Letters to the editor

Published November 1, 2008

New Westminster did not remove clergy; they left on their own

Dear editor,

Re: New Westminster removes four clergy (October Anglican Journal). We think it important to point out that the diocese of New Westminster and its bishop have removed no clergy in this diocese during the current dispute. They left the Anglican Church of Canada on their own.

Contrary to the headline, the clergy in question voluntarily relinquished their licences to Bishop Michael Ingham in writing on May 11 and joined the Argentine-based Anglican province of the Southern Cone. However they have refused to vacate their former parish churches. That makes it impossible for Bishop Ingham to send new clergy to the parishes to resume the mission and ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The action in August to which the story refers was the invocation of a diocesan canon by Bishop Ingham, confirmed unanimously by diocesan council, that returns control of two of the parishes to the diocese. Since after more than three months they had not dismissed the unlicensed clergy, lay wardens and trustees were discharged from their parish offices by this act, though not from parish rolls. This is analogous to steps taken in February in the diocese of Niagara.

In September these wardens and trustees brought an action in the civil courts asking the court to declare that the bishop and the diocese had no power to remove them from office, and that the parishes should control the buildings, not the diocese (which would be contrary to many previous court decisions, including the recent rulings in Niagara and Metchosin, B.C.).

Of course, if the courts rule in their favour, the clergy have a right to remain in the buildings.

If not, we trust that they will remove themselves from diocesan properties, as they have removed themselves from the jurisdiction of our bishop, so that we can get on with the Anglican Church of Canada’s mission and ministry.
Neale Adams
Communications Officer
Diocese of New Westminster

Even pets are blessed

Dear editor,

I find it very unsettling that one can have their pets blessed but my same-sex partner and I cannot be blessed by the Anglican Church of Canada. Shame!

I was hoping that under the leadership of our beloved primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, that this would have changed.
Boyce H. Rice

Just a dream?

Dear editor,

I don’t think this proposed (inter-faith) centre is anywhere near getting off the ground (An Anglican presence at the Vancouver Olympics, October editorial), unless you know something I don’t.

I would appreciate any information you have on this plan, which as far as I know is just an unfunded dream. I could be wrong.
Douglas Todd
Religion writer
Vancouver Sun

Editor’s Note: Indeed, the content for the editorial reference was based on a Web story on a planned multi-million dollar spirituality centre.

The Journal is following up with a story on what happened to those plans. That story will not be ready until the December issue.

Shaw was Irish

Dear editor,

Re: “100-year-old Shaw drama shows shades of Lambeth” (September Journal). I should like to point out an error in Peter Kavanagh’s review of the play Getting Married. George Bernard Shaw was not British; he was Irish. This means he came from the Republic of Ireland, not the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Shaw lived from 1856-1950, so he would have experienced Ireland’s struggle for independence. Should Kavanagh write a review of a play by Oscar Wilde, I trust he will remember that Wilde, too, was Irish. These two Irishmen could view the British from a distance, dramatizing their foibles in an amusing manner.
Maureen McManus
High River, Alta.

An eloquent lesson taught with music

Dear editor,

Re: A tale of God’s will – New Orleans, the first time (October Anglican Journal). I am Terence Blanchard’s manager and I must tell you that in all of my years as his manager, I have never responded to any review of his work.

I did so today because I was moved by the story of reviewer Jamie Howison’s friend, of his loss, and of humanity’s challenge to look beyond the “why” and embrace the opportunity to grow stronger.

Thank you for this lesson. It was so eloquently taught, albeit with a great example of music.
Robin Burgess
New Orleans

Nature of Islam

Dear editor,

Re: Theological Reflections (Focus on Lambeth, September 2008). Walter Deller, principal of the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad, Saskatoon, wrote, “The evangelical side of Anglicanism is leading us more and more toward a form of Christianity which is simply another variant of fundamentalist Islam.”

I know fundamentalist Islam very well. I recently lived in Saudi Arabia under sharia law for almost 10 years. The goal of Islam is to convert the entire world by any means, including force, if necessary. As they say in their poetic Arabic, “even if, at the end of the battle, not a single man, woman, or child is left standing.”

