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This page last updated 24 May 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.

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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 respond to a letter whose author does not list an email, you can send your response to Anglicans Online and we'll forward it to the writer.

Letters from 16 to 12 May 2004

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

On the notion of 're-confirmation'

ON "RE-CONFIRMATION" at the end of your May 16, 2004 letter.

Isn't this called "reaffirmation of baptismal vows" and done as part of the Confirmation service for those who have already been confirmed but want/need (can you ever tell the difference in real time??) that rite.? My parish does this at that very same Bishop's visit as a part of the Confirmation Service. See BCP p. 419

As one of those who was confirmed as part and parcel of "graduating from Sunday School" and, in my own mind at least, certain it was because I had done well on the written exam we had before we were allowed to be confirmed, my own "real" Confirmation had very little, or nothing, to do with an understanding of baptism or my acceptance of the Baptismal vows that were made for me. (and this may all be part of why I object to infant baptism so strongly).

After graduation, aka confirmation, I did not attend church again until 25 years later -- I graduated didn't I. And it was with real relish, and real meaning, that I went through the confirmation process again and reaffirmed my baptismal vows. I decided that this conscious and public reaffirmation would be an infrequent and regular practice of mine going forward --- with me using the process to engage more deeply and with intent on what I do each and every Sunday in some form. For no really good reason, I decided on 10 year increments so in 2 years time I will be up there with the confirmands reaffirming my own commitment.

Liz Callison
Alexandria, Virginia, USA
17 May 2004

YOUR DISCUSSION OF CONFIRMATION brought back as many memories to me as, perhaps, it did to you. I had the fortune of being both confirmed and ordained by the same bishop, so there is an additional link there. Regarding your desire that "perhaps in these troubled times, we oughtn't have a 'Service of Reconfirmation'" -- we do in fact have such a service, it is called Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows and is part of the Confirmation service. I've often felt that we make use of Reaffirmation far too little, as it (and the preprartion that would presumably precede it) might well help people to reaffirm not only their identity as Children of God, but as a member of the priesthood of all believers.

Tom Sramek, Jr.
St. Alban's Episcopal Church
Albany, Oregon, USA
19 May 2004

Since baptism is not the same thing as confirmation, we thought readers would share our assumption that reaffirmation of baptismal vows was not the same thing as re-confirmation. Obviously we thought wrong. Reaffirmation of baptismal vows is a good thing, but we were musing about something different. Sorry we weren't more clear.

No perturbation here

WHEN I BEGAN ATTENDING services at a small Episcopal parish in an ultraconservative part of the United States early this year, I turned to your web site for a window onto the larger Anglican world. The sampling of letters from traditional church members who feel "betrayed" by ECUSA's handling of the Robinson controversy seems to confirm news media reports of denominational perturbation outside of my very welcoming mission parish.

I must admit that the current culture war within my new faith has attracted, rather than repelled, my interest in Anglicanism. The fact that the parishioners of the Diocese of New Hampshire could select, through their elected representatives, their own bishop is very intriguing to someone whose previous Christian experience occurred in a more authoritarian ecclesiastical framework.

I am a very happy to be part of a congregation that hears no hellfire and damnation sermons from our female supply priest, where nobody in Sunday School tells me how to vote, and where anyone who walks through the door seems to be accepted for what is in that person's heart, not for the genetic makeup or environmental experience that influenced sexual orientation.

I'm not sure how my fellow parishioners would vote if confronted by a Robinson controversy of their own, but I am certain that, after having discussed and then voted, most of us would be there the next Sunday wishing each other peace.

Dave Nelson
St. Francis Episcopal Church
College Station, Texas USA
17 May 2004

How could you?

I AM REALLY DISTRESSED that AnglicansOnline would allow its webpages to be used for the dissemination of blatantly political propaganda. I am referring, in this instance to the publication, on your site, of a letter from Mr. Flint in Jackson, Missisippi.

In his letter Mr. Flint has made a series of direct and indirect allegations about President Bush. Not one of these allegations is supported by any citation of factual evidence. When Mr. Flint alleges "President Bush created the War on Terror himself" one has to ask oneself if news of the attack on the United States on 9-11 has yet to reach the Flint home in Jackson, Miss. I am totally shocked that AnglicansOnline would allow its website to be used to propagate such an obviously frivolous allegation.

For Mr. Flint to allege "How do you know the truth when all you hear our[sic] lies?" is more than silly, it is slanderous. Pontius Pilate comes to mind, Mr. Flint. Perhaps you could have a discussion of the meaning of "quid est veritas" rather than hurl such inflammatory statements at The President.

I'm just appalled that AnglicansOnline would allow its letter pages to be used as a vehicle for such obviously harmful allegations. A letter such as Mr. Flint's serves NO PURPOSE other to inflame and anger people. Exactly the opposite of Christian doctrine.

I believe that George W Bush is a very sincere Christian and that he has been resolute in confronting a very great evil. I would ask AngicansOnline to pray that The President receives divine guidance, in this struggle for our very existence as a civilization, and that AnglicansOnline would refrain from publishing such mockery, as exemplified by Mr. Flint's letter, in these very perilous times.

Robin Bridges
Resurrection Episcopal Church
Jacksonville, Florida.
19 May 2004

This was a letter to the editor, not a letter from the editor. Whether the letter in question inflamed or delighted people probably depended on their beliefs. We welcome letters from all points of view. We do not specify the topics of letters. We wish more people would write us letters.

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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