Synod delegates are missing opportunitiesDear editor,
Re: (Dioceses question cost of Synod meeting, May issue) What horror: the idea that we would be asked for quadruple accommodation seems to be a bit too much!
The delegates are missing two great opportunities here: 1. To experience for a short time the way millions in the Third World and on the Canadian aboriginal reserves live in crowded conditions. The delegates would still be spoiled with an en suite bathroom, instead of an outdoor toilet or a community ditch. They also would have clean, unlimited water for drinking and washing. 2. Here is a chance to mix and match people from different regions, clergy (including bishops), laity, old and young.
This would become a synod like no other.
Something is wrong
At least the Anglican Journal came clean on the absurdity of General Synod involving a ludicrous cost to participants.On a visit to Edmonton to present a paper at an academic conference, a kindly Cree panhandler directed me to a perfectly safe, clean hostel at $20 per night. Most ever-earnest Anglicans do not speak to such gents.We must hope that the fat of the church, ensconced in the hotels mentioned, will find the wit to discuss something other than empty pews or the demands of gays and lesbians. I am not optimistic.I am generally tired of fiscal debate. If the church needs chips and churches are empty, sell them. The country needs simple outreach services, on foot, on wheels, in clinics, facilities for the vagrant, the disabled, the elderly and the nutty. I understand why many Anglicans prefer to donate to the Salvation Army.Something is rather wrong with a church unable to discern what might be its best expression of Christianity that would even entertain the expenditure that Synod will involve.
Megan S. Mills
The May editorial (Synod questions must be answered) notes, “A diocese’s ability to pay should not determine whether they may participate fully in the church’s governance and its democratic practice.” This is correct. It may be that affluent areas of the Canadian church (areas like mine) will have to pony up so that every diocese can send the delegation it is entitled to for General Synod 2007. However, there is an additional problem with General Synod representation not mentioned in the story. Many dioceses with large Anglican populations are under represented by comparison with dioceses with much smaller populations. The root of both problems is grounded in the formula used to determine the number of delegates. As your report noted, delegation size is determined by the number of licensed clergy in one’s diocese. A diocese with a goodly number of clergy, but small by population, is often over represented. Such dioceses are among those facing a particular struggle to fund a full delegation. As a former member of General Synod, I would like to suggest two reforms. First, every diocese in the Canadian church should send the same number of clergy and lay delegates to General Synod. Second, the size of the delegations should be drastically reduced. General Synod is unnecessarily large. It ought to be reduced to at least half its current size with equal representation by diocese. We need a “triple E” General Synod – equal, effective and economical.
Canon Rod Gillis
I am happy that our Canadian House of Bishops expressed “grave concern” about the proposed legislation regarding homosexuality in Nigeria and have disassociated themselves from the actions of the Church in Nigeria (Bishops speak out against Nigerian laws on homosexuality, May 4 anglicanjournal.com news story). However, is this not somewhat hypocritical in the light of the decisions made last year by the diocese of the Arctic to ban from employment homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals and those who support and promote “such behavior, lifestyle or teaching?” The issues are not much different. Did not Jesus say something about beams and motes?
Canon Lettie James
What about the book?
Re: Filmmaker turns lens on his own family (May issue) about the making of a film The Bishop Who Ate His Boots by Richard Stringer. Bishop Isaac Stringer is a most noteworthy character about whom a movie should be made. However, nowhere in the article is mention made of the book The Bishop Who Ate His Boots written by Rev. Dr. Frank A. Peake and published in 1966. This piece of scholarship was so well received that it was suggested to Mr. Peake that he submit it as an academic work and it became his thesis for an earned doctorate in divinity.
R. Frank Mason
Editor’s note: In his film, Richard Stringer does acknowledge the book written by Rev. Frank A. Peake, who is also an interview subject.
The three Rs
How wonderful to read your April article ‘One voice’ needed on climate change, in which Rev. Samuel Kobia, WCC general secretary, appeals to denominations to address climate change.As a Christian environmentalist, I often think of Jesus’ parable of the rich man and the poor man (Lazarus) in Luke 16. Upon death, the rich man finds himself in the “lower world” where the heat of the flames is intolerable. The rich man begs that Lazarus, who is in heaven with Abraham, be sent to warn his rich brothers of the torture that awaits them unless they change their ways. Abraham replies that they have the teachings of Moses and the prophets to learn from.We have modern day environmental prophets that we can learn from: the teachings of the David Suzuki Foundation are just one example for Canadians. Unlike the rich man in the parable, we have been told what awaits us if we do not treat creation more gently. As Christians we must not stand by and wait for our governments to institute changes; we must adapt to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle ourselves, living according to the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle (in that order!).
Idea came from youth
Thank you so much for your coverage of the diocese of Ontario’s AIDS awareness trip to Kenya. As your story conveyed, it was a life-changing experience for members of our team.I do need to make a clarification. When I was asked about the impetus for the trip, I explained that it came from the youth, who stated in their declaration of November 2004 after Youth Synod that they wanted to do an AIDS awareness trip to Africa.Unfortunately, that explanation did not make it into the story. Since it was a critical part of the trip, credit should be given to the young people of the diocese for motivating others and making sure this became a reality.
Hooray for Bishop William Hockin and his Testing the tent poles of Anglicanism piece in the April Journal. His cautionary message about the Anglican Church of Canada’s approach to inclusiveness seemed especially pertinent, given the headline National native bishop could soon be a reality on the front page of the same issue.
Owen Sound, Ont.
What have we done?
I respect your courage and wisdom in allowing William Hockin’s article to be published. Bishop Hockin’s insight, and how he expressed its truths, certainly creates the thought “what have we done?”
Oliver, B.C.Welcome the youthDear editor,
Re: Paul MacLean’s analysis (Now that we have your attention…, March issue). I agree with most of the points he makes, but I feel that he missed one very important element in his summarization of items that may make a difference to church membership figures in another half century. This omission is the role of youth.We in the church have an awesome responsibility to accept the fact that changes are taking place and to recognize that it is today’s youth who are at the forefront of this phenomenon. If the Anglican church is to continue to be a major force for good in our society we will have to ensure that our youth is made to feel welcome as an important part of our worshipping community. This may well involve change but that is really what this is all about.If our youth does not take a leading role in the future of the church we may well see ever-diminishing congregations. Surely the answer today is to welcome them into our midst. We need them as much as they need us.