Letters

By on September 1, 2011

Innovative examples

What a good idea to profile a parish like St. Stephen’s Oldcastle, Ont. [How do you grow your church? Apr. 2011, p. 1]. We need this cross-fertilization of ideas, as parishes can become isolated and sharply cut off from each other.I would like to share some other examples. Holy Family Anglican Church in Brampton, Ont., allows you to receive the wine of communion from a small paper cup. These are available as you approach the altar rail. This was first begun during the SARS epidemic and continued afterwards because many liked the practice, not just newcomers for whom the common cup is a challenge.St. George’s Kitchener has a mid-week healing service that is well attended. After receiving communion, everyone comes to the altar rail for healing. A special request for healing can be made, but all are routinely anointed and blessed. This encourages far more people to come for this ministry.There are parishes all across Canada that we need to hear from. There is probably at least one thing your parish does well and we need you to share it. Congratulations to Anglican Journal for getting us started.David W. Morris
Waterloo, Ont.

Man of integrity
I have known the Rev. Brent Hawkes for many years [Bullets over Broadway, Mar. 2011, p. 8]. He is a man of integrity, high courage and great compassion and, whether some of your readers like it or not, a Christian. I am heartily sick of the negative responses to your article on Brent’s work. Why is it necessary to denigrate his passion for social justice and his ministry with some of the most marginalized persons in our society, simply because Brent happens to be homosexual? Sometimes I am ashamed to call myself an Anglican!Winifred Perryman
Corbyville, Ont.

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Ignorance a factor
Thank you for your thoughts on Osama bin Laden [Opening our hearts and minds, June 2011, p. 4]. Normally people are brought before a court and impartial judgment is rendered-be it a local, national or international court.Having contacts in Pakistan and having travelled recently in countries surrounding Afghanistan, I assure you, there are many questions. Canadian, U.S. and Western ignorance of the Islamic world is a factor.The Rev. Gordon Rajotte
Gold River, B.C. Give due process its due
I read with great interest Rough Justice [June 2011, p. 1]. As a lawyer for eight decades, I consider the attempted kidnapping and subsequent killing of Osama bin Laden an example of the inconsistency of some of our leaders. As I understand it, and my research has not produced any evidence to the contrary, nowhere in the jurisdiction of the U.S. government or any state had any charges been laid against bin Laden as of that May date. A basic tenet of U.S. law, and also of most legal systems in democratic nations, is that due process is fundamental. The U.S. Constitution in Amendment V and VI enumerates this quite clearly. The killing of an apparently unarmed bin Laden is not supported anywhere in the U.S. or by almost any other democratic country’s legal codes. If this kind of action is tolerated, the next instance may be in anyone’s own home. I hope that all religious, political and legal leaders will stand firm in insisting that due process remain the guardian of our civilized society.David G. Sparks
Surrey, B.C.

Do the right thing
Should clergy perform marriages? [June 2011, p. 6] stirred up a lot of feelings. It offends me that [the House of Bishops] would consider not performing marriages simply because it would mean not having to include same-sex marriages. We sing in church often that “All are welcome,” but do we really mean what we say? Marriage and the family are central to the church community and same-sex couples need to feel part of the family, too.My husband is the parish administrator, and I’ve served on committees and the parish leadership team. We have been in a committed relationship for 26 years. Do the right thing and pass the blessing/marriage of same-sex couples as it means so much to be totally accepted. Ed Sears
Tecumseh, Ont.

Smoke and mirrors
I am a 63-year-old Anglican who “religiously” reads the Anglican Journal and The Diocesan Times. In the April 2011 issue of the Journal, I read an article that made my heart and soul soar. What colour is your church? [p. 4] is the only article I can ever remember actually clipping from the paper. It has been on my bedside table for a month-and I read it again and again. The line “When one person is shut out by a congregation, it colours the whole, like a single drop of ink in a glass of water” reminds me that there is far too much ink in the Anglican water today. Many of us, myself included, often reach for the negative instead of the positive. I believe humans are all equal before God. I make friends with whom I choose. I don’t care what they eat for breakfast, whether they are right- or left-handed, gay or straight, Muslim, Christian or Jewish. I am sick and tired of discrimination within my church-where instead of coming together, it’s smoke and mirrors. Oh, I am so disappointed! Time to reread What colour is your church? Peter Miller
Mosher’s Corner, N.S. Pray for the house
I can’t help wondering at what the House of Bishops finds (besides lint) when it engages in navel gazing [No eucharist before baptism, bishops say, June 2011, p. 1]. Do they even pay attention to the words they speak at the eucharist?There is no reference to baptism (or for my generation, confirmation) in either the Book of Alternative Services (BAS) or the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) as a prerequisite to receiving communion. Nor do I recall any biblical reference indicating that those who were with Jesus at the Last Supper, which is the model for the eucharist, being baptized. So, what to do? Listen to the House of Bishops “revisionist” theology or comply with the BCP and the BAS? I will choose to follow the guidance of the BCP and BAS and pray for the House of Bishops.Bruce Williams
Calgary

What we need to survive
The case for open communion by the Rev. Dr. Gary Nicolosi [May 2011, p. 1] and Why open communion doesn’t work by the Rev. Canon Dr. John Hill [June 2011, p. 12] are thoughtful articles but not accessible to very many un-baptized Christians. Dr. Hill suggests mentorship to help the unwashed understand why they should be baptized to receive communion. But people have to be part of the conversation first, not educated first. That’s perpetuating barriers.It takes courage to compromise long-held beliefs. But our survival requires it.Ross Connell
Oakville, Ont.

Oh, for crying out loud!
Just what the Anglican Church of Canada needs-another controversy. Having lost a significant number of members [over] recent controversies, the bishops have now plunged us into a dispute about the “Open Table” [No eucharist before baptism, bishops say, June 2011, p. 1]. I have not noticed a stampede of the unbaptized charging up to our communion rails eager to partake-indeed, I have not noticed many new people venturing through the narthex door in most of our parishes. If a few parishes want to experiment, and they find this is one way people come to Christ, what harm is done? Neale Adams
VancouverWhat would he do?
I was very sad to read Canon [John] Hill’s article, Why open communion doesn’t work [June 2011, p. 12]. I don’t think he understands the depth of the secular world’s aversion to churches. If a non-baptized person actually sets foot in a church and wants to come to the communion rail to receive, I suspect it is because of a call of the Holy Spirit whispering in that person’s heart. Who are we to turn that person away?As long as the institutional church focuses on retaining its power and privileges by excluding people in various ways, the institution will continue to decline. I must ask, if Jesus was deciding whether to have open or closed communion, what would he do?Sara Chu
Victoria, B.C.

Prophetic, spirit-led
I’ve heard it said that communion before baptism is akin to sex before marriage. A shocking comparison perhaps, but it makes sense to me. Eucharist no more establishes a covenant with God than sex establishes the covenant of marriage. The long-held position of the church and the most common contemporary practice is that holy baptism precedes holy communion. This is also the unanimous position of the House of Bishops. Certainly it was “prophetic and spirit-led.”Jesus ate and drank with outcasts and sinners, this is true, but I think it’s the hospitable thing to be more honest about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Like most things, it’s more complicated than that. The Rev. Shane Bengry
Carberry, Man.

 

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