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Same-Sex Marriage: A ‘Truth Serum’ for Evangelicals

April 3rd, 2014 Jill Posted in Charity, Gay Activism Comments Off

By Dr Richard E Land, Christian Post

What a week! It started with World Vision announcing that it had changed its employment policy to allow partners in a legal, same-sex relationship to be employees. This action set off a theological firestorm both because of the organization making the decision – World Vision U.S. ranks among America's top ten charities and serves over 100 million people in at least 100 countries – and the breath-taking nature of the shift in theology and doctrine it seemed to signify.

Amazingly, in making the announcement, Richard Stearns, World Vision president, explained "this is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. We have decided we are not going to get into that debate. Nor is this a rejection of traditional marriage, which we affirm and support."

[...]  As World Vision has learned, Evangelicals cannot declare "neutrality" on this issue, and it cannot be fudged or finessed. If you tolerate same-sex marriage and/or same-sex behavior as acceptable morality for Christians, then you have rebelled against biblical authority and departed from the orthodox faith of biblical Christianity.

As the World Vision episode illustrates so vividly, the same-sex marriage issue will act like a truth serum, dividing true Evangelicals from the faux Evangelicals who seek to travel under the Evangelical banner while denying the biblical faith of their Evangelical forefathers.

Perhaps in the final analysis the same-sex marriage and homosexual issue will purify and refine Evangelicalism (always a prerequisite for true spiritual revival) by causing those who accept the current politically correct zeitgeist to be known. As the Apostle John said long ago, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not of us."

Read here

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How World Vision can regain trust

March 27th, 2014 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off

by Dr Michael L Brown, OneNewsNow

The problem that World Vision faces now is that they lost the trust of many of their constituents. We really need to know where they stand if we are to be able to stand with them – and we do desire to stand together with them in ministering to the poor and the oppressed.

In the spirit of forgiveness that God Himself extended to us through Jesus, I believe we should accept World Vision's statement of repentance with graciousness and offer their leadership the forgiveness they requested, commending them for their contrition.

This could not have been an easy thing to do, as they will now have to deal with accusations of being double-minded, not to mention the pro-gay activist backlash they will surely face along with accusations that they were not sincere in their repentance but rather acted out of mercenary concerns, and so we need to be just as vocal in affirming them as we were in rebuking them.

The question is: Since they recognize that they deeply betrayed the trust of a large number of their constituents, how can they now regain that trust? (When speaking of World Vision throughout this article, I'm referring only to the U.S. branch, which made the initial, tragic decision.)

Not surprisingly, many are questioning the motivation of World Vision's reversal, suggesting that they did not act out of conviction but rather out of pragmatism, not wanting to lose a massive amount of donor support.

Of course, World Vision could have said, "But our mission to help the poor depends on money, and when we realized that our initial decision to change our employment policy regarding homosexuality was going to hurt us financially, we decided to reevaluate that decision." But that is not what World Vision said (and, candidly, such a response would hardly be worthy of a purportedly Christian organization). Rather, their statement of repentance was unequivocal.

Read here      

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On whether Christians should keep supporting World Vision

March 26th, 2014 Jill Posted in Charity, Gay Activism Comments Off

by Matthew Lee Anderson, Mere Orthodoxy

World Vision USA has altered their employee handbook to allow them to hire members of committed same-sex unions. As I noted on Twitter, I find their rationale incoherent, but not terribly surprising.
Of the various threads I could take up, though, I want to focus on the decision which many conscientious Christians who deeply disagree with World Vision USA’s decision now face: should they continue on supporting the child that they had been, or should they send their donations elsewhere?
It’s important to note that the question is not strictly financial. As with many organizations, the funds an individual contributes in support of a child do not go to that child directly. They are “pooled” and sent to support the community which the child lives in. Similarly, the contributions are used to justify additional grant money from governments that are thrown into the various pools as well, all of which provides help for the community and from which the child benefits indirectly. This is not uncommon: it allows World Vision to maximize the impact of the money by focusing on the structural issues within a community that contribute to everyone’s flourishing.

