Sarah Sands: Thugs killed my favourite tree. But a new one is growing

Compared with the desecration of the Cenotaph, the chopping down of an old hawthorn tree in Glastonbury is low on the emotional Richter scale. There are no statements from the Prime Minister, no counter-reproaches from youthful revolutionaries. It is just a tree of no great beauty, which was significant to people of no interest to the famous or the fashionable.

Don't invite the boss to the Christmas party

Many workers do not want their boss at the Christmas party, fearing his presence will spoil the fun or even spark a violent reaction, a study has found.

Minor British Institutions: The office Christmas party

The roots of the Office Xmas Party, you won't be surprised to learn, are pagan. It's a celebration of the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun (25 December, as it happened), of the old Yule, always observed most enthusiastically in these islands, and uninterrupted by the coming of Christianity.

Vandals destroy sacred thorn tree

One of the UK's most important symbols of Christianity has been destroyed by vandals.

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.

Adoption doctor loses religious bias claim

A Christian paediatrician who was dismissed from an adoption panel over her belief that children should not be placed with same-sex couples today lost her claim for religious discrimination.

On stage at Glastonbury, a natural light show

In the mists of dawn yesterday it looks even more mysterious, but Glastonbury Tor in Somerset has an enigmatic air however you see it. For some people these days it may be merely the hill that looks over the world's biggest music festival, but for others, for hundreds of years, this has been the site of Avalon – the legendary river-island in the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Wanted: bankers willing to give up Mammon for God

Swiss order of Catholic monks advertises for recruits in magazine for financial alpha males

Can the movies do God?

Faith-based films are proving to be big box-office in America. Kaleem Aftab asks if pushing religion on screen will appeal to cinema audiences in Britain

Active Autumn: This lough marks the spot for hidden wildlife treasure

Anywhere but Northern Ireland and this place would be overrun by tourists, says Mark Rowe

DVD: Black Death (15)

The bubonic plague is laying waste to Middle Ages England but one village remains oddly unscathed.

Michael Day: Dwindling faith spells greatest trouble for the Church's coffers

As a global religion with a billion followers, many of whom are in the richest parts of the world, the Roman Catholic Church is naturally a multi-billion-pound enterprise.

Trail of the unexpected: The M25

Leave rush hour behind for a day out on London’s mighty ring road. Simon Calder fires up the Focus

Archbishop of Westminster urges Catholics to be more visible

Catholics are being urged to make themselves more visible by making the sign of the cross and saying "God bless you" more often.

Leading article: Benedict spoke to Britain

Many will remain angry and aggrieved after Pope Benedict's visit to Britain, just as many will continue to ask why a country with an established Protestant church in this secular age was hosting a four-day state visit by the head of the Roman Catholic Church at all. We ask that question ourselves. But there will be many, too – mostly, but not exclusively, British Catholics – who will have found consolation and encouragement in the pastoral aspects of his stay, which, after all, constituted by far the largest part.

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Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
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A shot in the dark

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New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
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These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

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Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
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Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
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Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
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'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

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England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

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