Letters to the editor

Published March 1, 2007

A lonely effort to present alternative viewpointDear editor,

I write in response to Geoff Woodcroft (ADR work is about ‘wholeness and brokenness,’ February letters) and in support of Bernice Logan. He writes that “that if Ms. Logan needs to hear of Canon Norman Pilcher’s good works and that of other good folk she should be asking the people for whom that is their story.” May I suggest to Mr. Woodcroft that it might be difficult for Ms. Logan to assemble “the people for whom that is their story” when she hasn’t the advantage of a church-sponsored “team that stretches across Canada” to support her position. While it may be well intentioned, the Alternative Dispute Resolution process clearly encourages, subsidizes and implicitly endorses evidence from one side of this tragic episode. Ms. Logan’s is simply a lonely and courageous effort to present an alternative viewpoint from one who also was there.

Christopher Clapp

Israeli bias shameful

Dear editor,

The front-page photo of your February issue is of a young man harvesting olives as part of a church-sponsored vocational training program. So far, so good. Then your caption writer indulges in some completely gratuitous Israel-bashing. “Israeli curfews, checkpoints, blockades and military incursions have wreaked havoc on the Palestinian economy …”

You might have added that Palestinian supporters of Fatah and Hamas gunning each other down in the streets are not doing much for the economy either, but that might be too even-handed to suit your agenda. I find this anti-Israel bias shameful.

Russ Peden
Dorval, Que.


Dear editor,

Re: If you can’t say anything nice, we’ll listen anyway (January editorial). Well said! The Canadian church would have benefited from a franker, more balanced exchange of views these last 60 years. The Anglican church had a seemingly wonderful base in the prayer book and its style of worship, but its openness proved its undoing once the liberals got control and then effectively shut out the dissidents.

If we assume that the first concern of any church should be to remain viable, then the governing majority was wrong in its direction after 1945. The disaffected simply left for greener pastures. These were people who had children whose numbers would have sustained the church.

The only possible route to substantial resurrection now would be to restore a more conservative outlook from top to bottom. This is not likely, but not impossible either. The church is a semi-democratic private body. A majority of the synod might decide to reform the church to save it, even now. Alternatively, as the church shrinks to a vestige, the question will arise as to whether it should be entitled to its name, since a new more conservative Anglican church could probably be replanted in Canada.

In any event, the trials of the Anglican Church of Canada remain fascinating. Thanks for the good reporting.

Brock McCarten

Back to the ground

Dear editor,

Re: Churches take grapes from vine to chalice (February Journal). You note that, “The Book of Common Prayer says that ‘if any of the consecrated bread and wine remain, the priest and other communicants shall reverently eat and drink the same.’ Traditionally, clergy are also allowed to pour leftover wine directly into the ground, returning it directly to God’s creation, but this is not convenient if a cathedral altar, for instance, is far from the back door.”

Back in the early 1950s when I was a server at a parish church in what was then called “darkest Huron” because of its low-church proclivities, we had a piscina leading directly to ground, in the sacristy next to the sanctuary.

Charles B. Chapman
London, Ont.

Online community

Dear editor,

It was good news for me to read of the recent appointment of Mark L. MacDonald, the bishop of Alaska, to be the church’s first national indigenous bishop (National native bishop named, February Journal). It is high time that the Anglican church recognizes those very real communities among us that are not formally ministered to by the institutional church. In this same spirit I await the next step to recognize another large, and almost invisible group within the communion with the appointment of the first national Internet bishop for the Anglican Church of Canada to minister to those who participate more actively in the online community than in the bricks and mortar parish.

Jonathan Hagey-Holmes
Brantford, Ont.

Knowledge is power

Dear editor,

I would like to congratulate you on your outstanding January issue. As you point out knowledge is power (Archbishop urges education to fight HIV/AIDS, January Anglican Journal). Archbishop Rowan Williams has demonstrated a great deal of wisdom when he advocated education, something we can all do in our communities to fight this horrible disease and win.

Helene Usherwood

BCP at risk

Dear editor,

Today in the Anglican Church of Canada the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) is at risk; so too is equal status for gays and lesbians. Sadly, the two groups affected rarely form a common front. Some think that use of the Prayer Book is incompatible with a homosexual lifestyle; some homosexuals seem to agree and therefore regard the BCP as an obstacle to achieving equal status in their church.

The church is deeply divided about both worship and sexuality, and there is no magic wand which will make these divisions disappear. But if we are to live and let live, there must be greater transparency in our dealings with each other.

There is a lack of transparency in the motion to be brought before General Synod concerning “the revision of common worship texts,” and some suspect a hidden agenda, as was clearly the case in 1985 in the motion to approve the Book of Alternative Services (BAS). (This soon became apparent, when the BAS was used not as an alternative to the BCP but as its replacement.)

The principle that “the end justifies the means” may achieve short-term goals, but in the long run it will only deepen our divisions and hasten our demise. Honesty really is the best policy.

If we can put “the bonds of affection” ahead of personal ambition and partisan politics, then the church we love may yet be saved.

Schuyler Brown

Pray for guidance

Dear editor,

I have been praying for the upcoming General Synod and all concerned with the important issues that will arise. It has been impressed on me that same-sex unions are not in accordance with God’s word.

