Letters to the editor

Published May 1, 2008

The Anglican Journal welcomes letters to the editor. Preference is given to letters under 200 words. All letters are subject to editing for length, grammar and clarity. Please include a mailing address with all letters.

Primate’s schools apology was ‘clear, unequivocal’

Dear editor,

Over the years, on many issues, it has been embarrassing to watch church leaders squirm and equivocate whenever any charges of wrongdoing were made against their clergy or staff.

Every Sunday we hear some version of Repent! Confess! But rarely do churches themselves practice what they preach.

Thus it was heartwarming to hear recently on CBC radio our primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, make a very clear and unequivocal public apology to all former students of the Indian residential schools who had been abused in any way.
Angus and Margaret Hamilton Douglas

Fine people

Dear editor,

Re: School nurse’s diary an archival treasure (February, Anglican Journal)

I was surprised and pleased to read the story about Sarah Elizabeth Page. Our family knew her as Betty Page, and our families had been great friends and visited back and forth quite often.

Another fine person who worked at the Moose Fort Indian Residential School was Trudy Wheatley, eventually Goldsmith. If my memory serves me right her son, Alan Wheatley was the principal of a different residential school.

It should be remembered that some fine people gave quality time at these schools. I am proud to have known both these women.
Margaret Taylor
Peterborough, Ont.


Dear editor,

As a former staff member of the Indian residential schools there are two things that are of great concern to me. One, why would Gladys Cook say in 1990 how wonderful her stay at Elkhorn Residential School was but years later tell a horror story of her stay there?

Two, if conditions were so bad at the residential schools that Roy Inglangasu (Settlement money, March letters) attended why did he stay there? He says that other parents came and took their children home or the children were “kicked” out. Why was he not “kicked” out?

It would be important to see the journal that Mr. Inglangasu wrote when he was nine. If life had been very bad for him this certainly would justify his compensation.
Bernice Logan
Tangier, N.S.

Salute to the padres

Dear editor,

I enjoyed your excellent article on military chaplains (Caring for Canada’s troops ‘an honour’ for military chaplains, November issue).

The chaplains, popularly referred to as padres, are multi-talented and resourceful; their importance to the military should never be underestimated. In operational theatres there can be many lonely times for the men and women in uniform, and the future can be very uncertain. While surrounded by buddies who they would risk their lives to save, they may not necessarily share their inner thoughts and fears with them. To keep these things bottled up is not healthy for the individual or good for the military. Some have a mentor and some have a very close friend that they can discuss “things” with. But most have no one, except the padre.

Discussions with the padre are confidential and are never a threat to the person and will not expose what the individual may consider his or her weakness or fears. Many times the padre’s work is accomplished without him knowing it. Just knowing that the padre is there for you is enough to bring comfort. You know that if things get too bad you can always talk it out with the padre. I salute the padres who provide spiritual leadership, peace of mind, comfort, and hands-on assistance to our troops.
Lem Murphy
Bedford, N.S.

Tell it straight

Dear editor,

I object most strongly to the caption under the photo of the Holocaust Memorial (March Journal), in particular our laundering of history for political correctness i.e. “women and children who were killed by the Nazis.”

Nazism was a political movement espoused, indeed well-embraced by the citizens of Germany. It was Germans who did the killing and let us not forget that fact, (and the Austrians and Italians, etc.) and forget the politics.

My father went to war as a Canadian and not as a conservative – the politics and political movement he believed in. Please let’s tell it like it was.
S.K. Robinson
Esquimalt, B.C.


Dear editor,

Readers will now be aware that Bishop Victoria Matthews has been elected as bishop of the diocese of Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand.

Having heard an interview with Bishop Victoria on the N.Z. Radio, I, for one, was most impressed.

The diocese of Christchurch is most fortunate to have the former bishop of Edmonton in Canada as our new diocesan bishop. We are all looking forward very much to meeting her for the first time. She will be most welcome in the inner city parish of Saint Michael and All Angels. Canada’s loss is our gain.
Rev. Ron Smith
Christchurch, New Zealand

Schism after schism

Dear editor,

All schisms in the history of the Christian church follow the same pattern: seeking liberty and quoting Scripture, a small group states it must follow its conscience and leaves. Soon after, within that small schismatic group, other small groups seek liberty, and quoting Scripture, follow their conscience and leave. The issue may be pro or con the ordination of women, the power of bishops, the “correct” rite of the eucharist, Christology, the number of sacraments, the restoration of planet Earth, the private ownership of property, militarism or pacifism.

