Letters to the editor

Published December 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.

Is a bishop still a bishop after he/she leaves denomination?

Dear editor,

I am confused as to why you continue to refer to Don Harvey as a bishop, most recently in your news bulletin of Oct. 16 regarding four parishes purporting to put themselves under the “episcopal oversight of Bishop (sic) Don Harvey.”

Nearly a year ago, the Anglican Journal reported that Mr. Harvey had relinquished his ministry. The mechanism for relinquishment of ministry under our canons, to which Mr. Harvey will have repeatedly sworn an oath of obedience, is found in Canon XIX of the General Synod. The relevant section specifies that “relinquishment of the exercise of ordained ministry removes from the [cleric] the right to exercise … spiritual authority as a minister of Word and Sacraments conferred in ordination.”

Thus, although the ontological effects of ordination remain, the juridical effects are rendered null and void. The perhaps more familiar Roman Catholic term for this is laicization.

Mr. Harvey has relinquished his ministry, and therefore ought no longer to be referred to by a clerical title.

He is, for all practical purposes, a layperson. Or are you implying that Mr. Harvey acted dishonestly, either when he relinquished his ministry or when he repeatedly swore an oath to obey the canons?
Alan T. Perry

Editor’s response: Consulting with the chancellor, Ronald Stevenson, he writes: “In the relinquishment document prescribed by Canon XIX, the cleric says he or she has voluntarily relinquished the exercise of the ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada to which he or she has been admitted. The cleric does not relinquish his or her orders/ordination.

“Although Bishops Harvey and Malcolm Harding (retired bishop of the diocese of Brandon) have relinquished the exercise of episcopal ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada, they may well be recognized and accepted as bishops in another church even though they ignore the traditional rule that a bishop does not minister or interfere in another bishop’s jurisdiction.”

Honour moratorium

Dear editor,

Re: ‘Large majority’ of bishops agree to moratoria (Journal Web site, Oct. 31)

From Merriam-Webster Dictionary – Moratorium:

1. a) a legally authorized period of delay in the performance of a legal obligation or the payment of a debt. b) a waiting period set by an authority

2. a) suspension of activity.

Cambridge Dictionary – Moratorium: noun [C] plural, moratoriums or moratoria

A stopping of an activity for an agreed amount of time: a five-year worldwide moratorium on nuclear weapons testing.

After making sure that I understood the meaning of moratorium, I was deeply disappointed with the continued activity concerning the blessing of same sex unions, both from bishops and from those in particular dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada. Lambeth provided me with hope that as a communion we would give this issue the honour of time and consultation.

It seems to me the responses have been “Yes, but…” This action is not in the true spirit of a moratorium.

Again, I am disappointed and discouraged.
Shara Golden
Tracy, N.B.


Dear editor,Will all the pews be emptied, church buildings rented out or sold, and newspapers and bookstores closed before the Anglican leadership in North America recognizes that few believe that they are being led by the Holy Spirit of Christ?Anglicans keep voting with their feet and many do so by withholding their support financial and otherwise. What will it take?
Denis C. Gray
Niagara Falls, Ont.

Take leadership, forget about moratorium

Dear editor,

On Oct. 31, I read the statement made by the Canadian house of bishops at the end of their recent meeting in Niagara Falls. On Nov. 1, I received and read Bishop Michael Bird’s (diocese of Niagara) personal response to the house of bishops’ statement and the deliberations that took place.

It was the first time in several years that I sensed that the heavy pall of episcopal stagnation and indecision might be ready to lift! Yes, Bible study, prayer, and praise are good and wonderful activities. But if they become simply a means of avoiding responsibility and leadership, they are not what the bishops reportedly claim them to be.

I would have thought that the Canadian house would have received the message when a former bishop of Edmonton resigned and, not long afterwards, took on episcopal leadership in New Zealand.

I would have thought that the Canadian house would have received the message when, at the last meeting of General Synod, the clergy and laity voted in favour of diocesan authority to bless same sex unions.

No, I was wrong. It’s easy to hide behind the search for “consensus.” It’s even easier to hide behind the colonial wrappings of Mother England and her “established church.”

We pine for Canadian leadership that is not afraid to look forward, make decisions, and that stops talking about “moratorium.”
Malcolm Evans
Metis-sur-Mer, Que.

Politically involved

Dear editor,

I would like to lend my support to the views expressed in Keith Knight’s editorial, The federal election is over but our work has just begun (November Journal).

It is not surprising that the turnout of voters at elections for all levels of government is so disgracefully low. Too many Canadians, I fear, don’t cast ballots because they feel that voting doesn’t do any good; and many feel that way because they don’t get involved in political issues between elections — except, perhaps to grumble to family and friends.To my mind, we all have a duty as citizens to get involved in political affairs at all times by making our views on issues of general concern known to our elected officials. As Anglicans we have a special duty to voice our opinions from the Christian point of view, as the editorial suggests. And while face-to-face contact with cabinet ministers, MPs or members of provincial and local legislative bodies is certainly the best way of doing so when that is possible, the postal service and the e-mail system are always available.
Peter Hepher
Creston, B.C.

Being half-right

Dear editor,

In the court battles between dissident parishes and their dioceses over the ownership of church buildings, both sides believe themselves to be morally and legally right, and resent the wrong being done to them by the other side.

I am reminded of the words from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 6:7 “In fact, to have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?”

Some divorcing couples battle each other until most of their prospective settlements are eaten up by court costs. Others, although they may never agree about who was right or wrong, succeed in coming to a reasonable arrangement over possessions. If both claim the family home, they can compromise on each being a half-owner.

I can already hear the howls of protest from both sides. “We clearly have full rights to ownership of our building.” Why should we even consider allowing them half-right?” Well, maybe it’s time for both sides to let themselves be half-wronged.
Wendy Hamblin
108 Mile Ranch, B.C.

Competing for dollars

Dear editor,

With membership numbers shrinking and church buildings closing across the country I found two articles in the October Journal particularly disturbing: “Hendrix appointed new director of philanthropy”; and “Pensions department moves across street.” These articles were saying that General Synod is hiring more staff and has outgrown the existing space.

According to public records, the organizations comprising the General Synod employ in the order of 120 individuals with a payroll of several million dollars, and this does not include any contracted workers or consultants.

With constant reports of financial crisis within parts of the Anglican Church of Canada and parishes stretched to pay clergy and basic administrative support, it concerns me that the General Synod office has a mandate to expand office space and staff a new fundraising arm that will no doubt be competing with local churches for the precious dollars given by our members.
Joyce Badley


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