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A vicars' pension scheme could be facing a precarious future unless church chiefs face up to a potentially massive deficit. John Ralfe, an independent pension expert, claimed this week that the pension scheme for some 16,400 Church of England clergy is "the riskiest in the country in terms of asset-type".

The only school in the village: Why are small primaries closing down?

As a location for a film about growing up in rural England you would be hard-pressed to better Stiperstones Church of England Primary School in Shropshire.

Church of England in 'sham marriage' crackdown

The Church of England is to tighten scrutiny of applications to wed in an effort to prevent sham marriages, it was announced today.

Camerons to opt for state school

The Camerons are planning to send their children to state school and have shortlisted a number of options including a new state academy that will open in West London, it emerged yesterday.

Rebellion is part of human progress, says Lord Blair

Lord Blair, the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, will say rebelling against the status quo is "triumphantly admirable", in a speech for Lent to be broadcast on Radio 4 this week.

The Right Rev Peter Walker: Educator, scholar and former Bishop of Ely

As the Church of England drowns itself in an ever-enlarging sea of paper and political correctness, so certain individuals from its history emerge, like figures from a skilfully restored painting, and we begin to realise that if the faith is to flourish in the 21st century we need to find once again deans of the stature of Michael Mayne and Michael Stancliffe, and bishops of the calibre of Robert Runcie and Peter Walker. Faith was not a simple matter for Walker, but he succeeded in communicating the excitement of the pursuit. He appreciated the poetry of R S Thomas – "such a fast God" – and of his beloved Geoffrey Hill. He relished the teasing out of the message – "the meaning is in the waiting".

Gove threatens to close failing academies

Sponsors of government academies will be stripped of their powers to run schools if they fail to raise standards, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, said yesterday.

The Right Revd Dr Kenneth Stevenson: Colourful priest with a special interest in liturgy who became a popular Bishop of Portsmouth

He was drinking champagne and listening to his favourite Bach only hours before his death in hospital.

Former bishops to be ordained as Catholic priests

The Archbishop of Westminster will today ordain three former Church of England bishops as Roman Catholic priests as a new Vatican scheme for disaffected Anglicans gets under way.

Vicar walks free after child porn conviction

A Church of England clergyman who downloaded hundreds of pornographic images of children while working at his vicarage walked free from court today after being ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

A Day That Shook The World: Edward VIII abdicates

On 11 December 1936 King Edward VIII chose the love of a woman over his country and confirmed his decision to abdicate.



Church relaxes wedding rules

Draft legislation that further relaxes the law on where couples may get married received approval yesterday from the Church of England's national assembly.

Queen warns of 'painful' times ahead for church

The Queen spoke today of the "difficult" and even "painful" choices facing the Church of England as she formally opened the Church's national assembly.

Anglican bishops to join Catholic church

Advocates for women bishops last night welcomed the resignation of five Anglican bishops to the Catholic Church saying their departure should help quicken the arrival of full equality within the Church of England.

Gay bishop to retire after death threats take toll

The first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion will retire in 2013, due in part to the "constant strain" on him and his family from the worldwide backlash against his election seven years ago.

Leading article: Schism might be a better option

Sixteen years after the first women priests were ordained in the Church of England, the bitter controversy about female authority in the church refuses to go away. This weekend it reached a new stage, when the archbishops of Canterbury and York narrowly failed to persuade the General Synod to accept a compromise on women bishops. Could it be time, perhaps, to end the acrimony and accept that the Church of England will have to split?

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

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French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

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