Letters to the Editor

By on April 1, 2003

Admiration and support for a fellow bishop

Dear editor,

I have known Bishop Terrence Buckle for more than 30 years, as a fellow priest, as his bishop, as my assistant and until my retirement, a friend and colleague in the national house of bishops and the Council of the North. Bishop Buckle’s spiritual integrity, sober thought and Christian love are unquestionable. He has my admiration and support.

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I know that Bishop Buckle’s recent offer to the disaffected parishes in the diocese of New Westminster was only made after much prayer and advice.

I applaud his offer of pastoral support to those parishes that feel they are no longer in sympathy with their bishop despite a long and sincere search for a solution. I hope (but I suspect in vain) that the house of bishops will support Bishop Buckle in his offer and show that they are indeed able to make courageous decisions and give true leadership to the church. This is not a matter for General Synod to decide, it is a matter for those who, by their ordination and consecration are charged with teaching and guiding their flocks.

My only regret is that, now retired, I am unable to stand beside Bishop Buckle as he faces what I suspect will be a barrage of criticism from many of his fellow bishops. Christopher Williams

Bishop of the Arctic (retired)


Ha ha, Mr. God

Dear editor,

I have been avoiding the issues of same-sex unions and the place of gay people in the Anglican church. This has been difficult because I am a gay Anglican, and I have discovered that when one tries to escape spiritual-type things, God often sends a whale to swallow one whole.

My whale is Terry Buckle, Bishop of Yukon. You see, my avoidance of these issues brought me to the Yukon, a place where I thought they would be a little less contentious. Ha ha. Funny joke, Mr. God.

On March 9, our rector read to us a letter written by Bishop Anthony Burton of Saskatch-ewan outlining his support for Bishop Buckle’s offer of pastoral care to those parishes in New Westminster which feel that they cannot accept Bishop Michael Ingham. Well-written letter but it stunk of passive-aggressive political posturing, of bishops sniping at each other in a polite way, of clergy forcing congregations to take sides.

Good for Bishop Buckle, offering pastoral care to those who need it — if his motives are pure. I worry that they are not. I worry that Bishop Buckle is trying to undermine Bishop Ingham. Worse, I worry that Bishop Buckle is encouraging the dissident parishes in their undermining of Bishop Ingham. I worry that Bishop Buckle, Bishop Burton and others are trying to ‘get’ Bishop Ingham because he doesn’t share that point of view.

I have something in common with the dissident parishes of New Westminster. I have a bishop I don’t quite trust. So in the spirit of Bishop Buckle’s offer, I ask what if there was a parish in Yukon that wanted to allow the blessing of same-sex unions? Would Bishop Buckle allow that parish to go to Bishop Ingham for pastoral care? Would he be so willing to divide a diocese if it were his own?

What if pastoral care was more important than passive-aggressive political posturing? Andrew Halladay

Whitehorse


What about Article 37?

Dear editor,

The main cover photo of the February issue shows a member of Christ Church Cathedral, Fredericton, displaying a placard with the inscription “Abolish War! It’s the only option.”

With all due respect to Ms. Gloria Paul, I would venture to point out to fellow Anglicans that Article 37 of our Articles of Religion states that, “It is lawful for Christian men, at the commandment of the Magistrate, to wear weapons, and serve in the wars.” This orthodox position has been upheld by such eminent theologians as Aurelius Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Richard Hooker, John Wesley, Oliver O’Donovan, to name but a few. Ms. Paul’s is certainly not the only option for Christians. On the contrary, preservation of the “tranquility of order” without which there can be no earthly peace has always required the ministry of the sword. Torrance Kirby

Montreal


Protesting marches

Dear editor,

I take exception to the front-page coverage given to peace activists. I strongly oppose all protest marches and similar demonstrations because they serve no useful purpose other than to disrupt the daily life of thousands of law-abiding citizens.

In today’s world, tyrannical dictators relish the peace protests and look upon those nations which tolerate them as weak and ineffective, which I submit, inflates their egos.

