Letter: Established by God

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The Independent Online
DESPITE what Paul Vallely writes ("Established values", 19 February), the issue of the establishment, or possible disestablishment, of the Church of England, is not one which exercises the minds of clergy or laity a great deal: it is sometimes a nuisance, but otherwise all but irrelevant. The state regards us as established when it is convenient for it to do so, but when it comes to the paying of VAT, we are a private organisation.

I do what I do because I am a priest of a Christian church. My local church does what it does because it is part of the worldwide church, not because of any notional link with the state. And we do what we do in collaboration, not competition, with the other churches in the area.

My job is to attempt to be a pastor to anyone, good, bad or indifferent, living in my parish: the job of my church is to open its doors and be available to them, come what may. We don't need to be established by the state to do that: our establishment is older than England itself.

JOHN WILLIAMS

Rector of West Wittering and Birdham with Itchenor

West Wittering, West Sussex

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