Letters to the editor

Published January 1, 2000

Don’t blame lawyers

Dear editor,

Your article, Collection Plate Cash Won’t Go To Litigation Bills (December Journal) reports some bishops wanted to take steps to ensure that parishioners’ donations “won’t end up with lawyers.”

I have a recommendation: so don’t hire any lawyers. That way all the church’s money will end up in the pocket of everyone and anyone who says the church should pay them. These endless slurs against lawyers are misplaced. Lawyers aren’t suing the church, people are. Lawyers aren’t accused of dreadful behaviour, the church is.

If the church caused heinous problems in the past, it can’t complain about its lawyers in the present. If the church wants to try to negotiate its way out of the problems that so many aboriginal people say it caused them, then these bishops are free to go ahead.

Quit taking cheap shots at lawyers ? the ones you hire are doing their utmost to see that improper claims do not succeed, that excess claims are brought into line, and that the interests of the church are fully and properly protected.

Rodney Smith


(by e-mail)

Crisis is spiritual

Dear editor,

I am distressed by the tack that my church seems to be taking in response to the recent court ruling on the residential school abuses. If we think of ourselves as unfairly penalized victims of the justice system and “on the hook” for payments, as you so tellingly put it in one of your headlines, there will not be healing. The big danger to our church in this crisis is not fiscal; it is spiritual.

The Anglican Journal may choose to make the body of the faithful fully aware of what happened in the schools for which we were responsible. Or it may choose to sweep these realities under the carpet and continue to report mainly the grief of our bookkeepers. But please remember, it is not we who are the victims.

When the situation is grasped in all its horrible magnitude, I think each of us will feel obliged by conscience and be very willing to put something on the collection plate to make amends to those who suffered at our hands.

There is a difficult but essential task to be done here by our own press. I beg you to do it.

Marianne Bluger Neily


(by e-mail)

Hear other side

Dear editor,

The November issue of the Journal is full of accounts of abuse in the residential schools. It is very upsetting for all Anglicans. Were there no teachers or priests who did not abuse the students? I would like to hear from them.

Sixty years ago, I attended teachers college in Saskatoon. In the classes were four or five very capable and friendly young people educated in residential schools who were being trained as teachers.

The law was then, and is today, that every child in Canada attend school till 15 years of age. Residential schools were the method used by the government to see that every child received an education. Our ideas change. As the strap a few years back was the means of discipline in the public and private schools, maybe many of us were physically abused too.

Are there going to be lawsuits?

Natives claim the children were taken from them and placed in school. In European countries, many children were sent off to boarding school to get an education.

Let us hear from these students who went to residential schools and profited from their education, both spiritually and academically.

Winnie Hammerlindl

Drayton Valley, Alta.

Proud sponsors

Dear editor:

I was truly astonished to read the attack on World Vision by Andrew Ignatieff (Primate’s Fund Director Challenges World Vision’s Style of Aid, Ads in Journal, November Journal.) His “Anglican first” attitude surprises me since if Mr. Ignatieff reviewed the composition of the senior executive and board of directors at World Vision, he would find many Anglicans. In addition, Mr. Ignatieff’s characterization of child sponsorship as not addressing root problems in developing countries clearly displays his ignorance of World Vision’s mandate.

My family proudly sponsors two children through World Vision. What we give financially to World Vision is given back to us many times over in the joy of seeing the funds work in the community where our sponsored children live. The children are our link to another culture and another world ? a world of sheer poverty. It puts the massive wealth that exists here in Canada into perspective. Isn’t this what Jesus would have wanted? For Mr. Ignatieff to polarize the two organizations and characterize the World Vision fundraising as somehow demeaning to the children misses the point entirely and frankly is insulting ? not only to World Vision but also to the thousands of child sponsors.

Bob Motz

Mississauga, Ont.

(by e-mail)

Working as partners

Dear editor,

I am gratified to see the new director of the Primate’s Fund addressing the issue of World Vision advertising in the Journal. Several years ago when I first became active with the Primate’s Fund, I wrote a letter to the then editor of the Journal questioning the presence of World Vision ads. I was told the Primate’s Fund was given a more favourable rate than World Vision.

I firmly believe that the place to start raising the profile of the Primate’s Fund is in the theological colleges and have shared this view with a couple of bishops. Only if clergy truly believe that their arm in the world, i.e. the Primate’s Fund, works in the world as Christ would have worked ? in partnership and serving needs which the people have identified and supported themselves, will they then claim ownership and only promote the Primate’s Fund.

Shirley Rokeby

Nanaimo, B.C.

(by e-mail)

Sowing division

Dear editor:

We were distressed to read the comments of Andrew Ignatieff, director of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, about World Vision and sponsorship agencies in general.

Mr. Ignatieff’s reference to all the old myths about how child sponsorship agencies are supposedly operating is outdated and short sighted. In fact, for more than 30 years, child sponsorship agencies, including Christian Children’s Fund, have been at the forefront in developing new, innovative community development programs, that have as their principal aim the development of respect, partnership and eventual independence of our affiliated projects in developing countries.

