from 14 to 21 March 2004
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for all God's people
BRIEF REPLY to
your article this week: last summer when the ECUSA General Convention
the new Title III canons on ministry (which will be completed
in time for GC 2006), part of the new canon on ministry includes discernment
for all God's people, lay and clergy alike. As I understand it, the thinking
behind this canonical change is that the laos (the whole people of God)
should always be in a process of discrenment about how we are called
to serve Christ and his Church. Granted, it will be a difficult canon
to implement and there will most likely be those who read it only as
pertaining to aspirants for holy orders, however it is a place to start
in helping us all claim our baptismal ministries, and hopefully mending
some of that sacred/secular divide. In our diocese (Newark) we also have
a group of the Commisssion on Ministry that pays particular attention
to ministry carried out by lay persons.
Keep up the
good work of your ministry with AO!
All Saints', Millington
Millington, New Jersey, USA
15 March 2004
make more sense as a patchwork
FOR YOUR EDITORIAL on
vocation. Not only are our concepts infected by clericalism, we also
to people's lives when we think
of "a vocation," as if we each have only one box we fit into. My
husband, for example, is a lawyer, a father, a grower of orchids,
and a member
of a church - among other things. He is one of the fortunate who
think of what they do for pay as in a sense a vocation - but if
him solely by that, it leaves out fatherhood, which was a calling
he felt before that of law and does not go away. I think our lives
more sense as a patchwork quilt, that is unique to us, and that
we sew in stages over our life. Sometimes the square is one that
to us. Sometimes it is purely utilitarian - something ugly but
that fills a hole. Sometimes God in a later part of our lives finds
use for that ugly stopgap piece of cloth, in a more beautiful pattern.
Lake Oswego, Clackamas County, Oregon, USA
15 March 2004
call to everyone
YOUR THOUGHTS on
vocation. I have long disliked the assertion that God "calls" people
to ministry. If someone is called, someone else is not called. Any child
who has been last chosen on the playground knows how that feels. I don't
think God is a great personnel director in the sky, calling this man
to be a priest, this man to labor all his life in the mines, this woman
to bear many children... What I think is that God issues to everyone
precisely the same call. The difference is in the response. That response
may lead an individual into ministry or something else, hopefully into
her true "life work" where she finds fulfillment and happiness. God's
call has little to do with what we do for a living; He calls for a radical
response, a total commitment. From each and all of us, not just some.
Fortunately, he accepts with joy our lesser response. I even think that
this was true of the disciples; these were those people (some of whom
were surely women) who encountered Christ and made the most radical response.
St. Paul on the Plains
Lubbock, Texas, USA
16 March 2004
terms with choices
FOR YOUR EDITORIAL about
vocation. I think the whole concept of vocation deserves a great deal
in the non-clerical context than
it usually gets. Ultimately, our happiness, our mental health, and our
contribution to society (productivity and otherwise) depend on how well
we understand and come to terms with the choices we make, or that we
feel are made for us.
I like your
Buechner quote, and your paraphrase about being most truly ourselves.
Turns out it's remarkably similar to a favorite of mine on this subject.
Robert Frost ended (IIRC) his long poem "Two Tramps in Mud Time" thusly:
who will to their separation,
in living is to unite
and my vocation
As my two
eyes make one in sight.
Only when love and need are one,
And the work
is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed
ever really done
heaven and the future's sakes."
I think that
if we stop assuming that "calling" is some great high thing, peculiar
to clergy, and look for that in all of our life, we'll find it. A "day
job" is not bad if you do it honestly, and then put your love into a
St. Anne's, Reston VA
Herndon, Virginia, USA
16 March 2004
A RUMOR GOING AROUND that
the Archibishop of Canterbury will announce that those who participated
Bishop Robinson's ordination and, of course,
the bishop himself, will no longer be members of the Anglican Communion.
Can you comment on the veracity of that?
St. Thomas Church
New York, New York
17 March 2004
No. But we
can comment on the probability that it is true, which is very small.
OF TORONTO has
a new official website. Launched on March 1, the new website gives the
news and resources. It provides information about the
diocese and its ministries, plus sections on how to find a church and
"It was designed
to appeal to both seekers and committed Anglicans," says Ann Castro,
two local web design firms, Version 5.1 and ClearIntent, the new site
is easy to use and informative. The home page features striking photographs,
a message welcoming visitors to the site, and a list of the most recent
to keep the news section current," says Ms. Castro. "Anglicans have come
to expect their news as it happens. We’ll be posting new stories as they
The site also
contains a section on the diocese’s policies, documents and canons. This
will be helpful for clergy, church wardens, treasurers and anyone else
who plays a leadership role in their parish.
and new sections will be added to the site as needed, says Ms. Castro. "We’ve
put a lot of energy into getting the site up and running, but it’s not
complete. During the next six months we’ll be fine-tuning it, seeing
what works and what doesn’t, and adding new material. It’s an evolving
This is the
second major initiative undertaken by the diocese’s Communications board
in the past year. The diocese’s newspaper, The Anglican, was re-designed
to providing excellent sources of news and resources for Anglicans in
the diocese and across Canada," says Stuart Mann, Communications manager. "The
Diocese of Toronto is a leader in the Canadian church, and its communications
Diocese of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
17 March 2004
We don't normally
publish press releases as letters to the Editor, but we find that this
new Diocese of Toronto website is one of the best that we've seen, and
we think that our Anglican world would be better if more people saw this
website. So here it is.
We launched our
'Letters to AO' section on 11 May 2003. All of our letters are
in our archives.