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Chastity for charity

January 8th, 2014 Jill Posted in Charity, sex Comments Off

by Tamara Rajakariar, MercatorNet

Over the last week, you might have heard of a guy called Pete Lynagh. His story? On New Year’s Day 2013, the party-boy gave up sex for a year, all because his housemate bet that he couldn’t do it. And while he abstained, he used that lifestyle change to raise money for a charity that works against child sex slavery in Cambodia.
And a year later as 2014 begins, the 33-year old feels that he is a much better man for it – despite how corny that may sound.
To most, this would seem like a lovely feel-good story; a little bit of inspiration to kick-start the New Year. To me though, I feel like it sums up one of the “elephants in the room” of our society – the ramifications of casual sex. It gives a personal example of how sex, used outside of a loving relationship for meaningless entertainment, really has a way of taking over life, obscuring the things that are important and preventing us from being our best.
For one, Pete was using sex to deal with other emotional issues. He says it himself in a Sydney Morning Herald article: “'I felt empty inside. I didn't like myself. I felt good whenever I was feeling wanted…It's not a good place. It's a pathetic, sad place really, looking back. It was all ego-driven. How many players out there are doing the same thing because they feel empty?” By swearing off sex for a year, he was able to actually face the fact that he was empty and unhappy, and proceed to do something about it.
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Charities should answer to the public, not to the political elite

August 10th, 2013 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off

by Charles Moore, Telegraph

Does it matter that the chief executive of Save the Children earns more (£163,000 last year) than the Prime Minister (£143,500)? Should we worry that, as this newspaper revealed this week, at least 38 charity bosses are now earning more than £100,000 a year?

The answer is not obvious. Large charities need professional competence and charismatic leadership. Such things must, within reason, be paid for. On the other hand, charities are funded by people giving money to help other people who need it more. If a class of charito-crats, richer and more powerful than their ordinary donors, has come into being, that is wrong.

[...]  In the Blair/Brown era, such managerialists conquered charity’s commanding heights. Several, like Justin Forsyth, who earns the big money from Save the Children (see above), actually worked for Mr Blair and Mr Brown. With the Charities Act of 2006, the nature of charity, which had been widely agreed in British culture for centuries, was redefined. The “four heads” of charitable purpose – religion, education, the relief of poverty and other purposes beneficial to the community – were superseded by 13 much more politicised categories. The notorious clause 3.2 of the Bill (“critically flawed”, says the Commons public administration select committee) told the Charity Commission to define “public benefit” in the secret hope that independent schools would be forced to lose their charitable status. (Luckily, it was too badly drafted to succeed.) The commission was weakened as a regulator. Hence the cases of fraud, tax evasion and camouflaged Islamist extremism that are now coming to light.

At the same time, charities were increasingly used as off-the-books agencies of government, and some (“sock-puppet” charities) were created solely for that purpose. Instead of facing the public, and raising money from them, such charities depended on government largesse – hence the endless networking. More charities were included in the ambit of official power.

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Rowan Williams becomes chair of Christian Aid

April 25th, 2013 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off

From Christian Today

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams is to take up a new social justice role next month as chair of Christian Aid's Board of Trustees.

Dr Williams stepped down as Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of last year to become Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

He said he had become more aware of the priority of development and aid issues around the world during his 10 years as Archbishop.

Dr Williams takes up his position as Christian Aid chair on 1 May in time for the start of this year's Christian Aid Week, which kicks off on 12 May.

He said he was "delighted" to be a part of the development agency's work.

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England and Wales Bishops funding pro-abortion groups through support for comedy charity: SPUC

March 20th, 2013 Jill Posted in Charity, pro-life/abortion Comments Off

By Hilary White, LifeSite News

A leading pro-life group has asked the UK’s Catholic Education Service (CES) not to contribute to a charitable campaign that has donated millions of pounds to leading pro-abortion groups, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

John Smeaton, director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), has again asked CES and the Catholic bishops of England and Wales to suspend participation in the annual Comic Relief charitable drives.

