The Anglican Journal welcomes letters to the editor. Preference is given to letters under 200 words. All letters are subject to editing for length, grammar and clarity. Please include a mailing address with all letters.
I received my copy of the December Anglican Journal today and was immediately struck by the image on the front (Do you see what I see?). What a powerful image and message. It made me want to cry.
The quote by Romeo Dallaire in the Adrienne Clarkson article, entitled Ex-vice regal ‘at home’ in communion, also made an impact: “We are all human beings and no human being is more human than any other.” And so we strip away our self-deceptions and the walls we build around ourselves. You have touched my heart today. Thank you.
How refreshing to read Everett Hobbs letter in the November Journal (I have a dream). We need to confront the realities that are facing Anglicanism at an individual level. However, we also need to learn from past mistakes. The reality is that the church has blood on its hands. Christians have been persecuting their own people for centuries. Women, blacks and homosexuals have been the main focus of this bigotry and condemnation.
As day follows night, we will be called upon to account for ourselves. Will God be as forgiving as some suppose?
I surmise that in 50 years, young Anglicans will look back at the turn of this millennium and wonder how we could have been so ill-educated, so ill-informed and so lacking in compassion. Yes, we all need to dream.
St. John’s, Nfld.
New gifts of ministry
There seems to be great dismay in the North about adequate funding (Can ministry in the North survive?, November Journal). It was encouraging, however, to hear Archbishop Caleb Lawrence say that they would have to consider other ways to deliver ministry. Could it be that God is calling us to ordain non-stipendiary priests on a large scale? I served in the Yukon as a stipendiary priest in the parish of Mayo from 1960 to 1965. I thought then, and I think now, that if I had been a “worker priest” my ministry would have been enhanced.
Secondly, there’s nothing in the New Testament that says priests have to be parachuted into a parish at great expense. There are nearly always individuals already in the parish who are the leaders. They could be ordained and, with the bishop, provide excellent ministry.
The North is already showing an imaginative ministry in the Dr. William Winter School in the diocese of Keewatin. I look forward to other new gifts of ministry, because it is no longer business as usual for any of us. The new wine of the gospel will always need new wine skins. This will make ministry exciting and fun.
You did a super job
Re: Canon John Erb dies at 72, September Journal. I was quite stunned to learn of John’s passing, after I found your article on the Web. I felt that your article captured the essence of what John really was: a young person at heart always. Sadly, I had not seen him in nearly 30 years, yet it sounds as though he never changed much. A bubbly spirit with a zest for life and a passion for the youth of the world. Yep, that was John.
I was hired as the assistant verger at Toronto’s Grace Church on-the-Hill back on in 1974. John was the associate rector at the time. I was young (19), fresh out of high school and scared of the future, like most young people at that age. I remember watching John interact at the church’s drop in room with many of those children and teenagers, just a bit younger than me. Almost all of them seemed to adore John. He listened to them and talked to them, never at them. His favourite expression was “super!” and he said it all the time.
In 1977, I reluctantly left Grace Church On-The-Hill and lost touch with the people there, but I always kept a wee bit of John inside me.
Since then, my love and interest in kids was, I believe, due in part to seeing how cool John was with kids that many years ago.
Rest in peace, John. You did a super job!
Something is wrong
I was profoundly discouraged and saddened by the article entitled Bishops examine church growth (December Journal). It is not just the irony of the article’s title, when the focus for the discussion was the steep decline in Anglican membership. What troubled me the most were the defensive and authoritarian comments by some of the bishops about the Essentials movement. Whether or not you agree with all of Essentials’ views or actions, it is an organization that is committed to renewal based on the faith that we all profess each Sunday in the creeds, and proclaim in the gospel of Christ crucified.
Something is terribly wrong in a church where all that our bishops seem to be able to do is mutter about insubordination to their episcopal authority – at the same time as they themselves are rejecting the authority and witness of the worldwide Anglican church. If that is the direction in which we are going then the only issue around church “growth” is who is going to be the last Anglican who gets to turn out the lights.
We must reach out
Anger is the ugly child of fear. In the house where these two live, there cannot be love and statements made, even when love is intended, are very unloving.
