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Church should tear down walls, not build them up
I am an aboriginal Christian and a conservative. I have watched my church change dramatically over the years. Some of the changes were welcomed and others not so well accepted. I watched our churches embrace the “liberal” agenda and now creating an indigenous ministry for all aboriginal people here in Canada and the U.S. (National native bishop named, February Anglican Journal). I feel my church has erred in creating an indigenous ministry; we should be praying with each other rather separate from each other.
I agree as aboriginal people we have suffered during our Christianization. However, as a Christian I expect, through prayer, that God will heal our pains.
How did this happen? Is it because my church leaders are so fragile in their thinking that they believe the only way the Anglican Communion can remain committed is by bending over backwards to accommodate the different cultures in our church? Is it because they fear the rumblings of the minority rather than God?
My church decided on my behalf with “consultations” with indigenous Anglicans to create a separate ministry. As a Christian I expect my church leaders to tear down walls and not build them. I wish that racism and prejudice were only distant memories, however, they remain constant and my church has decided to keep them alive and functioning.
I give one bit of advice to my church leaders: go against the prevailing wind. Your congregation will always be there for you if you consult with us and not make decisions on behalf of us.
Ft. Simpson, N.W.T.
Cancel future meetings
Who was the joker who first labelled the Primates’ Meeting as an Instrument of Communion? When seven primates, at their meeting in Tanzania, refused to join the others in the central act of worship in the Christian church, how can one take seriously the idea that their gathering is a symbol of unity? Yet the “covenant” prepared for consideration by the church perpetuates the myth. Perhaps the first step forward in the aftermath of this farce is to cancel all future meetings of the primates.
Dean Duncan Abraham
Joy of God’s gift
In his ministry, Jesus invokes us to “believe the Gospel (good news)” (Mark 1: 15). In our day presents are good news. A person giving or receiving presents is a particularly pleasant image since the human element is present and our focus is lifted from stuff alone.
I find the Christmas card described by Ruth Gorlick (Jesus is the reason, February letters) sent by the General Synod’s pension department and produced by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, to be wonderfully emotive of the joy of Christmas, of God’s gift of love. It is joy, it is open. It is what I want my Christianity to be (that, plus caring for one another and life). Yes, I have a soft spot for babies and animals. However, I am happy to recognize joy in many depictions.
Don’t worry Ruth. We are allowed to be happy, light hearted, prosperous, worldly, thankful – it is the Gospel.
Facts not yet known
The article Diocese of Quebec investigates ‘accounting irregularities’ (February Journal) reflected poor judgment of the Journal staff. I was surprised that you deemed this as newsworthy when all the facts are not yet known. The January issue of the Quebec Diocesan Gazette reported, “This situation is currently under investigation;” it did not include a photograph of the former diocesan treasurer, Rev. Rodney Clark. My concern is that he is already being judged by you. One must be presumed innocent until the matter is thoroughly investigated.
Rev. Sr. Mary Florence Liew
Just say ‘no’
Re: Crowded schedule for synod (January Journal). We have been bombarded over the last years constantly with the issue of whether to accept or deny same-sex blessings and marriage! Why? Well, because our bishops and the churches lack the courage to say an emphatic “No” to these blessings that most Anglicans are diametrically opposed to!
We should stay with the religious context of the Anglican church that has been maintained for years and not be involved with the politics or political correctness of our country. Look at the Roman Catholic church: it is opposed to same-sex unions and discussion on the subject does not take place, nor is there a continual flood of material emanating from the bishops, for they stand their ground. I would suggest to the bishops and the General Synod, “Gird up your loins” and scrub that subject from your upcoming agenda.
Did you intend this?
The primates’ communique and draft Anglican covenant give a new structure to the Anglican Church of Canada, a system already operating without consent of any synod.
Important decisions may be made by the bishops in council at Lambeth, without consulting church members. Those decisions are spoken by the Archbishop of Canterbury (our Pope?), who chairs Lambeth and chooses attendees. Lambeth is not the only or final authority, however. The primates (our College of Cardinals?) may make decisions on behalf of the Anglican Communion. Their word is final. Responsibility for discipline rests with Canterbury and the Primates’ Meeting; Archbishops Rowan Williams and Peter Akinola of the Church of Nigeria do not yet agree on their disciplinary capacities. In this system, power resides entirely with bishops; if synods contravene the will of bishops, then penalties are imposed.
