Letters to the editor

Published May 1, 2003

ACIP member attended signing ‘in my own right’

Dear editor, The article entitled “Schools agreement signed” (April) has greatly disturbed me. It says, in part, “Most ACIP members boycotted the signing ceremony, held at the church’s national office in Toronto. The sole ACIP member who attended, Elizabeth Beardy, did so as the wife of Archdeacon Larry Beardy, who is Cree and was a member of the Anglican team that negotiated the agreement with the federal government.” I attended the signing in my own right. I attended because I wanted to show the primate that I supported him. From my time at ACIP I understood that it was the intention of ACIP that, after having expressed our concerns to the primate, that we should attend the signing to show him our support. I wanted to show my support for my bishop because I knew he was attending. I wanted to show my support for the synod of my diocese, which signed the agreement. I wanted to show my support for the whole negotiating team, including my husband. Elizabeth Beardy
Diocese of Keewatin Editor’s note: The Journal regrets the error.

Opportunity lost

Dear editor,

When the public scandal broke that churchmen and others had been actively involved in raping, molesting and culturally abusing native children over several generations, I felt there was an opportuntiy to breathe new life into an ailing institution. I thought that in the negotiations, the properties and resources of the church would be part of the trade off and thus native communities could now become major shareholders in the power and resources of our church. However, this wasn’t to be.

Thus, when the government recently announced that it was going to bail the church out to the tune of so many millions of dollars, many church people breathed a sigh of relief. I felt sadness. A wonderful opportunity was lost by both the church and the state. Were our leaders too concerned about money to see how the situation could be used to harvest abundant rewards’ At a time when the church had become moribund and native leaders and their communities could have breathed new life into an ailing institution?

Archibald J. Crail

Not just my position

Dear editor,

I am responding to Gary Graber’s letter (April) in which he claims that I am attributing to the Anglican Church “my” “anglo-catholic position” about the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

In fact I am standing on the acceptance by the Anglican Communion of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission’s (ARCIC) agreed statement on the Eucharist contained in The Final Report (1982), which reads, in part, “The Lord’s words at the last supper, “Take and eat; this is my body”, do not allow us to dissociate the gifts of the presence and the act of sacramental eating. The elements are not mere signs; Christ’s body and blood become really present and are really given. But they are really present and given in order that, receiving them, believers may be united in communion with Christ the Lord.”

There is a wide range of interpretation with the Anglican Communion of the nature of Christ’s presence and the role of the faith of the believer. Yet the Lambeth Conference of 1988, building upon the responses of Anglican Provinces, deemed the ARCIC statement to be “consonant in substance with the faith of Anglicans” and it was in the light of Lambeth’s resolution that I was claiming theological agreement with Roman Catholics.

Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan
Director, Faith, Worship and Ministry; General Synod

Growth experience

Dear editor,

I appreciated the photograph of Governor General Adrienne Clarkson receiving communion from the Roman Catholic archbishop (March).

Whilst working as a community health nurse in the north from 1972 to 1977, I was invited to take mass at Cross Lake, Man., in Iqaluit and in Igloolik. I also received communion at the United church.

I found these occasions spiritually rewarding and appreciated the opportunity of sharing the commonality of Christian fellowship and growing through Christ.

Audrey Halsey
North Vancouver, B.C.

Our responsibilities

Dear editor,

How has this war come about when it appears that the great majority of people around the world did not support military intervention in Iraq? Canada is a strong supporter of the UN with a long track record in preserving peace. It was difficult to stand up for our beliefs and support the UN instead of supporting this war.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Canadian primate and most leaders of the other major churches have spoken out against this war. I have asked myself the question: as Christians what are our responsibilities toward peace? What might be the consequences if we lost the long struggle for peace, by indifference and neglect? I don’t know the answers to these questions but I believe it takes courage to act on our faith and convictions. If we don’t, are we not letting down those in previous generations that made their sacrifice for us and even for future generations to come?

Dan Spiers

Goodbye Jenny

Dear editor,

I gather from ads in the press for a Director of Pensions that Jenny Mason is about to retire. If that is so, I would like to say how much I have valued the contribution Jenny has made over the years, both as assistant to the previous incumbent and as director herself.

