We lead this week with new research that reveals the level of involvement with social projects undertaken by Church of England parishes. It reveals that eight out of ten parishes are involved in some kind of social involvement, with most helping in food banks.
Also on the front page we look ahead to the services this Sunday that will mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice in 1914 and we report on the latest news concerning Asia Bibi, the Pakistani mother-of-four who was arrested on blasphemy charges but had them dismissed last week. And Andrew Carey has his own comments on that in his column.
Inside we report on the pastoral letter issued by the bishops of Oxford diocese encouraging their clergy and church workers to be more inclusive, meanwhile faith leaders unite to call for a ‘real living wage’. The Government changed their definition of this in 2016, but campaigners are far from satisfied.
In other news we report on the granting of Eco Diocese status to Salisbury, while church leaders unite to back the resignation of Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, who was unhappy with the decision to delay the cap on stakes on fixed odds betting machines. And a congregation in Algarve welcomes their new priest.
The Archbishop of Canterbury went to Chile last week as the Church there was inaugurated as the 40th Province of the Anglican Communion.
On our comment pages we ask if Britain now has a de facto blasphemy law while Tim Livesey warns about the dangers of making charity history.
We meet Tom Stacey this week. A veteran journalist, he was also the inventor of the ‘tag’ that allows convicts to stay out of prison, a subject he wrote about for us a few weeks ago. However, his new novel draws on his own experience as he explores the nature of faith.
Kristyn Getty writes this week about the importance of singing hymns with children while Simon Rockman reports on a recent conference that addressed the rise of Artificial Intelligence and the Church’s contribution to the debate.
We also find out about the work of faith groups in helping seafarers and Rosalind Rutherford writes about those we might overlook as we mark the anniversary of the Armistice this weekend.