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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. We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.

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.

Like to write a letter of your own to us? Click here. It is our policy not to publish letters responding to other letters.

Letters received during the week of 29 June

'Continue in that hard faith'

THE DAY THAT CANON JEFFREY JOHN has decided to turn down the episcopal nomination should cause the Anglican Communion to take a pause and reflect on what was done to one man. While I do not know this man personally, I can fully understand how his experience is symbolic and reflective of many homosexual persons' engagement with institutional religion.

The Archbishop's commment on 'a shocking level of ignorance and hatred towards homosexual people' is nothing new.

As a Christian in a post-colonial Church, I have no romantic ideals of this Church militant here on earth.

As an Asian Christian, I see that suffering is a norm and as a Catholic Christian, suffering is offered as participation in Christ's passion.

As gay Christians we are mostly sufficiently steeled in managing prejudice, and Church homophobia is merely one small part of our collective experience.

As a Christian, however, we must continue in that hard faith in believing that innocence and integrity will prevail.

The Church in the third world lives with far more important issues that require the support of first-world churches.

So meanwhile St Chad of Litchfield, pray for Canon Jeffrey John and all of us.

Lee Tuck-Leong
St Andrew's Cathedral
7 July 2003

Never on Sunday

ENOUGH ABOUT SEXUALITY! Those who would fight it out re this issue to determine who is the elect and the damned often seem prepared to step over and on the homeless, the hungry, the ill, the war-torn to get at each other.

How about let's spend some time on some really important issues, like the current wars, genocide, and millions around the world who are suffering. Surely God can damn those who are on the wrong sides (plural intended) of the sexuality debate all by Himself at the appropriate time!

(Thanks again for the forum, and for AO!)

WJ Arnold
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA
30 June 2003

'Vice the American Communion'? Well, not till we know what it means, at the very least.

REGARDING THE ELECTION OF CN. GENE ROBINSON as the new bishop-elect of New Hampshire, USA, (not to mention the news from Western Canada or the Diocese of Oxford, England), I've noticed a curious fact.

At least in the United States, those conservatives who are most ready to impose (by force if necessary) American political and economic values on other nations, particularly in the Middle East, are least willing to force America's social values on on the Communion at large. On the other hand, those liberals who are most willing to insist that the Church in, say, Africa, must abide by American social values in regards to sexual morality are the most aghast at President Bush's apparent inclination to impose American governance and free trade on Afghanis and Iraqis.

As I see it, beyond the problems of Cn. Robinson having left his wife for a male partner, our unwillingness in the United States to understand that we are members of the Anglican Communion, vice the American Communion, is at the root of a lot of our problems.

Fr. Francis C. Zanger
Church of the Holy Communion
Charleston, South Carolina, USA
1 July 2003

¶ Er, Canon Robinson (Cn.?) didn't leave his wife for a male partner. This scurrilous myth won't die, having been born in the British tabloids and carried, like the children's game of Chinese whispers [American: Operator], round the world. Here is the correct chronology, written by Canon Gene Robison, which we have received permission to publish:

August, 1972 V. Gene Robinson and Isabella 'Boo' Martin are married, All Saints Church, Peterborough, New Hampshire, USA.
May, 1986 Gene and Boo separate; Gene moves to Wilton, New Hampshire (five miles away), sharing joint custody of daughters Jamee and Ella.
March, 1987 Boo meets Robert McDaniel, by May they are engaged to be married; Gene moves to Concord, NH, where he is now employed as Canon to the Ordinary.
August, 1987 Boo and Gene's divorce is final; the Rector of Grace Church, Manchester, accompanies them to the judge's chambers for the final decree, and then they return to Grace Church, where they mark the ending of their marriage, the mutual release from their wedding vows (symbolized by the return of their wedding rings), and the pledging of themselves to the joint nurture and care of their children—all within the context of the eucharist.
October, 1987 Boo and Robert are married (within a couple of years, they have two sons).
November, 1987 Gene meets Mark Andrew while on vacation.
February, 1989 Mark leaves his career with the Peace Corps and moves to New Hampshire to be with Gene, Jamee, and Ella.
July, 1989 Gene, Mark, Jamee and Ella host a 'Celebration of a Home' from the Book of Occasional Services.

Please feel free to share this chronology with anyone else who seems to be under the wrong impression about the ending of Canon Robinson's marriage.

Bunch o' radishesRadishes. Hmm.

THANK GOD FOR ARCHBISHOP ROWAN, a voice of reason and compassion in a Church that sorely needs his brand of wisdom and solicitude for all.

I sometimes wonder if church people ever pay attention to what's happening in the world outside the walls of the church! Internecine strife in the Congo and Uganda, Indonesia and the Solomon Islands, (to mention but a few), children all over the world forced to serve as soldiers, prostitutes, and slave labourers, the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, the repression of human rights in more countries than I care to think about, the AIDS epidemic that has killed thousands in Africa, and on and on and on... and all Anglicans can get upset about is whether or not gays and lesbians should have their unions blessed and whether or not homosexuals should be ordained and if they are whether or not they should serve as bishops! I give up!

Surely, our sexuality is a God-given blessing, and shouldn't we be celebrating love and commitment, rather than nitpicking. I'm trying very hard to love the Archbishop of Sidney and those of his ilk, and I am more than grateful that Jesus commanded us to love one another rather than like one another. I am tired of people picking little bits of scripture to support their prejudices and homophobia, and I am tired of the eternal wrangling over this issue when there are so many greater and more pressing needs for Christian concern and compassion.

I have a cartoon on my refrigerator door that depicts God sitting on a cloud and looking down at earth, which has all the symbols for atom bombs and swear words rising from it, and God is saying to an angel standing beside him: "Next year, I think I'll just put the whole thing to radishes!" Next year may come sooner than we think!

Blessings on you and your super web site. I look forward to your opening letters each week. Thank you.

Rene Jamieson
The Cathedral Church of St John the Evangelist
Winnipeg, Manitoba, CANADA
6 July 2003

Hot under the collar: what to do?

THE CHOIR HERE IN HONG KONG traditionally wears both a cassock and surplice during the summer and winter. However it is very hot here in the sub-tropics. How have other Cathedrals in hot climates, without air conditioning, modified their choir robes without sacrificing tradition? Thank you.

Annelise Connell
St John's Cathedral
2 July 2003

 Have solutions or suggestions? Email Annelise Connell: (redacted)

Letters like this are why we're Anglican

Dear Episcopal,

I AM DEEPLY HURT AND ANGERED with the consecration of bishop V. Gene Robinson. My son and daughter-in-law recently affiliated with a church in "a city" and I admired their careful search for a church with something solid behind it. Now that I read what has taken place I am deeply disturbed by this development. I want to protest this action in the deepest and strongest way possible and on the basis of Biblical teaching. There is nothing good about this event accept that I hope it will awaken Christian people to what is taking place in the moral decline even within supposedly "orthodox" churches. How can you justify such an endorsement of gay depravity in the light of our general moral decay when we, to the contrary, should be speaking out with clarity for the highest and noblest in Christian character?

Dick Barker

Richard Barker
I am not an Episcopal member - My son and daughter-in-law are.
Wilmore, Kentucky, USA
6 July 2003

¶ 'Episcopal' says: Thanks for letting us know of your non-membership.

(Canon Robinson won't be consecrated as a bishop until his election has been confirmed by the General Convention, which will take place in late July and early August).

Earlier letters

We launched our 'Letters to AO' section on 11 May 2003. All of our letters are in our archives.


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