Letters to the editor

Published November 1, 1999

Walk the walk

Dear editor,

I know Lynn Bauman and have appreciated his work among us. I also cannot imagine the agony that he and his family must be living in.

However, I was deeply distressed by the presumptuous judgment of Dean Robert Pynn: “While he confessed to the charges, I’m convinced that he is not guilty in the true moral sense of the word,” and by its inclusion in our national church newspaper (Theologian Convicted of Sex Offences in U.S., October Journal.)

A plea bargain not only silenced Lynn, but it also silenced the child. On what basis was innocence judged? The dean’s statement is a direct contradiction of Dr. Gilmartin’s closing remark on page 10 of the same edition of the Journal: “the church’s first obligation must be to the victim; the second must be to help the church; and the third must be to assist the cleric.”

We in the church must learn to walk the walk, not just talk it. And, yes, it is very hard with those near and dear to us.

Rev. Dr. Cathy C. Campbell


Victimization goes on

Dear editor,

After reading the sad reports of sexual abuse of Native children, I thought it could never happen again. Attitudes have changed. We have lifted a rock, looked hard at the underside and cannot put it down again.

Then I read Theologian Convicted of Sex Offences with its defence of someone found guilty by church and court. And I realize it will happen again, as long as there are people who will excuse and condone. The article is based upon the opinion of someone totally separated from the events. There is no in depth interview with the priest’s bishop, no connection with the victim. I am sure that those in charge of church run residences told themselves, “I’m convinced that he is not guilty in the true moral sense of the word.” And so the victimization continued and will continue.


Oakville, Ont.

(by e-mail)

No ‘mistake’

Dear editor,

I was disappointed at the quoted reaction of Dean Robert Pynn of Calgary to Dr Lynn Bauman’s conviction on two charges of indecency with a child. The dean feels that this should not overshadow Dr. Bauman’s “positive contributions to the diocese,” and he characterizes Dr. Bauman’s conviction as the consequence of a mistake.

To me, there is a vast difference between a “mistake” and the crime of sexual abuse to which Dr. Bauman pleaded guilty. In spite of this, Dean Pynn lauds Dr. Bauman as an “influential teacher,” sees the whole affair as “a great tragedy for him,” and insists that this man should not be “tarred in a sexual context.”

Nowhere did I get a sense of empathy for the victim. Does not the image of a teacher convicted of assaulting a child who has worked in the Calgary diocese set off any alarm bells for Dean Pynn? He had better pray that this is an isolated incident even though the odds are that it is not.

Judy Watkins

Port Coquitlam, B.C.

(by e-mail)

Quality at root

Dear editor:

The September issue claims that I have withheld permission for extra fundraising this fall by the Journal out of some sort of personal pique over the outcome of a complaint by the Diocese of New Westminster against the paper.

This is incorrect. The reason I clearly gave, before I knew of the outcome of the complaint, was the growing dissatisfaction felt by a large number of Anglicans with the declining quality of the Journal.

In recent years it has shown a depressingly secular tendency to “report burning houses” (the editor’s own phrase) instead of providing substantive information about the mission of the church.

I had raised these concerns with Mr. Harris and a Journal board member at meetings in Toronto in February, and again in a June letter which gave my reasons for declining the Journal appeal. To claim that my decision was based on anything else is sheer misrepresentation.

Michael Ingham

Bishop of New Westminster


(by e-mail)

Jumping off shelves

Dear editor,

My thanks for the article you wrote on my book, Suicide: The Decline and Fall of the Anglican Church of Canada, which, together with the National Post article and CBC interviews, have caused the book to, in the words of one Anglican book store, “jump off the shelves.”

You are correct in reporting an increase of 4,000 in identifiable givers from 1994 to 1996, and for this we are grateful. The point I made in my book, however, stands: we did lose 33,000 givers between 1966 and 1996, 10,000 of those in 1992 to 1994.

As to the self-publication of my book, you quoted Robert MacLennan, publication manager of the Anglican Book Centre, as saying ABC didn’t refuse to publish the book.

