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Hallo again to all.

In the six years we've managed Anglicans Online we've received reasonably frequent emails asking for an AO chat room or web forum. We've always answered politely, 'Sorry, there isn't such a thing and we've no plans for one'. But last week we started brooding about web site 'interactivity'. (Dreadful word.) Why? Well, we found ourselves quite astonished by the number of emails we received in response to our front-page letter about Anglican drums. Day after day they flowed in, from Uganda and Vancouver, Alabama and Australia, with stories, personal anecdotes, and all manner of wonderful comment. As we delighted in them, we found ourselves wanting to share them with you.

Man yelling into a megaphoneSo we're pondering a new 'Letters to the Editor' feature at AO, where we'll publish a selection of letters we receive in response to something you've read here. We'll try, every week, to let you have a look at what other AO readers are thinking. We'll soon develop a purpose-built form for your letters and comments, but for now write us using the 'Tell us what you think' area. Please add 'Okay to publish' at the end of your email.

The last thing we want Anglicans Online to be is an announcements-only microphone. Too many Anglican web sites barely have a 'contact us', much less encourage any sort of response. We find this odd and unsatisfactory. The net is about connections and communications, not about moats. In the 'back office' of AO, we've always tried to respond to everyone who writes us—about anything—though occasionally the volume of correspondence has defeated our very best intentions. We've decided it's time to take our personal 'interactivity' public, to let you read some of our dialogue with our readers.

A few weeks ago our letter in this space mused about the thorny issues that arise with Article XVIII (of the famous 39; make that XXXIX). We received a healthy response to that letter as well, with compliments and tomatoes being tossed at us in about equal numbers. We found ourselves thinking: Why not give AO readers an opportunity to read an opposing point of view? We don't promise to establish a point-counterpoint area of AO, but when we receive considered emails taking issue with something we've written, we'll see if we can convince a member of the opposition to write something for publication. Following that determination, we asked a thoughtful respondent to write a brief article that supports a reading of Article XVIII somewhat different to ours, and you can find that here.

Man yelling into a phoneWe're developing these initiatives because we want Anglicans Online to be a place where there is more dialogue and less shouting, more listening and less name-calling—the world already has too many vitriolic email lists, caustic web forums, and poisonous private mail. We were shocked to read about the hate mail that the Archbishop of Canterbury received at the time of his appointment. If Christians can't converse with grace, intelligence, and courtesy, what are we about?

See you next week.

Brian Reidís signature
Cynthia McFarland
Brian Reid

Last updated: 11 May 2003


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