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Spiritual poverty in worship debate

In the dispute about religious assemblies it is important to remember that the law vaguely requires collective worship to be "wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character", which could be interpreted as teaching the shared values of the Judeo-Christian tradition and of other faith communities.

This can hardly be described as a violation of young people's rights, as claimed by Paul Pettinger of the British Humanist Association in his letter (August 14). It is reassuring that Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society has said that his society "fully supports assemblies at which values are shared, but this is not the same as forced worship".

We need a clearer definition of collective worship that will correspond with Dr Barry Morgan's description of school assemblies as "a special occasion when the community comes together in recognition, affirmation and celebration of shared values".

  • Reverend John Brown, Middleton-on-Sea, West Sussex

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