Featured letter: Who is responsible for membership?

Published December 1, 2007

Dear editor,
As rector of a small parish mostly full of wonderful senior citizens, I was recently horrified to hear a younger clergy person say that he regularly asks his seniors what they are doing to replace themselves! How is that their problem? Why blame the people who are there for the people who are not there? Most senior Anglicans are not aggressive sales people, and might feel quite embarrassed to be pressured into such a task.

The seniors in my parish are open-minded, intelligent and conscientious about fitness, charity and inclusiveness, among other things. They are interested in the world and its people, and they love God’s creation. They are mostly very accepting, for instance of blessing gays and lesbians (though they are less certain about gay marriage). In our tourist town, we regularly welcome visitors from around the world, and these senior Anglicans are ambassadors of goodwill as they eagerly listen to who people are and wish them well on their journeys, expressing pleasure at their visit, and enthusiasm for them as interesting individuals.

I could hardly think of a worse approach to such a group than to pressure them to replace themselves! They work so hard and are so generous in order to keep the place going. How is it now their job to make sure there are others coming up to replace them? On top of the obvious cruelty of such a stance, there is also the forced focus on their demise that such an approach implies. Hopefully my colleague’s approach to our precious Anglican seniors is not widespread.

Adela Torchia
Jasper, Alta.


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