Meet Carol Stone
The Rev. Peter Stone has led services at St. Philips Church in Upper Stratton, Swindon, England, for four years. This week, however, the Rev. Carol Stone will be leading the Church of England congregation. Peter's wife? Sister? Nope. It's Peter—after a sex change. "I only have two vocations in my whole life," Stone says. "They are to be a priest and to be a woman." Forget the sexual ethics for a second—being a woman is a vocation now?

Christian schools resist anti-spanking law down under
Sutherland Shire Christian School, with more than 740 students, and Nambucca Valley Christian Community School, with 93 students, face deregistration by the Board of Studies in New South Wales, Australia, because they won't outlaw corporal punishment. "We are not cane-happy," Neville Pollard, state education director for Christian Community Schools, tellsThe Sydney Morning Herald. "We believe corporal punishment is biblically endorsed, but it's not the only method of discipline endorsed by the Bible … If given lovingly and caringly, it is a very viable method of punishment." Meanwhile, a bill to extend New South Wales' ban on corporal punishment in schools to parents is doomed to failure. (See more coverage by The Daily Telegraph and Ananova.)

Pope to meet Patriarch Alexy? Don't bet on it. The news sounds good: "The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church said Tuesday that a meeting with Pope John Paul II would be possible if the two churches first settled some disputes." But Patriarch Alexy II has been saying that for years. Pray for reconciliation, but don't get too excited over this AP story. In related news, Pope John Paul II offered another step toward peace with the Eastern Orthodox world by naming Syriac Patriarch ...

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