Letters to the editor

Published December 1, 2002

Doesn?t tolerance for children go both ways?

Dear editor, In the article ?Let the little children come to me? (October 2002), it?s ironic to find statements like ?Those who feel this way need to be encouraged to change their expectations of Sunday worship? and ?there are more and more people going to church who don?t have small children in their lives and forget that the community is for everybody.? While many of the speakers quoted in the article are promoting tolerance and understanding for the needs of children in the church, statements like these sound like tolerance and understanding only go in one direction, and that it?s acceptable to ignore what adults want from church participation if it happens to conflict with what younger people want. Surely it is a valuable lesson for both children and adults to learn to respect the needs of others. If adults in a congregation want ?weekly quiet time,? children should be taught to respect that (and, ideally, encouraged to participate.) If children in a congregation want support, learning, or the opportunity to actively participate in the service, the adults should provide those opportunities. Are these goals really as incompatible as this article makes them appear? Fiona McQuarrie Coquitlam, B.C.

Parents should guide

Dear editor,

The article ?Let the little children come to me? suggests strongly that the church should be the baby sitter and guiding hand for the children of Anglican parishioners. Wrong! Parents should be the guiding hand for their children, and if children are ?crying out for a place to come where they can be loved? then there can be no love in their home.

The article states that the days of ?mom and pop going to church every Sunday and then going home for dinner are gone.?

Well as an Anglican for the last 82 years, I can say that the church has created its own problems starting with the changes of the liturgy to the nodding acceptance of homosexuality to the marriage of same-sex couples. The church alienates those who do not subscribe to those changes and that is carried down to their children who want no part of a religious outlet that subscribes to what their parents are diametrically opposed to.

When the church starts to stand its ground and maintains the aura of solemnity without bending to what they deem as social acceptance, then the adults will bring their children and provide them with a spiritual grounding as was done when I was growing up. Changing for the sake of change creates confusion with people and does nothing to enhance the growth of the church.

Clyde H. Elford


Adorable, but …

Dear editor,

I am intrigued by the October Journal article ?Let the Little Children Come to Me.?

While young parents are searching out child friendly churches, I hope it will occur to them that child friendliness depends a great deal on the children in question.

Toddlers are adorable, especially in their Sunday best, and parents can be forgiven for wanting to show them off. However, if they are too young to have the slightest understanding of why they are in church, how do they possibly benefit from struggling through a regular service?

I was particularly irked by Janet Marshall?s comment, ?If they want their parish to grow and succeed they will have to put with shrieks and tears,? and Colleen Eggerton?s suggestion that those who expect Sunday service to be a time to relax and meditate should change their expectations.

What arrogance! None of us can know what our fellow worshipers are coping with in their own lives, or which of us is in church on a particular morning because we desperately need that quiet hour of contemplation and communion with God. Nobody should be made to feel guilty about being upset when worship is disrupted.

Joan Cope


God bless John Rye

Dear editor,

I have just read the obituary for Canon John Rye in the October issue of the Journal. I had the honour of being a parishioner, an altar boy and head server during Father Rye?s (as we knew him) term at St. Cuthbert?s.

Other than my own father, John Rye was probably the most influential man in my life. His influence has certainly resulted in my being who and what I am today.

In addition to being my pastor, John was my tutor and I can assure you that his patience with underachievers such as myself was similar to that for those who are ?killing time.? John ?made? me apply to Simon Fraser University in 1965 and before I left Oakville to fly to Vancouver handed me $10 to be spent on ?burgers and beer?not on anything sensible.?

Not all of John?s Oakville parishioners saw eye to eye with him, but he was a holy and Christian man.

God bless and be with you. John Rye.

Thom Tyre

Delta, BC

School no harsher

Dear editor,

Re: Shingwauk: A Reunion With a Difference.

As a former staff member at Shingwauk, I know that the Shingwauk experience of private schooling was no harsher than any other private schooling that took place at that time in Canada.

