Readers debate whether World Vison ads belong in Journal

Published December 1, 1999

Dear editor, The director of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, Andrew Ignatieff, unfairly represents World Vision’s international aid and development projects (Primate’s Fund Director Challenges World Vision’s Style of Aid, Ads in Journal, November Journal). While in Kenya we saw first hand the work of World Vision. World Vision worked in partnership with the Red Cross to feed thousands in northern Kenya suffering from a second year of drought, who otherwise would have died of starvation. One of the theological students we taught had been sponsored as a child by World Vision and as a result was able to complete high school. Before enrolling for theological studies he was a World Vision field worker. Rev. Paul Longiro is now an Anglican priest doing mission work in his home tribal area. We were impressed with the articulated Christian faith and values of the World Vision staff both in Canada and in Kenya. While child sponsorship provides a human face to their overseas work this is just one aspect of their community development and disaster relief. Rev. Brian McVitty Pickering, Ont. Dear editor, I was disillusioned by the quoted comments of Andrew Ignatieff. His comments obviously stem from ignorance as to how World Vision’s child sponsorship program works and a mistaken view that helping God’s people is a competition between different aid groups. Surely, our concern should be that we as Christians help our brothers, and not which vehicle we choose. I have been an Anglican all my life and my family supports our Anglican church (it gets the lion’s share of our donation funds). Christ was not an Anglican. So we consciously try to help other charities as well. The monies we give elsewhere would not otherwise go to the Primate’s Fund. We heavily support Anglican efforts through our church and for us that is enough. We have been child sponsors with World Vision for many years and our money goes to help the community become self-sufficient (clean water, agricultural and commercial skills, medicines, schooling benefit all, not just our child). To demonstrate, we are losing one child we have been sponsoring for over six years because, “now, this community has reached a point where they can continue to provide for the needs of the children without World Vision’s assistance.” I would also like to laud your response to his pressure regarding advertising “rivals.” Let the people know their options and prayerfully make their own choices. Linda Rix Mississauga, Ont. Dear editor, After examining the advertisement for World Vision in the October Journal, I support the view of Mr. Ignatieff regarding its inappropriateness in an Anglican Church publication. While the Journal is not obliged to follow “party line” regarding its own opinion, it would be good to think it would support the approach of the Anglican Church regarding development aid The World Vision advertisement suggests I am going to support only one child. First, this is false advertising since the money is pooled to support the family and community of that child. Second, the approach exploits the pathos of one child to address what is a systemic problem. The child is undoubtedly a victim of forces that perpetrate poverty but assisting the individual child will never address the systemic causes of his poverty. Third, the approach exploits the adult who is hooked by the guilt and pathos the advertisement’s picture evokes. It deceives them into thinking they are solving a problem when they are simply applying a Band-Aid. Thank God for the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund which addresses the real issues of poverty positively and offers concrete support to people trying to better their own lives, rather than live on the handouts of others. Canon Paul M. Kompass Trenton, Ont.

Quality at root

Dear editor: While there should always be room for honest differences of opinion, it is sad to see yet another squabble between people of goodwill occupying the front page of the Journal. I think Mr.Ignatieff is too categorical in his judgments. For a number of years my wife and I have sponsored children through Christian Children’s Fund of Canada. This excellent organization currently supports over 30,000 children of all faiths around the world through child sponsorship, community development and micro-enterprise projects, also emergency global relief in response to local disasters and crises. It is a great joy to receive letters and to follow a child’s progress in circumstances so very different from our own in Canada. Some years ago we had the great satisfaction of visiting our then sponsored child in Mexico. We observed wonderful testimony to the work of CCFC and its programs. Moved and impressed, we returned home grateful to all those faithful servants in the field who bear witness in such dedicated service to His children. As an Anglican, I feel that the Primate’ s Fund and CCFC are complimentary in objectives. Many hands are needed to build the Kingdom. Howard V. Walker Ottawa (by e-mail) Dear editor, I have been a strong supporter of the Primate’s Fund since its inception and also have considerable respect for the work of World Vision. We give regularly to the Primate’s Fund and also support a child overseas through World Vision. Surely as Christians we are not in competition. We may disagree at times as to methods but there is lots of work to do and we need to get on with it. When I was a student many years ago in Toronto the local pastor of a very active church had this as his motto: “No attack, no defence, but proclamation.” Perhaps Mr. Ignatieff could learn from that advice. I hope he will show more maturity in the future. Canon Harry H. Brown Almonte, Ont. Dear editor: Because of my wife’s position as editor of the New Brunswick Anglican, I have been associated for a long time with Anglican newspapers across the country, including the Journal. At the same time, I am the diocesan coordinator of the Primate’s Fund for the Diocese of Fredericton, and as such, I have a great interest in the success of the new director. Andrew Ignatieff brings a much-respected resumé to his role and it is to be expected his tenure will prove to be positive. Regarding the concept that both PWRDF and World Vision seek the same dollar, I believe Mr. Ignatieff is correct. In many parishes, Anglicans often choose which ’cause’ to support, or at best, divide their dollars between many. But I must support Mr. Toycen’s assertion that his organization has every right to place advertisements in our national church paper, and the Journal has the right to decide what appears. A church newspaper is not the official voice of the church, and we are all better off because of that. It comes down to providing Anglicans with valid and complete information about current needs around the world, and then recognizing they have the right to make an informed decision about whom they will support. David F Watts Diocese of Fredericton (by e-mail)


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