Canada’s churches need to change their tactics Dear editor,
Archbishop Michael Peers is to be commended for his intervention for delegates who experienced less-than-hospitable treatment by our government in granting visas to attend the Winnipeg Lutheran World Federation assembly this summer (September). Our nation is not as open to visitors as it was since the 9/11 tragedy but this is also a clear sign that mainstream Canadian denominations no longer enjoy the influence they once did. The days when the primate could pick up the phone and bend the ear of the government minister seem to be over. As much as we may regret these developments let us recognize them for what they are. Canada is changing as a nation and the churches are going to have to change their expectations and their tactics too. Wayne Holst Calgary
About the review
In Robin Lind’s review of Discovering the Book of Common Prayer (September), he spends all his time telling us about the book he thinks should have been written, rather than discussing the book that is before him.
That’s a bit like judging The Lord of The Rings by castigating Tolkien for not writing the Oxford English Dictionary .
At the end of Mr. Lind’s 10 paragraphs, we know no more about the book he is ostensibly reviewing than we did at the start.
Port Hope, Ont.
+Ted was there too
Hopefully the omission of Archbishop Ted Scott’s participation in the blessing of the civil marriage of deacons Alison Kemper and Joyce Barnett was mere oversight by the Journal (October). Archbishop Scott, the former primate, pronounced his archepiscopal blessing twice during the service: first after the couple’s declaration of lifelong promises of commitment and again at the end of the eucharist. The 10th primate of the Anglican Church of Canada (1971-86) participated with the prior knowledge of Archbishop Terence Finlay and at the invitation of the couple. He was vested, walked in the procession and participated fully in the ceremony.
Trust and openness
Your October editorial prompts me to respond from my perspectives as a veteran journalist, a media consultant to aboriginal artists and an Anglican.
How right you are to state that we need to be concerned! Closed doors set the journalistic curiosity pumping and distrust in the general population. But more damaging, in camera sessions are exclusive and often exclude those very people who might mediate the tensions. If we cannot handle all the various ideas, theories and perspectives on this situation, how can we hope to heal and reconcile?
It is obvious that trust has been broken but closed-door meetings will not build trust and in fact shatter what already exists. The actions are of those who feel threatened.
Perhaps we should remember that in Canada we have more than 100 First Nations and consensus within those groups is no more likely than in the rest of the church. Within those nations are individuals whose reasoning may be blurred by past hurts so they cannot concentrate on the moment and are fearful of the future. What we might pray for is that the aboriginal leadership be as inclusive as possible in their deliberations and that the leadership in the rest of the church demands that degree of accountability from them.
Your editorial seems to suggest that because a Journal reporter will not attend the October meeting between the Anglican Council of Aboriginal Peoples (ACIP) and leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada, we will not hear a complete story.
This editorial shows no evidence of any understanding of the dynamic at stake in the meeting. ACIP experienced the breaking of trust when the settlement agreement was signed in spite of their objections. They have since faced a barrage of distrust and anger from the wider Canadian church. They have decided they must act to try to restore harmony among themselves and the church.
It is their choice to use their own traditional and cultural understanding of how to do that. They have asked fellow Anglicans with whom they have in the past been in relationship to sit with them within a sacred circle. Within that circle, there is some hope that issues can be considered, concerns can be shared, and mutual understanding of what went wrong and what is needed to repair that relationship can be explored.
Unfortunately, the Journal editorial stance has not given them much reassurance that the church press will be able to listen with sensitivity – not only to the aboriginal voice, but also to the cultural awareness needed to reach any kind of consensus within such a circle.
London , Ont.
In the Sunday school article (October), the author incorrectly asserts that Seasons of the Spirit was ?adopted by the Anglican Church of Canada as its recommended Sunday school curriculum.? This is not the case. Since 1969, when religious education was dropped as a program for work at the national level, General Synod has not endorsed any particular curriculum.
Anglicans have been closely involved with the development of the Whole People of God , and now with Seasons of the Spirit , but there is no official endorsement. Parishes are encouraged to choose the curriculum which best suits their needs.
Director, Faith Worship and Ministry
General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada
Love in isolation
Re: ?Her own personal Jesus? (September letters ). That the letter writer would feel obliged to pay to receive Christian services is an abomination. That she does not feel welcomed by her community and recognized as a Christian member is regrettably a sentiment shared by others.
I offer this woman a single verse in Luke 15:12 ?This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.?
This is the only new covenant in the history of our relationship with God since the Old Testament. We cannot love in isolation. Jesus makes it clear that community is the classroom in our spiritual lessons. If our communities do not strengthen and nourish the very bond that Christ gave us, this is what we can expect.
Inglewood , Ont.
The Journal has been filled with letters and articles about the acceptability of homosexual relationships. Nobody seems to recognize that the main issue here is not specifically related to homosexual relationships at all. Consider the following question: ?Should a single male priest be defrocked if he is found to be engaged in gay sex?? Consider also the question: ?Should a single male priest be defrocked if he is found to be engaged in heterosexual sex?? Why are we putting such a focus on one kind of sex and thereby artificially limiting the terms of the discussion?
The issue, whatever it is, seems not to be about gay sex at all. Let us at least try to understand the questions before we start confusing ourselves with poorly thought-out answers.
Andrew F. Reeve