Letters to the editor

Published October 1, 2008

Keep the church

Dear editor,

Although not an Anglican, I have had a close affinity with the church via marriage, participation in activities and, many years ago, the AYPA. I always read and enjoy the entire Anglican Journal and just finished the “Focus on Lambeth” which was most interesting.

These learned bishops had three full days of concentrated discussions on same-sex blessings which apparently ended with no resolution except a decision to leave the meeting with a moratorium. Nada.

Healing this upsetting diversity of sexuality within the church leadership will some day be reviewed by historians as odd and with some bewilderment. Looking back at our history, from the Church of England in 1534, Anglican Church and Episcopalian Church, there have been many differences in church opinions such as the sacrosanct day of Sunday, elimination of slavery, the stoning of prostitutes, the knotty problem of divorce, second marriages, common-law unions, abortion, capital punishment and other social mores of the day.

This writer does not embrace the lifestyle of lesbians or gays but about 2 per cent to 5 per cent of our population has this sexual inclination and some day they will be accepted into the arms of the Christian Church and permitted to have a leadership role in Anglican and other churches depending on their capabilities.

Some teenagers wear bracelets with the initials, W.W.J.D.? Indeed, what would Jesus do?

Historically, it seems all churches wrestle with their view of morality, social mores and biblical interpretations. The attendees at least tried for a solution but other church members who boycotted the Lambeth Conference are guilty of not trying to keep the fellowship of the faith intact.

Eventually, the leaders of the Anglican Communion will find a solution, even though the question of ordination of bishops and priests with a different sexual lifestyle may be compromised. It is hoped this church family can remain together.
George F. Ward
Belleville, Ont.

A great price

Dear editor,

Chinese Christian members of the Three Self Patriotic Movement were invited to the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing because they have fulfilled Jeremiah’s advice to the exiles in Babylon: ”Seek the welfare of any city to which I have exiled you, and pray to the Lord for it; on its welfare your welfare will depend.”

Like Catholics in Jacobean England, Christians in Maoist China were suspected of treason for their perceived loyalty to a foreign power, when after centuries of civil war national unity was the top priority.

They were exiled in their own land because it was said: “One more Christian, one less Chinese.” School children were pressured to denounce as spies parents who worked for the YMCA and YWCA. Marxist intellectuals as well as Protestant and Catholic Christians suffered during the Cultural Revolution.

Red Guards made Florence Li Tim-Oi cut up her vestments with scissors. Brain-washing drove her towards suicide; only consciousness of her priesthood saved her.

Their endurance bought at a great price today’s recognition of Christianity as a Chinese religion rooted and flourishing in its own soil. The University of Guangzhou has now appointed a 30-year-old woman to lecture on the history of Christianity in China.
Canon Christopher Hall
Deddington, Banbury, U.K.

Spiritual prayer book

Dear editor,

Re: Sexuality and corn flakes (September letters)

In the last paragraph of Eric and Joy Magill’s letter, they say the problem with the Anglican Church of Canada is having two prayer books, and that the Book of Alternative Services (BAS) has been with us for 25 years.

I agree with them. There should be only one prayer book, and that should be the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), which has been with us for something like 300 years. It is very well written, with the beautiful English language of old. It is a far more spiritual prayer book because of this.

The BAS is here to stay, and so is the BCP.
John Smith
Pickering Ont.

Adapt to society

Dear editor,Re: Sexuality and corn flakes (September letters)The letter from Eric and Joy Magill from North Bay caught my attention and made me feel that the Anglican Church must get itself into the 21st century after all the depressing news from Focus on Lambeth. My gut reaction to the moratorium on same-sex blessings and no more ordinations of honest gay and lesbian bishops is to leave the Anglican Church and definitely not support it financially.It makes me very angry that we have to go backwards instead of forwards when Lambeth wouldn’t allow our Canadian church to put its views forward. I feel the church must adapt to contemporary society if it is going to survive. Gay marriage is now law in Canada and the church has a lot of catching up to do.People are forgetting that same-sex unions have to do with love. A lot of Anglicans are still living in a 1950’s view of family life.I don’t agree that the main problem with the Anglican Church of Canada is two prayer books. I am a supporter of the Book of Common Prayer although I also like the Book of Alternative Services. I am getting pretty fed up with the Toronto branch of the Prayer Book Society which takes the conservative position and spends all its energy supporting Essentials and their negativism. If we were to have one combined book how much of the Book of Common Prayer would be included?
Peter Iveson

Religious freedom

Dear editor,

Re: Some Christian leaders attend Beijing Olympics opening (Aug. 9 Journal Web site)

This Web news item is not an inspiring message, for it smacks of elitism since it and the Web headline play down the generally denigrated state of religious freedoms and the fundamental issue of personal responsibility, respect and dignity as we understand those notions in the West and as alluded in the account (apropos the mention of “selected religious leaders”).

The apparent recognition of Fu Xianwei, chairperson of the officially-approved Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), as the voice of Protestants is dubious in view of all those groups considered seditious/unpatriotic and worse by the Chinese communist government.

The article certainly invites critical interpretation. Perhaps some groups are comfortable with state-sponsored church such as the TSPM but I, in Canada, am definitely uncomfortable with the notion.

The adherence to temporal authority seems to weigh more than humanity’s direct connection with our maker. To me, such a perspective is part and parcel of the tensions highlighted at Lambeth.

But perhaps it is not all bad for the TSPM does foster “liberal theology” and resists dogma (but only taught by state certificated instructors).
David Major
Chester Basin, N.S.

Obedient to Christ

Dear editor,

Re: The Anglican Church is going through a reformation (September Journal)

You pointed out the dilemma all mankind has to deal with every day. Being obedient to Christ Jesus is the most important value of the believer.

The scripture in the New Testament has instructions for the believer and hence the church. We most be born again, build the church on the word of God and be led by the Holy Spirit. The reformation will then take place in the hearts of many and please the Lord!
Andreas Siebert
Scarborough, Ont.

Owning property

Dear editor,

It is past time for members of Anglican Essentials to stop applying convenient history and short-term memory in their understanding of the ownership of parish assets, including property and buildings. It is a commonly heard argument from members of dissenting congregations, that since they have built and maintained their particular church, that they have a “beneficial ownership,” and are free to move property out of a diocese.

Whether in some fashion this takes precedence over the fiduciary trust and responsibilities of diocesan bishops for their parishes has yet to be tested in a Canadian court.

However, such claims consistently neglect to account for the legacies from past congregations, often deeply rooted in the evolutionary history of parishes and the governance of Anglican dioceses.

Even new buildings, built on recently acquired properties, are made possible because of the inheritances of property, financial, and spiritual resources from past parishioners.

A vote to secede at a congregational meeting inevitably has disenfranchised those long departed parish members who might strongly disagree with the action, and have left their legacies in trust.

Dioceses and their bishops are bound to protect such trusts. To argue otherwise is a clear transgression of the canons that dissenting clergy and congregational members have foresworn.

For present congregational members to claim to know the mind of their forebears is a narcissistic presumption.
Dr. Randall Fairey
Kelowna, B.C.


Related Posts

Skip to content