The chief will go to church

The newly elected president of the Reform movement, Rabbi Tony Bayfield, took an active part for the first time in the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on Monday, reciting a prayer he wrote for the occasion about the contribution of women. His participation at the event in previous years has been restricted to walking in the procession, paired alongside the Chief Rabbi's representative, Rabbi Alan Plancey.

Normally, the Chief Rabbi will not set foot in a church for theological reasons, although he will be at the Abbey for next month's royal wedding.

That is because he has been invited by the Queen, explained Lord Sacks's office, which is covered by the principle of kavod hamalchut, the honour due to a sovereign.

    Last updated: 11:30am, March 17 2011