Mr. MacLennan must have lost his copy of his letter to me of Sept. 11, 1998 in which he wrote, “Thank you for delivering the manuscript to us. It seems fully and faithfully to develop the summary you had passed on to me last June. Because of this, the opinions that our readers expressed concerning the summary apply also to the manuscript ? Again, thank you. I am sorry to send you this news.”

Again, thanks for giving Suicide such wide coverage. Please join with me in prayer that it might serve its intended purpose of helping our church to avoid its impending demise.

Rev. Marney Patterson

Thornhill, Ont. Robert Maclennan replies: I conveyed the readers’ observations to Mr. Patterson, and I expressed regret that they had not been more positive. I felt that I had left the matter open for Mr. Patterson, in case he might have wished to modify the manuscript, as indeed seemed to be his intention when later, on the phone, he spoke about finding an editor for the book.

Not disappointed

Dear editor:

As soon as I noticed you dedicated your full September editorial plus almost three-quarters of a page to a highly slanted article panning Rev. Marney Patterson’s Book, Suicide: The Decline and Fall of the Anglican Church of Canada, I reckoned it must be a pretty significant work. I read it immediately. I was not disappointed!

This perceptive and highly prophetic work did not seem to be the same book you denigrated. Rather it proved to be one that used the national church’s own facts and figures (despite the weak attempt to discredit them) to point out a very serious problem. Further, it used worldwide interdenominational figures to support its premise that the growing churches today are those that hold the holy Scriptures to be the spirit-breathed inviolable word of God.

Dr. Patterson’s book never suggests going back to the “good old days” of the ’50s and ’60’s. It merely demonstrates that faithfulness to God’s word standing in judgment over humankind, rather than today’s opposite approach, is necessary for the salvation of the church. In fact, contrary to the blithe statements in your editorial, Dr. Patterson’s presentation is faithful to the Anglican reformers, especially the revered Richard Hooker.

As far as the attempt to belittle Dr. Patterson’s prophecy of an even greater exodus from Anglicanism should the Anglican Church of Canada take certain highly debated steps, I can only say that our parish stands to lose at least 40 per cent of its membership and 75 per cent of its income should the expressed concerns ever come to pass ? not that the concerns of the grassroots have any real effect upon this national church.

I have recommended a careful reading of Dr. Patterson’s excellent and brave prophetic work to my parishioners and would similarly recommend the same for all concerned Christians who worship God within the potential richness of the family known as the Anglican Church of Canada.

Father Larry Winslow

Boissevain, Man.

Colourful, dramatic

Dear editor,

Regarding Priest Forecasts Church’s Demise (September Journal) ? what a disappointing, deficient article on a very colourful book! Why do your staff writers quibble about numbers when for years we have read and heard about the decline of the Anglican Church in Canada?

Did they miss the drama of Marney Patterson’s pre-ordination interview; or the tension when the proposed music for a mission was thrown on the floor by an organist at choir practice; or the modern stories reminding us of Joseph and Potiphan’s wife; or the informative material about AIDS including the situation and the author’s experience in Uganda?

This is a book full of interesting stories from the ministry of the only Canadian Anglican full-time itinerant evangelist. Marney Patterson’s reflections on the problems our church faces, given his worldwide ecumenical experience over a period of 32 years, deserve much more careful attention than your writers suggest.

I found the book absorbing, instructive and very courageous. Well done Marney!

Margaret Willoughby

Milton, Ont.

Defeat procedural

Dear editor,

With regard to your reporting on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s biennial convention of July 1999, (September Journal), your reporter indicated that convention delegates defeated a resolution which directed the ELCIC to declare that any sexual activities outside the boundaries of heterosexual marriage is unpleasing to God.

What was not reported by your reporter was that this defeat was a procedural one because this is already the position of the ELCIC.

Resolutions of convention are for the purpose of introducing new actions, not affirming present positions, and so the motion was defeated in order to move on to other business. You are invited to refer to the actual minutes of the convention, which indicate that “no steps were taken to change our present understanding of appropriate sexual behaviour.”

