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This page last updated 12 May 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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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 2 to 9 May 2004

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

Accessibility, real and virtual

IN A RECENT LINK you directed your readers to information regarding making churches more accessible to the disabled. This is a worthy goal to be sure; I am seeing more and more services interpreted for the hearing disabled, and these services seem to attract those whom they are designed to help. I wonder how many of your readers have thought about making church web sites as accessible as their buildings and events. In a recent issue of A List Apart (an online magazine for people who make web sites) Trenton Moss provides a gentle introduction to this topic. It's a brief article, but full of links for techniques to assist the blind, the color blind, and those of us with ageing eyes who need to resize the smaller fonts occasionally. The article can be accessed here .

Paul Martin
St Michael's and All Angels
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
4 May 2004

'Come seek ye the living among the dead'

YOUR LETTER LAST WEEK STRUCK A CHORD with me. I work and worship at St. John's Cathedral, which is set in a large graveyard. It predates the parish, which was established in 1820, but many of the earliest graves are unmarked — the earliest marked grave being that of the eight-month old son of George Simpson, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company. Baby George died in 1832.

I spend a lot of time there on my lunch-hours, reading epitaphs and speculating on the people they laud. (Did you ever read a negative epitaph?) The graveyard is shaded by stately old trees, and is home to squirrels, birds of all kinds (including woodpeckers and crows) and even the occasional raccoon (we're on the banks of the Red River). The neighbours around the Cathedral walk their dogs in the graveyard, or walk along the grassy prayer path that has been laid out between the graves in the south-east quadrant, and neighbourhood cats come to forage for fieldmice.

The Cathedral is a busy place, not just on Sundays, but through the week, and I've often been tempted to hang a sign on the fence that reads, 'Come seek ye the living among the dead,' but the graveyard is a serene spot, an oasis of calm in a hurly-burly world. Our graveyard is filled with graves of Hudson's Bay Company factors and fur traders, pioneer settlers, several bishops, deans and archdeacons, famous men and women and those who lived and died in obscurity. It is a history of our city in stone, and, for me, it is a visible reminder of the ever-present 'cloud of witnesses'.

Rene Jamieson
The Cathedral Parish of St. John
Winnipeg, Manitoba, CANADA
3 May 2004

Facing the dead

YOUR COLUMN LAST WEEK was particularly timely for me. The dead in Iraq, in particular, have been on my mind even more lately. I was at a conference in Washington, D.C. Attending the conference were those of my (helping) profession who serve on Active Duty in the US military. I heard their stories from the front. At the same time I saw in the newspapers the names and faces of April's dead. A young Army Captain told of arriving in Kuwait. He stepped off the plane to the sight of eight coffins being loaded onto another aircraft. He said he cried and called his wife back home. It brought him fact-to-face with the reality that he might die in Iraq.

My only 'extra-curricular' activity while in DC was to visit Arlington National Cemetery. I had never been there before. It seemed like the time to go, to visit the honored dead. It was particularly poignant to know that more young people, from a new war, are being buried there. Remembering our war dead should never be subversive!

I watch the remembrance of the dead of this war every evening on the Lehrer News Hour. To note each passing and remember them in my prayers seems the least I can do. I would rather, though, be able to prevent their deaths. Today our hospital chaplain and I spoke of how we, or anyone, could effect a change in our nation such that we would seek peace and not war.

Kate Buike
St. Luke's Church, Renton
Renton, Washington, USA
4 May 2004

Letter to the editor

Time once again to thank you for your words and your ministry here.

I have always taken great delight - and comfort - in memorials in churches, and especially in churches which are 'designated' as memorial, in their entirety. If our faith means anything at all, if we are to have any good news to share, it must be this, that the dead ARE alive, that for all the wonders of this world and our relationships with each other, the best is YET to come.

In my parish, remembrance of those who have been buried from the church is made every week as a regular part of our prayers of the people. I don't think there's been a week when somebody has been brought back to mind. Does it matter that we individual listeners/prayers may not know anything about him or her? I don't think so . . .

One other little note: the 'secular' world hasn't entirely pushed memorials to the periphery. In my city (Vancouver), we have a program of memorial park benches which is wonderful. I'm always looking for the new ones and reading the plaques that family and friends remember by. I see many others do the same, probably thinking, and maybe saying, 'When I go, I want a bench at...'. Sometimes sitting and praying at one just because I like the remembrance.

God bless and keep you!

Paul Bunnell
St Agnes, Diocese of New Westminster
Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA
9 May 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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