Church of England Bishops took the unusual step today of urging their flocks to vote in the general election. In a formal, pastoral letter they also called for a 'fresh moral vision' from party leaders.
The Prime Minister welcomed the intervention but some Conservatives have complained it leans too far to the Left.
ITV News Political Correspondent Emily Morgan reports:
The Bishop of Norwich told ITV News that the Church of England was calling for more people to be engaged in politics and encouraging ordinary people and politicians to come together "for the common good."
The Rt Revd Graham James said: "Sometimes our political culture and the name calling within it doesn't actually do politicians themselves much good. What we're calling for is for all of us to engage in a politics that actually has a vision that is for the common good."
The Bishop of Leicester, Tim Stevens has said that the Church of England's letter is meant to encourage politicians to "take their vocations seriously."
Responding to comment from David Cameron he told ITV News: "There are many things that have gone well, we acknowledge that unemployment has come down but we also notice that inequalities between the wealthy and the poor remain unhappily wide."
Mr Cameron has urged the Church to recognise improvements his Government had made, outlining efforts to create jobs, cut taxes and develop the economy.
David Cameron has welcomed a letter from Church of England leaders ahead of the general election.
The Prime Minister said he was "always keen for anyone to intervene in politics", adding: "I think it's good - we want to have a political debate in our country."
Mr Cameron also urged the Church to recognise the improvements his Government had made, outlining efforts to create jobs, cut taxes and develop the economy.
"I would say to the bishops, I hope they would welcome that because work does bring dignity, does bring self-reliance, it does enable people to provide for their families, it creates a stronger society as well as a stronger economy."
The Church of England has taken an unprecedented step into the political arena, encouraging politicians to offer a "fresh moral vision".Read the full story ›
The Church of England's first woman bishop will make her first official public appearance since she was ordained. The Rev Libby Lane is due to launch a campaign against human trafficking at Manchester Airport.
Airport staff will be given training to identify vulnerable passengers and look out for typical signs of trafficking as part of the Travel Safe Week initiative. She made history last month when she was ordained as the eighth Bishop of Stockport in a service at York Minster.
A Church of England diocese has launched an investigation into a Surrey vicar who linked Israel with the 9/11 attacksRead the full story ›
The appointment of the first female Bishop is an historic event, but her husband says it is her experience of everyday, normal family life that she will bring to her new job.
48 year old Reverend Libby Lane is a mother of two and has spent the last 20 years juggling often unpaid parish work with raising her children Connie and Benedict.
She met her husband Rev George Lane while studying theology at Oxford University, and they were ordained together in 1994 - four months after the first group of women became priests.
Her husband who is currently co-coordinating chaplain at Manchester Airport thinks their story 'represents the future of the Church of England'.
Both of us doing the cooking, both of us doing washing, both of us writing sermons and both of us dealing with some very serious and important things in people's lives.
That is what normality is to us.
It is a very modern tale of two people who have given and taken over 25 years of married life.
The first female Church of England bishop, Libby Lane has described her consecration service as an 'occasion of prayer and of party' and said she is 'thrilled that so many want to share in both.'
Nearly 2000 people attended the service at York Minster today which was conducted by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu.
I cannot properly express how encouraged I have been in the weeks since the announcement of my nomination, by the thousands of messages I have received with words of congratulation, support and wisdom.
I've heard from people of all ages, women and men, people I have known for years and people I have never met, people from down the road and people from across the world.
I cannot possibly live up to everyone's expectation. And so today, at my consecration, I hold on to words of promise from the Bible, a reassurance that all this does not depend on me.
Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the 'historic appointment' as an ''important day for equality'' and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, said he was 'absolutely delighted'.
The appointment of first woman bishop Rev Libby Lane continues to divide opinion.
But her colleagues say the 48-year-old mother-of-two can handle it - just like she did when she became one of the first women priests 21 years ago.
ITV News Reporter Martha Fairlie reports: