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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".

Album: Sinikka Langeland, Maria's Song (ECM)

An odd and intermittently beautiful combination of finger-in-the-ear Norwegian folk songs about the Virgin Mary (sung by Langeland), with performances of Bach played by Lars Anders Tomter on a viola of 1590 and Kare Nordstoga on the baroque organ of Nidaros cathedral in Trondheim, where the recording was made.

Inquiry launched into clergyman's 'affair'

The Church of England has launched an inquiry into allegations one of its senior clergymen was having an affair, a diocese said today.

Requiem, Maciejewski, Westminster Cathedral

It’s quite a story: the exiled Polish composer Roman Maciejewski tenaciously pursuing his dream to complete his “anti-war” Requiem over 15 years and across several countries and only now, a decade after his death, gathering the faithful in Westminster Cathedral during Polska! Year to celebrate its UK Premiere.

In God we trust: pews fill up as the economy slows down

Clerics believe the credit crunch is responsible for a steady rise in congregations

You write the reviews: The Prophecy, Chester Cathedral, Chester

The Chester Mystery Plays, a cycle based on biblical texts, date from the 14th century and are performed every five years in the shadow of Chester Cathedral. It's a complex and overwhelming enterprise by anyone's standards, but my apprehension at the thought of such a project being held in the open air of the famously fickle British summer, with a non-professional cast of more than 300 local people, quickly turned to admiration for their hard work and success.

LSO/Gergiev, St Paul's Cathedral, London

St Paul's Cathedral might be seen as the ultimate destination for a man already regarded as the omnipotent force in London musical life. But what should have been the crowning glory of Valery Gergiev's Mahler cycle – the mighty Eighth – was here bestowed with very mixed blessings indeed. The newly restored St Paul's is a thing of wonder, invoking silent awe beneath its great dome. But it's not a place for music on this scale.

Album: Padilla, Streams of Tears – The Sixteen/Christophers (Coro)

One of Spain's most successful émigrés, Juan Gutierrez de Padilla (1590-1664) was "maestro de capilla" of Puebla Cathedral, Mexico. Harry Christophers and the Sixteen reveal a composer with a talent for beatific radiance, best expressed in the Sanctus of the "Missa Ave Regina caelorum" and a glorious setting of "Deus in adiutorium" with twinkling harp.

One step forward...One step back, The Cathedral, Liverpool

It might be going a bit far to compare One Step Forward ... One Step Back, the new production by the Brighton-based company dreamthinkspeak, to the magnificence of Dante's vision, but One Step Forward takes his Paradiso and brilliantly transposes its imagined journey from Hell to Paradise to the nooks, crannies and galleries of Liverpool Cathedral. Giles Gilbert Scott could scarcely have imagined what profound and whimsical ideas would one day percolate through his spectacular building.

The Wave Theory Of Angels, by Alison MacLeod

An exploration of the point where science and fantasy seem to meet

Noel Mander

Restorer of the St Paul's Cathedral organ
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Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
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The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

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Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

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Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

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Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

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Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

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Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

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