In the past two issues of the Journal, many letters from people on both sides of the issues of blessing same-sex unions and ordaining lesbian or gay clergy have been very unloving and lacking in compassion. There was even a negative reference made to Prince Charles’s marital issues, where contrition has been made and time has come for forgiveness.
If we do not replace the current spirit of anger and fear, then the schism of the Anglican Communion heralded by the secular press is inevitable. Somehow, we must reach out to all sides and break some walls of division.
However, we cannot do it alone. The time has come for all of us to fast and pray. We must not pray for or against any issue or group, but rather for the Anglican Communion. If we do so, I believe God will do as He pleases and we will all be blessed.
Fort McMurray, Alta.
Make water a priority
Re: Water more expensive than gas in Canada, says primate (November Journal).
Considering that water is the life of humanity, I suggest to all residents that a clean drinking water supply be their number-one priority, indeed, a right.
What is quite worrisome is that if there is a considerable deterioration in the quality and safety of Canada’s drinking water, will the authorities “‘fess up,”immediately, or will they let there be a repeat of Walkerton, Ont.?
I strongly suggest to all religious leaders and politicians, present and future, that a clean water supply be a priority.
Frank G. Sterle, Jr.
White Rock, B.C.
I was not surprised to see your lead story on our primate and other church leaders denouncing the private sector and exhorting our politicians to “save” our water from the private sector.
I was, however, surprised to see the reference to Walkerton, Ont., as a reason for keeping water/waste-water in public hands. The deaths in Walkerton occurred due to the failing efforts of the public sector owner-operator. If a private sector company had been responsible for those deaths, the company would be bankrupt and people would be in jail. No such accountability exists in the public sector.
In France, water/waste-water has been in the private sector for more than a hundred years. In England, since water/waste-water was privatized, rivers are cleaner, as is drinking water.
If only our church leaders would concentrate on leading their flocks instead of propagating ill-founded anti-private sector fads, they would not appear so foolish and our church would not be dwindling away into irrelevance.
Heed the warning
To a conservative, Michelle Bull’s November letter (What’s important) illustrates the fatal mindset that has brought our church to where it is today.
Following the moral and social trends of secular society is simply not what the church is supposed to do. Our Lord gave his disciples a revelation that is true and valid for all times and places, which they and other early converts, such as St. Paul, then embodied in the writings of the New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers. The church exists to preserve and teach that body of truth. If that means convincing young people that the values their schools “hammer into them” are skewed, then that is what we have to do.
Liberal Anglicans urgently need to heed Dean Inge’s warning: a church that marries the spirit of one age will find itself a widow in the next.
A cultural treasure
With regard to reports in the November issue of the Journal concerning the financial difficulties of the Anglican Book Centre (Bookstore suffers staff cuts after financial losses), it must be stressed that the ABC is one of the best bookstores of its kind in all of Canada, a cultural treasure and resource of inestimable value. Neither the church nor the nation as a whole can afford to lose it!
Fortunately, business appears to be on an upswing now that the bookstore is settled in its new premises. The store’s difficulties over the past two years occurred within the context of the move from the old to the new premises. But the move has also been accompanied by such welcome innovations as the store’s new Web site. The current stock of books, CDs, cards, prayer books, Bibles and vestments remains astonishingly impressive, as are the sections relating to other denominations.
K. Corey Keeble
I don’t want to get into an interminable debate with Rev. Michael Skliros, but feel I must respond to his letter in the November Journal.
Mr. Skliros misunderstood my original letter, (Bad news ,October Journal). As a result, he accuses me of asking for “propaganda.” My main points, in fact, are as follows:
I deplored the endless bickering, which are so pervasive in the church. I made it clear that the editor and staff were not to blame for reporting all this (…if most of the news is bad, there is nothing you can do about it). I expressed a fervent wish that we could hear more news and opinions that were “hopeful, uplifting and encouraging.”
I did not advocate the use of propaganda or “half-truths.” I did not make a plea to the editor to print “good news only.” Such a request would be ridiculous, of course.
Port Dover, Ont.