Yet another organist rises to the challenge

Published February 1, 2004

Dear editor,

Following the letter ? Can any organist beat record of 72 years ‘ (December 2003), I received a call from Clare Dalon who has been an organist in the diocese of Kelowna since the age of 16; she is now 87.

Ms. Dalon was also a motorcyclist until nine years ago. She has ridden over a million miles in 35 years, including a trip from Kelowna, B.C., to London, Ont.

I thought you should have the answer to your challenge.

Frances McCulloch

Acme, Alta.

English condescension

Dear editor,

In light of the recent furor in Ontario regarding racial profiling, it is puzzling that the primate should use his column to attack the “classic, supercilious, somewhat quaint, English condescension towards colonials,” (December 2003 Grace Notes).

He must know that many Brits have close family connections to Canada, and in my experience (37 years in Britain and 25 in Canada) have only warm feelings about our country. If condescension, quaint or otherwise, exists in Britain toward the former colonies, I can only say that I have never experienced it.

Humour is a different thing, and if one does not understand British humour, then it’s best to remain silent.

Bob Baird

Markham, Ont.


Dear editor,

Archbishop Michael Peers describes two occasions during his “too frequent” visits to England when he heard anti-Canadian comments.

Generalizing from one actual case, apparently hoarded up from the past, he goes on to describe the English as supercilious, quaint, sneering and snobbish.

His theme? The horrors of stereotypical labeling.

I anticipate a column on the Americans, of whom one hears more prejudicial condemnation from Canadian elitists than the English.

Mark Holmes

Port Hope, Ont.

Cost of reparation

Dear editor,

Your article Anglican church eyes B.C. schools judgment (January) quotes Gordon Lee of the diocese of New Westminster as well as Archdeacon Jim Boyles, to the effect that our obligations under the native residential schools agreement are moral as well as legal. There is an explicit suggestion that we should continue raising $25 million, although it may not be a requirement of the courts that we do so. (Of course, we await possible appeals.)

These statements will suggest to many that if we are no longer required to raise this money, the aboriginal victims will be cheated out of our contribution to their well-being. The opposite is true.

If the agreement were to be dissolved, the federal government would then have to pick up the total cost of reparation, our portion included. The victims would receive, from the government, at least the full amount of our Anglican contribution of $25 million. We would be free then to develop new programs if we wished. Our new programs would be in addition to the above reparations. The victims win. So do we.

Archdeacon Boyles has used his great talents to get us into this agreement. Perhaps the opportunity has come for him to use those same talents to get us out of it.

Harold Macdonald

Matlock, Man.

Perils of ?local option’

Dear editor,

The “local option,” which the diocese of Toronto is considering in regard to the blessing of same-sex relationships, has both a history and a future. A generation ago, when the church decided to ordain women to the priesthood, there was an option allowing those who did not recognize the ordination to do just that.

Other instances of local option have been the admission of children to communion, the use or non-use of the Book of Alternative Services and Book of Common Prayer, and the rite of confirmation, which is no longer the gateway to communicant status in some, if not most, parishes.

The result of these local options is that some parishes in the Anglican church are not in communion with others, literally as in the case of the ordination of women and the reception of communion by children. Further, with parishes exercising the local option in regard to same-sex blessings the number of those out of communion with each other and indeed with the bishop of a diocese who allows that local option will increase. In other words, the Anglican church is on the high road to congregationalism.

The guiding principle of congregationalism is the autonomy of the worshipping congregation to the exclusion of any other authority. Once a bishop hands over decision-making in the area of same-sex blessings in addition to recognition of orders or communicant status to the local congregation, one may legitimately ask, what is the bishop for and, given the autonomy of the local congregation, does the church need bishops for any purposes other than purely decorative?

Colin Proudman


Paying the full share

Dear editor,

I read, with great interest, your front page article entitled Dioceses cut donations to General Synod (January). The reasons why nine dioceses cut their proportional giving to General Synod for 2004 were varied and, of course, the dioceses, which impacted General Synod the most, were given detailed explanations in print. I can’t speak for some of the other dioceses that didn’t receive print space for even a cursory rationale for cutbacks but I can tell you that I provided Jim Cullen, General Synod treasurer, with a full rationale.

The facts are that implementation of proportional giving began in 2000 and was a five-year phasing-in plan. In this plan, we were asked to calculate our proportional gift each year based on 26 per cent of total diocesan income after adjustments for General Synod grants to assisted dioceses, various specific purpose donations and certain flow-through costs. Based on the new formula, if your proportional giving amount for 2000 was less than your giving in 1999 then you were asked to remain at the 1999 level for the first four years of implementation, allowing those dioceses who were being asked to give more time to adjust to the new amount.

The bottom line is that ideally everyone would be at the new formula amount in 2004. We would love nothing more than to give more than we are being asked, in spite of any formula. However, we are faced with the realities of providing ministry in a mission diocese where salaries, insurance and other costs continue to rise, where parishes continue to struggle to remain financially viable and where our General Synod grant, which is an integral portion of our diocesan budget, has substantially decreased since the early 1990s. All of this makes for an untenable situation. In spite of all that, the reported proportional gift for our diocese for 2004 in your article of $108,564 is the full amount (26 per cent of diocesan income) for year five of the phase-in period. In other words we are paying our full fair share for 2004.

We consider ourselves full partners in the Anglican Church of Canada and your reporting gave the impression that we are somewhat less.

Canon Mike Lowery

Diocese of Brandon

Synod Office Manager

Administrative Assistant to the Bishop of Brandon


Dear editor,

As the Roman Catholic spouse of an Anglican, my perspective on the same-sex blessing debate is perhaps a little different than most of your readers. For me, the debate is not so much one of preserving Anglican unity, but of being compassionate and open to the pastoral needs of homosexuals, while maintaining fidelity to the Christian faith that both our churches share. That faith includes a long-standing recognition that homosexual sex is sinful and separates us from God.

How could the Anglican church seriously teach the Christian doctrine that homosexual sex is wrong if it would bless relationships in which such activity is fundamental? Being a Christian in the world means living the tension between Christian doctrine and pastoral care, following the example of Jesus by being both faithful and compassionate. Surely there must be compassionate ways to minister to homosexuals while still remaining faithful to Christian teaching about homosexual sex?

John DiMarco

Brampton, Ont.

Refreshing change

Dear editor,

Re: the December letter The big picture, I thought that the 2004 Church Calendar was really beautiful.

Flowers are the handiwork of God and much work was put into the symbolism.

Church structures are the handiwork of men even though built to the glory of God.

The calendar was a refreshing change from previous years.

Gwyneth Shirley

Huntsville, Ont.


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