These letters appeared in the March 2013 issue of Anglican Journal.
DON’T KILL THE JOURNAL
As a lifelong journalist and corporate communicator, I couldn’t agree more with outgoing Journal editor Kristin Jenkins’s plea for the national church not to imminently further starve or kill the print version of the Anglican Journal as a part of its seemingly never-ending restructurings! [Choosing Door Number Two, Feb. 2013, p. 2]
While we in this Anglican household are more than well equipped with the information technology needed to access web-only church communications, we still prefer the handy, more universally user-friendly tabloids-the printed Journal and its welcome companion insert, the Ottawa diocesan newspaper CrossTalk.
Communications are the very lifeblood of our troubled, shrinking church as we struggle to reinvent our stuffy, outmoded structures, redefine our message and ultimately survive as a structured faith group.
Please, National Church, leave the Journal as it is!
“It is a painful fact to realize how poorly prepared most Christian leaders prove to be when they are invited to be spiritual leaders in the true sense. Most of them are used to thinking in terms of large-scale organization, getting people together in churches, schools and hospitals, and running the show as a circus director. They have become unfamiliar with, and even somewhat afraid of, the deep and significant movements of the spirit”-Henri H. J. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer (Image Books, 1979, 37-8).
These words from one of the great spiritual theologians of our time, Fr. Henri Nouwen, are the best commentary available on the restructuring of the Anglican church in Canada as described on page one of the Anglican Journal, Jan. 2013.
Dr. Walter Klaassen
I took the January Anglican Journal out of our mailbox, glanced at it and groaned inwardly. It’s ironic, but fairly typical of the Anglican Church of Canada, that at the top of the front page, the words “Council of General Synod looks to the future” is printed over a never-never bucolic scene of a village with a spired church building at its centre. How about printing it over an image of a new subdivision on the outskirts of Toronto with a shopping mall at its centre? That is what the future looks like for most Canadians, but it’s a future that the Anglican church ignores in its imagery. Might that have something to do with its steadily diminishing relevance in Canada and with the steadily decreasing revenue that is such a worry to General Synod?
Garth van der Kamp
Forty years is a long time to remain a committed reader of a publication. I first began reading The Canadian Churchman/Anglican Journal in the Glace Bay Public Library when I was in high school. This letter, if it makes it to print, joins the several communications I’ve sent off to Church House protesting the appointment of the primate’s principal secretary as interim managing editor of the Journal (Feb. Journal). Placing a high-ranking church bureaucrat with sensitive responsibilities to the primate in a journalism role is a really bad decision. It has implications for editorial independence, conflict of interest and transparency. Judging by the comments on the Anglican Journal website, I’m far from alone in my concern about the wisdom of this appointment. If the print edition survives the current financial crisis, I’ll happily return as a reader once a professional journalist is on the job as editor.
The Rev. Canon Rod Gillis (retired)
The IdleNoMore movement challenges us all who are not First Nations peoples to understand the responsibilities of our government’s relationship to the original treaties as well as the effect of the recent omnibus bill’s dismantling of environmental protections to care for this land.
I believe we are called as Christians to understand the deep underlying connections between being an “earthkeeper” and being neighbour to our aboriginal sisters and brothers.
KEEP THE NEWS COMING
I have just read Driving a hard bargain [Editorial, Jan. 2013, p. 2]. Sorry to hear about the budget cuts, but everyone is affected, regardless of where we work. Anglicans in Canada are a diminishing group. The few who are “active” at whatever spiritual and financial level are asked to support a myriad of causes: our parish, our diocese, the Anglican Journal, our diocesan paper, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. The problem is that the support base is getting too small to finance an infrastructure that has remained much as it has been for decades, despite trimming here and there. Can the church sustain the number of bishops we support, churches, etc.?
In terms of the Journal’s future, I commend you for looking at creative ways to carry on. But as the Journal continues to shrink, at some point you will lose the critical mass needed to carry on. None of us want your news next year to be that the AJ is folding because of financial uncertainty.
‘A POINT OF CONNECTION’
I am writing in response to readers’ comments about United Church of Canada moderator the Rev. Dr. Gary Paterson [United Church elects gay leader, Oct. 2012, p. 1]. One reader was deeply offended and could not see anything inspiring about such a story. Another was upset that Gary’s sexuality was given such a prominent place in the story.
As a 33-year-old lesbian (one of a very small number of gay people in my church), knowing that Gary, a prominent person in a mainline Christian domination, is someone “like me” is extremely inspiring and encouraging. I understand intellectually that a person’s sexuality need not be, and should not be, made to be a big deal, but emotionally it is a point of connection and hope for someone who has felt excluded not only within the Christian religion but from society as a whole.
TRUTH IN ADVERTISING?
I was somewhat surprised and then perturbed when I opened the Jan. 2013 Anglican Journal and was confronted by an insert urging, “Saint Brother André, pray for us.” On reading further, simply out of curiosity, I was invited to pray, “Your loving friendship with Jesus, Joseph and Mary makes you a powerful intercessor with the Holy Father.” (That title is used for the Pope. Is that what it meant?) We are also told, “Tens of thousands of believers credit the intercession of Brother André for their miraculous recoveries.”
That may well be, but the inclusion of this misleading, sentimental advertisement is an insult to our collective intelligence and an affront to our doctrinal integrity. It is absolutely contrary to what we profess to believe. I was taught, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). I have never found it necessary or even desirable to employ a middleman, and to even think that Anglicans would buy into this tawdry stuff is questionable.
For how many pieces of silver did we sell our doctrinal integrity?
The Rev. Canon Lettie James
Sharing resources is critical in parishes today facing shrinking dollars and membership. If possible, could you share info on the greening of parishes and solar energy conversion in parishes? Any shared info could help, including available federal funding.
Editor’s note: The General Synod staff person responsible for environmental questions is Henriette Thompson, 80 Hayden St., Toronto, ON M4Y 3G2, (416) 924-9199, ext. 213, email: [email protected]