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Following a tumultuous weekend for the Church of England at the General Synod, with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York failing, then gaining a compromise with traditionalists over the issue of women bishops, Rowan Williams has announced a brave new strategy. “Our plan is to heal the rift within the body of the Church, and at the same time radically reverse declining attendance numbers,” the Archbishop of Canterbury told a group of supporters yesterday. “What I am talking about here is a win-win situation. What I am talking about is the kind of modernisation that church needs – we will allow Muslim clerics into the priesthood.”

Reaction from conservatives was said to be ‘cautious yet optimistic’ last night. Father David Smiles, head of the group Vicars Against Girls, told The Poke “At least they’re not female. I mean we have to look at the positives here. We are all sons of Abraham and come from the Abrahamic tradition. Plus, they will bring their own communities with them – who we do expect, I am sorry to say, to be rather more church-going than our own. If we have to swap bread and wine for Ribena and chapatis then so be it.” It is understood that any Muslim clerics joining the church will not have to adjust significant aspects of their dress or beliefs. “However,” Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, said this morning on Radio 4’s Today Show, “they will be expected – and let me be quite firm on this point – to take a very active roll in coffee mornings, raffles and church roof funding drives.”

The announcement has caused concern in some parts of the Christian world. The Pope was unavailable for comment today, though he is said to be watching developments within the Anglican world with interest. “It is an indeed unexpected decision,” said one Vatican insider, “At least they’re not homosexual.”

Story: Jasper Gibson

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