The church I worship in is Anglo-Catholic, celebrating Mass in a traditional and formal way, and it is seeing increasing congregations, with a growing and vibrant Sunday school ("Our zombie church has a new leader. So what?", 11 November). It is possible to refuse to bend before the seductive wind of fashion and modernisation for its own sake, but still to attract new members, be welcoming and friendly, and proclaim the truth of the Gospel with absolute integrity.
Joan Smith treads a dangerous road if she means by her phrase "get in line" that the church should obey current political or social thinking. Some of the greatest examples of self-sacrifice for the good of others came from people who refused to "get in line", for example Archbishop Oscar Romero and Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. She might also like to consider the example of the infamous Concordat between Stalin and the Russian Orthodox Church. The church "got in line" and Stalin made very sure it behaved exactly as he wanted. Despite her claims to the contrary, clearly the Church of England is important to Ms Smith, otherwise why write the article in the first place?
The presence of Anglican bishops in the House of Lords, to which Joan Smith refers, has never been a demonstration of authority. They are there, on the contrary, because the church gave up authority over secular government, which nevertheless accepted the need for legislators to be reminded of concepts of justice and compassion.
Deighton, North Yorkshire
I was sorry to hear of the passing of Sir Rex Hunt who, as Governor, Commander-in-Chief and Vice-Admiral of the Falkland Islands during the 1982 invasion, proudly wore his gubernatorial uniform on the day that he surrendered to the Argentinians. Contrast this dignified regard for tradition with the disgraceful action of Lord Patten as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Hong Kong when it was handed over to the Chinese in 1997. He dressed in a dowdy black suit and looked more like spiv than representative of Queen and Country. A bus conductor or nurse would not have been permitted such impertinence. And this man was allowed to become chair of the BBC Trust.
John Eoin Douglas
In "A necessary sacrifice", you correctly point out, "the most important thing is to keep the focus on the suffering of people... sexually assaulted as children" (11 November). You then devote your first five pages to George Entwistle's resignation. While sympathising with Mr Entwistle, I have not met anyone who thinks he or Newsnight are in the least bit important given the horror of the real story.
I just read John Walsh's article from 26 February 2012, "Woody Allen, Hannibal Lecter & me...". While it was nice to see the est Training mentioned, Walsh implied some association of the est Training with the Exegesis programme. There is no relationship between the two. The est Training was an enormously popular, sometimes controversial and frequently imitated (badly) programme of the Seventies that spawned an entire self-development and coaching industry, and many of its key concepts have earned a lasting place in mainstream culture.
Martin N Leaf
New York, New York
I flicked through your 24 pages of sports last week on their way to the recycling bin and found pictures of 112 men, one monkey, one child and one woman. The woman was included only as she was a loyal wife saying farewell to her husband. Even the monkey was more active, running on to the pitch at Motera Stadium.
Derry is in both the UK and Ireland because Northern Ireland is part of the UK (The Feral Beast, 11 November). It is most definitely not part of Britain as the UK consists of Britain and Northern Ireland.
So, sculptor and art teacher Michael Craig-Martin says that in Britain's art schools "A Damien Hirst couldn't exist now" (11 November). There is some good news around, then.
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