“It is simply unethical for anyone – let alone Catholic schools – to raise money for Comic Relief, that massive bankroller of the culture of death,” he said.

The Comic Relief telethons were founded in 1985 to help with the effort to relieve the Ethiopian famine. Since then they have raised over £750 million. Two popular campaigns sponsored by Comic Relief, Red Nose Day and Sport Relief, say they aim to “bring about positive and lasting change in the lives of poor and disadvantaged people, which we believe requires investing in work that addresses people's immediate needs as well as tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice.”

But critics have said that the charitable work of the events includes donating large sums of money to hard left groups to promote “reproductive choice.”

In a recent letter from Comic Relief to CES, posted by Smeaton on his blog, Comic Relief explains that, after concerns had been raised, they had “opened up a dialogue” with the Catholic bishops in 2000 “to help communicate the facts.” The result, says Comic Relief, was that the “Bishops’ Conference and the Department of International Affairs confirmed that they were confident that Catholics may continue to support Comic Relief’s fundraising initiatives in good faith.”

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Should all churches have charitable status? – View from the Church of England

February 26th, 2013 Jill Posted in Charity, Church life Comments Off

By The Revd Canon Chris Sugden, AAC

When charities and charity laws were first established in England in 1601, it was held that any religion is better than no religion, and was therefore of benefit to society. "The advancement of religion" was a legitimate charitable purpose. The religion at that time was of course "Church of England".

Since then, the situation has changed. Some violence and terror are sanctioned by some religious groups. So, is religion in and of itself a public benefit?

In 2006, the current leader of the Labour Party, Ed Milliband, when Labour was in power, brought in an act that introduced the concept of "Public Benefit" for an organisation to be charitable. This was intended to address independent private schools, many of which were registered charities and received tax benefits. This was designed to increase their activities in providing education for the disadvantaged in some way.

However, according to Peter Bone, MP and an Anglican, this act had an unintended consequence. While Ed Milliband said the change would not affect existing churches, the concept of "Public benefit" had been left undefined. Therefore, some secular people on the Charity Commission had begun to put their own interpretation on what was meant by public benefit.

It should not be the Government who defines public benefit. We have seen the direction that that might head. For example, Catholic adoption agencies were forced to close unless they conformed to the new equality legislation and were allowed no "reasonable accommodation."

Mr Bone has therefore proposed a bill to return to the presumption that religion is itself a public benefit and sets out three tests: that particular religion should provide an opportunity for prayer; that it should express social work and education and provide money for charitable purposes.

In the course of demonstrating public benefit, the Churches have shown that they provide 23 million hours of voluntary work directed outside the churches per month, for half a million young people outside church related activities or schools, and are the largest voluntary organisation in the country bar none.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Church community work in the UK is valued at over £2.5 billion per year

February 21st, 2013 Jill Posted in Charity, Faith Comments Off

From God and Politics UK

[...]  “If we were to fully cost volunteer time (some of which is quite specialist) and paid staff time at average wage of £500 per week or £12.50 per hour then the cost would be £1.925bn. Once you add in the use of facilities and direct financial contribution, one can see that the total contribution to social initiatives is probably above £2.5bn per annum.” said Geoff Knott, author of the report.
There are a few important points to be drawn from all of this. One is that anyone who thinks that Christians should be keeping their faith to themselves and stay out of public life, as the National Secularist Society advocate, has no idea how big a gaping hole in community work this would leave nationally. To even suggest such a foolish idea displays a high level of ignorance and intolerance that really does not deserve any respect.
Instead, the increase in provision by churches over the last couple of years strongly suggests that their desire to serve the communities they are grounded in is driven by compassion and awareness of local needs. Whereas most charities are seeing their incomes fall, giving by Christians to their own church social projects has increased substantially. Christians are filling the gaps, as Andrew Brown reports, that welfare cuts are creating. I would like to suggest that one of the consequences of the economic downturn is that churches are becoming more socially aware and that the challenge of meeting the needs of people on their doorstep is creating a renewed movement in Christian circles as the Church once again explores what its role in society should be.
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People who ‘do God, do good’, says Baroness Warsi

February 14th, 2013 Jill Posted in Charity, Faith Comments Off

By John Bingham, Telegraph

Britain is becoming increasingly reliant on churches and religious groups to meet “crucial” needs once met by the state, a minister will admit today.

