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This page last updated 5 January 2004
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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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.

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. On occasion we'll gently edit letters that are too verbose in their original form. Email addresses are included when the authors give permission to do so.

If you'd like to write a letter of your own, click here.

Letters received during the week of 28 December 2003

Our church needs a new roof

I WISH YOU JOY AND PEACE at this Christmastide and every blessing in 2004.

Since your website reaches Anglicans around the world, I hope I can use this space to inform all former members of St. John's, and any who are interested, about our Rufus Project. Rufus was the son of Simon of Cyrene and is referred to quite casually in both the Gospel of Mark and in Paul's letter to the Church in Rome. These casual references to Rufus imply that he was well-known to members of the early church, and, indeed, has been referred to as the disciple of the disciples. Now, say the name Rufus slowly, one syllable at a time.....

St. John's needs a new roof. When the snow melts in the spring, we are inundated by various leaks, and it has gone beyond the stage of patch and repair. It's going to cost $150,000 Cdn., and we're hoping to raise an additional $50,000. for the Fabric Fund to allow for future repairs and upgrades.

The present Cathedral is the fourth church on this site. It was built in 1926, and was reshingled in the 1950s. The parish itself is the oldest Anglican Parish west of the Great Lakes, and was founded by the Rev. John West in 1820.

The cemetery which surrounds the Cathedral is even older than the Parish, having been established in 1812 by the first European settlers in this part of the world.

Donations to the Rufus Project can be made by Visa or Mastercard, or by cheque. For more information, please contact the Cathedral at (204) 586-8385.

Rene Jamieson
St. John's Anglican Cathedral
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
29 December 2003

(Ed: Hm. We may end up expanding our advert section beyond just vacancies if there are a lot of needy churches out there.)

Start the new year in hope, not gloom


"as we've thought about what it means for the Anglican communion to splinter, we've come to the conclusion that, as the shards get smaller and more dogmatic, it makes sense to pay more attention to the wider catholic world and less to the structure of whatever shard we find ourselves to be part of."

Really, this is too gloomy. It is quite clear that there will be no new province in the States, at least not as part of the Anglican Communion. And as those who unhappy about New Hampshire and other things seem resolutely determined to stay in the Episcopal Church, I doubt there will be a schism of any size of speak of.

But you are right in saying that IF the shards get smaller, they will become more dogmatic in the bad sense of narrow-minded, and less dogmatic in the older sense of adhering to the Mysteries of the Faith, which surpass all human understanding and therefore challenge all small-minded doctrines.

Let us end the year in hope. That is our duty, is it not?

Bp Pierre Whalon
American Churches in Europe
Paris France
29 December 2003

Thank you

THANK YOU FOR YOUR GOOD AND HARD WORK this year. I turn to AO every Monday when I arrive at my computer here in my study. You have consistently offered a wise and sensible voice, grounded in Scripture, the sacraments and charity at a time when it has been sorely needed. Keep up the good work! There are those of us out here in the trenches who need what you have to offer.

Many blessings for the New Year 2004!

Victoria Geer McGrath
All Saints', Millington
Millington, NJ USA
29 December 2003

JUST A FRIENDLY LETTER to congratulate you on your birthday. I have been a regular reader for a couple of years, and have appreciated the even handed, fair and tolerant way you have handled crises in the Anglican household. I have watched in amazement as Anglicans have fought over women priests and bishops, when if we were truly scriptural women should cover both their heads and mouths while in Church . . . something no one would expect nowadays (though something which many male priests might secretly wish for); fight over same sex unions when if we were truly scriptural we should be fighting over divorce, which is expressly condemned by Jesus Though that does not seem to generate much heat, and now over an "openly gay" bishop. Has anyone read the scriptural qualifications for the episcopate in Paul's letter to Timothy? I wonder how many bishops, Roman or Anglican would fit THOSE descriptions?

Maybe the crises in the Anglican Church are not Crises any more than the third century was a crisis in Christianity. ROme will now not even permit the kind of conversation to begin that so revitalized the Catholic faith back then . . . so many to paraphrase Richard John Neuhaus, it is now the "Anglican Moment", in which it is the Anglican Communion that has to lead this debate. A pity that the Roman heirarchy even refuses to listen, let alone enter in. They would have much to offer . . . and much to learn.

Thank you for aiding me in learning these past couple of years.

D Baker
Roman Catholic
New York City, New York, USA
30 December 2003

THANKS GUYS FOR ANGLICANS ONLINE. This I hope will bring us together.

Thobo Kgabo
St Pauls Anglican Church, Molepolole, Botswana
Gaborone, Botswana, Diocese of Central Africa
30 December 2003

I HOPE THERE IS NO CONSIDERATION of not continuing. I have just got into AO lately and I really find it great. I've been an Anglican for many years (72 to be exact) I just really get a kick out of AO

David T. Brown
St. Peter's Anglican
Campbell River B.C. Canada
30 December 2003

I THOROUGHLY ENJOY READING your weekly letters and investigating the numerous links you provide. I agree wholeheartedly that, as a church, we need to continue to appreciate and share our catholic heritage. I'm not referring so much to rituals or structures,(though these can enable people to experience God), but to an open-mindedness,and a not-so-politically-correct inclusiveness, that opens us to Emmanuel, to God-in-us, those around us, the whole of creation, and the power of the Incarnation. I am a former Roman Catholic who was received into the Episcopal Church, U.S.A. almost a year ago. Thank you for your voice, your opinions, and your insight. Happy New Year!

