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Breathe, then get on with living the life of Christ
Re: South American province opens arms to dissenting Canadian parishes (Nov. 22 anglicanjournal.com news story). I am saddened that the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone has taken steps to interfere in the Canadian church. Saddened because in a significant way the avenues of dialogue between “us” and “them” will now change for the worse.
That sadness does not carry with it any fear for our church or for my faith. From the earliest days the work of Christians has been carried out by seemingly disparate and often fractious groups who, despite their differences, have built up the body of Christ here on earth. To those who are feeling low and dispirited I encourage you to take a deep breath and get on with living the life of Christ. And please, don’t forget that the bond between Christians is not that they are Anglicans or Roman Catholics or Baptists. The bond is that they believe in Jesus Christ and strive to live his life.
Pitt Meadows, B.C.
I recall back in the late ’50s when I was teaching Sunday school in a church in Winnipeg, the General Board of Religious Education of the Anglican Church of Canada put out a series of Sunday school lessons on our missionaries. These lessons told us what they were doing and what was happening in the church in the countries that we now call the Global South. A couple of the lessons that I remember very clearly stated that a time would come when Canada and the United States would be evangelized by missionaries from these very countries. At the time I remember thinking these were very strange comments – and I never forgot those lessons!
But now I wonder how does this fit with what we are experiencing in the church today!
Thanks be to God.
In a recent press statement, Bishop Donald Harvey said, “Because of the unabated theological decay in the Anglican Church of Canada, many long-time Anglicans have already left their church and left Anglicanism. We want to provide a fully Anglican option for those who feel their church has abandoned them and who are contemplating taking the same action.”
Quite the opposite. Most of my fellow parishioners have simply moved to other Anglican churches because they don’t like the Anglican Essentials nonsense. No way should they be allowed to usurp church property even if they do busload in like-minded evangelicals for a head count. We would rather the Essentials advocates moved on so we can return to our Anglican church. The Essentials movement is not Anglican, it is right-wing fundamentalist evangelical Christian, but not Anglican. Get out and move on I say.
No episcopal act
Bishop leaves Canadian church for South American province
(Nov. 16, 2007 news story, anglicanjournal.com). I want to correct one misleading statement in your report. Bishop Don Harvey did not, as you reported, participate in, the irregular consecration of bishops abroad. He was present but did no episcopal act. Don is a committed bishop and he would do nothing else.
Archbishop John Clarke
Peace River, Alta.
Re: Bequest expected to buoy national church (Nov. 19 news story, anglicanjournal.com).
I read with interest and gratitude the story of the bequest which the national church will receive in 2008. There are some elements of the story which disturb me, though.
As someone who has been active in gift planning for a decade, I am profoundly discouraged that a substantial capital portion of this bequest will be used to balance the operational budget. My first responsibility as a steward is to support the operational requirements of the church through my annual gifts. That is my first responsibility whenever I counsel a parishioner about a planned gift. My second responsibility is to provide the donor with the assurance that a subsequent generation will be faithful stewards of God’s gifts. The decision to spend capital on operational requirements sends the wrong message to potential donors about how faithful we will be with their gift. In my view, this merely delays for a year the hard choices, which General Synod (and the Council of General Synod) has to make about its operational resources.
Peter Blachford, treasurer of General Synod replies: The unanimous decision of the Council of General Synod (CoGS) to utilize a portion of the substantial legacy that will be received in 2008 was taken only after very careful consideration of the alternative options available. A key principle in these deliberations was the identified need to move forward in a positive direction that would eliminate operational deficits and provide a strong financial future upon which to provide the required ministries. The 2008 budget proposal approved by CoGS projects a balanced operational reality by 2010, based upon the establishment of a new Office of Development in support of the entire Anglican Church of Canada during 2008; this is a transitional investment to promote a sustainable and abundant future.
Time for us to tell our positive stories
I am pleased to note the shift away from centering our media focus almost exclusively on issues of internal strife. It was such a pleasure reading through the November Anglican Journal and noting that by about page eight we moved on to some cheerful articles. While I believe we have to communicate about all issues, it seems a shame to forget about the joyous stuff. I have been concerned that the only articles about the Anglican church to be found in the mainstream media reflect our internal issues and cite our so-called declining membership. We have so much to celebrate. I think of the wonderful work the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund is doing to help people in some of the most poverty-stricken areas of the world. I think of the outreach into the community that my own parish does to help the needy on our own streets.
I think it is time we started telling our positive stories. This is a church full of joy, full of good people. We have so much to offer. Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, is urging us to balance our internal issues with “serving the needs of the world.” I agree entirely and encourage Journal readers to spread the good news.
One wonders whether it occurs to those of us who write letters to the editor of the Journal how negative and destructive they can be to the church as the body of Christ. Many of our letters reveal disturbing degrees of pettiness, intolerance, and infantile self-obsession. It is evident that many of us, in contrast to our judgmental posturing, know little if anything of basic Christianity or of Anglicanism. Typically we complain about the ways we feel the church is failing us, instead of reflecting on the ways in which we might be failing our church and our God. The absence of concern for others, and of compassion, generosity and forgiveness for others is depressing.
If the Anglican church is in decline, we are the cause. Where is our desire to be the body of Christ in the world, instead of a fractious miasma of bickering malcontents? Where is our desire to love and serve God and our neighbour instead of constantly demanding that they love and serve us? It is often said that the church is a school for sinners. A wise orthodox bishop has instead likened the church to a hospital, as a place for healing that which is sick and broken in humanity. Apparently all too many of us prefer to reject the offer and the opportunity.
