Letters to the editor

Published March 1, 2008

Bishop is right to demand obedience from clergy

Dear editor,

Re: Newfoundland bishop sets rules for clergy (Jan. 14 news story, anglicanjournal.com). Finally, a bishop prepared to go public with the demand that his clergy be in obedience to the bishop of the diocese and do so in the eye of the public. Bishop Cy Pitman’s clergy will be in no doubt as to whom and to what they owe obedience. To my mind, those who have accepted licences at the hand of their bishop and have then worked to cleave that parish from the bishop are without integrity and contravening the vows of obedience. Bishop Pitman has got it right. Surrender your licence, resign from the diocese and go your own way!
Rev. Trevor Fisher
Hamilton, New Zealand

Press on

Dear editor,

Press on Bishop Cy Pitman! Don Harvey (who is no longer a bishop) is getting too much press. Let us love him and set him free and wait and see if he returns.
Murray Wadden
Glace Bay, N.S.

Stuck with us

Dear editor,

We were surprised that you published the letter from Robert Mainwaring (Move on, January letters) with its vitriolic and hurtful tone. It is indeed sad that some in our church have felt led to leave it and come under other Anglican jurisdictions, but that is no reason to vilify them and express hatred towards them.

What’s more, Mr. Mainwaring is deeply mistaken about Anglican Essentials. First, the Essentials movement is not “un-Anglican” nor a “right-wing fundamentalist evangelical Christian” group. It arose out of a 1994 conference in Montreal of people deeply committed to Anglicanism and its theological position is expressed in the Montreal Declaration of Anglican Essentials which is available for all to read at www.anglicanessentials.org. Most people would find it difficult to categorize it as “right-wing fundamentalist!”

In addition, most of the supporters of Anglican Essentials still remain within the Anglican Church of Canada, especially that section of it known as the Anglican Essentials Federation, whose goal is to work for renewal and change within the Canadian church. So, Mr. Mainwaring is stuck with us as fellow travelers for some time more! I wonder what he would feel about all the talk of upholding Anglican diversity and breadth and “drawing the circle wide?”
Jennifer Wickham
Brett Cane

Lively and growing

Dear editor,

I wish to correct a misconception left by Mr. Mainwaring in his letter. I attend the so-called “Essentials nonsense” parish that he left. Most of his fellow parishioners have not moved on. Quite the opposite, in fact: we are a lively and growing community and are attracting new people because of our commitment to the Gospel. To answer his comment about “like minded Evangelicals being bused in” – the only buses people take to get to our church events have the city transit logo on them.
Kate Sanderson

Stop the suffering

Dear editor,

Re: Priest retires from ‘ministry of the edge’ (February Anglican Journal). As a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist, Ottawa, Garth Bulmer’s former parish, I want to thank my former priest for his enormous courage in coming out as a gay man after years of being closeted and silenced by the church. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it has been for Garth – living with that deep contempt from a church that is supposed to demonstrate love, living with the scars of failing at marriage when he has so much to give, not being able to love those he is called to love. I cannot imagine the depth of anguish he has endured all these years.

Silencing so often has two results: fear, forcing people to hide and say nothing in support when they might want to, then living with the knowledge that they have denied themselves. Some also speak out against gay and lesbian rights, lest they themselves be outed.

But Garth courageously and effectively has lobbied for gay and lesbian rights and so our church is slowly being transformed by the Gospel of love.

Garth cared for all the marginalized. Let his legacy be that we adopt his care and become active about expressing it. Lobby your bishop and let them know you want the church to be a place of equality for all God’s children. Talk to your synod representatives. Become active. It is time to stop the silent suffering of our clergy and laity.
Gillian Wallace

Lost jobs

Dear editor,

Re: Anglican World suspends publication, moves to Web-based format (Jan. 21 news story, anglicanjournal.com). The changes in publishing are inexorable and real. But to say only that “no jobs were lost” in London does not recognize the fact that the crisis in papermaking and the wholesale closing of paper manufacturers for similar reasons is costing lots of jobs.

Some paper worker or forester in northern New Brunswick this very cold day holding his pink slip would find the news about some Londoners not very gratifying. Worth a thought.
David Major
Chester Basin, N.S.

