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This page last updated 23 March 2004
Anglicans Online last updated 20 August 2000

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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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

Letters from 14 to 21 March 2004

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

Discernment for all God's people

JUST A BRIEF REPLY to your article this week: last summer when the ECUSA General Convention passed 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!

Victoria Geer McGrath+
All Saints', Millington
Millington, New Jersey, USA
15 March 2004

Our lives make more sense as a patchwork

THANK YOU FOR YOUR EDITORIAL on vocation. Not only are our concepts infected by clericalism, we also do injustice 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 we define 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 make 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 is beautiful to us. Sometimes it is purely utilitarian - something ugly but that fills a hole. Sometimes God in a later part of our lives finds a new use for that ugly stopgap piece of cloth, in a more beautiful pattern.

Jaime Sanders
Christ Church
Lake Oswego, Clackamas County, Oregon, USA
15 March 2004

The same call to everyone

I LIKE 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.

Frances Davis Lowe
St. Paul on the Plains
Lubbock, Texas, USA
16 March 2004

Coming to terms with choices

THANK YOU FOR YOUR EDITORIAL about vocation. I think the whole concept of vocation deserves a great deal more attention 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:

"But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation 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
For 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 volunteer calling.

"Robin" Drake
St. Anne's, Reston VA
Herndon, Virginia, USA
16 March 2004


THERE IS A RUMOR GOING AROUND that the Archibishop of Canterbury will announce that those who participated in 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?

Michael H. Chalres
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.

New website for Toronto

THE DIOCESE OF TORONTO has a new official website. Launched on March 1, the new website gives the latest news and resources. It provides information about the diocese and its ministries, plus sections on how to find a church and special events.

"It was designed to appeal to both seekers and committed Anglicans," says Ann Castro, Web verger.

Created by 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 news stories.

"We’re going 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 are written."

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.

Information 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 process."

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 last September.

"We’re committed 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 reflect that."

Ann Castro
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.

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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