Baroness Warsi will defend the right of Christians, Muslims, Jews and others to publicly practise their faith insisting that “people who do God do good”.

Her comments come in a speech in London marking the first anniversary of a landmark visit to the Vatican by a delegation of ministers in which she claimed that British society is under threat from the rising tide of “militant secularisation”.

It comes as new research lays bare the scale of Britain’s growing dependence on religious groups to meet social needs in the midst of recession.

Churches alone are providing almost 100 million hours of unpaid volunteer work on social projects a year, up by more than a third in two years, while donations for such work are up by a fifth, it found.

Lady Warsi, a practising Muslim, will tell a meeting in the Houses of Parliament that faith groups can “reach areas of need that Government cannot”.

Her comments echo a call last month by the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, for churches to step in and do things which the state has “run out of the capacity to do”.

He said the financial crisis could signal the “greatest moment of opportunity since the Second World War” for churches to grow.

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It’s time for Christian charities to be given the credit they deserve

February 1st, 2013 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off

By Gillan Scott, God and Politics in the UK

Justin Welby, now just days away from becoming the next Archbishop of Canterbury, spoke last weekend of the need for Christians to unashamedly talk openly about their faith. Speaking at Trent Vineyard Church in Nottingham, he said the Church should “grasp the opportunity” presented by an expanding social role, through running schools and initiatives such as food banks, to spread the Christian message. He explained his belief that the state can no longer replace the church in carrying out works of mercy as a result of the economic crisis:
“I grew up in a country in which the idea of a food bank was something you had in the United States of America, we didn’t have any. There are 50 . . . in my diocese alone today.
“These are things that we never imagined because if you ran out of money the state cared for you. Are we going to take the opportunities that are there for the grasping to bring people to know and love Jesus Christ?”
Some of the best charities I know are Christian. That’s not to say that I think that secular and non-Christian charities are in any way second-rate, but based on my experience Christian charities often display a commitment and passion for their work that goes beyond the call of duty.
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Catholic charities at risk after adoption agency ruled to be ‘discriminating’

January 24th, 2013 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off

Neil AddisonBy Ed West, Catholic Herald

A leading Catholic lawyer has warned that Catholic charities across Britain are at risk from equality laws after an adoption agency was told it could lose its charitable status.

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator ruled that St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society in Glasgow is directly discriminating against gay people by refusing to place children in the care of same-sex couples.

The regulator said that although the charity provides a valuable service, it believed its current practice was unlawful, and gave it three months to change.

The ruling came about after a complaint by the National Secular Society.

Martin Tyson, the Scottish Charity Regulator’s head of registration, said: ‘We acknowledge the valuable service provided by this charity, but the fact is that all charities must comply with the law, including the Equality Act 2010.”

But Neil Addison of the Thomas More Legal Centre said the regulator threatening to remove the agency from the charities’ register was “surprising”.

He said: “There is an exemption in the Equality Act for charities. If what they’re doing is breaking the Equality Act there is a procedure for challenging it, for saying what they’re doing is unlawful.