I understand the strength of opinion which drives opponents of same-sex unions. However, I must ask you: Did you intend this? Are you comfortable placing all real authority in the hands of bishops and primates, robbing synods and national churches of any significant decision-making power? Much as I respect my Roman Catholic friends, I am horrified at the thought of living under a system built upon the worst aspects of theirs.
Dr. William H. Harrison
Ex-gay therapies ‘barbaric’
One of the barbaric features in fundamentalist Protestantism’s attempts to “cure” homosexuality is aversion therapy techniques. This therapy attempts to bend the will of homosexuals so as to make gay activity (and thought processes) so abhorrent that they seem to “change.” My friends, it does not work. It only causes pain and real psychological damage.
If fundamentalists are so intent on changing gays, let them at least attempt to teach gay people, when necessary, to learn to control appetites, something both gays and straights should do. But please do not speak of gays as being less than human and only doomed to the theoretical fires of hell.
Learn to know and to respect those who differ from you. Perhaps he or she might be a vehicle of shining some light into your discernment process?
Rev. George A. John Porthan
Time to accept gays
After hearing about the split among Anglicans over same-sex marriage, I am ashamed to be an Anglican.
I taught Sunday school for years in London, Ont., and was a verger for a London church. But I am gay, happy and have been with my partner for more than 15 years. I do not go around in pink dresses, nor do I preach gayness. People get this myth gays are different from anyone else, but we’re not.
It took Anglicans a long time before they accepted women as priests; now it is time to accept gays.
Saint John, N.B.
A timely gift from God
The primates’ meeting communique (Anglican leaders say U.S. church must bar same-sex blessings, election of gay bishops, Feb. 19 anglicanjournal.com story) is a timely gift from God, to a church that needs to rediscover the truth that we are called to fashion our corporate life to the mind of Christ, not our subjective opinions. As a church which claims to be Catholic and apostolic, who else but the primates should we listen to, when the matters inform aspects of doctrine and organic unity in the Body of Christ? The upcoming General Synod will challenge many in the Canadian church to decide whether it is the values of Christ’s Gospel or secular humanism by which it will choose to be guided.
Rev. Todd Meaker
Hope in the church
Your newspaper has given us hope on current issues in the Anglican church.
Rev. Zion Ngoka
Diocese of Owerri
A refreshing change
It was a pleasure to read the January issue of the Journal. The article entitled Signs of Hope … in the form of a sparrow was encouraging. Interesting articles included the stained glass windows in Arizona, the Canterbury Center in Dominica, and Rev. Matthew Johnson, the street priest!
Thanks for the refreshing change!
Cynthia S. Derksen
As a Saskatchewanian who enjoys the entertaining spoofs in Corner Gas and Little Mosque on the Prairie, I would like to comment on Little Mosque puts fun in Islamic fundamentalism (February Journal). The articles said, “Little Mosque certainly reflects Canada’s multicultural reality better than another Saskatchewan-located comedy Corner Gas.” Has the writer been around our province? How many little towns or villages have Muslims in them? How many farmers or ranchers are Muslims?
Corner Gas has “white folks” (I quote the article) and Cree people in it. Generally speaking, that’s life here. So, don’t forget the aboriginal people if you don’t mind.
Little Mosque on the Prairie
is about anything but fundamentalism. The media’s notion of fundamentalist is that of suicide bombers. I should call them extremists. But as for Little Mosque, it shows how folks of good will can get along together.
Chester Basin, N.S.
No gifts, please
I can’t believe that the Anglican church is joining other charities by mailing unsolicited “gifts” (in this example, Walking Through Lent with our Partners, a devotional produced by Anglican Appeal and the General Synod Partnerships department). It is wasting funds on postage, paper and glossy coloured printing and adding unnecessarily to the destruction of more trees and more paper pollution.
Please, please, please use the funds donated to the appeal for appeal uses only and refrain from spending our donations in such a wasteful manner.
As a Christian organization, you should be setting an example, not following suit.