Why re-open residential schools pact?’

By on October 1, 2005

Dear editor,

As a small, struggling rural parish, we accepted the residential schools agreement reached by the government and the national church, albeit with some discussion and financial concerns.

Our parish’s share of the $25 million settlement is approximately $3,300 per year. Since 2003, the churches in our parish have endeavoured to be inventive in their approach to raise that amount each year, with limited success. General funds are being used to meet the shortfall of designated offerings.

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And so it is with dismay that we read the article, Church will ask all dioceses to reopen schools agreement, in the Journal (June).

If Archdeacon Jim Boyles is correct and our percentage would be zero, and that language and culture were official government policy at the time, then why are we entertaining the idea of reopening the negotiations?

Negotiations were made in good faith; an agreement was signed with payment allocations assigned to each diocese. Our understanding was, then and now, that when our financial commitment is complete, the issue would be closed.

The wardens of the parish of Kitley, on behalf of the four congregations, are not in favour of reopening the negotiations.

The parish of Kitley, Ont.


Study Islam

Dear editor,

Rather than condemning the bombings in London, as though anyone would approve of them, the Archbishop of Canterbury would do better to encourage Anglicans to learn something of Islam (Church leaders condemn London blasts, July 8, Anglican Journal Web site). They should also learn more about their Muslim neighbours, who possibly suffer more through all of this, facing ignorant opinion, suspicion, and general sadness at the phenomenon of fundamentalist radicalism that affects a corner of their community.

I live in Toronto, a city with a varied and large Muslim population, and I have been alarmed, on several occasions, to hear Anglican priests and others emit absolute twaddle on the subject of Islam, Muslim beliefs and practices.

We need no platitudes to inform us that subway bombings are not good.

Megan S. Mills

Toronto


Use proper names

Dear editor,

It is great to read the latest of a good number of informative articles about native Canadians in the Journal (Native Anglicans will have national indigenous bishop, September.)

It is not so good to once again see that although the article talks about “indigenous,” “aboriginal,” “native” and “First Nations” people, it refers explicitly and implicitly only to First Nations people.

Since 1982, the Canadian constitution recognizes three aboriginal cultures РM̩tis, Inuit and First Nations Рyet the Journal continues to misuse, and therefore sets legal precedence that permits all Anglicans the understanding that the M̩tis do not exist. Note that when grouping our three cultures under one heading, we are called members of the aboriginal, native, or the indigenous community. Why do your articles imply the M̩tis and the Inuit are First Nations?

The article also refers to the residential schools experiences of my cousins the First Nations.Ã? How ignorant for your writers to believe that only First Nations persons suffered from this type of experience. Many Métis were born of the residential school experiences, or were so “Indian” looking that they were carted off to these schools as such.

You could help us grassroots Métis (and the Inuit) immeasurably by including us when referring to aboriginal, native and indigenous people. Otherwise the authors should use the proper names for our cultures; First Nations are status Indians (a political term), Métis (politically correct term for Métis, Metis, Michif and half-breeds like me), and Inuit (politically correct term for Eskimo).

Be kind to us Métis in your demonstrations of aboriginal support, and to our cousins the Inuit.

We talk of you in a good way, talk of us in the same way so that we might walk together.

Rene Inkster

All Saints Anglican Church

Mission, B.C.


Power of love

Dear editor,

One of my favourite music is from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Aspects of Love.

The special selection in it is called Love changes everything. A haunting and beautiful piece, it is at the very heart of the Christian gospel of our Lord.

As one reads the letters to the editor on your 130th anniversary year, could one not hope to find more acceptance of each others’ differences and have less criticism and judgment from those who write to you? Trust the heart of this gospel that love can change us. In the New Testament record, Jesus demonstrated this as the key to his life and work.

We have a whole raft of differences going on right now amongst Anglicans. The world is desperately in need of a love that changes people. Can we not risk living with some of these differences and move closer to caring for each other?

Harvey F. Southcott

Ottawa


Bad news

Dear editor,

I am a senior citizen, and have been an Anglican all my life. Like many in my age bracket, I tend to be a conservative regarding many issues.

I usually enjoy reading the Journal – at least I used to. In the last few years, however, the paper often upsets and depresses me more than anything. I see accounts of endless bickering and complaints about all kinds of controversies, much of it about gay marriage or the blessing of these relationships. Then there is the never-ending business about the residential schools and that unhappy legacy.

I suppose that you have no choice but to report on all these things, and if most of the news is bad, there is nothing you can do about it; and I don’t believe in “shooting the messenger.” However, would it not be wonderful if more of the paper were hopeful, uplifting and encouraging?

It seems to me that the bishops and other leaders in the church had better “get their act together” very shortly before the decline in membership, influence, and finances becomes really critical.

