Letters to the Editor

Published April 1, 2009

The Anglican Journal welcomes letters to the editor. Preference is given to letters under 100 words. All letters are subject to editing for length, grammar and clarity. Please include a mailing address.

Council of General Synod sets double standard

Dear editor,

Re: Council of General Synod receives funds for May meeting (Anglican Journal Web site, March 4)).

I read this article with mixed emotions. CoGS has mandated some tough budget cuts to General Synod operations.

We have lost some very talented staff, and yet CoGS does not appear to be able to trim its own sail and figure out a way of doing business that doesn’t involve travel.

I normally go to Chicago three times a year for business coaching meetings. Our June meeting will be a virtual meeting, held over the same time period (two days), but the agenda has been re-crafted in such a way that I can involve my staff for parts of it, and the luncheon sessions are designed in such a way that I can invite clients to sit in on these sessions.

Is the meeting different? Yes. Do I like the format? I am not sure, but the organization has the courage to make the changes needed to cope with challenging economic times. Am I excited? Yes, I am.

Can the same be said of CoGS?

The part of this story I find vaguely pathetic is that CoGS can somehow place itself above the needs of the entire General Synod operation in asking for direct funding of its operation. Yikes.

Do faith, worship and ministry, partnerships, eco-justice, communications and information resources have the right to place their needs directly to the wider Anglican public, in competition with other General Synod operations? No.

Why should CoGS? It cheapens the hard work that the entire General Synod and its staff do.
Peter Bennett

Grannies raise $50,000

Dear editor,

Thank you for the article on our calendar in the December 2008 issue (Grannies take it off in support of HIV orphans).

Your readers will be glad to know that so far this initiative has raised $50,000 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

The foundation funds projects helping African grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren orphaned by AIDS. Still want to help? Visit the website, www.quintegrannies.ca
Winifred Perryman
Quinte Grannies for Africa
Quinte, Ont.

Suppose Sadducees and Pharisees brought a gay person before Jesus

Dear editor,

As I was pondering the current divisions in the Anglican Church of Canada, the following scenario occurred to me. Could this have happened in Jesus’ day?

A group of Sadducees and Pharisees brought before Jesus a person, claiming, “This person was caught performing a homosexual act.”

The two groups were united to discredit Jesus, but otherwise very different in their agendas.Jesus said to the Pharisee group, “Those of you without any sin may ask me to condemn this act and punish this person.” Beginning with the eldest, the Pharisees melted away.

Of the Sadducees, Jesus asked, “And what brings you here?” To which they replied, “Tell this person that, since he is this way inclined, it’s permissible.” Jesus answered, “Let any of you who have never justified a sin by saying you couldn’t help it, ask me directly what I think.” And the Sadducees also walked away.

To the person standing there before him Jesus said, “Has anyone approved your act? Has anyone condemned you?”

To which the person answered, “No, Lord.”

“Then neither shall I,” said the Lord. “Go and sin no more.”
C. P. S. Taylor
London, Ont.

Impaired communion

Dear editor,

The Anglican Journal (February 2009) informs us that one of the five Ottawa priests who switched allegiance from the Anglican Church of Canada to the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) is a woman, Jennifer Wickham. What a paradox! A generation ago, many Anglicans (I was one of them) would have opposed the ordination of Ms. Wickham on the same grounds that the ANiC opposes current trends in the Anglican church: They are contrary to Scripture. In fact, the jurisdiction which Ms. Wickham has joined has many who would still oppose her ordination, including the province of the Southern Cone.

I wonder if they are in “impaired communion” with Ms. Wickham, as the ANiC claims to be with the Anglican church, and if so, then how, in terms of good conscience and integrity, are the members of the ANiC in any better position now than they were as members of it? Surely our communion with each other is not based on perfect concord, agreement, approval or even affection. It is in the Lord, and through the Lord; that alone which makes it holy communion.
Peter Hannen


Dear editor,

Doubtless, having rockets fired at your neighbourhood (Israel attacked by Hamas and, in 2006, by Hezbollah) is unnerving; however, Israel’s bloody incursions into Palestinian territory is/was definitely overkill. The fact is, rockets would likely not be fired at Israel if the latter gave the Palestinians their own truly independent homeland back.
Frank G. Sterle, Jr.
White Rock, B.C.

