Letters to the editor

Published June 1, 2003

PWRDF to address costs, funding and finances

Dear editor,

I am writing in response to Peter Carroll’s letter, calling on PWRDF to ‘examine structure’ (May 2003).

I appreciate his concern about the organizational and operational structure of PWRDF. PWRDF staff will be meeting in the coming weeks to look at ways in which we can maintain administrative expenditures at or below the board-required ceiling of 12 per cent. This ceiling is comparable to ceilings of similar international development organizations. We will be considering new organizational structures to ensure more streamlined administration while we continue to take into account the increased administrative demands of government funders and regulators.

We will further address the question of administration percentages by holding firm on our staff costs while securing and expanding our funding base. At its recent meetings, our board of directors approved a financial development strategy to generate increased income through a more distinct profile of PWRDF among Canadian Anglicans. The financial development strategy approved by the PWRDF board includes a deepening relationship with parishes to support contributions from the pews, greater communication and appreciation of our donors, and active pursuit of planned giving opportunities.

Among the greatest strengths of PWRDF is the enduring, dynamic relations with our development partners in Canada and overseas. They tell us that the quality and devotion of the PWRDF staff are an essential component of our collaboration for a more just and peaceful world. PWRDF is committed to standing by its long-term relations with development partners for effective programming. Therefore, we must address the organizational and operational questions raised by Mr. Carroll at the same time as we stand by our excellent staff team and develop a more secure financial base from which to work as the international development ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Andrew Ignatieff

Executive Director, PWRDF


Dear editor,

Bernice Logan is a remarkably courageous person. She has taken on the combined forces of political correctness, historical revisionism and pathological victimhood, all buttressed enthusiastically by much of the Canadian legal establishment. Most of these school workers acted in good faith and with the best of intentions and one has the sense that they have been scapegoated and to some extent abandoned by the church. All Bernice Logan is asking for is that compassion be extended to all victims of this sad misadventure.

Christopher Clapp


‘Trivial’ vestments

Dear editor,

The centre spread on vestments in (May 2003) reminded me of the title of a book that has stood on my shelves for half a century: Down Peacock’s Feathers by D.R. Davies – a commentary on the General Confession from the BCP. The title is a quote from The Book of Homilies.

The display of an outspread chasuble in the middle of the montage brought to mind this apt comparison. In all the commentary on the artistic merits of these splendid creations, as well as in the editorial on page 4, there is no mention of their symbolic significance as eucharistic vestments. Is that merely secondary to their aesthetic value? Or are their theological implications too sensitive an issue to raise?

My chief objection is the inappropriateness of devoting so much space and attention to a trivial matter like vestments, when there are far more urgent issues crying out for editorial comment in our national paper. Where is our Anglican voice on the war in Iraq and its outcome? And how about the negative perception left upon the Muslim world by another ‘crusade’ on the part of the Christian west against Islam?

Surely, at such a critical time, readers of the Anglican Journal deserve better than a full colour fashion parade of ecclesiastical finery!

Peter Grattonn


Simplicity defended

Dear editor,

It is perversely amusing that critics of vestments, quoted in the May editorial, would reject vesture derived from the dress of the period of the earliest Christian communities in favour of a form of vesture exclusively medieval in origin. Sadly, the detractors of vesture – with one exception – display a lack of knowledge and a subjectivity which are inappropriate to any meaningful discussion of the issue at hand.

The exception is found in the charming verses submitted by Evangeline Murray with reference to simplicity. Simplicity of form and decoration is precisely the quality which characterized the vesture of early Christendom, and is still the defining feature of the best examples of vesture of our present era.

K. Corey Keeble

North Vancouver, B.C.

Afraid to speak up

Dear editor,

I was born, raised, and baptized Anglican. I spent years in Sunday school, and confirmation, learning about the good and greatness of God. I believed in the Anglican Church, believed that everything I was taught, and was in the Bible as being ‘right.’ Then I turned 16, and found that I was gay. Exploring my sexuality brought about many changes in me, mostly in my faith. I left the Anglican church at about 18. I could not believe that a God so good could send me to hell for who I am. I could not figure out how if I followed the rule of God, I would be sentenced to an eternity with the devil. Now I am 42. I have always followed the commandments. I help others, take pride in my community involvement, and have a strong inner faith.