Homosexuals are no less loved by God than any of the rest of us. I have known many homosexuals and I have treasured their friendship and respected their love of God. The delegates who attend this General Synod need to know that the blessing of same-sex unions will go unanswered by God. We must declare to the homosexuals that we love them in the name of Jesus but to go against the word of the Almighty is out of the question.

The sad thing is if this motion is passed our beloved friends will receive a human blessing but never a holy one. I pray that all delegates will pray for and be open to God’s holy guidance.

Walter Marshall
Mississauga, Ont.

Settle issue, move on

Dear editor,

The time has come for us to settle the issue of whether or not to bless same-sex unions and move on. Other concerns also need urgent attention. For example, what are we doing to help couples planning to marry or enter into a relationship so they may live their relationship faithfully in spite of all stresses?

As for same-sex couples seeking a blessing from our church, I believe they must answer three questions (the same questions that should be asked of any couple seeking a church marriage): First, do you intend to live a responsible, faithful and monogamous relationship? Second, do you fully intend this to be a lifetime relationship in spite of hardships? Third, do you intend to give your lives in service to God and others before seeking to fulfill your own desires?

If same-sex couples can honestly answer these questions with an unqualified “Yes!” and if they are otherwise contributing to the ongoing mission of the church, then perhaps the time has come to allow dioceses to permit blessings for same-sex unions.

If same-sex couples cannot answer these questions in the affirmative or only see a church blessing as a matter of convenience, ceremony or show, then there is no way the church can bless their relationships because no true union exists.

Wayne Madden
Fort McMurray, Alta.

In good company

Dear editor,

As an openly gay Anglican I have again, even though created by God, been referred to as an abomination (Blasphemy, January letters).

I used to get upset with these condemnations until I realized that I am in excellent company. Perhaps letter writer Dan Clark, and those who follow his interpretation, will pay closer attention the next time his bishop or archbishop visits the parish. The same Scripture which is used to condemn me also applies to our leaders. Yes, check out the vestments. Oh, and don’t overlook the ACW member enjoying the shrimp ring on the buffet table.

Glen Thompson
Kingston, Ont.

Throw issue out

Dear editor,

The devil sure is a wily old campaigner. Divide and conquer. It is amazing to watch him (or her) play the Canadian Anglican community over the same-sex blessing issue. God, through his holy word has an answer to the old campaigner ? 1 Corinthians 1: 10. How straightforward St. Paul’s advice to us is in these circumstances: stop arguing. Concentrate on what unites you. It is amazing that while the Body of Christ suffers in so many ways and places around the world, an inward looking, narcissistic, post-modern, post-Christian Canadian Anglican communion can threaten to destroy the great works it does internationally over an issue that applies to a tiny part of that communion. Let us instead stand up for Christ. Let us look to what unites us. Let us invite the whole Christian community to join with us, to go down and bang on the doors of the United Nations and demand that they protect our Christian brothers and sisters in Darfur. Let us demand that our Canadian leaders embrace worldwide Christians rather than lecture to them lest the words of Jesus in St. Luke 10: 21 apply to us. Let us unite and throw this issue out.

Peter Southward
Asphodel, Ont.

Records sought

Dear editor,

I am engaged in a research project on the history of hymnals and hymn-singing in the Anglican Church in Canada in the 19th century, and on the creation of the church’s first official hymn book, Book of Common Praise (1909). I would be grateful to any Journal readers who could assist me with my research in either of the following ways: 1) If you are the incumbent or the historian of a parish established before 1909, does your parish retain any records of which hymn books were in use in your congregation before that date? 2) In order to locate any surviving editorial materials from the creation of the 1909 Book of Common Praise, I would like to contact any descendants of James Edmund Jones (1866-1939) of Toronto, the convener and secretary of the Hymnal Compilation Committee. I would be grateful to hear from any of your readers who are able to help me with either of these inquiries.

Ken Hull
Associate Professor of Music
Conrad Grebel University College
Waterloo ON N2L 3G6 Opens window for sending email[email protected]

Renewal, not closure

Dear editor,

I am quite certain that a very large number of Anglicans and folk from other traditions are upset and incredulous over the decision to close the Anglican Book Centre (ABC). With all due respect to those who suggest that an online store would be an acceptable alternative to a storefront operation ? they seem to have a very limited appreciation for the hands-on ministry that has been the hallmark of the ABC for years.

I am sure that I am only one small voice among many thousands of patrons and enquirers who would be deeply hurt and disadvantaged at the proposed closing of the storefront ministry ? for that is what it is: a ministry.

Rather than close this operation it should be expanded and possibly moved to any number of great locations ? any urban area that would provide the necessary critical mass.

The church is so innovative in discovering new ways to relate her Gospel to the surrounding society. The ABC is so privileged to be so known and important in the Canadian and international scene. A new and vital leadership is required: renewal, not closure, is the requirement.

A small critique of e-mail, EBay etc.:

As we diddle our lap-tops diligently
Controlling a world so small and neat,
We forget the smell and touch of people
The Christ who meets us on the street.

Rev. David Mulholland


Related Posts

Skip to content