We are writing in response to the letter from Eric Melby (Moment of error, January). At the end of his response to the actions of Dean Peter Wall of Niagara regarding the blessing of same-sex unions, Mr. Melby suggests that Mr. Wall ought to resign or be asked to resign as chair of Liturgy Canada.
We, the other members of the Liturgy Canada executive, unanimously support Mr. Wall as chair and have no intention of asking him to resign.
Liturgy Canada is an organization of Anglican and Lutheran clergy and lay people dedicated to the ongoing renewal of the church in worship and mission. Our ministry is to provide resources which focus the debate, inform the practice, and evaluate the experience of our liturgical life. We publish a quarterly journal called Liturgy Canada; we also publish a number of books on liturgical issues. We have more than 300 members across the country and overseas and would welcome Mr. Melby’s membership as well. If he would let us know his mailing address at [email protected], we would be happy to send him a complimentary copy of our Easter 2003 issue, which dealt with same-sex blessings in a balanced and, we feel, constructive way.
Although individual members of this executive hold very different positions in this struggle, we are united in seeking to bridge this chasm through respectful dialogue. We have every confidence that Peter Wall is the person to continue to lead us as we do so.
Canon John Wilton
(on behalf of the executive of Liturgy Canada)
North York, Ont.
Change one word
In your outstanding farewell article entitled Turning a page on a churchman’s career (February), just one word needs to be changed.
In 1989 the church’s first Supreme Court of Appeal sat in response to a challenge to the use of the Book of Alternative Services. You said, “The challenge was brought by an individual, and backed by the Prayer Book Society and the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon.”
At that time I was metropolitan of B.C. and Yukon, and I can assure you that the province was in no way supportive of this challenge ? quite the reverse!
I hope you will change the “and” to “of” and correct your otherwise faultless article.
Archbishop Douglas Hambidge (ret)
A fresh look
One benefit of the debate over same-sex blessings is the resulting opportunity (sometimes necessity) for all of us to take a fresh look at our beliefs about many foundational faith questions.
I have come to the firm conviction that it is sometimes difficult, but ultimately vital, that we do not all share the same perspective on faith. I believe for a church to be healthy and sustainable, it must include and celebrate the contributions of thinkers from all across the human personality spectrum.
I believe the Bible is a record of mankind’s evolving relationship with God. I do not believe that that evolution has ceased. I appreciate the visionaries of our church who encourage us to expand our thinking, and the traditionalists who remind us of the power of unshakeable faith. The more we put our own egos aside and stop vilifying people who are on “the other side” of a debate, the better our ability to love each other as we were commanded, and grow together in faith.
North Vancouver, B.C.
Look at the pain
Re: Dioceses debate blessings issue (January). Before the diocese of Toronto decides on the issue of same-sex blessings, I would recommend looking at the diocese of New Westminster. Look at all the anger, pain, hurt and turmoil that this diocese is going through.
Some families in this diocese have been torn apart over this issue. I question it on a daily basis. Do I want to raise my children in a diocese that doesn’t follow what the Bible says?
Will I leave? Yes. Am I scared? Yes. Where will I go? I don’t know, I guess wherever the Lord will lead me. But until the Lord tells me where He wants me to go, I will stay within this diocese, and I will pray that peace and healing will one day come back to the diocese of New Westminster.
Erin De Marchi
According to Bishop Michael Ingham of the diocese of New Westminster, only two blessings of same-sex unions took place in his diocese (Maclean’s magazine, Dec. 8, 2003). This low number may imply that homosexuals are more interested in getting married legally than simply receiving a blessing. Should the upcoming General Synod deal with the issue of homosexual marriages rather than the blessing of such unions?
If General Synod ignores homosexual marriages, should it approve the blessing of homosexual unions? If we bless homosexual unions, will it lead to the blessing of common-law relationships? If we bless common-law relationships, will it lead to the abolition of marriages altogether? If we abolish all marriages, will it lead to the acceptance of polygamy?
Grand Bank, Nfld.
Not all your readers may be aware that we can express our opinion on whether General Synod should approve a local option for the blessing of same-sex relationships. I urge the usually silent majority of non-dogmatic Anglicans to suggest that General Synod have the courage that Canadian courts have been displaying, in joining my wife and myself in advising the Synod along the following lines (to quote from my own letter to [email protected]): “My wife Marie-Jeanne de Haller Coleman and I feel quite strongly that the blessing of same-sex marriage should have been approved long ago. Indeed, I think that this approval should have been given immediately when it was proposed at the 1978 Lambeth Conference in which I had the privilege of participating as science advisor.
“That it was not is due to the fact that like the Vatican and North American fundamentalists, our Communion is too greatly influenced by outmoded attitudes of the Old Testament rather than embracing the ethics which were part of Jesus’ revelation for all aspects of our life.
“The particular case of sexuality is unambiguous: ?… in Christ there is neither bond nor free, male nor female….'”
What a Day
With regard to the ongoing debates in the Anglican Communion over the acceptance of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire, and related matters, as reported in your January issue (Churches break talks with ECUSA), it seems appropriate to take to heart the words of Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement in the United States in the 1930s.
Ms. Day speaks of the need to “see Christ in everyone.” We live our faith, she says, by “seeing Christ and serving Christ in friends and strangers, in everyone with whom we come in contact.” If we truly can see Jesus in every human being, much of the present rancor in the church might be lessened.
Robert E. Brundin
To the bishops
An open letter to the bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada:
“You are in our prayers.
“We are dismayed by the division in our church and the dishonour this has brought on our church and our Lord Jesus. Our society and our church are bewildered by what appears to be a denial of the very basis of our church: the teachings of Jesus and of the Old and New Testaments.
“Our church has been thrown into a public debate by our leaders. Many have presented the issues as ?justice’ versus ?persecution.’ We disagree that these are the real issues. We see this rather as a contest between obedience to the plain message of the Bible on one hand, and a desire to be in tune with contemporary societal attitudes on the other.
“The fundamental conflict between orthodoxy and heterodoxy has been too long kept under the table. The issue has become politicized. If it were true, as some claim, that the Holy Spirit is leading us into ?new truths’ which differ from the truths upon which our church was founded, then surely we can trust the Holy Spirit to guide any changes, not by some percentage vote, but by convincing every one of our leaders (bishops, priests, and synod delegates) so that it would be unanimous that we will change our church. We dare not proceed on any other basis.”
James Slater and 72 members of St. Aidan’s Church
Pick and choose
Let me say how much I appreciate the Anglican Journal, its letters, its cartoons, Grace Notes and news articles. Also, I am sorry to see the Anglican Book Centre move, even if just around the corner. I remember when you began life at 604 Jarvis.
The consecration of a gay bishop south of the border seems to be causing a great deal of consternation among Christians of all denominations. What has sex got to do with “the Gospel,” and whose gospel? The famous four (not the Fab Four) are each very, very different. Anglicans sure pick and choose!