine Commonwealth<br />

countries<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Parish</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> - <strong>June</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 13<br />

THE persecuted church by colin bailey<br />

Commonwealth States flags line <strong>The</strong> Mall for the Coronation<br />

At the time of writing, the weekend<br />

of the Coronation of King Charles<br />

III, it is interesting to consider the<br />

position of the Commonwealth<br />

countries regarding monarchy.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are 15 Commonwealth<br />

countries where the monarch is<br />

head of state: the UK, Antigua and<br />

Barbuda, Australia, Belize, Canada,<br />

Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand,<br />

Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and<br />

Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and<br />

the Grenadines, Solomon Islands,<br />

<strong>The</strong> Bahamas and Tuvalu.<br />

A recent poll by Lord Ashcroft,<br />

former Conservative Party<br />

chairman, involved interviewing<br />

22,000 people in all Commonwealth<br />

countries, and of the 15 nations<br />

mentioned above, six voted in<br />

favour of replacing the monarchy<br />

(Australia, Canada, Jamaica, the<br />

Bahamas, Solomon Islands and<br />

Antigua and Barbuda).<br />


<strong>The</strong> Commonwealth of Nations<br />

is a voluntary association of 56<br />

independent and equal countries in<br />

Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe<br />

and the Pacific. It is home to 2.5<br />

billion people, one-third of the<br />

world’s population. Most member<br />

countries have historic ties to<br />

Britain.<br />

Many former colonies are<br />

still part of the Commonwealth.<br />

Barbados was the most recent to<br />

establish its own head of state. It has<br />

been an independent nation since<br />

1966 and abolished the monarchy<br />

at the end of November 2021. Any<br />

country can join the Commonwealth:<br />

the last to do so were Gabon and<br />

Togo in 2022.<br />

Going back to 1949, the<br />

Commonwealth consisted of eight<br />

countries, each having King George<br />

VI as monarch. When India wished<br />

to become a republic but did not<br />

want to leave the Commonwealth,<br />

the title Head of the Commonwealth<br />

was created. This is a ceremonial role<br />

with no constitutional relevance to<br />

any of the Commonwealth’s member<br />

states. <strong>The</strong> position is not however<br />

hereditary and successors are chosen<br />

by the Commonwealth heads of<br />

government. Notwithstanding this,<br />

letters patent issued by the late<br />

Queen in 1958 and King Charles in<br />

2022 state that the Prince of Wales<br />

and his heirs and successors shall be<br />

future heads of the Commonwealth.<br />


A cross-referencing of<br />

the member nations of the<br />

Commonwealth to the Open Doors<br />

World Watch List of the 50 countries<br />

in which it is most dangerous to be a<br />

Christian shows that there are nine<br />

Commonwealth countries in the <strong>2023</strong><br />

World Watch List. <strong>The</strong>y are listed<br />

below along with their ranking in<br />

this year’s World Watch List:<br />

Cameroon (#45), Mozambique<br />

(#32), Nigeria (#6), Bangladesh (#30),<br />

Brunei (#46), India (#11), Malaysia<br />

(#43), Maldives (#15), Pakistan (#7).<br />

Some of these countries and<br />

the situation therein of persecuted<br />

Christians have been featured in<br />

earlier editions of <strong>The</strong> <strong>Parish</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

— Nigeria as recently as last month,<br />

Mozambique in January <strong>2023</strong>, India in<br />

October last year, and Pakistan in both<br />

March and May 2022.<br />

Dominic Dudley, dreamstime.com<br />

As for the others appearing in<br />

the World Watch List: Cameroon is<br />

officially a secular country but there<br />

are predominantly Muslim areas<br />

where Islamic extremism is growing.<br />

Boko Haram is violently active in the<br />

north of the country. Bangladesh<br />

has a population where just 0.5%<br />

turn to page 15<br />



AFRICA (21)<br />

Botswana, Cameroon, Gabon, <strong>The</strong><br />

Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Kingdom of<br />

Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius,<br />

Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria,<br />

Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone,<br />

South Africa, Togo, Uganda, United<br />

Republic of Tanzania, Zambia.<br />

ASIA (8)<br />

Bangladesh, Brunei, India, Malaysia,<br />

Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore,<br />

Sri Lanka.<br />


Antigua and Barbuda, <strong>The</strong> Bahamas,<br />

Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica,<br />

Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint<br />

Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent<br />

and the Grenadines, Trinidad and<br />

Tobago.<br />

EUROPE (3)<br />

Cyprus, Malta, United Kingdom.<br />

PACIFIC (11)<br />

Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New<br />

Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa,<br />

Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu,<br />


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