Letters to the editor

Published October 1, 2006

No intent to disenfranchise smaller dioceses
Dear editor,

Re: Intentional? (September letters). It is both entirely inaccurate and highly inappropriate to suggest that there was a deliberate intention to disenfranchise smaller “conservative” dioceses by choosing Winnipeg or a hotel for the site of General Synod 2007. The two largest costs associated with General Synod are travel and accommodation. Travel costs for all are borne by the General Synod budget, thereby ensuring equity for all, irrespective of distance from the meeting location. Accommodation and meal costs are charged back to each diocese, again a fair method, since the size of delegations varies depending on diocesan population.

Winnipeg is a different market than Ontario. Since 1992, General Synod has been in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Waterloo, Ont., and St. Catharines, Ont. The costs associated with hosting Synod in Winnipeg are simply higher than they are in the more populous Ontario and Montreal markets. The fact that Synod is in hotels (another source of frequent complaint) has added a mere seven per cent to the cost which the University of Manitoba had quoted us, and indeed could prove to be even less costly than the University would have been, depending on double occupancy.

This promises to be an excellent General Synod. Many people are hard at work and those in Winnipeg are to be commended for the amazing job they are doing to welcome us all in June. Indeed, we will draw the circle wide, and even wider still.
Dean Peter Wall
Chair, General Synod Planning Committee
Hamilton, Ont.

Regret, not repent

Dear editor,

I am writing to correct a part of your coverage of the Episcopal Church’s General Convention (ECUSA decisions cause more turmoil, September Journal). You say that the Windsor Report “asked the U.S. and Canadian churches to repent for past actions around the issue of homosexuality and to declare moratoria on electing gays to the episcopate.”

As a member of the Lambeth Commission I need to say that the wording in this section of recommendations in the Windsor Report was very precise and nuanced, and that it was agreed to by all members of the Commission. The Report in fact, in paragraph 134, asked the Episcopal Church “to express its regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached in the events surrounding the election and consecration of a bishop for the See of New Hampshire, and for the consequences which followed.” While many critics have said that the church should have been asked to “repent,” this is not the word used in the Windsor Report.

Moreover, there was not a request for a moratorium on electing gays to the episcopate. The Report asked the Episcopal Church “to effect a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same-gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges.” In other words, it is not the orientation of the episcopal candidate that is in question, but rather their choice to be in an active relationship.

As there are many misunderstandings swirling around about what the Windsor Report says, I believe that it is important that the Anglican Journal get it right.
Rev. Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan
Director, Faith, Worship and Ministry
General Synod

Editor’s note: The Journal regrets the error.


Dear editor,

Re: Canadians offer unique perspectives on meeting (September Journal). Anglicans still bearing the wounds from the discord created by female ordination in the Canadian church found little to soothe their hurts recently when our primate, Andrew Hutchison, reminded the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States that he has every reason to believe that we will have a female candidate for the primate at our 2007 General Synod.

Following this diagnosis, Canadian Anglicans who still have faith in our church can only echo Jeremiah’s words, as he lamented, “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?”
William J. Holtham


Fragile Anglican

Dear editor,

In 2003, my spouse, a life-long Anglican, convinced me to participate in a program at the Church of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Ottawa. This ministry, called Terrific Tuesdays, is a weekly agape meal followed by the eucharist. The fellowship is formidable. In 2005, I made the conscious decision to become a full member of St. John’s. It is there that I have found a spiritual oasis.

However, as a gay man, there is a cloud over my head. What will happen after General Synod in 2007? As I enter my “golden years,” I have only one more item to add to my list: to become a good Anglican and to participate fully in the life of my church. Will I be allowed to do that? I am a “fragile” Anglican. I do not know if I will be able to stay in the church if I am not accepted 100 per cent for who I am. My faith, my spirituality, and my humanity will not leave me. God will not leave me. Jesus will not leave me. Will the church leave me? Pray for me.
Frank E. Kajfes


Dear editor,

Journal wins 22 awards from its peers (June Anglican Journal). Congratulations! I don’t see the paper but from the contents posted on your Web site every month, the awards are well deserved. That all Anglican provinces would grant their newspapers the editorial autonomy that Canada does!
John Allen
Manager, Anglican Portal News Releases Website
Anglican Communion
Cape Town, South Africa

Bold and creative concept

Dear editor,

Re: Two-tier church ‘anathema’ (September Anglican Journal). The proposed “two-tier” Anglican Communion by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was a bold and creative concept.