A question for those who find that the Anglican Church of Canada draws too wide a circle and who have left it to form a smaller circle: Considering the precedent you have set, how will you respond to your own schismatics?
Hannah Main-van der Kamp

Where is ‘due diligence’ on the Southern Cone?

Dear editor,

Eventually, someone is going to want to do “due diligence” on the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. I live in Buenos Aires and am mystified at the unquestioning acceptance by writers up North of this province and its basic facts of life. Do you know how many Anglicans there are in this Province? How many priests? How many bishops, priests, deacons, etc., in every diocese? How many actual members there are of how many actual parishes? Has anyone ever visited any of these parishes? Do you know what goes on in them? Do you know the level of giving, or the finances, or the realities of parish governance?

If no one knows what is really going on down here, it’s going to have some repercussions as all these people from other areas ally themselves with this province.

I am just mystified, both as a former priest of the American Church and as a former reporter for the Washington Post, that no church or secular publication has done any substantive research on this so-called province. It’s shameful, but worse, it’s unprofessional.
Peter Winterble
Buenos Aires

Land titles

Dear editor,

I do not agree with the blessing of same-sex “marriages,” and the ordination of women. I also do not like the Book of Alternative Services. Yet, I cannot understand how some dissident portions of the congregation in some parishes have been able to take control of the church. My first job was a land surveyor for one of the departments of the Ontario government. As such, I did title searches. Each and every time I came across the title of an Anglican church, the title was vested in the “Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Ontario.”

I’m also unable to comprehend the thinking of the ministers who, apparently disobeying their ordination vows, go along – part and parcel – with the dissidents.
Charles Chapman
London, Ont.

Striking similarity

Dear editor,

There is a striking irony in the essay by Rev. Catherine.Sider Hamilton and Rev. F. Dean Mercer (Essentials not the sole authors of this schism, Comment, February issue) The various arguments against same-sex blessings they cited are in many respects similar to those put forward 20 to 30 years ago in opposition to the ordination of women. Opponents argued that ordaining women would “contravene the teaching of the ancient church,” and that its proponents were guilty of the “willful refusal to hear and respect the voice of the majority of Anglicans around the world.” They also said that such ordinations would “contradict the church’s original and universal teaching.”

Virtually every point cited by the authors is also a reminder of the justification given by those who left the Anglican church over the issue.

So the schismatics of the Essentials movement choose to leave the Anglican church “not to break the church’s communion, but to preserve it: to keep the ancient canons, to stay with the teaching of the apostles and their Jewish forbearers, to stay with the faith of the worldwide church?” Had such arguments prevailed in the dispute over the ordination of women, Catherine Snider Hamilton, the essay’s co-author, would not now be able to write “Rev.” before her name.
K. Corey Keeble

Not unchanging

Dear editor,

Is orthodoxy simply a matter of saying the same thing that we said before? It wasn’t for the bishops at Nicaea. The Nicene Creed uses a new (non-Biblical) word to speak of the relation between the Father and the Son, because the Bible isn’t an adequate resource to solve the problem. It doesn’t quite say what the church wants to say.

Doctrine develops. Always has. Always will. On this, the St. Michael’s Report is correct. The Christian faith is not “unchanging,” as Archbishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Southern Cone, would have it. The church must make judgments about the Scriptures, despite Essentials’ protestations to the contrary. The mind of the church matters and it develops, as circumstances change and our understanding deepens.

Our task is to be faithful to the Holy Spirit’s leading, rather than assuming that what our parents have said is, by definition, the final word.
Rev. William H. Harrison
Vernon, B.C.


Dear editor,

My little ecumenical demarche is to pass on your publication to my former Roman Catholic parish, Saint Veronica’s, Dorval, Que., and to pass on their publications to my Anglican Parish, St. Andrew’s and St. Mark’s, also in Dorval.

You seem imbued with the spirit of freedom of the press (see Milton’s Areopagitica) and these days if it is indeed a “warts and all” publication I pass on. Hence, this contribution.
J. Felhustonhau
Dorval, Que.


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