Letters to the editor

Published October 1, 2007

Was Grenville school Anglican or not?

Dear editor,

Re: Church denies that closed, controversial school was Anglican (Sept. 6 anglicanjournal.com news story). On Aug. 31, Archdeacon Wayne Varley, executive officer of the diocese of Ontario, wrote about Grenville Christian College in the diocese’s News and Events List. He wrote, “Grenville had an ongoing relationship with our diocese mainly through Bishop (George) Bruce and several of his predecessors who provided support as episcopal visitor. Canon Geoff Jackson is the board chair and the Rev. Gord Mintz is the headmaster.” (Mr. Jackson is also employed by the Anglican Church of Canada, and Mr. Mintz is an Anglican priest.) But now that Grenville is in media focus over abuse allegations, the Anglican church has changed its tune: “There is no direct relationship at all between the Anglican Church of Canada and Grenville Christian College,” Mr. Jackson told your newspaper.Which one of these statements is the truth?Jennifer Reid, Peterborough, Ont.

Make bishops apply

Dear editor,

Re: Same-sex questions still vex Synod (June/July Anglican Journal). The spectacle of a small group of bishops thwarting the will of the majority of General Synod delegates gives cause for concern. It may be time to re-examine the way in which men and women attain the office of bishop.

It appears that bishops may have a medieval view of their role. Contrary to the “father-in-God” notion of the episcopate, the ministry of a bishop in 2007 is one of administration, the essential element of which is a clear vision of the organization’s purpose. The method by which the blessing resolution was decided by General Synod appears to confirm that bishops lack the overarching vision to effect the mission of the church in the community where it lives.

One idea would be to require anyone seeking the office of bishop to apply for the job. This approach would eliminate lobbying, politicking and manipulation of the process. Applications should include references from referees able to attest to the applicant’s qualifications and competency, and be devoid of the God-talk that characterizes self-initiated profiles. Final selection would rest with a select committee of the synod council.
Dr. Lloyd Gesner
Burlington, Ont.

Whose will?

Dear editor,

Well, General Synod, the meeting of the minds of the Anglican Church of Canada, has concluded and what have these great minds accomplished? They have not yet decided whether we should follow God’s will or the will of man. When it comes down to it, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We elect both clergy and laity to represent us at General Synod without knowing their beliefs. If the lobby groups can bring enough of their delegates to these meetings, then their desires will be heard.

We have three years before the next General Synod. Let us hope and pray that those elected to General Synod will be led by the spirit of God, and lead the Anglican Church of Canada in the path that God has intended.
G.D. Taylor
Mount Pearl, Nfld.

Outmoded mindset

Dear editor,

For years I’ve been with an Anglican study group. We have been immersed in the same-sex issues which have led to our present concern: the Anglican Covenant. While produced by a small right wing of the church, it could seriously distort traditional Anglicanism, as well as being unjust, but in a world of global warming and AIDS, it is in the peanut league.

What does concern all of us are the increasingly disturbing effects of climate change now almost universally accepted as caused, at least in part, by human activity. But no church, until recently, has shown any concern with the environment. The reason lies, I think, in a profound theological error which has been growing and overlooked for the last 300 years or so. Until that time we gave no special concern to nature. By and large, we are content to let God’s Creation look after itself. So while we regularly give creedal lip service to our trinitarian faith in acknowledging “God the Creator and Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life,” that is precisely as far as we go.

Despite the obvious writing on our walls both at home and certainly abroad, we Canadian Anglicans, to say nothing of other denominations, are still stuck in an outmoded mindset.

One of the persistent themes of the Old Testament concerns obedience. If we do a 180-degree turn, we might just share in the new life which will surely emerge on earth again as it always has during our billions of turbulent, fruitful years.
Rev. John F. McRae

True shepherds

Dear editor,

Bravo to Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, for stating his position clearly (Lambeth invitations exclude American gay bishop, June/July Journal). There are thousands of Anglicans and non-Anglicans who are of like opinion on the American gay bishop, Gene Robinson, and same-sex marriages and unions. Awesome, the slim winning votes at General Synod by the House of Bishops against the blessing of same-sex couples! God may still find true shepherds who are faithful to the intention of God.
Rev. Sister Mary Florence Liew
Cookshire, Que.

Unconditional love

Dear editor,

Re: Same-sex questions still vex Synod (June/July Anglican Journal). As a cradle Anglican of 76 years, I am annoyed with the Anglican church about its attitude toward gays and lesbians. I think it would be better if I resigned from the Anglican church, including my church, St. Francis of Assisi. After 30 years of discussion and study, the bishops voted to continue the discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans identified, though I think the latter two were not actually included in the debates that I followed on the Internet.