The term “two-tier” may not be an excellent one to describe the Anglican Communion as it connotes one tier above another. However, a “two-tier” church would provide freedom to those who support the ordination of gays and the blessing or marriage of same-sex couples and freedom also to others who do not support those practices.

Archbishop Andrew Hutchinson called the idea of a two-tier church “anathema,” which was disappointing. It seems to convey a fear of “excommunication” of the Anglican Church of Canada and Episcopal Church in the United States for ordaining gays and approving same-sex blessings and the threat of “unequal” power within the Anglican Communion.

Jesus Christ did not support those who brought the woman caught in adultery and condemned her to death by stoning nor did he support or approve of her. He said to her “go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” Archbishop Williams seems to follow God’s way by allowing them the freedom to choose to eat or not to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. One should not look over one’s shoulder to see who eats the fruit, nor should anyone be ostracized for not doing it. Long live the Anglican Communion!
Rev. Sister Mary Florence Liew
Cookshire, England

Strong words

Dear editor,

You report the primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, as saying that “a two-tier church is anathema” and describing any Anglican covenant “intended … to exclude people who don’t think in a certain way” as “devilish.”

If the primate means “anathema” and “devilish” in their strict senses, these are strong words indeed. As Saint Paul uses it, “anathema” means either “cast out of the Christian community for heinous sin” (I Cor. 16.22, Gal. 1.8-9) or “accursed” (I Cor. 12.3). According to Gratian, it implies not only exclusion from the sacraments and public worship (excommunication), but also complete separation from the body of the faithful (Decretum, Book II, canon 106). So if we take him at his word, Archbishop Hutchison seems to be denouncing anyone who suggests a two-tier Anglican Communion as a way out of our present impasse (such as the Archbishop of Canterbury) or wants the church to uphold the New Testament standard of sexual morality (such as the primates of many other Anglican provinces and, at home, the membership of Essentials).

Is Archbishop Hutchison planning to anathematize all such wayward Anglicans publicly in Toronto’s St. James Cathedral with bell, book and candle? That gesture would certainly earn him some notice from the media. Whether it would help mend matters is another question. If not, perhaps he would do us all the favour of explaining what he did mean by calling half his colleagues, and a large part of his flock, diabolical heretics.
William Cooke

Profound insult to Christ

Dear editor,

Re: Two-tier church ‘anathema.’ Archbishop Robin Eames, at the press conference in England for the Windsor Report, stated that he came from a part of the world where hatred and division had eroded the fabric of the community, and he cautioned that this absolutely must not happen in the church.

For me, it was this final statement that really mattered. While the report itself did request caution on the part of the North American churches, it also requested that those bishops from other areas withdraw from acting within dioceses other than their own.

The Anglican church was born in conflict much greater than any we see today. The commitment to reconciliation was tested much later following the devastatingly brutal war between the states. When General Convention convened the northern American bishops moved out to welcome the bishops from the south who were standing outside.

But our real historical roots and our example for this trying time can be found in the life and work of Jesus of Nazareth, who repeatedly sought out and befriended outcasts and those regarded as sinners. They were the hated tax collector, the officer of an occupying army, an outcast woman alone at the well from whom he requested water, or even an adulterous woman who by law deserved to be stoned to death. His telling of the Good Samaritan had its point in the fact that the respected leaders of the town went past, while a despised outsider gave sustenance to the injured man. We know also that at the pivotal points of Jesus’ life; his birth, his death and his resurrection, it was women who were present and to whom he revealed himself.

Culture cannot be allowed to divide any church that follows such a leader. Our fixation on sex whether it be sexual orientation, ordaining women, or having multiple wives differs in different parts of the world. Our cultures may be in conflict but the church dare not allow itself to be torn apart over such differences.

To divide the Anglican Communion over the issues raised is too great a cost to pay and a profound insult to him who gave his life for reconciliation between all people. It is time now for the church to unite in its real work: poverty, health, education and the environment.
Elizabeth Loweth
International Anglican Women’s Network (Canada)
Richmond Hill, Ont.

Keep his words in mind

Dear editor,

Having read the Anglican Journal and the Diocesan Post this month I would like to remind everyone of the words of Our Lord Himself – “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind and with all thy soul and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, on these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Nowhere does Our Lord mention, gender, age, racial origin, sexual preference or any other distinguishing characteristics. If we keep his words in mind all this controversy will vanish and we will be free to worship, as we should.
Susan Keane
Cobble Hill, B.C.


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