Let’s use our energy to bring Anglicans back to church

Dear editor,

After having read the Journal and the Diocesan Times from cover to cover and back again I would like to reflect on the letter from Clyde H. Elford of Calgary (“Why go to church?,” January Journal).

I am constantly aware of the changes taking place in the Anglican church. I, too, ask the question, Why go to church?

Mr. Elford spoke about the priest having his or her own views and invoking them occasionally in the homily. Nothing wrong with that if it’s not directed at certain people. He also said that clergy are not always willing to discuss a parishioner’s complaint or suggestion. How true!

My life was drastically changed by the way certain things were handled. Several parishioners decided to leave the church, including myself, my husband, my daughter, her son and several dear friends. We had dedicated our lives to the church, both physically and spiritually. Is it not the duty of clergy to be supportive and understanding, reflecting above all on what Christ teaches, rather than on a personal issue? What did I do that was so terrible that couldn’t be undone? Where was the support from the church leaders?

Let’s get back to being Anglicans. Let’s use our energy to bring them all back. Maybe then more people might feel called to attend. Let’s stop the bickering and get back to the teachings.
Juanita Shortliffe
Shelburne, N.S.

Ordinary Palestinians

Dear editor,

Re: Churches push for Gaza Peace (February Journal). Where were the churches when the Palestinians were firing rockets and mortars into Israel for the last several years? Do you expect the Israelis to calmly accept being murdered by those people? What does the church have to say now that the United Nations has stopped relief supplies because the Palestinian government is allegedly stealing the supplies that were intended for their people?

Do you expect people to have sympathy for the Palestinians? Well, guess again. Do not claim that it is the Hamas’ fault and not the ordinary Palestinian. Who do you think elected the Hamas in their last election?
J. L. Smith
Mississauga, Ont.

Still, small voice

Dear editor,

Re: Churches push for Gaza Peace (February Journal). This refers to the mid-January appeal by the Anglican bishop of Jerusalem for financial support for the Al Ahli Arab Hospital that led to a call by bishops to parishioners across Canada.

Does the response to this appeal indicate a meaningful level of concern among Anglicans, or does the total sum raised imply that Archbishop Fred Hiltz is a still, small voice crying in the wilderness as far as parishioners are concerned?
Philip Stigger
Burnaby, B.C.

Civil, church weddings

Dear editor,

I am somewhat concerned about the position of the Anglican church in relation to marriages. I propose a solution which has so far been ignored.

Under the present law, all weddings are civil. In order for a wedding to be recognized there must be recognition by the state, and the person officiating at the wedding must be authorized by the state to do so.

A solution is to set up a regulation that all weddings must be performed as civil weddings. Then, if a church wants to perform a ceremony in accordance with that church’s rules, that rite can be secondary.

Then, when one comes to have a religious ceremony, the method of determining the form of the marriage will be that followed by that denomination. And the state will not recognize such marriage until a civil marriage is performed.
Eric L. Teed
Saint John, N.B.

Leap of faith

Dear editor,

Keith Knight has hit the nail on the head (A vibrant youth ministry, March editorial).

I, as a 74-year-old Anglican, have been trying to motivate our parish church to provide “something” for the children and youth. We live in a small city and all the non-mainline churches except perhaps a new Baptist ministry have provided excellent programs for youth.

It is so difficult to begin something new in a parish when there are so many cranky, old people who are horrified that the church is going to be overrun with children running around and making noise. And, of course, they usually are the people who tithe the most, and the vestry, rector or leaders do not take a leap of faith for fear of upsetting someone.

We have a trust of $10,000 to be used for youth programs. A small amount was spent four or five years ago to hire a Church Army youth director to organize the youth. His contract was for nine months.

We share the workload with St. Paul Lutheran in providing a wonderful summer vacation Bible school. We usually get between 60 and 80 youth and children. When will the hierarchy begin concentrating on what’s happening at the diocesan and parish level? If we aren’t vibrant in our own little circle, how can we begin to tell others about Christ?
Sheila Harris
Yorkton, Sask.


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