My wife and I are the parents of four children: a lesbian daughter, a straight daughter, a straight son and a gay son. We think we have the “perfect” family. The Anglican church, which is supposed to be a church of acceptance, tolerance and love has completely alienated our lesbian daughter and our gay son. Both were baptized and confirmed in the Anglican church, but I suspect that it is many years since they attended any Anglican service. They are not accepted in a number of parishes and now General Synod has confirmed that they are not accepted within the wider church; they are second-class members at best.

My religious teaching has always been that the church welcomes all baptized to come to the communion table as equals.

I am particularly annoyed that St. Francis of Assisi blesses animals, but cannot bless our lesbian daughter and her partner of 24 years, nor our gay son and his partner of eight years.
Laurie Jones
Mississauga, Ont.

Divorce proceedings

Dear editor,

It is too late to try to avoid a split in the worldwide Anglican church. As traditionalists in the very liberal diocese of Niagara, we have felt the abuse over the past several years from those in favour of blessing same-sex unions; this resulted in us leaving one parish that overwhelmingly supports such actions for another that made us feel more at home. We have no doubt that the diocesan synod in November will vote for the “local option” to allow Niagara parishes to decide for themselves whether to bless such unions.

Within the diocese of Niagara, traditionalists are a minority and the views of the majority are clearly printed each month in the Niagara Anglican (the diocesan newspaper), on the diocesan Web site and in other forms of communications. The writing is on the wall. The split has clearly already happened and the divorce will be a messy affair.

We will await the outcome of synod before making any final decisions on our status within the Anglican Church of Canada. As traditionalists, we feel the time has come for us and other like-minded individuals to start the divorce proceedings shortly or have the papers served to us later. We should follow the lead of several parishes in New Westminster and parts of the United States who have left their respective national churches and put themselves under the leadership of African primates.
Derek & Angela Kerr
Dundas, Ont.


Dear editor,

Re: Cardinal avoids testifying in U.S. sex abuse lawsuits (September Journal). What? The lawyer for the Roman Catholic archdiocese hoped that it could have been resolved “much earlier” ? sure, if they had not played hardball and pulled all their delay tactics. Certainly, $660 million is a lot to pay to keep Cardinal Mahoney from having to testify. If I lived in California, I would be asking the cardinal to reimburse the archdiocese for his craftiness.
Rev. James F. Moran
Alexandria, Va.

The right thing

Dear editor,

What I think about the matter of same-sex blessings is simply this: In the last two world wars we boys, myself included, were allowed to go overseas to be killed off. I returned unscathed to my love, was married, raised a family very aware of such responsibilities, taught our children as we taught from the Bible. We think we did the right thing.

It would not be surprising that a great calamity is truly imminent with much wailing and gnashing of teeth not unlike the exodus out of Egypt into the land of milk and honey.

My wife thinks in another generation or so the Bible will be ignored. Too bad.
Cliff Tripp
Peterborough, Ont.

Separate schools

Dear editor,

Raised Protestant, I was taught early that religion and politics do not mix, especially in polite company. I thought it had a lot to do with preventing my Baptist-turned-Anglican aunt from teasing her Presbyterian sister-in-law or why R.C. Cola didn’t seem to be sold in my hometown.

Imagine my surprise as an adult to learn that in education, religion and politics are amazingly intertwined, and my children attend public schools that the Ontario government funds to a significantly lower level than those separate schools attended by my neighbours’ children.

Across Canada, Anglican children of Anglican parents attend public schools. I have yet to see an active church role in promoting and supporting what is “our” school system. Here in Ontario, all children need one government-funded school system where all can learn.

In Ontario, public education may be at a turning point towards unifying all children as one, and I hope that readers would agree that the continuation of Ontario government faith-based schools is wrong. I ask the Anglican church to raise its voice in support of one public education system that is open to all. As I explain to my children, our school is open to children of all churches ? now that is “faith based”!
Susan McBride
Deep River, Ont.

Thank you

Dear editor,

I would like to express my appreciation to you for the wonderful way you are able to put the issues that our tired old church is facing into a positive, objective, respectful and hopeful perspective. I always look forward to your wisdom in your editorials. What an effective ministry you have to our whole church. Thank you, for your gift to us all.
Mary Dove
Brandon, Man.


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