Not all vicars work in Dibley

THE presentation of two letters on vicars marking GCSE examination papers in religious education (TES, June 14) was unfortunate, divorced from the real situation and likely to be seen as one more attempt to lampoon the clergy.

Of course nobody would wish the Vicar of Dibley to mark RE exam papers, unless she was suitably qualified. Though funny, she is not typical of vicars up and down the country, who have a definite teaching as well as preaching role.

A number of vicars have been schoolteachers, possibly teaching RE, before becoming vicars. I personally taught RE and was head of three secondary schools.

Kay Stead reveals an ignorance of what clergy do. Our work often takes us into schools to talk to children, perhaps advise about the teaching of RE, lead assemblies and even serve as chaplains. Our work in the parishes brings us into contact with folk of different abilities across the social spectrum. It is nonsense to suggest we only relate to the middle class.

Kay Stead and David Pollock's letters suggest that we clergy exist to promote a "particular world view" and would not have "an open approach". When we train to be clergy, we explore different points of view and different world faiths. True, we are committed to a particular faith position but so, I suggest, are most RE teachers.

Like teachers, when teaching or marking exam papers, clergy are sufficiently professional to appreciate various standpoints and be open to alternative ideas.

Rev Ken Reeves The Vicarage Filkins Lechlade, Gloucestershire

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