I disagree with Mike Cachagee that the school administrators devastated aboriginal communities. If there was a staff member who took some child?s bloomers down to punish the child, I can assure you it was not school policy, and the many staff that I know would never have done such a thing.

I sincerely hope that I can get in touch with Sonny Ojeebah, whom I cared for at Shingwauk, and ask him who the principal was who abused him. Not to tell is to leave every principal suspect, which is just as hard on the principal?s families as it is on Sonny. I believe the number of aboriginal children who had good experiences far outweighs the number who feel they did not, and wish to be compensated.

Bernice Logan

Tangier, N.S.

?Problem? dying off

Dear editor,

I write in response to the article regarding the Marigold report in the September issue of the Journal.

Geoff Jackson should be made aware that if he waits a few years part of the problem he speaks of will have died off. As one of those Mr. Jackson refers to as ?aging? and ?a problem? I would remind him and the church that the ?aging problem? has been the main support, financially and numerically, for many years.

At a synod I attended in 1999 a senior cleric who spoke of ?being in this business for many years? (or did he say too long?) focused his remarks on the need for the church to direct its attention towards Generation X. ?That?s where the future of the church should be moving,? he said.

Although retired, I am engaged in regular ministry with elderly folk whose spirituality and connection with the church remains a significant part of their lives.

I wish those who make reports and vision for the future would neither ignore the reality of the times, nor make bold statements about the elderly and aging being a problem.

Ray Fletcher

Burns Lake, B.C.

Diversity can kill

Dear editor,

Your October editorial says, ?Anglicans embrace diversity.? Two comments: As the apostle points out (1 Corinthians 12), diversity is essential in a healthy body. But in a cancerous body, diversity is fatal. If the cancer is not identified, addressed and removed, it will kill the whole body. The issue as a result of the New Westminster decision is not diversity, but whether there is a cancer in the body.

Secondly, the continual talk about diversity focuses attention on the church, on ourselves: Where is God?

If the god we talk about is only the sum total of human thought and ideas, such a god is secondary: more important indeed are the needs of ourselves, the church, and especially the needs of those suffering in the world, and we should join the secular humanitarian organizations.

But if there is a real God out there, with an existence quite distinct from this universe, that God matters more than us, more than the church, more even than those suffering in the world. We?d better make our peace with such a reality, pay attention and find out what he wants ? not only for our own sake, or the church?s, but because if our focus is not on the one true God, all our talk about the needs of the world will be just talk.

The Bible says that God chose to work for the good of the nations of the world first through Israel, and later through the Christian church as well. It is when Israel or the church forgets the author of that commission that their ministry to others achieves less than what was intended.

Philip Ward

Tracy, N.B.

Fine organization

Dear editor,

It is not clear whether Mr. Griffith (September 2002) wishes to become a member of this fine organization (Anglican Church Women) or if it is the money he is after. A branch I am familiar with saw the corporation of the church express such a ploy and the money seemed to be the target.

Men are not discriminated against. One branch in this diocese had a male president for a few years and many branches recognize the contributions that men of the parish make to their endeavours, acknowledging them as honorary members. Maybe Mr. Griffith should acquaint himself with his parish ACW ? see the things they do, learn about their projects and even let his name stand for office.

I do not think Mr. Griffith is writing about this. He wants access to their bank account. The rector and wardens should step up to the plate and expend their energies on filling the church with souls hungry for the gospel rather than trying to find an easy fix with ACW money.

The history of the ACW is a most interesting journey through the past 117 years and if Mr. Griffith was familiar with the story, I am quite certain he would find appreciation rather than scorn for all this organization has done to keep church doors open across the country.

Mr. Griffith is right, ?substantial? sums of money have been raised by ACW members from coast to coast, but every penny has been put to good use within their parishes, their dioceses, their communities and missionary and overseas projects.

R.M. Shanley

St. Albert, Alta.


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