Read here

Read also:  Adoption services, sexual orientation, discrimination and Scots charity law by Frank Cranmer, Law & Religion UK


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Put the military in charge of Britain’s foreign aid

January 2nd, 2013 Jill Posted in Charity, Poverty Comments Off

By Ed West, Telegraph

Does charity begin at home? Is it better to spend a few pounds in Britain to cover someone’s heating bill, or the same amount in the developing world saving a child's eyesight?
The biggest argument against the “charity begins at home” brigade is that a pound spent in an endemically impoverished country can do a lot more good than a pound spent among poor communities in a rich country. A relatively small amount of cash could, for example, reduce infant mortality to western levels, and that seems like money well spent.
The problem is that long-term structural aid seems to have little impact on a country’s ability to escape poverty. Instead, as a new Civitas report suggests, Britain would be better off creating “a new force of troops entirely focused on humanitarian relief (that) would allow Britain to mount swift emergency relief operations to deal with famine and disaster”.
Although Tim Worstall’s not impressed, I think there’s a great deal of merit in Jonathan Foreman’s idea. As this paper reports: "Civitas said emergency relief was the most effective form of aid because its immediacy meant it was not prone to the corruption and waste which have bedevilled long term British aid programmes in other countries."
Countries get richer when they have the rule of law and a market economy and when corruption levels are under control. Giving money when these conditions are absent is either ineffective, or at worst, feeding the corruption.
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Send a gift this Christmas that will really transform lives in the developing world

December 21st, 2012 Jill Posted in Charity, Christmas Comments Off

by Peter Saunders, CMF

Do you feel you are just going through the motions this Christmas spending money on unneeded gifts?

Some friends told me recently that they had given each of their children a £50 allowance to buy Christmas gifts for people living in developing countries.

Their kids had grasped the opportunity with both hands, putting careful thought into their purchases, and even adding some of their own savings in an effort to make a real difference in the lives of those they were seeking to help.

The idea of 'buying a goat for Christmas' is not new but it is amazing to see the huge variety of other gifts that are now available on line. And for not much outlay at all.

Read here

Read also Ancient Briton's suggestion

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Treat all churches as charities, MPs say

December 20th, 2012 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off

By Rowena Mason, Telegraph

MPs have overwhelmingly voted in favour of treating all churches as charities, after a small Christian group was denied charitable status.

Peter Bone, a Tory backbencher, launched his attempt to change the law after the Charity Commission gave charitable status to pagan groups including druids but denied it to a small church hall in Devon.
Around 166 MPs were in support of Mr Bone's efforts to introduce a Bill on the issue, with just seven voting against. Mr Bone told the House of Commons that it is necessary to toughen up the law to protect other Christian groups, such as the Salvation Army and even the Church of England.
Mr Bone told MPs: "The repercussions of such a ruling could have a disastrous effect on religious institutions and the excellent work they do in the charity sector.
"Is Judaism, the Catholic Church or even the Church of England itself going to come under pressure to prove their public benefit?"
The Tory MP will not actually succeed in getting the law changed unless the Government decides to back the idea at a later stage in its progress through the House of Commons.
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Religious institutions should not be under attack from the Charity Commission

December 19th, 2012 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off

Peter Bone MPBy Peter Bone MP, Conservative Home

The issue of the state interfering with religion has raised its ugly head once more. It is not the redefinition of marriage or interfering with the ability of the Church of England to run its own affairs. No it is a much more dangerous issue that threatens not just the Christian Church but all recognised religious groups in this country, the dwindling recognition by the state that religious institutions are a public benefit and should be considered charities.

The Charity Commission has recently removed the charitable status of the Preston Down Trust, a member of the Plymouth Brethren, claiming that they are not a public benefit and therefore cannot have charitable status. A religious group that has been classed as a charity for decades, that has raised money for good causes and supported its local communities has had its status removed because the Charity Commission does not see access to worship and the advancement of religion as a public benefit anymore. This is another sign of a growing secular movement against religious groups in this country and another example of the state interfering with the church. The Charity Commission does not and should not have the power to decide what religion is good or bad, its role should be to assist religious groups in fulfilling their charitable roles not condemning them.

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MPs call for inquiry into Charity Commission

November 16th, 2012 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off

From Christian Concern

MPs have called for an inquiry to be held into the Charity Commission’s treatment of religious organisations after it refused to grant charitable status to a Plymouth Brethren congregation.

The commission ruled last week that the group in Devon could not be registered as a charity because it failed to show that it exists for some form of ‘public benefit’.

