Letters to the Editor

Published May 1, 2004

General Synod urged to act decisively on blessingsDear editor,

I would like to echo the opinion expressed by John Coleman (Usually silent, March letters) that Anglicans send a clear message to General Synod that the time has come to approve the blessing of same-gender unions in the Anglican Church of Canada.

I also understand that many members of the church are not yet at the place where they feel they can support this opinion and they cannot be forced to do something that goes against their integrity. At the same time, there are many gay and lesbian members who have waited and waited for the church to bless their unions and whose integrity is also in conflict. I believe that approval for the blessing of same gender unions with a “local option” is the way to proceed.

I urge General Synod to have the courage to act decisively on this matter.

Christine Paszat

Brampton, Ont.

Long tradition

Dear editor,

Readers’ letters published in the Journal probably express and generate more strong feeling than the normal run of editorials and articles. In this respect, several letters in the March edition are true to form. John Coleman’s letter, for example, is undoubtedly heartfelt in its compassion, but nevertheless offensive to Jews and Judaism with its statement about “outmoded attitudes of the Old Testament.” Mr. Coleman should be reminded that the texts of the Tanach, or Jewish Bible, do not exist in isolation, but are accompanied by a long established tradition of study and commentary exemplified most notably by the Talmud and Midrash. As Nathan Ausubel reminds us, “at no time did the Jews have a static or frozen philosophy of religion … it grew and changed organically with the development of life itself through the ages.” Mr. Coleman, in addressing a serious issue, wrongly implies an antithesis between the Old and New Testaments. In the light of tradition, they are parallel in addressing issues of tolerance and mercy. It was a Jewish sage who remarked that the basic message of Scripture is to love God and to love one’s neighbour. All the rest, he said, is commentary. Amen!

K. Corey Keeble



Dear editor,

The headline in your April issue (Synod will vote on same-sex blessings) was blatantly misleading. From the article which followed, it is clear that the Council of General Synod has refused to allow the issue to be debated in favour of a question of diocesan authority and jurisdiction. We have been told that only General Synod has the authority to decide the doctrine of the Anglican Church of Canada, but now the issue is to be shirked, allowing supporters of same-sex blessings to do an end-run around General Synod. This is dishonesty for the sake of a spurious unity.

Chris Turner


Young adults

Dear editor,

In response to Shaun M. Turner’s letter (Where is young adult ministry? February) there is an excellent program for young adults ages 18 to 25, Vocare International. Begun in 1981, many dioceses in the Episcopal Church in the United States now sponsor Vocare and find that participants become more active in their home parishes as well as community and church service projects.

Vocare (vo-car-ay), the Latin word meaning, “to call,” is a weekend retreat of discussions, talks, music and fellowship, all designed to help young adults discern God’s call in their lives. Vocare International has active communities in Canada (diocese of British Columbia) and South Africa as well as those in the U.S.

Dioceses interested in learning more about starting a Vocare program can get information from their Web site, www.vocare.org. Young adults are the church now as well as its future.

Pam Connolly

Pender Island, B.C.


Dear editor,

Your excellent April editorial pointed out the major hazards ahead of the Anglican Church of Canada, depending on how the General Synod deals with the resolution sent on by the Council of General Synod.

You spoke the truth when you stated, “To be sure, the language of the resolution masks the storm that preceded it, and give little sense of the dramatic changes the church will face if it passes.”

In politics this multi-point resolution would be called an omnibus bill, where the list of reasonable points are in fact the sweet coating for the bitter pill to be swallowed.

Anyone who has watched what is happening to the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Church of England knows that approving this divisive resolution is terminal.

We in British Columbia are used to seeing lemmings do their annual suicidal dash to shore, but never thought we would see the Anglican Church of Canada perform a death wish. May God help us.

Tom Mason.

Surrey, B.C.

A few guidelines

Dear editor,

The newly appointed Primate’s Theological Commission states that: “For its next meeting members will prepare presentations on ‘What is the church’s mission?'” (Theology commission looks at church’s mission, March).

Why, after 2,000 years of church history, are we still searching for answers to a question that is answered for us over and over again in the New Testament? May I suggest that the committee could use as its guidelines Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8? Also, reading alongside these Scripture passages, Harold Percy’s new book, Your Church Can Thrive. This excellent book could have a big part to play in helping many confused and disillusioned Anglicans come to a clear understanding of what the church’s mission is, and how it should be fulfilling our Lord’s command in the New Testament.

Geoffrey H.G. Dixon

Haines Junction, Yukon

Renewal ministry

Dear editor,

The issue of same-sex blessings is tearing our church apart. Many are becoming discouraged and disillusioned. However, there is a bright spot amid the despair.

Over the years I have been part of several Anglican Renewal Ministries (ARM) events. How encouraging it is to know that our church has this ministry which enables lay people and clergy to be more effective leaders through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

ARM conducts Leadership Training Institutes for clergy and lay people at various locations across Canada. Readers can find out more about ARM and its work by writing to Anglican Renewal Ministries, 8 Withrow Ave, Nepean, ON, K2G 2H6. E-mail [email protected] or visit the Web site www.cyberus.ca/~armz

June Whitten

Pasadena, Nfld.

Happy development

Dear editor,

The appearance of the Concerning Lutherans column (April) by Pastor Peter Mikelic, devoted to interpreting Canadian Lutherans to Canadian Anglicans, is a happy development.

I was particularly appreciative of the quote by national Lutheran bishop Raymond Schultz that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) seeks to become “a church for others.” Over the decades, said Bishop Schultz, the ELCIC has been “so parochial, so ethnic and so domestic in our mission agenda that we’ve let many opportunities for mission slip through our fingers.”

One of the benefits of the mutual affirmation and admonition resulting from the co-operative agreement between Canadian Anglicans and Lutherans is that parochialism, ethnocentrism and narrow domesticity, no matter where its source, can be mutually challenged and transformed into opposite endeavours.

Wayne Holst


A healthy church

Dear editor,

Anglican Journal is to be commended for keeping the issue of marriage rights/rites for homosexuals on the front page. A willingness to offer space to both sides is one sign of a healthy church.

As a former Baptist minister now in fellowship in an Anglican church, I sympathize with both parties. Examining my own fundamentalist faith I came to realize it was a closed system which could not account for the multiplicity and diversity of human experience.

How are we to deal with the present controversy? First, accept it as an honest attempt by both sides to face an unprecedented situation in church and society.

Second, the establishment should say, “How can we help you bear fruit within your new ecclesiastical arrangements?” The sky won’t fall if the church splits.

Third, those in favor of leaving should study those churches which have gone before. They will discover that such congregations are no happier and no more united than the ones they abandoned. In fact, there is a revolving-door syndrome among fundamentalists.

Fourth, both sides should still co-operate on world relief. Why should a child in Sudan starve because certain Anglicans can’t get along?

With or without our blessing or condemnation, homosexuality is here to stay, a closed system on either side will be left at the pier. An open system is dynamic, responsive, adaptive, attractive and lasting.

George Fraser



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