Do these protestors not realize that they enjoy the freedom to do their thing because many wars have been fought throughout history to protect and preserve democratic freedom? Harold C. Ould

Toronto


Eucharistic practice

Dear editor,

In your article entitled “Catholics, Anglicans debate awkward communion issue” (March 2003), Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan’s remarks regarding Anglican eucharistic doctrine are simplistic and misleading. She writes that, “Anglicans approach the Eucharist with the same reverence and belief as Roman Catholics. (I)t is out of a deep recognition that Christ is present in the bread and wine…” Oh, really? Anglican eucharistic doctrine is that monochrome? Surely Ms. Barnett-Cowan must be aware of the different schools of thought about the nature of Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Supper (evangelical, Anglo-catholic, liberal, reformed, etc.) that have been present in Anglicanism since the time of the Reformation. If anything, our Anglican formularies have avoided defining the eucharistic presence too closely. This unwillingness to violate believers’ consciences is one of the strengths and graces of Anglicanism. The anglo-catholic position that Ms. Barnett-Cowan seems to be attributing to our entire church (that Christ is “in” the bread and wine) is not even the majority opinion of the Anglican Communion through its history, let alone “the” Anglican position! Myself? I prefer to stand with Richard Hooker, who famously wrote, “The real presence of Christ’s most blessed body and blood is not therefore to be sought for in this sacrament, but in the worthy receiver of the sacrament.” Gary Graber

Toronto


Try Elvis

Dear editor,

I enjoyed reading “Elvis imitator decides it’s now or never” (February).

We need stimulation to bring baby boomers to church and some older people would enjoy this attraction. I feel Rev. Dorian Baxter is reaching out to fill his church. I know I would enjoy hearing him.

Try it. Some may like something new! M. Kulagowski

Chomedey, Que.


Popular opinion

Dear editor,

I was saddened to read in the article “Palestinian bishop pleads for support” (February) that the Council of the General Synod voted in recent years to “stand in solidarity” with Palestinians in the conflict over the West Bank and the Gaza strip.

Any serious investigation into the Middle East conflict reveals a complicated situation in which Israelis live, and defend themselves, as a minority in a region brimming with anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, religious fanaticism and unchecked violence. Where is the support for our Jewish brothers and sisters who have been persecuted relentlessly and driven out of most Middle Eastern countries? Shame on us for abandoning the people to whom we owe much of our faith. Jessica Hunter

Sudbury, Ont.


Affirming church

Dear editor,

I wish to congratulate Ev Shaw of Timmins for her February letter responding to Priscilla Turner’s attack on lesbians and gays. I am a member of an Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Canada, involved in a heterosexual marriage with an Anglican. I find the lesbian and gay members of our church bring many gifts to our communal life. If your readers wish to pursue further study of these matters, I commend the book, Daring to be United, a United Church of Canada publication by Alison Huntley. Audrey Dyer

Toronto


Horrid and torrid

Dear editor,

I was sickened by the latest issue of the Anglican Journal. For many years now, we have been subjected by your paper, and by the church as a whole, to homosexual and feminist issues. Then to the horrid (and torrid) stories of sexual and physical abuse in church-run residential schools. All this has been depressing enough. But to open our church paper and see a picture of an Anglican priest posing nude for a calendar is the icing on the cake. In an age beset by sexual abuse by priests, this just does not meet any normal standards of good humour! Then there was the free advertising you gave to “Elvis Priestley,” who is demeaning and cheapening the worship of Almighty God. If I had young children today, I would not want them to look at our church paper. In fact, I really don’t want to read it, either! It is embarrassing to have it seen in our rectory. If I want to look at nude pictures, I will buy Playboy. They tell me the articles are better, anyway! Douglas Barrett

Bell Island, Nfld. & Lab.


Seeking VSOs

Dear editor,

I am helping Senator Bill Rompkey with some research about the British Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) teachers in Labrador from 1960 to 1970.

We are seeking their current addresses and any material such as photographs, personal recollections, letters, special memories, particular difficulties, notes about their work, information about other volunteers, anybody they are still in touch with; any relevant material would be very much appreciated.

I was a VSO myself in Port Hope Simpson from 1969 at the Anglican school and I was never the same again! Llewelyn Pritchard

[email protected]

[email protected]

10 Walnut Tree Close

Lower Almondsbury

Bristol

England

BS32 4EE

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