I’m not sure what the solutions are for these problems. Perhaps there are none that will satisfy all (or even most) of the members of the Church. I believe we need some inspired (and inspiring) leadership and it would be great to witness that, and to “read all about it” in the Journal.

Clare Dennis

Port Dover, Ont.


Fond memories

Dear editor,

I cannot allow the experience of two wonderful Canadian pilgrimages to pass without expressing my love and the assurance of prayers.

My few days last year at the Sorrento Centre, B.C. were spent with a close and deeply loving Christian community, looking out onto the Shuswap Lake. Through the kindness of various people, I was able to visit the beautiful Margaret Falls and Adams River, and also Chase and Salmon Arm. I also did not expect to be given a birthday cake and have “Happy Birthday” sung to me in English and French.

At Vancouver School of Theology this year, I shared a week-and-a-half with some of the First Nations people and heard their stories, some of them very sad. This was a real education. How many of us have met any First Nations people? Yet now, they are my friends.

Having read Tekahionwake’s famous Legends of Vancouver, I was also privileged to visit her grave in Stanley Park. I sat in the sunshine, reading my psalter, surrounded by totem poles.

I do hope that more of us from overseas (and indeed, Canada) will visit these two centres. I must reveal a vested interest – my great, great grandfather, Charles Monck, was the first Governor General of the Dominion.

If any of you visit London, look me up at the Cine-Club at Canada House. I can then return your welcome.

Jim Monck

London, England


Honesty

Dear editor,

Reading your June editorial, (Why can’t we say what we mean?), I found myself in the novel position of agreeing with your views. The leadership of the church needs to speak directly and honestly on all topics. The “weasel words” and downright mendacity contained in many public statements from our bishops and from the pulpit should bring shame on all of us. It is not clever or sophisticated to obscure the meaning of one’s words to minimize conflict or to mislead; it can be simple falsehood.

We should also take pains to call things by their proper names and not invent euphemisms. “Same-sex blessing” for example, really means homosexual marriage. Supporting the extension of Christian marriage to homosexual couples is a legitimate position, but hiding behind terms like “blessing” is inherently dishonest and does all of us no credit. One of the first duties of Christians when dealing with one another is a scrupulous honesty.

Anthony Roy

Victoria


No changes, please

Dear editor,

I wish to make a few comments and pose some questions on the story, Altering the Altar (April).

I cannot see any advantage in removing pews from the church. Where would we stack the Book of Alternative Services and hymnbooks between services?

As it is now, both books have been revised, and to me, changing the words of hymns does not do anything to enhance the reverent mood of the people who attend. Some years ago, the lady next to me, during a hymn, slammed her book down and said, “I hate it when they change the darn words!”

Perhaps the people who desire such changes in seating and space would like it better if everyone could just sit on the floor, or stand the rest of the time.

Shirley Crouse

Lively, Ont.


Remembering John Erb

Dear editor,

I can still see John Erb, larger than life, striding across the campus of Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University), more than 40 years ago. Although John and I did not stay in touch after he graduated from WLU, and he headed off to play a vital role in the life of the Anglican community, his death marks the passing of an icon in the church.

I recall chats with John in a study room in Willison Hall, and for a young person like me, from the small community of Chapleau, in northern Ontario, his presence and his friendship have always been remembered. It was also really something to know someone who had a street named after his family!

From a distance, I have followed John’s work in the church, and small world that it is, members of my family attended the Church of St Michael’s and All Angels where John served so long, albeit before his time there.

The church will certainly miss John, but perhaps the most fitting memorial would be for Anglicans to commit themselves to actions that bring them together, rather than those that divide them. John truly took up his cross daily. Let us do the same.

Michael J. Morris

Cranbrook, B.C.


Cathedral offering

Dear editor,

I have read with special interest the story concerning All Saints Cathedral, Halifax (Diocese eyes renewal, Journal, May).

My parents, two brothers, and I moved from Montreal in 1916. We were there at the time of the Halifax Explosion. My father, A.G. Nicholls, had joined the staff of the medical faculty of Dalhousie University.

Father was a Methodist and mother was an Anglican. They were warmly urged to join All Saints Cathedral by the dean and did so.

As noted in the article, the eastern end of the cathedral was not in very good condition.

Several years later we returned to Montreal. Noting that the cathedral lacked many stained-glass windows on the north side, my brothers and I donated one.

It is the intention of my wife and I, who are 92 years old, to make a contribution to the anniversary of the cathedral.

Robert Nicholls

Merrickville, Ont.


Dismayed

Dear editor,

While I realize that part of your job is to put a positive spin on the deliberations of General Synod and the house of bishops, I am disgusted with their approach to social justice. We give so little to the African bishops’ requests for aid in their fight against HIV/AIDS, yet we waste thousands of dollars for same-sex information. So many need medical aid, yet we ignore them. Disgraceful.

W. L. Sharpe

Paradise, Nfld.

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