Letter: Church and state

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Andreas Whittam Smith, in his article about Establishment and the monarchy, states that the Church of England's national role "has long been purely ceremonial" ("Don't be fooled - there's nothing to stop us modernising the Royal Family", 22 November). This ignores the reality of what Establishment means in many parishes.

In my own community of 6,000 people it is expected that the Church of England will prepare and take the vast majority of baptisms, weddings and funerals - a total of 83 so far this year. I naturally work with the other ministers and churches but they expect me to take a lead in community life and pastoral care.

An increasing problem is to correct misinformation put out by the national press that the Church of England is no longer interested in people unless they are fully paid up members of the church.

The Rev MICHAEL WEBBER

Earls Barton, Northamptonshire

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