Another disturbing aspect of Mr. Ignatieff’s comments is that his inaccurate, less than generous remarks generate division among the ranks of non-governmental organizations working overseas, thus reinforcing the misconception of NGOs among a significant number of Canadians as fractious, competing groups more interested in self-preservation than in efficiency, effectiveness and collaboration.

As members of the Canadian Council of International Co-operation, an umbrella group of NGOs working to eradicate poverty, such unfortunate comments about colleague organizations run contrary to the spirit of co-operation many of us are working hard to develop. What is needed is collaboration, wherein we all mobilize our resources to achieve a better future of hope for all communities.

Bruce G. Herzog

Interim Executive Director

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada

Let them eat steak

Dear editor,

I read with great interest your account of Benita Black and her family in the November issue. It showed once again, all things are possible for those who trust our great God.

I wish to add a footnote to tell you one of the results of your story. Dorothy McKim, a member of Little Trinity Church, has most lovingly and faithfully provided complete meals for this family every week for the last 18 months.

This indulgent soul, upon reading about Benita’s family being resigned to not having filet mignon, resolved to fill this void. She set out to purchase a box of this delicacy despite the cost. The expensive steaks had been paid for and were in her shopping bag. Then, as a matter of course, she checked her sales slip and discovered she had been overcharged. She brought this error to the attention of the cashier. As a gesture of goodwill, she was allowed the item free of charge.

So because of the Journal, and Ms. McKim’s generosity of heart, the Black family will even have filet mignon for dinner.

Joy Biswas


(by e-mail)

Banning the saints

Dear editor,

If Bishop Michael Ingham had applied the same concerns which ban Archbishop Moses Tay from speaking at St. Matthews in Abbottsford, then he would also have banned such notables as St. Paul for his words to the Corinthians, I Cor 6:9; and Moses, Ex. 34:13 and Le. 26 for worshiping graven images. The list could go on and on until Bishop Ingham would have banned all the Old Testament prophets and New Testament saints and our Lord Jesus as well. Perhaps Bishop Ingham would also ban the Bible; it doesn’t seem to fall in with his brand of theology.

Larry Jelinek

Oakville, Ont.

(by e-mail)

Article on Serbs unbalanced

Dear editor,

After reading Serbs Are Real Victims, Priest Says (November Journal), I have to express my disappointment in this article and the Anglican Journal.

I realize this article reflects the extreme views of Rev. Bill Hutton who refused to even listen to any Albanian stories because he felt they would be exaggerated. However, surely this extreme view should have been balanced in the Journal with a story on the tragedy of the Albanian Kosovars.

As an Anglican who has worked with others in St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Fredericton, N.B., to help two Kosovar families cope with the violence and atrocities Serbs carried out on them, I am offended by the Journal’s lack of balance on this reporting.

The tragedy of the former Yugoslavia is a complex issue, which has developed over centuries of ethnic fighting and generations of religious conflict. It is not simply one ethnic group’s fault.

We turned out backs on the Bosnians when they were persecuted five years ago. We could not do it again with the Albanian people. Now we must ensure that the Serbs can live in peace in that region also.

I would draw your attention to the work of University of New Brunswick psychology professor Chok Hiew who is working in Kosovo helping teachers and doctors cope with children traumatized by the horrors and brutality of the war. He was overwhelmed by the tragic stories of families who had been brutally treated through this conflict.

Mr. Hutton’s simplistic, extremist views perpetuate the problems of the former Yugoslavia. Your article gives them a credibility they do not deserve. As an Anglican, I expected better journalism of my national newspaper.

Darrel N. Butler


Churches destroyed

Dear editor:

The Serbian Orthodox Church has issued a list of destroyed or partly demolished buildings.

Between June 13 ? when Nato troops entered Kosovo ? and Oct. 20, they say, 74 churches have been turned to dust, burned or vandalized. The 15th-century monastery of the Holy Trinity above Musutiste, built in 1465, was levelled with explosives. The monastery of the Archangel near Vitina, built in the 14th century, has been looted and burned. So has the church of the Archangels in Gornje Nerodimlje. And the church of St Paraskeva, near Pec. And the church of St Nicholas in Prekoruplje ? razed and its nine 16th-century icons lost, including that of the apostle Thomas.

Recently, I drove down the same road to Prizren and sought out the same church. I found the field and steel gate. But the church was a ruin. A single wall stood. The rest was pulverized stone. Goodbye, then, to the icons and the saints with the staring eyes. Goodbye to Jesus. Goodbye to the Serb Orthodox Church. All across Kosovo I found identical scenes, places of worship ? sometimes 600 years old ? levelled with explosives and hammers, the very identity of Serb history turned to dust amid fields and hillsides by Nato’s Kosovo Albanian allies.

Mirjana Milutinovic


(by e-mail)

BCP complete system of belief, worship

Dear editor,

Reginald Stackhouse’s insightful piece in the September Journal (One Church ? One Book) leads me to quite a different conclusion from his.

As he shows so forcefully, the scandal of the last 14 years has been a process by which parish clergy felt free, with implicit episcopal approval, to replace the “official” book with the “alternative,” whether their congregations wanted this change or not.

