Vital issueDear editor,
Your January editorial (Secrecy at CoGS seems a recurrent theme) raises a vital issue that not only darkens the procedure at CoGS, but is readily apparent in other areas of church life as well. Employed under the veil of paternal efficiency, it is a deadly shortcoming, characteristic of a body in decline and mistrustful of its membership.
God knows …
My experience of committee meetings behind closed doors is that members use the occasion to raise other issues for which they are reluctant to be publicly accountable. This happens after the original reason for going “in camera” has been satisfied.
Only God knows what is being talked about or decided, formally or informally, once the doors are shut. It is partly because people don’t have the guts to speak before the whole community about their real opinions.
It was difficult to read on the website that interest in Volunteers in Mission is low at this point. As a volunteer whose kind parish has just extended our mission into a third year, I guess I think more people should enjoy the privilege I have had for the past two years. Living in community is not always easy but it is an ideal way to grow in faith and understanding. One surprise for me is how much better I know the Toronto St. Leonard’s family now that I have been receiving letters from the people I have worshipped with for more than 20 years. They get to hear about my struggles with a new language and I know so much more about them and their families.
It is not an easy decision to uproot from the familiar to the unknown but it is definitely a great way to pause and reconsider while sharing what God has given you. Although this has been my fourth overseas work experience, it is my first time as a VIM and it has been the richest period by far because of the opportunities VIM creates for bridging parts of the Anglican Communion. I hope that the current quiet time is only a pause and that more Canadian Anglicans see this opportunity and pray about it.
Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
Rev. or Ms?
I read with great interest about the church fire in Port Sydney, Ont. which happened on July 5, 2001. My only gripe about the article is that, on a few occasions, Rev. Marguerite Rea is referred to as Ms. Rea. I find that to be very inappropriate considering that she is a clergy person and should be addressed as Rev. Rea.
Iroquois Falls, Ont.
I read your article “New supporters are society’s only choice – Elderly donors to groups have dwindled” (January 2002) with a great deal of disgust. With all the parishes that have updated hymnbooks and prayer books in recent years why haven’t the old books been forwarded to parishes that are in need?
Why spend all the money on expensive new books when there are scads of old books gathering dust?
When women’s ordination was being resisted in England in the 1970s, one opponent warned that if women became priests everything would change – our theology, our worship, our image of God.
That was certainly the hope of some of us who were working towards the ordination of women. Yet here we are, celebrating the 25th anniversary of women’s ordination to the priesthood in the Anglican Church of Canada, and in many ways it feels as though nothing has changed.
We still use hierarchical, exclusive language in our theology and our worship. We still overwhelmingly name God as He. We still sit in lines of pews rather than in the round. We still marginalize the experience of women and resist letting it shape our spirituality.
When will we dare to include the feminist Christian contribution to our life of faith?
In Waterloo this summer the distinctively aboriginal Christian contribution was welcomed at General Synod. Aboriginal ways of worshipping, healing and teaching were embraced and integrated. Non-aboriginal Anglicans listened and learned: some even wept.
I find that I am still hungering for a similar openness to women to be expressed. Ordaining women, even as bishops, is not enough. We are different from men. The old wine skins are not big enough for all that we have to give.
If there are others (and God knows many are leaving the church in despair) who are longing for deeper changes as a result of women’s inclusion, please contact me at the University of Guelph.
Impressed by coverage
I was impressed with the Anglican Journal’s coverage of the visit to Canada of Canon Naim Ateek from the Sabeel Centre in Jerusalem (December 2001). The Journal offered a faithful witness in reporting his views.
The Journal gave voice to the relatively powerless in the Body of Christ, without filtering these voices through the overwhelming noises of their powerful opponents or oppressors.
The Journal refused to single out our Christian partner for what Palestinians euphemistically refer to as “special treatment,” despite the risks of more political pressure and verbal attacks such as the Journal experienced following reportage of the primate’s spring visit to Jerusalem and Sabeel.
Thus, for Canon Ateek’s message of justice, peace and reconciliation, you allowed that which many preachers have prayed, “that only the truth be spoken and only the truth be heard.”
By offering him the same respect regularly accorded our visitors, we have affirmed the God-given dignity even of Palestinians, practicing a foundational principle underpinning shalom, and moreover in the face of the current ugly violence where the Prince of Shalom became enfleshed.
Rev. Robert C. Assaly