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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".

Letters: Atheism and the Church

What an uplifting article by Mary Ann Sieghart ("You don't have to believe in God to cherish the Church", 20 February). I, like her, thank ... er ... goodness for the Church of England.

Richard Dawkins, scientist: 'I am at a loss to understand how any reasonable person can defend first past the post. AV should be supported by every democrat'

Mary Ann Sieghart: Thank God for the Church of England

The Church of England couldn't hope for a better enemy than Richard Dawkins. Puffed-up, self-regarding, vain, prickly and militant, he displays exactly the character traits that could do with some Christian mellowing. In fact, he's almost an advertisement against atheism. You can't help thinking that a few Sundays in the pews and the odd day volunteering in a Church-run soup kitchen might do him the power of good.

Faith groups warned they 'must abide by laws'

Christians who think they should be exempt from equality legislation are like Muslims trying to impose sharia law on Britain, the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has said.

Archbishop to renew his evolution battle with Dawkins

The Archbishop of Canterbury and atheist Professor Richard Dawkins are set to go head to head to discuss the biggest unanswered question of them all.

Carry on blessing: former Bishop of Stepney, Stephen Oliver, clowning around in 2006

Church debate: Who'd be a bishop?

The General Synod debates women bishops again today. While they make up their minds, John Walsh weighs the palaces and puce robes against the political powerlessness

Wedding and funeral fees to rise

Fees for church weddings are to rise by 40 per cent and the cost of a funeral service by more than half.

Sentamu is sent racist emails after row over gay marriage

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has been sent racist emails after making controversial comments about same-sex marriage.

Synod warned over women bishops

The Church of England would go through a "substantial period of shock" if its national assembly voted against the introduction of women bishops, a senior cleric has warned.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, are risking the wrath of liberals by supporting a compromise move over women bishops

Churchmen close ranks (again) in battle over women bishops

Anglican traditionalists plan a controversial last-ditch attempt to block their Synod's move to equality.

Letters: Bishops in the Lords speak up for justice

Good grief! Your editorial about bishops in the House of Lords (26 January) read like something out of the Sunday Express circa 1962. Bishops should stick to their pulpits; the "privileged" Church of England having a voice in Parliament because it's the established church. Those arguments became boring many years ago.

Peers defeat welfare reform plans

The Government suffered a defeat over its welfare reform proposals tonight as peers supported a move to exempt child benefit from the £26,000 benefits cap.

Lawyers for the Occupy London protesters are appealing

'Ring of prayer' bid to prevent evictions

Christians have promised to surround the tents of the Occupy protest outside St Paul's Cathedral with a "ring of prayer", in an attempt to stop bailiffs from evicting the people camped there.

Religion for Atheists, By Alain de Botton

For English writers and thinkers, the urge to rescue the core values of a waning Christianity for secular culture drove literary explorations and educational ventures for over a hundred years. This aching nostalgia for an impossible faith and its masterworks has itself left some fine monuments, from Matthew Arnold in the 1860s listening to the "melancholy, long, withdrawing roar" of the ebbing "Sea of Faith" on "Dover Beach", to Philip Larkin, "Church Going" as a respectful sceptic to "A serious house on serious earth... In whose blent air all our compulsions meet".

'Ring of prayer' to fight St Paul's eviction

More than 200 Christians are on 24-hour standby to rush to the site if bailiffs arrive

Leading article: An establishment dilemma

The office of a bishop is weighty in the Church. Charged with acting as a focus of unity and with upholding doctrine, the post is supposed to be prayerfully accepted rather than actively sought, which is why reports that the Dean of St Albans may sue the Church of England for discrimination over its refusal to make him a bishop will have shocked the Anglican hierarchy to its core.

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