Letters to the Editor

Published March 1, 2003

Inspiring project is backed by Primate’s FundDear editor,

Thank you for publishing the inspiring article about the Tumelong Mission in South Africa (January 2003). In the face of the dismal news about world poverty, the spread of AIDS and cycles of violence, it is heartening to hear how a community of South Africans is offering concrete and creative responses that make people’s lives better.

Your readers may be interested to know that the Tumelong Mission has been supported since 1999 by the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. Among the projects funded are the Tumelong Bokamoso youth program, which provides intensive life skills and vocational training to youth at risk, and the Tumelong women’s support program, whose goal is to create alternative income generating initiatives for women survivors of domestic violence. PWRDF is currently supporting the Tumelong vegetable income generating project, which was featured in your article.

Tumelong means “place of faith” in the local language, and the mission gives us a glimpse of how faith can create a world of peace and justice.

Janet Dench


President, PWRDF

How do we raise money?

Dear editor,

Like many others who attended the special January synod in the diocese of Niagara, I was moved by the spirit of the discussion around the residential school settlement.

This settlement and our fair share of it is not just a legal bill to be paid so we can get on with the ministry of the church. God has laid before us a gift, a way for us to examine ourselves and respond with a sense of repentance, conversion and hope. I reread the apology that our primate offered the First Nations people 10 years ago, and I still hear the echoes of deep humility in his words. If we, with the primate, are “sorry more than we can say,” then surely that will affect how we go about raising the money.

Do we raise the money through special raffles? I don’t think so. Do we raise the money through a dinner, whose guest speaker is a member of the aboriginal community? Perhaps. Do we make a special appeal during Lent, the traditional time of spiritual examination, repentance and renewal? Perhaps.

If we are called to walk humbly with our God, if this truly is a movement of grace in our midst, then how we go about this piece of ministry is important. One of the reasons we got into this mess in the first place is because we forgot who we were, whose we were, and who it was we were asked to serve.

Michael Calderwood

Glen Williams, Ont.

Many students grateful

Dear editor,

It is interesting to note that of all the articles in the January edition about the Indian residential school settlement, not one former staff member was interviewed.

I am encouraged, however, by Jane Davidson’s article, in which she refers to Mike Cachagee as an “alumnus” of Shingwauk Indian Residential School.

Dr. Roland Chrisjohn, a well-educated man, should know better than to refer to the schools as a form of genocide. Hundreds of orphans and disadvantaged children of all races have been cared for in institutions in the past and it was not considered “genocide.”

I think the church needs to hear from former students who are grateful for the help they received. There are many.

Bernice Logan

Tangier, N.S.

Seventh principle

Dear editor,

In his strong statement (published on the General Synod Web site) calling on us to stand against those considering war against Iraq, the primate has done us a great service.

Although I have read some of St. Augustine’s great writings, I had not seen before the Seven Principles of his “just war theory,” which Archbishop Michael Peers included in his statement.

Unfortunately, his call to us is completely undermined by Augustine’s seventh principle:

“The weapons used must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants. Non-combatants are never permissible targets of war. Their deaths are justified only if they are unavoidable victims of a deliberate attack on a military target.”

The primate, the World Council of Churches and the Canadian Council of Churches have loudly condemned Israel for perceived abuses of Augustine’s seventh principle; but there has been no equally strong statement about the repeated, complete disregard for this principle by the Palestinian leaders and terrorists, and those who support their methods.

Until the primate makes such a statement, as strong and as widely broadcast as this statement, one is left to wonder whether, in opposing the U.S. stand on Iraq, the underlying motive (conscious or not) is to oppose anyone who supports Israel.

Philip Ward

Tracy, N.B.

About Elvis

Dear editor,

I think it’s a shame that Bishop Ron Ferris has taken action against Rev. Dorian Baxter, because he preaches Jesus Christ from an “Elvis” point of view (February 2003). If the bishop rejects any approach to our Lord that is out of the ordinary, perhaps he should read the February Huron Church News article, “The Gospel According to Al”:

“God speaks to people in a variety of different ways, and for the people of St. John the Evangelist in Leamington, God has chosen a stuffed panda named Al to teach about the joy that comes from having a personal relationship with Jesus.”