I would like to come back to the church. However, I cannot support the church that condemns me. The local minister, bless her wonderful soul, will not perform a marriage ceremony for my husband and myself for fear of repercussions from the bishop. Even though in her heart she knows it’s the right, correct and just thing to do, she is afraid of what the church may do to her. I feel it only shows how narrow and secular the Anglican church is. When a minister is afraid to speak up, or help a member of her congregation because the executive will ban her, that is not freedom.

Gerald Hipperson

Woodstock, Ont.

One-sided defence

Dear editor,

In the article “New West bishop warns off interlopers” (April 2003) the bishop of New Westminster cautioned his dissenting parishes that an unauthorized “flying bishop” would change the way the church has operated for centuries but didn’t mention that the introduction of same-sex blessings would achieve the same effect. In all fairness to Bishop Ingham, however, his one-sided defence of church tradition in this current situation offers a glimmer of hope to many frustrated Anglicans.

An episcopal admonition of this sort would have been most appreciated over the past few decades by concerned Anglicans who seemed to stand alone as they challenged such changes as new liturgical practices, female ordination, generic language, etc. that not only did alter Anglicanism as it had been known by its adherents for centuries, but also resulted in the present divisive state of the church.

William Holtham


Mutual respect

Dear editor,

I was offended by the disrespectful tone of April’s coverage on the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples’ (ACIP) decision to disassociate themselves from the agreement signed March 11 by the federal government and the Anglican Church of Canada, regarding residential schools litigation.

“Eleventh hour complaint from native council” is patronizing and trivializes the reasons ACIP rejects elements of the agreement, as well as the alternative dispute resolution process that all First Nations claimants are required to endure.

It seems that Sections 6.2 and 6.3 of the agreement commit the Anglican church to “vigorously oppose” any claims for loss of language, culture or traditions. This, in native eyes, constitutes extinguishment of inherent rights given to them by the Creator.

I understand why the primate felt compelled to sign the agreement, but I also understand why the ACIP refused to endorse it.

It is unfortunate that indigenous and non-indigenous Anglicans did not sit down together and painstakingly read the fine print in this agreement prior to the signing. In the months ahead, I hope the Anglican Journal will not only follow this story, but will encourage all Anglicans to address the issues raised by ACIP.

Raising $25 million to cap litigation costs is not the end, but only a new beginning in our journey to reconciliation, mutual respect and mutual understanding that must continue.

Cynthia McLean


Church thriving

Dear editor,

I would like to respond to the article entitled “Whither the downtown Montreal churches?” (May 2003). It was frustrating to read the sketchy portrayal of my church. “St. Stephen has a crumbling interior but a lively ministry to street people,” it said, and that was it. We do have such a ministry, and I would also add: a congregation of 150-200 (average) on Sundays, most of whom are under 40; an active Sunday school; plus, a high level of lay involvement (including my own) and an enormous talent base, musical and otherwise.

The so-called “crumbling interior” of our small building is progressively being renovated, which does not keep us from employing five people, three of them full-time.

The purpose of this letter is not to toot our horn. My message is simply this: are we, perhaps, doing something right?

Louise Carrier



Dear editor,

I began to read Gordon Baker’s review of David Jenkins book The Calling of a Cuckoo with enthusiasm but then I came across the sentence, “…the one God, creator of diversity, commands us to honour his creation by respecting diversity.” And just like that we got disconnected.

No one doubts that the God of creation is infinitely creative and imaginative. But how on earth does this connect up with the idea of diversity? Diversity can represent the quest for wholeness; it can just as easily reflect our own brokenness.

Throughout history, the Jews were confronted by choices at every turn. “Do this. Don’t do that. Choose this. Don’t choose that.”

Whether we read the Bible as revelation or mere history, and David Jenkins reportedly fears “fundamentalism,” we can’t escape the fact that that God is particular.

And isn’t that the nature of truth. Indeed, isn’t that the message of Easter?

Eric Cummer


Creator and creation

Dear editor,

It was with pleasure that I read “Churches look at going green” (April 2003). I congratulate the diocese of Ottawa for its leadership. It took 65 years for a light to go on in my mind that there must be a relationship between the Creator and creation.