Mr. Deller’s comment reveals breath-taking blind ignorance of the nature of Islam and evangelical Christianity. Besides being monotheistic and having written scripture, Islam and Christianity have next to nothing in common.
Joyce Findeis
Chatham, Ont.

Moral equivalent

Dear editor,

Re: Theological Reflections. George Sumner, principal of Wycliffe College, discusses the shortcomings of Lambeth 2008 in an piece entitled Commitments of the mind and heart: Will the centre hold? He quotes this line from W.B. Yeat’s prophetic poem, The Second Coming: “Things fall apart / the centre cannot hold.”

He was perhaps too polite or tactful to quote the subsequent lines of the poem: “The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

In an adjacent article, entitled Stepping back from full inclusion of gays and lesbians, Walter Deller makes a somewhat impassioned observation that “the evangelical side is leading us toward another variant of fundamentalist Islam,” as well as other pejorative comparisons to fundamentalist Islam. This, in a week that the press reported the shooting and burying alive by fundamentalist Muslims of five women in an “honour killing” in Islamabad, Pakistan. And where earlier this summer in Baghdad fundamentalist Muslims strapped bombs on two young girls with Down syndrome, sent them into a crowded market, and detonated the bombs by remote control.

Suggesting a moral equivalence between evangelical Anglicans and fundamentalist Muslims was unfortunate, and I’m sure hurtful to Anglican evangelicals.
Vic Stecyk
Richmond Hill, Ont.

The love command

Dear editor,

It is enlightening and sobering to see the current Anglican controversy in the context of Karen Armstrong’s A History of God.

It shows what can happen when religious belief systems clash and the utter futility of the conflicts, often bloody ones. A more irenic and gracious approach is seen in these words of John Newton.

“The longer I live, the more I see the vanity and the sinfulness of our unChristian disputes: they eat up the very vitals of religion … I allow that every branch of the gospel truth is precious, that errors are abounding, and that it is our duty to bear an honest testimony to what the Lord has enabled us to find comfort in …. But I cannot see it my duty, nay, I believe it would be my sin, to attempt to beat my notions into other people’s heads. Too often I have attempted it in time past; but now I judge, that both my zeal and my weapons were carnal. When our dear Lord questioned Peter, after his fall and recovery, he said not, ?Art thou wise, learned and eloquent?’ Nay, he said not, ?Art thou clear and sound, and orthodox?’ But this only, ?Lovest thou me?'”
Everett Hobbs
Conception Bay South, Nfld.

Orthodox, progressive

Dear editor,

Re: Go our separate ways (September letters). Again we are treated to the use of the word “orthodox” in reference to conservative. No Anglicans can call themselves “orthodox.”

Others have a longer claim on the word. The Global Anglicans Future Conference, being able to affirm only four of the seven ecumenical councils, by which Christian orthodoxy has been defined for 1,500 years, shows itself heterodox: Monophysites, monothelites, or nestorians?

I see no reason to elevate marriage, or a suspiciously sola scriptura approach to doctrine, to the level of litmus test of orthodoxy. A similar word is “progressive.”

There is nothing inherently “orthodox” in the conservative position, nor inherently “progressive” in a liberal one.

Both words serve merely to reveal the self-righteousness of those who use them, and that is what is getting in our way in the current debate.
Ford Elms
St. John’s, Nfld.

Like green cheese

Dear editor,

Re: It is impossible to go back, bishops say of moratoria (September Journal). I read that Canadian churches have proceeded with actions around same-sex blessings “only after a long, considered period of discussion from a whole pile of points of view – theological, liturgical, canonical and pastoral,” according to Archbishop Fred Hiltz.

Yes, and the moon is made from green cheese.

There is no hope for our church when leaders believe and spread falsehoods such as this. The case for the goodness and beauty of same-sex physical relations has never been made, in Canada or elsewhere, for the very sound reason that it cannot be made.
Dr. Priscilla Turner


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