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Most of Leo Adler’s letter (On divestment; February Anglican Journal) is in the classic mode of calling attention to other issues in the West Asian region in order divert attention from Israel’s continuing inhuman treatment of Palestinians.
Mr. Adler also states “companies do not contribute to ongoing violence” or to “ongoing peace.” This is an astounding assertion in a world where several major transnational companies have budgets, personnel and other resources that are much larger than the resources available to a large number of countries.
Does Mr. Adler not know that Ken Saro Wiwa fought against the huge Shell Oil corporation because his Ogoni people were not benefiting from exploration activities in their traditional homeland and that he was put to death by the then-Nigerian government for his courageous stand? Is he unaware that there are protest activities going on in many parts of our world against companies that, with the collusion of corrupt governments, trample on the rights of ordinary citizens by, for example, polluting their rivers and their lands?
I would request that the Council of General Synod not invite Mr. Adler to address it until he shows that he has learned a bit more about the real world in which poor and oppressed people live.
A useful tool
Leo Adler’s letter regarding morally responsible investment proposed by Anglicans and some other churches raised an issue that needs to be addressed.
His primary question was “why single out Israel?” since other countries are also doing bad things. This assumes that the churches are not challenging oppression, illegal occupation and violation of human rights in other countries, which is inaccurate. They did so in South Africa, in East Timor, in Sudan and are doing so now regarding the United States war against Iraq.
Sometimes morally responsible investment is seen as a useful tool, and other times it is not. It appeared at a time when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was, despite international appeals, less inclined to support a peace settlement which would allow a viable independent Palestinian state in the Occupied Territories.
Hopefully a new prime minister will take a more positive attitude toward a negotiated peace. And, of course, Hamas must do so too. In any case, when the Israeli occupation ends, so will talk of morally responsible investment.
David Wurfel and Sydney Woollcombe
Your story (Archbishop urges Christians to visit ‘struggling’ Bethlehem) and picture (Hemmed in) on page 1 of the February edition is deeply misleading. The title, the terminology (“… metal gate under the lock and key of the Israeli army,”) and the quote from Archbishop Rowan Williams regarding “difficulties of access” all combine to imply that some oppressive Israeli government scheme is underway.
Let me add some clarity and context for your readers: the Israeli action the article implicitly criticizes is the security wall. The reason for the wall (which your article is completely silent on) is the terrorist killing and maiming of men, women and children. The wall has greatly reduced the number of the victims. While it does restrict freedom of movement, this must be balanced against the lives of victims of murder.
Deliberately choosing to leave key information out of the article is very slanted reporting on this situation.
Anthony H. Roy
The recent visionary article on fundraising in the Anglican Church of Canada (Church charities need boost, March Journal), backed by the excellent editorial in the same issue, is a breath of fresh air. Not only do the consultants of the report, Lorna and David Somers, offer sharp, creative critique on current outdated methods, but they also offer creative solutions to access “huge untapped potential.” Senior financial development officer Canon Geoff Jackson agrees “wholeheartedly,” and confirms that it was “exactly what we were hoping for.”
However, Archdeacon John Robertson, national gift planning consultant, while agreeing that the report was “extremely helpful” negates the whole endeavor by suggesting, “that we have more than enough expertise, vision and passion.” Talk about damning with faint praise. He appears to see the sliver(s) in the eye of the report, but fails to spot the beam in his own operations.
As the editorial notes, the appointment of a co-ordinating director of development, while expensive, is a “pragmatic financial investment” where such a person is “expected to raise many, many, many times their salary in a year.” No amount of whining by the archdeacon about budget restrictions can disguise the fact that major changes are long overdue and in order.
On the basis that there is no such thing as bad publicity, the Anglican Foundation of Canada (yes the name was spelled correctly!) expresses its gratitude to the Anglican Journal for its article Church charities need boost. Certainly there is much in the fundraising audit that will be of benefit to the agencies of General Synod that fundraise for the Anglican Church of Canada.
However, it would have been more helpful had the information about the foundation’s role and operations been reflected with greater accuracy in the audit, and subsequently in the Journal’s story. The Anglican Foundation is an independent organization serving the Anglican community in Canada. It provides support for projects where the need is greatest, but resources are inadequate, through grants and low interest loans. Also it administers trusts and funds set up by individual Anglicans from across Canada who wish to further ministries and programs as a continuing legacy of their faith and commitment.
