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'Do not open champagne' just yet over women bishops

Celebrations over the potential approval of women bishops in England should not start just yet, the Archbishop of York has warned.

Members of the General Synod voted in favour of new proposals which see the introduction of women bishops.

The Church of England General Synod gave its backing today to new proposals which could see women bishops given final approval by next year. Credit: PA Wire.

However, leading conservative evangelicals said there still remained "major issues" to be resolved - prompting the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, to warn against "opening the champagne" yet.

"We should not open the champagne bottles or whatever drink we regard as celebratory because we need to agree to work together until the end," he said

The move follows a bitter row within the Church of England after the legislation failed by just six votes to get approval at the General Synod a year ago.

Read: Vote to allow women bishops in Wales will build momentum in England

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Church to back proposals to allow women bishops

Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York (left) and The Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev. Justin Welby. Credit: PA

The Church of England's national assembly is expected to back new proposals which could see women bishops given final approval by next year.

Members of the General Synod meeting in London are to be asked to give first approval to legislation introducing women bishops with a "declaration" by the Church of England bishops setting out guidance for those parishes which reject female ministry.

The new set of proposals would include an ombudsman, or independent reviewer, to rule on disputes over arrangements for traditionalists who will not accept the authority of a woman.

Clergy who failed to cooperate with the ombudsman's inquiries could be subject to disciplinary proceedings.

Evangelical Christian groups 'allowed access' to schools

A new study warns that through the marginalisation of religious education, Evangelical Christian groups who are committed to converting young people are being allowed access to children in state schools.

The report was on the marginalisation of RE in schools Credit: Bodo Marks/DPA/Press Association Images

The National Secular Society (NSS), which published the report, has called on the Government to bring in a stricter code of conduct to prevent visiting groups “proselytising” during religious lessons.

According to a report in The Independent, Head teachers’ leaders have warned “a line is crossed” when religious theories such as creationism were taught as if they were science.

'Challenger' bank to specialise in small business banking

The new high street bank that will take over the running of 314 bank branches will revive the dormant Williams & Glyn's brand, under plans announced today.

It is not yet known when the brand will start to appear on the high street. The business will take on a £19.7 billion loan book and £22.2 billion in customer deposits.

Williams and Glyn's bank to return to the high street. Credit: RBS Press Office.

RBS Chairman Sir Philip Hampton said the new bank would have a particular focus on small business banking. He said:

"Williams & Glyn's will play an important role in the UK banking landscape and will be an excellent new addition to the market, with a particular strength in small business banking - a sector that is so crucial to the UK's economic recovery."

More: Church of England takes stake in new 'challenger bank'

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Church takes stake in bank branches sold by RBS

The Church of England's investment arm is to have a stake in the running of 314 bank branches being hived off by state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) as part of a £600 million deal.

The Royal Bank of Scotland logo.
The Church of England's investment arm will have a stake in 314 branches sold by RBS. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Investors including the Church Commissioners and financial firms Corsair Capital and Centerbridge Capital are to revive the dormant Williams & Glyn's brand, under the plans announced today.

RBS, which is 80% state-owned following its near-collapse at the height of the financial crisis, has been forced to sell the branches under European rules.

Church 'committed' to credit union but not before 2014

The Church of England said it was "committed to exploring" a credit union scheme but warned it would not be in place until 2014 at the earliest.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he wanted to compete Wonga out of business by developing the Church's own credit business.

The Church of England is committed to exploring the potential of credit unions.

As part of that process we are supporting the dedicated group of church members who are working with the Church of Scotland towards establishing the Churches Mutual Credit Union.

The process is necessarily detailed and it is unlikely to be established before Autumn 2014 at the earliest but this is one of many initiatives at a local and national level which shows the Church responding to need in a time of austerity.

– A Church of England spokesperson

Read: Wonga boss claims company 'isn't about people on breadlines'

Church of England: Fracking can benefit poor

The Church of England has no official policy either for or against hydraulic fracturing (known as 'fracking').

However there is a danger of viewing fracking through a single issue lens and ignoring the wider considerations. There are a number of balancing considerations which need to be taken into account when coming to a view. Fuel poverty is an increasingly urgent issue for many in society - the impact on energy bills is felt most by the least well off.

Blanket opposition to further exploration for new sources of fuel fails to take into account those who suffer most when resources are scarce.

Fuel poverty, the creation of jobs, energy self-sufficiency and the development of technology that may reduce the impact of more polluting fuels are just some of the factors which need to be taken into account in any debate alongside the concern we all have about the impact of fossil fuels upon climate change.

– Philip Fletcher, Chair of the Church of England's group on Mission and Public Affairs

Read: Vivienne Westwood joins anti-fracking demo

Archbishop: 'Time does not in itself bring healing'

The Archbishop of York has said the passing of archive files of deceased clergy to child abuse investigators is part of a process to ensure that such incidents can never take place again.

The damage done by the sexual abuse of children is immense, and the passage of time does not in itself bring healing.

Where young people are shown to have been betrayed by individuals in a position of trust and by the institution's failure to protect them, it is for the Church to acknowledge the hurt which has been done, to offer a full apology, and to prove, so far as is possible, that policies and practices are improved such that the same systemic failure could never be repeated.

– The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu
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