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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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