My adopted diocese of Connecticut’s best kept secret is its energetic committee on the environment, which has published an excellent manual entitled Caring for Creation; An Earth Ministry Handbook. Its prologue states, “Reverence for the earth is integral to many faith traditions. An increased awareness of this ancient wisdom and of the need for a just relationship with all of creation is now occurring in most religious communities”.

I pray that the leadership of the dioceses of Ottawa, Connecticut and others will encourage those voices to be heard in unison and hopefully succeed in this urgent stewardship.

Wilfrid B. Lamb

New Haven, Conn.

Save my bacon

Dear editor,

The Anglican Church of Canada is facing important issues in a changing world. The residential schools issue is close to being resolved, the issue of the blessing of homosexual unions by the church is strong, as is the topic of the church’s interactions with other faiths. It is a growing concern of mine that Canadian Anglicans may be losing their way.

The residential schools settlement is not about accepting or assigning blame. However we can help in the healing, and show love and support for our fellows.

When two people find each other, it is a blessed event, heterosexual or otherwise. Many people seem fond of quoting the Bible to support homophobia. Such passages are in there. One is Leviticus 18:22 which is sandwiched between the banning of eating pork and the wearing of garments made of two different fabrics. Looks like bacon and my pants may be sending me to Hell.

If we keep the idea of love in our minds for all situations and dealings with people, as a church and as individuals, we will be all right.

Andrew Barker


Beautiful illustration

Dear editor,

I was pleased to see the photo of our Governor General receiving communion from a Roman Catholic archbishop (March 2003). I am a life-long Anglican and, since attending a parochial school in my youth, feel a close bond with Roman Catholics. In December I visited Australia to attend my daughter’s university graduation at a Roman Catholic university. The day began with a lovely mass for all the graduates and their guests. We were told that because it was an ecumenical mass, everyone who wished to was invited to receive communion (with the bread and the wine)! As you can imagine it made my daughter’s graduation much more meaningful for both of us.

H. Doreen Bellinger


Schools saved lives

Dear editor,

I want to thank you for the report entitled, “School workers find their voice” (April 2003). I have been disturbed ever since the primate did his sack cloth and ashes routine in 1993 by apologizing to our native brethren about the harm done during the existence of residential schools but seemingly never adding what were the positives. I have written to the primate on two occasions in an attempt to stay this routine he and several other bishops offer but to no avail. He has never replied to me.

The fact is that the schools were instruments in their day of the love of Christ for all people. I remember as a young boy gathering pennies and nickels at our church to send to the residential schools to support their needs. Later, as an adult and a social worker I came across a number of children of native ancestry whose lives I am certain were saved by being at these schools.

I congratulate the staff who dedicated their lives to working in these schools. They should never feel ashamed of their work.

John H. Lawrence

Guelph, Ont

Forbid them not

Dear editor,

I write to you in response to some of your letters to the editor (February 2003).

I am a 19-year-old who attends church regularly. When I do attend church that I am intimidated by the feeling that the congregation is concentrated in the age groups of Sunday school children and senior citizens. The church needs to concentrate also on the age group of post-confirmation. In some parishes in the diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, the only time that young people are in church is for baptisms, funerals, and weddings.

As I begin university in the fall, I will be working my way to answering God’s call to ordained ministry to the priesthood. I hope that the problem of young people in the church in the ideal of being seen and not heard will be put to one side. After all, it was Christ Jesus, who said “Suffer little children to come unto me: and forbid them not.”

Jeffrey Petten

Conception Bay South, Nfld.


Dear editor,

I am grateful for Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan’s response (May 2003) to my letter of April 2003, in which she acknowledges that there is “a wide range of interpretation with(in) the Anglican Communion of the nature of Christ’s presence” in the Lord’s Supper. Of course, our church’s formularies have never contained dogmatic eucharistic definitions that are binding on all Anglicans, let alone ones equating our doctrine with that of Rome. Ms. Barnett-Cowan and others are free to give primacy to the 1982 ARCIC document as the basis for their eucharistic views; I hope that those of us who understand our canonical formularies to be primary, and interpreters of ecumenical assertions (rather than the other way around), are afforded the same courtesy.

Gary Graber



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