The decision was heavily criticised during this week’s Charitable Registration debate at Westminster Hall called by Conservative MP Fiona Bruce and attended by over 40 MPs.

Several called for an inquiry to be held into the Charity Commission, stating that its decision was an obvious case of religious discrimination.

Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow, commented that the ruling had “put the tax status of hundreds of charities in doubt.”

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November 3rd, 2012 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off

Florence NightingaleBy Roger Scruton, Conservative Home Thinkers' Corner

Charity is not politics but the opposite of politics. It is not an attempt to control people, to create a new political order or to impose an ideological agenda. It is an offer of help, from one body of citizens to another. Recognising this, the English law has defined charity as a sphere of its own, outside the activity of government and exempt from taxation. Educational, medical and philanthropic charities brought our country relatively painlessly into the modern world. It is not the state that made higher education in this country the envy of the world, but the private endowments of Oxford and Cambridge colleges. It is not the state that protected our environment and made it unique for its beauty, but a long string of charitable associations from Ruskin’s League of St George to the National Trust. It was not the state that laid the foundations of the NHS but the Victorian hospitals, the British Medical Association and the work of Florence Nightingale and the Royal College of Nursing.

Charity, in its true understanding, is the work of volunteers. It is a way in which people give to others, and receive in return the gratitude of those they help. It is the stuff of civil society, and without it there is no true intermediary between the citizen and the State. The first act of totalitarian governments is to abolish the charities through which people help themselves, and which are the main obstacle to creating the total dependence of the citizen on the State.

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Government U-turn on charity tax relief welcomed

June 2nd, 2012 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off

From Christian Today

The Association of Christian Financial Advisers has welcomed the Government’s rethink on charity tax relief.
Chancellor George Osborne has backed down on plans, announced in the Budget, to introduce a limit of £50,000 or 25% of income, whichever was higher, on the amount a person could donate instead of paying it in tax.
The measure was defended as a way of clamping down on tax avoidance but it was met by a backlash from charities who feared a significant drop in donations.
ACFA spokesman Aidan Vaughan said: "Generosity is at the heart of healthy society and should be a key principle of financial planning. ACFA applauds the Chancellor for listening and encouraging generosity in giving."
Charitable giving in the UK is very popular. According to the ACFA, six out of 10 adults gave an estimated £11 billion in 2010/11.
"Restricting charitable giving sent out the wrong message to a sector which has suffered in the recession," said Mr Vaughan.
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Gift Aid and Lords in Queen’s Speech

May 11th, 2012 Jill Posted in Charity, Legislation Comments Off

By Ed Thornton, Church Times

A BILL to “reduce the burden on charities” will be introduced in the next year, the Queen announced in a speech to both Houses of Parliament on Wednesday.

Setting out the Government’s legislative agenda for the next year, which “will focus on economic growth, justice, and constitutional reform”, the Queen said: “A Bill will be introduced to reduce burdens on charities, enabling them to claim addi­tional payments on small donations.”

The Small Donations Bill allows charities to claim “top-up payments”, similar to Gift Aid, on donations of £20 or less, up to a total of £5000 a year per charity, without a need for donors to fill in forms (News, 25 March 2011). When the idea was announced by the Chancellor, George Osborne, last year, he said that 100,000 charities would benefit “to the tune of £240 million”. At the time, the Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Revd Michael Langrish, described the change as “very good news for churches”.

The Government has recently been heavily criticised for a proposed cap on tax relief on charitable giving (News, 20 April). A study published on Wednesday by the Charities Aid Foundation, suggested that the cap would result in £500 million of lost donations, leading to the loss of nearly 11,000 jobs in the charity sector.

The Queen also announced that “a Bill will be brought forward to reform the composition of the House of Lords.” The Joint Committee on the Bill — draft legislation that proposes a wholly or largely elected Second Chamber — has proposed that the number of bishops sitting as Lords Spiritual be reduced from the present 26 to 12 (News, 30 March).

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