K. Corey Keeble
Re: Australia’s Anglicans clear way for women bishops (November Anglican Journal). How distressing for those Anglicans still faithful to our church’s catholic tradition to hear that the Anglican Church of Australia has decided that nothing in its constitution prevents the consecration of women bishops. Evidently the vagaries of political correctness have now washed ashore to defy ecclesiastical tradition in the Land Down Under.
Unfortunately no biblical justification supports the creation of women bishops; as a result, the prediction by an Australian archbishop that ongoing difficulties will be around the church for decades to come is one to be heeded. His prognostication can be readily attested by frustrated Canadian Anglicans now forced once again to struggle with this issue following the recent election of yet another female to the episcopate in this country.
It can only be hoped that more care than that displayed to date in other Anglican jurisdictions will be offered by the Australian church to its members who retain a conscientious objection to women bishops.
William J. Holtham
Re: A green field in Vimy (November Journal). I want you to know how impressed I was with the writing by Anna York-Lyon. I was at the Vimy 90th anniversary celebration and was touched by the arrival of 5,000 Canadian students just before the official ceremonies started. It was one of the highlights of my day. I would like to pass on my congratulations to her for an excellent essay and moving poem.
In addition I was pleased to note the name of the fiddle player, Sierra Noble, who played the Warrior’s Lament from the base of the monument. None of that kind of detail was on the official program of the day, and her playing was another highlight.
Re: Children’s books hold lessons for all of us. I was delighted with the children’s book reviews in your December issue! Thank you for including and promoting children’s unique perspectives, and for honouring their essential contribution to our faith conversation.
Christ’s sacrifice cannot be compared to sacrifice of military men and women
Re: We remember because we are called to do so (November editorial). It is problematic to imply some similarity between Christ’s sacrifice and “the sacrifices that our military men and women ? continue to make.”
Jesus never formed a band of Jewish militia to strike at Roman forces in revenge for atrocities committed against his compatriots. He presented a new way based in part on that challenging but rewarding recommendation to love those regarded as the enemy. Faced with the prospect of imminent death, Jesus did not waver, showing a tenacious determination to hold on to the greatest of ideals.
Now, however much we strive to share the grief of those who have lost a loved one in the Afghan war, we mustn’t fall into the trap of placing that sordid political tale in the same bag as Jesus’ resolution to be true to his word. In the current conflict, young people largely drawn into uniform by the offer of a job are being sacrificed by our contemporary empire, while killing others. We do ourselves a disservice when we deny that the Afghan venture is anything other than a theatre of that larger catastrophe presently centred on Iraq.
Once again there is mass slaughter that denies our Lord’s teaching. If people reply that standards contained in that teaching are too high, or not meant to be absolute, then we can say this: once again there is war that miserably fails the test of the just conflict, that Christian theory of lesser evils.
Do we continue to have wars because “it is too easy to forget the lessons that history teaches us”? No. Rather, 1) the powerful have few quibbles with violence and 2) people fear accepting those burdens that might be placed on their backs were they to stand up and say, “Let there be war no more.” If we were to lose that fear, some tentative remarks about parallels with Christ’s sacrifice might not be so off the mark.
Marc B. Young
Re: Pastoral care is a broad field at Ridley (November education supplement). I grew up right next door to Ridley College in the 1930s and ’40s, and used to thrill at the Sunday parades to St. Thomas church in St. Catharines, Ont. The college had a beautiful chapel and I recall it was used regularly for morning prayer, and that many of the staff were faithful Christians. In our teens we had many friends, local and foreign, who attended Ridley. All knew it was Anglican and no one complained. Now it seems the college and its chaplain are ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and of the doctrines and great traditions of Anglicanism. And we wonder why our church is imploding?
In recent issues of the Journal readers have lamented that certain pressing issues facing are distracting us from our real issues: the aging of our congregations and reversing our declining numbers.
Why doesn’t the Journal lead by encouraging Canada’s Anglicans to make a New Year’s resolution to grow their church? Then help them do this by providing a forum?
I’d like to see you devote one page in every issue to “the business of a church;” sharing real-world mechanisms and processes that successfully grow churches and volunteer organizations.
Also, I own the domain www.letsgrowourchurch.com and an unused Web site that’s complete, sophisticated and very user-friendly. I am ready to donate these to a qualified Anglican or group who wishes to grow their own church and share their know-how. I invite readers’ feedback on these letters pages.
I believe what the Anglican Church of Canada needs these days is a revival of the use of the Book of Common Prayer and a Catholic revival like we had in the Oxford Movement. Our church needs to be unified now more than ever with the issue of same-sex blessings dividing Christians; we need to seek our common ground, which is Jesus Christ, and yet avoid ultra-liberal, New Age practices which are contrary to the Gospel of Christ. I pray that we all would be true to His Holy Word and love one another, and bless the poor more often on our cold streets.
More on common cup
Re: Common cup (December letters). As someone who shares the same concern of a shared cup to receive and also after shaking hands, then using one’s hand to intinct, may I offer a solution. I have just visited St. Paul in the Desert Episcopal church in Palm Springs, Calif., where they have the answer.
Their service program leaflet notes, “if you wish the bread dipped in the wine (intinction) do not put out your hands.” The priest carrying the wafers on a tray with a concave centre filled with wine intincts for the communicant.
Terry J. Love