Evangelist needs to build bridges

Published March 1, 2004

Dear editor,

With reference to your story Evangelism not so scary after all (January), I have to say that I find it very scary if Canon Michael Patterson has responsibility in that sphere.

Regardless of religion, or denomination, the best evangelists are surely those who live their faith yet Mr. Patterson is quoted as saying, “We Anglicans don’t ?do’ evangelism – that’s for the Bible thumpers and the Protestants.”

Shame on Mr. Patterson for the derogatory tone towards other denominations. Evangelism is not something that anyone should ?do,’ or indeed ?don,’ like a coat. Evangelism must surely be a way of life, if Christianity is to mean anything.

Whether or not Mr. Patterson wishes to associate with the name Protestant, I am sure that there are many in the diocese of Niagara, and indeed throughout the Anglican Church of Canada, who do consider themselves Protestant. After all, in the Coronation service we have “the Protestant religion as by law established” and the Anglican church in the United States still retains the name the “Protestant Episcopal Church.”

The building of bridges, rather than the burning of bridges, will be an important part of Mr. Patterson’s challenge in his new job as an evangelist. A little revision of church history may also stand him in good stead!

Mary-Adele Langran.

North Saanich, B.C.


Dear editor,

It seems to me that Canon Michael Patterson is lumping our Pentecostal brothers and sisters in with Jehovah’s Witnesses as “aggressive proselytizers.” What exactly does Canon Patterson mean when he calls Pentecostals “aggressive proselytizers?”

A few years back the small Anglican church I belong to was struggling, and a Pentecostal friend introduced me to Natalie Rogge, national director of children’s ministry of the Pentecostal Assemblies. Natalie offered not only to fund the curriculum for an after-school Bible-based program for kids, she also offered to do whatever it took to get it up and running. She couriered reams of resources for children’s ministry to me, she let me borrow resources from New Life Church in Milton, Ont., and was an incredible encouragement to me. Her philosophy is that after all, we’re all in this together. Is that the aggressive proselytizing Mr. Patterson is referring to? I bet if he were to approach the Pentecostal Assemblies for help, he would be met with the same ready, loving help that I was.

The Anglican church recently has given a whole new meaning to liberal theology, and just when you think things can’t get worse, they do. I happen to believe that God blesses churches that teach according to Scripture, who embrace His word and I don’t think it’s hard to understand why New Life Pentecostal Church in Milton is planning a large new addition.

Olivia Crowe

Burlington, Ont.


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