Resistance to the BAS has been directed more against the way it has been imposed than against the book itself, and it is not the coexistence of two books which has posed a problem but the absence of a level playing field. As long as the Book of Common Prayer remains intact and can be freely used by those who wish to do so, there is no difficulty in giving equal status to a modern service book, which has been approved by General Synod.

However, the BCP, which was the crowning achievement of the English Reformation, should not be joined to a service book, which has been inspired by the 20th century liturgical movement. The theological differences between the two books have been clearly presented by Professor John Webster (1993). Moreover, the BCP is much more than just a service book. It is a complete system of belief, spirituality, and worship and forms an inalienable part of our Anglican birthright.

Schuyler Brown

Professor Emeritus of New Testament

St. Michael’s College, Toronto

(by e-mail)

Focus on real goal

Dear editor:

My husband and I were shocked at the letter, No Strings Attached (October Journal).

We got married on May 1,1999 at St. John’s Anglican Church in Onoway, Alta. We were told we’d have to take the marriage preparation course and we were “in the dark” at the time about it too. But, after being through the course we can both say it is well worth the time and money. It helped us solve some problems we’d had for ages. It was far from being total strangers lecturing us about marriage. It was friends helping friends, relaxed and a lot of fun.

We feel that marriage is not to be taken lightly, especially if you want to exchange vows in front of God. The divorce rate is so high and the course is there to try and help couples stay together happily for better or worse. It is not an ultimatum, it is a chance to learn more about each other and have a successful marriage. I think it is a great course and would highly recommend it to anyone who is getting married.

If you’re not willing to invest the time, effort or money into this simple and short course then you need to ask yourself “Am I getting married or just having a wedding?” There is a big difference between the two ? weddings last for one day, whereas a marriage lasts a lifetime.

The course will help take you away from the fanfare of the wedding and focus on the real goal ? life long happiness with your partner!

Zoe Grey


(by e-mail)

Rigorous scrutiny

Dear editor:

In the October Journal, columnist Eric Beresford states “for many, the new biotechnologies reflect the vanity ?rather than responsible stewardship.”

I disagree!

The agricultural community I am familiar with works hard to increase their understanding of genetics for the sole purpose of producing more food for a rapidly expanding population. Biotechnology involves transferring genes from one plant to another. Plant breeders have done this in less sophisticated ways since Mendel first demonstrated the principals of dominant and recessive genes.

Work that I am familiar with involves potatoes, and attempts to breed varieties that are resistant to the late blight fungus, Colorado potato beetle, and aphids. When successful, those new varieties will significantly reduce the amount of pesticides applied to the crop. There will be a reduction in cost to the producer as well as a reduction in the environmental impact of pesticides required to produce the crop.

Regarding food safety, Health Canada requires that extensive information be supplied which details the chemical and biochemical composition of each new variety before it is approved for human consumption. The scrutiny that genetically modified foods are subject to is every bit as rigorous as for pharmaceuticals and pesticides. Personally I have greater concern regarding salmonella and E.coli contamination.

Agriculture on a world scale is under pressure to produce more food. If yields cannot be increased through the use of scientific agriculture, the only alternative involves expanding the land base in areas where these crops can be grown. That would involve clearing more land, at the expense of wildlife.

Mr. Beresford raises the issue of pesticide-resistant plants passing their resistance on to other plants. The pesticide-resistant varieties of canola, for instance, currently used in agriculture are each only resistant to one herbicide and at the same time can be controlled by many other herbicides. The Alberta crop protection guide lists 37 herbicides for use in wheat that would control any plant that might cross with a herbicide- resistant canola plant.

It is healthy to question technological advances but we must not let fear and unfounded hype take over from well-founded scientific reason.

Dennis Laughton P.Ag.


(by e-mail)

Highly recommended

Dear editor,

I turned to the review article on science and religion with great interest since this subject has preoccupied me for many years. I would like to recommend another book which deals with this topic in a most profound and amazing way: Walker Percy’s, Lost in the Cosmos: the Last Self-Help Book.

Percy might be dubbed the “physician-general of the modern world.” His diagnosis is both wide and deep and includes an insightful discussion of some issues around science, “scientism,” religion and faith.

Rudi Krause

Okanagan Centre, B.C.

(by e-mail)

Labyrinths questioned

Dear editor:

Ever since Dr. Lauren Artres of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco began introducing the labyrinth as a meditation tool for Christians, its popularity has soared. Along with many neo-pagans, Episcopalians and Presbyterians have taken courses and meditative walks through and to the centre of labyrinths but, as a Christian, I must raise a few questions.

While it seems there is an undeniable pattern of a labyrinth on the floor of Chartres Cathedral (perhaps as an architectural reflection of the rose window) is there any evidence that Christians ever walked that labyrinth? Or could it be that it is, like the Greek key, or the chessboard pattern, merely an architectural adornment?

Do not Christians have their own ancient perambulation, and a Christ-centred one at that, called the way or stations of the cross? Is not the labyrinth just another attempt to introduce finding of self? And might it not be salutary to remember what was found at the centre of the labyrinth generally conceded to be the original: the Minotaur, a monster? Should we not be careful about the introduction of pagan customs?

Canon Douglas Skoyles



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