Spending bequest on deficit is poor governance

Dear editor,

Re: Wrong message (January letters). Letter writer Peter Bennett got it right: wrong message. The decision to spend the generous $4-million bequest on the General Synod deficit shows a lack of not only good stewardship but poor governance and no appreciation for the risk management process and perhaps the benefactor’s vision.

The deficit didn’t occur overnight and the Council of General Synod (CoGS) needs to be better informed about the accumulating deficit in order to manage the burgeoning expenses of national and diocesan administration (or loss of parishioners and revenues across the county).

It wouldn’t surprise me if CoGS isn’t back in the same deficit position again within three years because of stewardship issues. We need God’s help and good church strategies.
Mike Ogburn
Riverview, N.B.

No justification

Dear editor,

William J. Holtham is correct. There is “no biblical justification that supports the creation of women bishops” (January letters). I don’t think there is anything in the Bible supporting the creation of bishops of either gender. The title and concept of “bishop” was borrowed from Roman paganism. Likewise “trinity,” “transubstantiation” and “infant baptism” are not mentioned in the Gospels. But then I have been reading the Bible most of my life, as a Baptist.
Douglas G. Warnock

Settlement money

Dear editor,

I have kept a daily journal since the age of nine. I am now 55. Keeping the journal was to maintain consistency in my life journey and track the lives of people who touched and who made an impact on me. It created a place for me to revisit my life and track my changing values.

Also, I had the opportunity to understand my grief. For instance, going to residential school, I would be sad to see the bed and mattress next to me “turned up.” It meant the students could not handle the system and were kicked out or, better still, their parents came to get them as they belonged home. How I used to envy them when the parents realized their mistake.

My journal provided me an opportunity to control the powerful emotions I experienced in residential school.

Why am I sharing this part of my journal? I am happy that many of us are utilizing the residential school settlement money as a positive force in our lives. However, I have heard so many sad stories and in some cases it has ended their lives. I dedicate this part of my journal to them and know they will experience a better life in the next world.
Roy Inglangasu
Ft. Simpson, N.W.T.

Make a difference

Dear editor,

Re: Primate urges new focus for Canadian church (November Anglican Journal).

We are refreshed to read that Archbishop Fred Hiltz has asked Anglicans the pointed question, “Do we have a voice in Canadian society and the world?” He senses that people want to be a church that makes a difference in the world.

Sadly, Anglicans have allowed one such opportunity to slip away – but it’s not too late. In May, 2006, Senator Michael Kirby and his commission published their report, Out of the Shadows at Last: Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness, and Addiction Services in Canada. This report made more than a hundred recommendations to improve the quality of mental health care delivery in Canada.

The commission heard presentations from several agencies in 2005, including hospitals, universities, and the RCMP. Did the Anglicans have a voice? No.

We ask: Does the church have anything to say about mental health? Of course we do. Every pastor knows that mental health care is an important part of his or her ministry.

Today, Mr. Kirby chairs the Mental Health Commission of Canada (www.mentalhealthcommission.ca). This group has set three goals: to develop a national strategy; to hold a 10-year anti-stigma campaign, and to build a Knowledge Exchange Centre.

Ponder this fact: the stigma of mental illness can be more painful than the disease itself. Here’s another: one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness at some point in his or her lifetime.

We don’t think the church can remain silent on this issue.
Jennifer and Kirby Smart
Kentville, N.S.

Exemplary openness

Dear editor,

I read with interest your editorial of December last on the subject of communication, in which you refer to “the trend within the House of Bishops to take segments of their meetings and their deliberations behind closed doors,” instead issuing letters to the church at the conclusion of their meetings.

We reported this in The Church of Ireland Gazette because the practice of the Church of Ireland House of Bishops is to have closed meetings and not to issue accounts of its business following its meetings.

I hope the trend that you observe in Canada does not lead to such a situation coming about in the Anglican Church of Canada, because trends in certain directions can indeed continue. While it is understandable that the bishops will at times wish to meet in camera, I feel that the practice of allowing the media into their meetings has shown an exemplary openness.
Canon Ian M. Ellis
Editor, The Church of Ireland Gazette
Lisburn, Northern Ireland


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