Sherman Smith
St. Peter's in Chicago
Chicago, Illinois, United States
31 December 2003

There actually was some news in British Columbia

YOU WROTE "Most sensible Anglican newsmakers have stayed home with their families this week, so there's precious little Anglican news." Unfortunately for those of us in the Diocese of New Westminster, Canada this is not true. On December 18 Bishop Michael Ingham closed the mission church of Holy Cross, Abbotsford without prior warning. The congregation was informed on Sunday December 21st at their service four days before Christmas. That's news! But is it sensible? This church had earlier in the year voted to seek alternative oversight. Their funding was cut in October and their priest, James Wagner, has not received a salary from the Diocese since then. They have, however continued to meet in a local rec centre. The Diocese sighted funding issues as the reason to close the church, but since they have not received money all fall the move to actually close them (disestablish- essentially wiping out any official connection they have with the wider Anglican church in Canada or world-wide) looks very vindictive. To do it four days before Christmas takes one's breath away!

This action also came one week on the heels of the House of Bishops' Taskforce on Alternative Oversight being in Vancouver to hear from all sides. We had understood that when Bishop Buckle withdrew his offer of oversight and Bishop Ingham dropped his charges against seven clergy in the Diocese that this constituted a "cease-fire" while the Taskforce moved in to do their work. Closing a church is a pretty hostile action in the midst of a cease fire.

This action causes us to wonder whose church is next? (St. Martin's has already had Canon 15 invoked) If this happened at Christmas what greater horror will Easter hold?

It is sad that as Bishop Ingham tries to move the church in a new direction that he believes will make the church more inclusive to all, he is actively excluding (even forcing out) those of us who want to uphold the traditional understandings of the Gospels and over 2000 years of church teaching.

It is also a sad comment when, at the end of the day, the debate comes down to two different interpretations of the Gospel it is those who hold the power over the structure of the church who hold the trump card and the Gospel can be ignored.

Lesley Bentley
St. John's (Shaughnessy)
Vancouver, Canada
30 December 2003

Nothing is inescapable with the right help

I JUST READ ALEX KIRBY'S SUGGESTION about "the inescapable end of the worldwide Anglican Communion" under the heading 'Anglican church rues lost unity'.

I seriously wonder what would the results would be if EVERY Anglican (regardless of what their stand on the sexuality issue is and I come down heavily on one side) said " I'm not leaving, lets work it out, with the love of Jesus Christ", LOVE being the operative word here. The word "inescapable" scares the hell out of me. I don't believe anything is inescapable with the love of Jesus Christ.

David T. Brown
St. Peter's Anglican
Campbell River B.C. Canada
31 December 2003

All welcome at a nearly-empty table?

IT WELL MAY BE THAT THE ASPIRATIONS for Anglicanism have been narrowed, for a host of reasons, few "sinister", in our constituant Provinces and National Churches. But what seems to be happening now is a narrowing of expression in ECUSA, for long a working expression of how comprehension can work.

My worry is that gay and lesbian co-religionists will finally be welcomes at a rather exclusive Table.

Perhaps both sides are so sure they are right, that the side of Anglicanism that has always lived on the edges will now emerge triumphant in its own smaller "kingdom" and our total vision will be lost.

But if we now surrender to the prevelent and I think wicked spirit of division in the secular world, what will we have to say?

Tony Clavier
Trinity Episcopal Church
Watertown, SD, USA
1 January 2004

No one church is alone

I AM WRITING TO THANK YOU for your most excellent Christian message on the Internet. I read it weekly, most-times more than weekly, to keep myself informed and up-to-date about what is happening throughout the world - as well as subscribing to Pipechat (a discussion forum for organists).

This helps remind me that i) I am not alone, ii) no one church is alone.

It also reassures me that the Internet can be a force for GOOD as well as a Pandora's box of all the other forces of which this world is composed (good pun there for musicians).


Bless you.

Harry Grove
St. Leonard's, Clent
Chaddesley Corbett, Worcestershire, United Kingdom
1 January 2004

tired of all the controversy?

I AM WRITING TO SEE if others beside myself are really getting tired of all the controversy concerning the roles of homosexuals in the church. there are so many critical issues in the world today, and i think there are other issues that need addressing, such as all the unemployed,one in four children is affected by another's substance abuse addiction, the overcrowding of prisons and jails, primarily because 80 per cent of people in these institutions are there due to their dependence on chemicals and need treatment, children going without enough food to eat, all the military men and women being killed in iraq, the environment, the plight of the elderly not being able to afford medical care,the cost of retirement in the usa, the cost of a college education and how to afford it, the cost of eldercare, and so many other issues.

also it seems that there is a mood of "better than" if one doesn't agree with the conservative position on issues. part of the charm of the anglican communion has been the ability to use one's own brain to make decisions on issues. and also the diviseness that seems to be churning in various parts of the world on religious issues. the word orthodox anglican is being brandished about. at this point in time all the medical research is pointing to homosexuality as being a physical state, so no amount of shaming, guilting, and being pressured into trying to be unhomosexual seems pointless. the highest rate of suicide in highschools is among those high school students who are gay. so this is a very important issue. but to put it in a religious context is pointless from the biological facts on homosexuality. maybe others could share on what's going on in their area.

california usa
2 January 2004

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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