We would welcome enquires about our work and how we serve the Anglican community, by mail: 80 Hayden St. Toronto ON M4Y 3G2; by phone 416-924-9192 (ext 253); by fax 416-924-8671; or by e-mail: [email protected]
Rev. Canon A. Gordon Baker
Acting Executive Director
Anglican Foundation of Canada
More for healing
Re: Cut back on comforts (March letters). Faith Rolfe is correct that the residential schools agreement was partly about money and partly about working towards healing in other ways. The Anglican Church of Canada and its dioceses have acknowledged the church’s part in carrying out the government’s policy of assimilation, and have further recognized the need to address not only the abuses, but also the whole legacy of the residential schools system. While more than $17 million has been raised to date, parishes and dioceses are finding it increasingly difficult to hold the attention of donors. So, many dioceses have welcomed the reduction made possible by the Roman Catholic agreement.
Ms. Rolfe has asked whether the extra money will go towards healing work or into “the coffers of the national church.” There are three answers. First, most of the money that has already been paid out in settlements will be refunded by the government directly into the church’s Healing Fund. This will more than double the yearly amount available for allocation by the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation. At the same time, the government will pay 100 per cent of settlements to former students.
Second, those dioceses that have overpaid will receive refunds, and some have indicated their intention to put that money into local healing work. Third, the General Synod, too, will be refunded its overpayment, and that money will be allocated for healing and reconciliation.
Anglican Church of Canada
After reading Wendell Hennan’s February letter (All may be winners) I believe that he read too much into my brief letter and his assumptions are incorrect. He assumes that I would treat him differently. One of my own brothers is gay and I do not treat him differently.
Mr. Hennan states that he hopes we would all be “winners.” But I believe any issue that divides the church will weaken our Christian witness.
I will continue to minister to all persons, including heterosexuals, homosexuals, ex-gays, bisexuals, transgendered, transsexuals and hermaphrodites.
Rev. Michael Li
Grand Bank, Nfld.
I read with a great deal of interest the March article (A father’s long, lonely search for missing son) about the plight of Stan and Marlene Halkett and their attempt to find their lost son Kevin Charles and his adoptive grandmother, Mary Goodfellow.
My reason for taking a personal interest is due to my belief I am related to Stan and Marlene. My mother, Victoria Harriet Halkett was born to Joseph and Ellen Halkett on July 27, 1897, at Big Stone River, Sask. I know I have a large number of relatives in the Lac La Ronge area. It will be gratifying to make contact with my heritage and at the same time try to assist their cause by helping to sell some of the “Find Kevin and Mary” pins.
My father was the late Canon Charles John Parker. He spent his entire career of close to 50 years as an ordained clergyman with the diocese of Saskatchewan. My mother taught school at Cumberland House for a number of years when Dad was the minister at the Church of the Good Sheppard.
My wife, Sheila, and I are members of St. Thomas’ Church in Belleville and while we do not get to attend as often as we did when we were younger, we still have many friends there. We invite people to contact us at 95 Sidney Street, Apt. 1008, Belleville, ON K8P 4Y1 or by e-mail [email protected]. Our telephone number is 613-967-5985.
Edward C. (Ted) Parker
My husband and I are Americans who live in Quebec in the winter. I was disappointed in your March article about the NBC series The Book of Daniel – in particular about your reference to the United States “where the religious right holds more political sway” (your words) than in Canada.
I do not consider myself part of the so-called “religious right.” However, I did watch the show and was angered by the gross misrepresentation of the church and was greatly concerned about the potential negative impact that misrepresentation could have on the health and future of all churches and Christians. I was one of thousands who wrote to NBC to express my opinion and to demand that the show be taken off the air. This was the action of individual Christians throughout the country, not a political movement as your article insinuated. Television is not government owned and operated in the U.S., so politics are irrelevant. What is relevant is that Christians made a difference.
We have a strong voice and together, with God’s help, we can move mountains. “Religious right?” Better than “religious wrong” or “religious silent” or “religious apathetic.”
St. Agathe, Que.