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This page last updated 4 June 2003
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Letters to AO

EVERY WEEK WE publish a selection of letters we receive in response to something you've read at Anglicans Online. Stop by and have a look at what other AO readers are thinking. Alas, we cannot publish every letter we receive. And we won't publish letters that are anonymous, hateful, illiterate, or otherwise in our judgment do not benefit the readers of Anglicans Online.

Please note that we edit letters to conform with standard AO house style for punctuation, but we do not change, for example, American spelling to conform to English orthography. Email addresses are included when the authors give permission to do so.

Ready to write a letter of your own to us? Click here.

Week of 25 May

'The Blessed Order of the Laity'

The following three letters all refer to our front-page letter published on 25 May 2003.

• THANK YOU FOR YOUR EDITORIAL on the ministry of the laity. I think many people are longing for vocation and discipleship. It is easy to interpret a call to vocation as a call to ordained ministry because it is, generally, the only one for which we have a name. Maybe if we did a better job of naming and celebrating the particular ministries to which lay people are called we would have fewer disappointed would-be postulants and more engaged congregations. A ministry of stewardship, for example, may be expressed through environmental activism, or through service on a church stewardship committee, or through attending seminars and writing in a newsletter, or as a professor or a natural resources lawyer. But we separate these activities into different categories, and name some of them as 'church' and others as 'not church'. Recruiting poster for the lay order

There is a little service in the Book of Common Prayer: A Form of Commitment to Christian Service. In a community in which the laity are consciously living out their gifts and vocation, maybe that service would be used almost every Sunday as parishioners undertake new activities as part of their growing vocations. In any case, here is one member of your online community who, in the words of that service, prays that God gives you 'courage, patience and wisdom' in your inspired work of Anglicans Online.


Jaime Sanders
Lake Oswego, Oregon, USA

 AS ALWAYS, IT IS GOOD to begin my week by reading your site. I want to commend you for the article on seeking Holy Orders. I am the priest in charge of a not large parish and am blessed to have five people in various stages of the ordination process, all with substantial secular careers and all earnestly, if not quietly, committed to our Lord. While I certainly view these person's call to ordained ministry as the undoubted working of the Holy Spirit, I do also and, not infrequently, worry if all the talent, as it were, is being taken away from this parish.

Yet, I know that the wider church is in great need of people such as these whose pursuit of the ordained ministry and progress in the Christian life has been neither comfortable nor predictable. Yet, as with love, the more we give, the more is supplied. So, at the end of the day, the Holy Spirit will bless this place by giving us greater ability to serve as we commit more and more people to God's ordained service.

The Reverend Carlton Kelley
St Paul's Episcopal Church
Richmond, Indiana, USA

 YOUR MESSAGE PUT ME IN MIND of Nora Gallagher's new book Practicing Resurrection: A Memoir of Discernment. Just out this March, Nora's story is of her experience with the discernment process at her church, Trinity Episcopal in Santa Barbara, California, Diocese of Los Angeles. She explores the priesthood of the laity in depth and finally concludes—at least for now—that that is where she belongs. I strongly recommend this book as well as Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith written several years ago. In both books, she discovers what her faith is, how she is best able to practice it and where it leads her.

Sarah Cooper
Gainesville, Georgia, USA

Poison pens begin at home?

WEEPING OVER JERUSALEM is the image which comes to mind when I consider the situation of the Archbishop of Canterbury being distressed by hatemail. Who are these poisonous letter-writers? Almost certainly not people outside the Church. Probably not people outside the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Rowan Williams has brought to this leadership role intellect, integrity, vision and ability to convey his insights in an articulate and lucid way. These gifts he might have put to good use in many other spheres of life, but instead he put himself forward to serve the God of truth and lead the Anglican Church at a crucial stage in its history—indeed an act of sacrificial love. The Early Church grew because it was seen by outsiders to be a few people who were known by their love. For God's sake, let us pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ to lay down their poisonous pens, to love kindness and to walk humbly with their God.

Freda Binns
Charminster, Dorset, UK

Separated by a common language

I AM GRATIFIED that you have begun a Letters column, and cheered by the epistemological proof in the first edition. I also noted that you do not plan to change American usage for British (or vice versa) in the letters printed, despite the obvious difficulties in understanding which this will cause.

The example is obvious: in American English 'epistemological' means something far different from in British! American: 'annoyed', as in 'That teacher, 'e pissed em all, logically!" Or British: 'intoxicated', as in 'That publican, 'e pissed em all, logically!'. I don't know what further I can say. Pax!

Fr Francis C. Zanger
Church of the Holy Communion
Charleston, South Carolina, USA

We're remaining mute, as well. For we could end up being twee, eh wot?

Windsock, not visibly AnglicanBlowin' in the wind—or not

I'M LOOKING FOR HELP and several people referred me to your site. This may seem trivial, but I would like to purchase Episcopal windsocks, in bulk, to use as a fund-raiser for our young people who are planning to attend Cass Lake Episcopal Camp this summer. I saw one three years ago on the porch of the Episcopal Chaplaincy house in Princeton. They don't know where they acquired it. I've searched many places on the internet and this nifty little gift item still eludes me. Thank you in advance for any leads you may be able to provide.

Bronwyn Clark Skov
Hastings, Minnesota, USA

If you can assist, send an email to us at Anglicans Online and we'll forward it to Ms Skov.

Earlier letters

We launched our 'Letters to AO' section on 11 May 2003. All of our letters are in our archives. Below are links to the last two weeks, in case you missed them.

Week of 18 May 2003, including 'Numbers, proofs, and epistemology', 'Remembering Barbara Wolf', and 'Clergy checks and screening'.

Week of 11 May 2003, including 'The REALLY Big Clerical Directory', 'The ABC and his non-fan mail', and 'Pay Per View'.


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