Perhaps the bishop, in this time of declining church rolls, should ask himself, “Is Elvis Priestley successful in bringing people to the Lord?”

Hugo Borchardt

Sarnia, Ont.


Dear editor,

I was disappointed with the February issue and felt that it was not in line with my Christian beliefs.

Firstly, Archbishop Michael Peers’ assertion that “No rights, no rules can be absolute” may apply well to driving a car. However, the primate is holding the steering wheel of the Anglican church, and should realize that God’s rules are absolute. The Ten Commandments were written as exactly that, they were not the “Ten Recommendations” or the “Ten Good Ideas When Convenient Given the Circumstances.”

Then your article on the nude calendar made me wonder what goes through the mind of a priest as he sits naked at his typewriter, posing for a calendar photo. Does he think that he is celebrating God’s glorious creation of man in his own image, or is he just satisfying his own exhibitionist urges, and capitalizing on our sinful desires to look upon the nakedness of our brothers and sisters?

Henry Zech

Waterloo, Ont.

God vs. clergy

Dear editor,

The bishop of Quebec has fired Rev. Keith Perry-Gore for being disrespectful (February 2003). This is an early April Fool’s joke, right?

Too bad God can’t sue all the bishops and priests who slander Jesus and his gospel by denying their credibility. At least two-thirds of the clergy in this country would be sacked.

But that’s okay. God will catch up with them at the last judgment. They won’t be able to wiggle out of the charges of blasphemy laid against them. And Mr. Perry-Gore will be vindicated by the one arbiter who really counts.

Brian McGregor-Foxcroft


Procreation a duty

Dear editor,

I thank God, Bishop Michael Ingham and Archbishop Michael Peers for causing me to closely examine my beliefs and clarify them through their guidance, action, and inaction respectively.

God blesses the union of a man and women with children. Practising homosexuals do not procreate naturally and thereby do not contribute to society by birthing and rearing children. We as children of God actually have a responsibility to mate and reproduce, otherwise what God created in his own image dies. This duty transcends personal indulgence.

R.G. Barrett

North Vancouver, B.C.

A few points

Dear editor,

Re: Sense of alienation (January 2003). Ms. Turner lists many ways in which she believes that same-sex unions undermine marriage. Let us consider some of them.

1. “1. They will have betrayed a spouse.” They will have betrayed a spouse if they acquired a spouse of the opposite sex in the first place.

2. “2. permanently dead-ended their own and another’s life.” Is Ms. Turner assuming that lives of the childless are dead-ended? How sad! People are childless for many reasons.

3. “3. failed to labour and sacrifice so that children might be born to serve God and the world.” Surely with a population of six billion, the old tribal urgency to multiply and fill the land can be relaxed?

Marianne Vespry

Hamilton, Ont.


Dear editor,

A number of letters have appeared addressing gay rights, suggesting that it is an unimportant issue facing a tiny minority. This is a human rights issue that has the potential to affect us all.

Homophobia has been used as a weapon to advance totalitarian regimes. In 1938, Hitler’s minister Wilhelm Frick introduced a bill calling for the incarceration of homosexuals, “that Jewish pestilence.” Also, at the height of the Cold War, the RCMP went on a witch hunt to purge the government of suspected homosexual civil servants. Thousands lost their jobs. This also became an excuse for the RCMP to collect information on ordinary citizens suspected of being gay. By 1985, names of 10,000 Canadians had been collected.

But, if for no other reason, let us address this issue because it affects our kids. Four out of 10 youth commit suicide because they are gay and alone. The church has the responsibility to be an advocate for the vulnerable. How is it we forgot this?

Jim McCrae


Free will

Dear editor,

Regarding Bob Hadley’s letter (January 2003), he doesn’t seem to get it. In trying to defend Bishop Ingham’s actions by demonstrating that people don’t follow all Biblical laws, Mr. Hadley seems to indicate that it is hypocrisy to call attention to someone else’s disobedience to God’s word.

What he fails to recognize is that we are free to sin all we want; that is called “free will.” We were given that gift back in the Garden of Eden. What Bishop Ingham is doing is much more dangerous. In attempting to bless in God’s name what God himself calls “an abomination in my sight,” Bishop Ingham is putting words into God’s mouth.

The Old Testament called that “a false prophet” and we are commanded not to listen to them or even give them any respect.

Dan Clark



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