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This page last updated 21 June 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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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.

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 13 to 20 June 2004

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

Da capo, agitato

It was rather a shock to note the link on last week's front page, which leads to an essay I wrote nearly four years ago. I suppose it does one good to read things one wrote some time ago. There is nothing much I would change in the essay entitled 'The General Convention Church'. Certainly the debate on human sexuality tends to obscure the underlying issue, that is, what is the extent of General Convention's competence and in what manner may it be said that the 'instruments of unity' of the Anglican Communion describe and limit autonomy.

Is autonomy the same thing as total independence? If it is, then surely each National Church or autonomous Province is free to do as it pleases. But is this 'Communion'?

Is legal authority superior to, or does it override, moral authority? One might have thought in Christian terms that moral trumps legal!

Do we derive our notions of autonomy from doctrine or from secular political science? If from the first,do Anglicans have an agreed doctrine of the Church and of Communion, or for that matter, does TEC? If we derive our notion of authority from the secular state,it seems likely that member churches of the Communion have inherited widely different forms of political theory.

I for one wait with some trepidation for the Lambeth Commission to report back. One can only pray.

The Very Reverend Anthony F. M. Clavier
Dean of the European Institute of Christian Studies
Convocation of American Churches in Europe
Paris (Neuilly sur Seine), France
14 June 2004

Calgary wants better enunciation

I wish to point out that a large number of misspellings occur in every Anglican hymn book. Here's an example:

We love to sing below
for mercies freely given;
but O we long to know
the triumph-song of heaven.

When as anyone can hear the people are singing:

We love to sing below
for mercies freely givn;
but O we long to know
the triumph-song of hevn.

Something should be done!

Miles Motture
St Stephen's Anglican Church
Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
18 June 2004

Trinidad wants more reverence

I have searched online for guidelines as to worship within the Anglican community. I have checked within my diocese here in Trinidad and nowhere can I find laid-down guidelines as to behaviour within the confines of the Anglican Church. I find far too often that the reverence in our churches has sadly diminished with the passing of generations. Far too often there is constant chatter while the Epistle, the sermon, and intercessions are being done. Persons are walking in and out at leisure while services are being conducted. Genuflections to the Blessed Sacrament have disappeared (though not all together) but if we let it slip any further, it's gonna go completely.

We need to find a way to bring this back to the church and somewhere within the worldwide Anglican Communion have written specific guidlines as to the behaviour... When we kneel, sit, stand; physical posture; how we accept communion, etc.

Anglicanism/Epicopalianism is fast becoming a dying religion. Our numbers are steadily decreasing, we are losing our congregations to the Bible-based churches, Pentecostal, etc. While not restricting our parishioners to liturgical rhetoric, let us make some effort to rebuild and restore the dynamism within our Anglican Communion.

Christine Herbert
Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, Port of Spain
Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago
16 June 2004

Erie wants a surplice-based decision

I have a question about vestments, particularly the surplice. I was once told that the round-cut surplice was traditionally Roman, while the square-cut surplice was traditionally Anglican. Is this true?

William Shontz
Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit
Erie, Pennsylvania, USA
15 June 2004

Tell us your opinion and we'll forward your email to Mr Shontz.

And Southport wants an end to frame blessing

I am a little disturbed by the singular entrenchment of people on Christian messageboard sites, which renders normal and usual discussion impossible. I have left as many as three in the past month because the attitudes were actually eroding both my confidence and making me an addict of the nugget of theologically useless information.

The approach is odd: people build up reputation by a system of having others 'bless' their frame. For me it began to be more like 'Jukebox Jury' than Apologetics... I laughed it off because I had to.

Jason Redvers Latham
Southport, ENGLAND
15 June 2004

'Blessing their frames'... ? We confess that we know very little about Christian messageboard sites; Anglican email lists are enough of a sandbox at times. Do any readers have experience of what Jason is writing about?

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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