Letters to the editor

Published February 1, 2009

The Anglican Journal

Amazing Grace video a commercial success

Dear editor,

The Amazing Grace project began as a wonderful, Spirit-guided concept. But then it became a project of “downtown.”

One only has to look at the enthusiasm portrayed in the many individual videos showing congregations who took it to their hearts and saw it as a gift – a gift of the same spirit that Jesus said he was leaving with us to see us through until everything became clear.

But we humans, in our bumbling, fumbling, mumbling, grumbling incompetence, took what was a beautiful thing and turned it into what may become a commercial success in terms of the number of hits the Web site gets but not what it was intended to be – a bringing together of Anglicans/Christians from coast to coast to coast in joyful praise.

Now, to become subjective! Our small church embraced this project as a demonstration of all that faith can be. We submitted our video and it was on the Web. In all humility, we were proud to be a part of the whole. We knew we had done our best. We had expected more.

Could the editors of the final product not see that our choir director had brilliantly chosen an offering that was in all likelihood reflective of the very thoughts that went through Newton’s head as he wrote his faith-filled hymn? Just one small extract from the words could have placed the video into a more human, understandable, relevant context: “The universe with joy will ring when grace has won the day; as all creation joins that day to sing Amazing Grace.” In my view, the video should have opened with it.

To compound their insensitivity, we were not even recognized in “the rollover” of credits despite the inclusion of two seconds of our video. Perhaps others were brushed aside, too; who knows? Am I bitter? If they think so, they are even thicker and more self-indulgent than I suspect. I am saddened, but not surprised! It is a sad thing when the process submerges the message.
Frank Russell
Sharon, Ont.

Copyrighting liturgy

Dear editor,

Bravo! It’s about time that the Canadian church got on board with relaxing its copyright control over the liturgy. Other churches have had their liturgies in the public domain for some time now.

These texts are not primarily sources of income; they are the heart of our churches’ spiritual lives. That shouldn’t be up for sale. There are other ways to protect the church’s right to be acknowledged as the author without controlling the right to make copies.
Jonathan Rowe
St. John’s, Nfld.

Prejudice stems from literal reading of the text

Dear editor,

Walter Deller of the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad in Saskatoon is accused (Letters, November Journal) of not understanding the nature of Islam and of wrongly suggesting a “moral equivalence” between evangelical Anglicans and fundamentalist Islam.

What troubles Mr. Deller’s critics troubles me also: The oppression of women under sharia law in some Muslim countries and the nihilistic violence of suicide bombers.

When we forge absolute distinctions between ‘us’ and ‘them’, however, historical amnesia is usually clouding our judgment. The Christian religion is not exempt from the moral failures cited. Doug Saunders, writing in the Globe and Mail on Sept. 20, 2008, looked back at European history between the 14th and 18th centuries and characterized the Church as “a murderous, terrorist, woman-hating force.” Of course, that was then. But were not evangelicals in the U.S. – I don’t know how many Episcoplians or Canadian Anglicans – among the uncritical supporters of a recent war of aggression that has led to the deaths of something like 1.2 million Iraqis?

Mr. Deller was right, it seems to me, in suggesting that a root cause of harmful prejudice in a range of social issues can be found in a literalistic reading of a supposedly inerrant text -whether Bible or Qur’an.
A. Frank Thompson
Nobel, Ont.

Sober second thought

Dear editor,

Re: Creating a new province (January Journal). To me this is a most unworkable idea, partly because the province would take parts of several continents, and partly because the proposal is made by conservatives who are unwilling to take a broader view of the ideas and interpretations of scripture of other people.

Even if they do succeed in making a new province, notwithstanding the difficulties with church property and parishioner allegiances, how is it going to be possible to administer? Those now in favour of creating a new province will sooner or later die, and what will the next generation think? Perhaps they will not care, and the divided Anglican Church will face a struggle to remain in existence.

Sober second thought is required before fatal mistakes are made.
Frank Stockall
Gibbons, Alta.

The next hymn

Dear editor,

Re: Amazing Grace project (January Journal).What a blast!

Some ideas just work, and this one worked brilliantly. How about Holy, holy, holy for next year. Same time of year, same procedure.
Ken Gray
Victoria, B.C.

Not extremists

Dear editor,

In his editorial “Moratorium allows for time to create a way forward” (December 2008), Keith Knight views those in the Anglican Church advocating same-sex marriage as the extreme left wing and those opposed as the extreme right wing. The middle he sees as “caught in a theological quandary; not agreeing with blessings of same-sex unions but not wanting to leave the church either.”

Mr. Knight’s view is simply not the Anglican church that I experience. He seems to be unaware of the large number of individuals and parishes who are right in the centre of Anglicanism, and because of that central commitment feel that God’s justice calls them to support applying the same standards of marriage and ordination equally to everyone.

Yes, they are frustrated with the delays in implementing this justice, and yes, they are perplexed and saddened by those leaving the Anglican Church, but they are not extremists.
Hank Rogers

They’re Anglican

Dear editor,

Re: Where’s Lusitania? (January letters) A bit more research on Tony Capon’s part would have reassured him that it was not ancient Romans at issue when Anglicans were asked to pray for Anglicans in Lusitania.

The Lusitanian Catholic Apostolic Evangelical Church is the Anglican Church in Portugal, organized with the aid of the American Episcopal Church in 1880, recognized by many provinces of the Anglican Communion in the 1960s, and since 1980 organized as an extra provincial diocese under the metropolitan authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Its current bishop is the Rt. Rev Fernando Soares. The official Web site of the Anglican Communion is very helpful.
Ronald Vince
Flamborough, Ont.

Slamming the door

Dear editor,

Denis C. Gray writes that Anglicans are quitting the church (Journal Letters, December), to protest the liberal attitudes of the bishops and the church.

I can name dozens of Anglicans who have left the church, not because they oppose homosexuals in their midst, but because they are sickened and heart-broken at the behaviour of those who would deny gay and lesbian Anglicans a home in the church. A church will never die from loving. It will die from slamming and bolting the door.
Michael Nicholas
Rothesay, N.B.

A matter of faith

Dear editor,

You only have to read the marriage announcements in your local newspaper to realize that today more people get married on a beach than in a church.

As Christians we should be welcoming any couple committed to their faith and one another who want their union blessed in a church. This is a faith-based issue – the couple’s sexual preference is irrelevant.
Lucinda Hage
Peterborough, Ont.

Conditional love

Dear editor,

Re: Anglican Church in North America: new church or new province? (January Journal) Could it be perhaps that part of the decline mentioned in the article is due to the apparent lack of coherency in the message? Did Christ actually say, “Love one another” but shun those and those and??
David Major
Chester Basin, N.S.


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