Jenny is knowledgeable professionally, committed personally and accessible to members; with her sense of humour, ready smile and acute perception, she will be a hard act to follow. I am sure I am not the only member of the pension plan who has benefited from her willingness to put aside the clichés beloved of counsellors and say, “My advice is….” More precisely, I well remember a time when she said to me, “If I were you I would take your money and run.”

Thanks, Jenny, and many years of happy retirement, enjoying some of the benefits of the pension plan you have managed so well.

Colin Proudman

Time well spent

Dear editor,

I want to clarify items in “Schools agreement a done deal” (March) which hints that, in its ratification of the residential schools agreement, the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island was slow (“lengthier meeting than most – almost eight hours”) slack (“vote…not as overwhelmingly positive as it was in other dioceses) and self-regarding (concern about “opening the diocese [which had no residential schools] to future liability”).

Half of the eight hours was given over to ensuring that synod members knew what they were voting for or against, a time for questions and information. In three hours, synod passed four motions, agreeing to the contribution agreement (76 per cent for), to a capital campaign to raise the $20,000 per month, each month, for five years to meet our contribution (80 per cent for), to the General Synod support agreement (79 per cent for), and to hold each vote by secret ballot, which, I believe, accounts for the “not as overwhelmingly positive” vote. Reservations about the agreement did not centre on taking on liability when the diocese had none, but on whether the agreement truly put us in solidarity with native people, and about the unquantifiable risk of liability for loss of language and culture that the General Synod support agreement opens the whole church to.

Fred Krieger
Executive Secretary of Synod
Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

Five-year plan

Dear editor,

Having just read the article “Task force to study primate’s term” (April) I note that there is no mention of who the task force members are. Perhaps the task force could, at the same time, study a possible term limit for bishops, since I have met and heard of bishops that some years after election, do not live up to expectations of other clergy or congregations.

I would like to suggest that election of a bishop should be for a term of five years, possibly seven, subject to re-election if acceptable to clergy and congregations.

Circumstances change, conditions change, just as politics are continually changing.

Stanley A. Fricker
Surrey, B.C.

Examine structure

Dear editor,

I am commenting on the article “PWRDF in severe cash shortage,” (March).

I agree with the analysis on why contributions are lower. With the residential school settlement and special appeals (our own parish is working on a sizeable debt from a major 1999 building project plus upgrades), we, like many Anglicans, are being stretched. Also, there are other very worthwhile charities, which I, like others, support.

While I have always thought that there were very low administrative costs to the PWRDF, I do not understand why a staff of 19 is needed to administer a fund that receives $5.12 million in revenues.

I suggest that the organizational and operational structure of this humanitarian fund be revisited.

Peter Carroll
Oakville, Ont.

Local practice

Dear editor,

On a Sunday morning recently I was in Stone Town, the old part of Zanzibar City, and discovered I was just in time to attend the communion service in the Anglican cathedral. The service was in Swahili, but the hymn tunes and order of service were very familiar; so, despite being one of only two white people in the congregation, I felt quite at home. I was, however, surprised to find that the sexes were segregated for the service: the men sat on the right of the nave and the women on the left. I was unaware that this type of segregation had ever been sanctioned by the Anglican church; however, since it clearly reflects the customs and culture of Zanzibar society, it fit the setting.

I was unable to understand the sermon and I started wondering about what aspects of Anglicanism reflect local practice and what are at the core of our beliefs. It struck me that any bishop who represented this traditional society, where, according to conversations I had with village people, sex, even heterosexual sex, is never discussed, could never support or understand blessing same-sex unions. It would be quite outside his frame of reference.

As an Anglican, I am proud of the cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity within our tradition, but this experience confirmed my belief that we can never expect to reach consensus on issues that are inseparable from their underlying cultural value. Like many Anglicans I am concerned about the amount of time and energy our church is spending trying to find a unified position on same-sex marriages – surely a temporal issue. After my wonderful morning in Stone Town, I am even more convinced that we should give up the seemingly endless task of trying to reach world- or even country-wide consensus and that each diocese should have the latitude to reflect the mores of its members.

Catherine Gillbert
Saint-Lambert, Que.


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