Gary Nickel

Lethbridge, Alta.

Touched by a miracle

Dear editor,

In response to the letter submitted by Andrew Swift of Peterborough (Divine Dentistry, September Journal), instead of casting doubt on the veracity of the claims of miraculous gold fillings, would he not see fit to attend the worship location he mentions in Peterborough, and find out for himself?

I find we are too quick to diminish the generosity of the gifts of God, especially when they don’t quite fit our narrow definition of the form they ought to take. My wife and I attended the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship conference earlier this year, when the first fillings were imparted. The manifestation actually had its origins in an earlier crusade in South Africa.

Make no mistake about it: literally hundreds of people were touched by this miracle over a period of three days. They were all counselled to have the new fillings verified. Some fillings actually appeared as they were being formed, captured by the camera crew as they were videotaping the conference, which was simulcast on the Internet. I do not pretend to know God’s plan or intent, other than the fact He richly blessed all of us who were in attendance. Lest you wonder, my wife and I did not receive any such healing, but many around us did. And by all accounts, the gifting continues unabated.

I too believe that the body of Christ is built up by such things, but that we should not dwell on them. We believe in a God who parted the Red Sea, and whose son turned water into wine and fed the 5,000 so plenteously. What is the big deal about a few hundred gold and platinum fillings? Perhaps it is God’s way of bolstering those whose faith is flagging.

There was no “privileged group” at the TACF conference. It was, as are all such events, open to public subscription, and freely accessible via the Internet.

Patrick McNally

Sudbury, Ont.

(by e-mail)

No going back

Dear editor,

I read your September editorial with keen interest, referring as it did to my book, Two Religions, One Church. Allow me to clear up a misunderstanding and to reply to the gist of the editorial.

While it is true that in my book I went to great lengths to demonstrate that we are now a tragically fragmented church compared to the 1950s, I in no way meant to imply that I am advocating a return to those “good old days.” After all, as you correctly point out (and as I spilled a lot of ink in showing), our problems with the new religion of liberalism had their origins in that era. There can be no going back.

You claim that Marney Patterson and I “are reading Scripture in ways it has never been read in the Anglican Church.” As if we were the innovators! The truth is the Christian church as a whole and the Anglican Church in particular was founded on this way of reading Scripture (as the altogether reliable Word of God). One doesn’t have to read much of Cranmer or Hooker to come to this conclusion. In fact millions of Anglicans worldwide, including many in the faculties of our great universities, read the Bible in this way. It may be politic for the establishment in our church to forget this inconvenient fact, but there it is.

I am not surprised by your overall theme that things aren’t really so bad. Your newspaper has consistently turned a blind eye to the devastating events taking place in the Episcopal church over the issue of homosexuality. Clearly you have made a decision not to alarm your readers with these horror stories, perhaps in light of the fact that this issue is coming before the Diocese of New Westminster next June. From the establishment point of view such reticence is understandable but ultimately it may contribute to making a bad situation worse. I would challenge you to tell the whole story.

Rev. George R. Eves

Saint John, N.B.

(by e-mail)

Editor’s Note: We believe the Episcopal Church is quite different from the Canadian church. However, interested readers can find new links on our Web page to various Episcopal news sources.

Endorses centres

Dear editor,

I would like to respond to your editorial, Church Needs Clearer Vision, (September Journal). In particular, I would like to endorse your suggestion concerning spiritual centres sponsored by the church.

In my opinion, we expect far too much from our local churches. They do not have the time, money or resources to fill all the spiritual needs of the local community.

I would see a spiritual centre as a resource for clergy and laity for times of silence, prayer and growth and for a more neutral territory for people who have spiritual needs and questions but are not necessarily a part of the local church community.

I find it interesting how our Lord is portrayed teaching not only in the synagogues but also in non-ecclesiastical places. He also sought out solitary places in which to pray and invited his disciples to do so as well.

Margaret Dungan

Kingston, Ont.


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