Time to revisit job description

Published April 1, 2004

Dear editor,

Your coverage of the primacy of Archbishop Michael Peers (February) was well done and particularly your inclusion of his wife, Dorothy, and his family. Too often families are overlooked in such tributes. I certainly add my own expression of thanks to Michael for the leadership which he has provided to the whole church during his watch.

However, as the church prepares to elect his successor in this office, we ought to revisit the job description. It is unconscionable that we as a church require the commitment indicated in your Primate by numbers story. I was alarmed both at the few holidays the primate has taken and at the amount of time he has been required to be away from home.

It is also time to revisit our theology of episcopacy and of the exercise of the office of bishops. It appears to have become more administrative than pastoral, more reflective of a modern chief executive officer than a shepherd of the people of God.

One further point: the cumulative cost of travel to deal with the church’s business must be considerable. Surely in this age of instant communication there are more economical methods (but equally efficient) in the use of both time and money to achieve the desired ends.

Canon Frank Cluett

St. John’s, Nfld.

What cost?

Dear editor,

I would hope that many readers feel as I do, that an apology is due Dorothy Peers (Her vocation was a ministry of quiet participation). After reading of the primate’s strong position to recognize women in the ministry, I read the tribute to Dorothy Peers. She is portrayed as the dutiful, helpful, stand-by-my-man, ’50’s housewife – with a few other interests.

Thankfully, buried in the words, the reader learns that Dorothy Peers is intelligent, strong, competent, independent, capable and would be embarrassed by sympathy.

The story goes on to say that Michael Peers’ 40 years of ministry “represent a lifetime of sacrifice and service for the church” and the years “have not been without cost.” I realize that the columns of script do not include all the personal details. But sacrifice? Cost? I would acknowledge a sacrifice if a priest has been forced by an unfortunate twist of fate to live for several years, in living conditions of the majority in one of the third world countries that the primate visited. Cost? Judging by the references to their work, their home life, I failed to see their cost being extraordinary. Committed congregations across this country then endure “costs” and neither they nor I (and I doubt would Dorothy Peers), regard their contribution as a cost. If so, we are on sinking sand. Your story did Dorothy Peers and your readers a disservice. The Lenten season is a time to reflect on true sacrifice and true cost.

Kaye Small



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