Letters from 20
to 27 June 2004
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Vercoe of New Zealand
IN YOUR INTERESTING
COVER ARTICLE (AO 20
June) you note the vision elected Archbishop
Wakahuihui Vercoe of New Zealand has of a world without homosexuality. You
rightly express a hope that "the special genius of the Church in New Zealand
-- to live amongst difference with grace and goodwill" will continue. Only
a month or so ago the General Synod of The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New
Zealand and Polynesia unanimously approved a statement in
which it said that it 'acknowledges and honours the contribution that gay
and lesbian Anglicans make to the life and ministry of our Church'. For
a sane and sensible New Zealand perspective, read an article in
the New Zealand Herald of
9 June 04 by Bishop Richard Randerson, Dean of Auckland. Other
criticism of Archbishop Vercoe has been less temperate.
head of a Maori sexuality research project at Auckland University is
reported as saying that Archbishop Vercoe's comments threaten to do long-term
and permanent damage to youngsters grappling with sexuality. Researcher Dr
Leonie Pihama called the Archbishops's vision of a world without gays 'holocaustic',
and Maori author Witi Ihimaera called for Vercoe's resignation. Auckland
University theological lecturer and Anglican priest, Philip Culbertson,
said the archbishop's comments were a breach of a church prohibition against
St Philip's, O'Connor
21 June 2004
IT WAS BOUND TO
HAPPEN: Anglicans Online catching up with the embarrassment so many Anglicans are
feeling in NZ over the public pronouncements of an aging, bigoted old Maori
man. Nevermind that the NZ General Synod that elected him (I believe in error
-- it was left to the Maori Tikanga to select their man -- rather than an
open challenging selection by the whole Synod) had just voted that the contributions
and presence of gay and lesbians persons within the church are valued. Please
seek and publish the responses of Bishop Richard Randerson, Assistant in
Auckland, who has been coping with the aftermath. . .
St John the Baptist Anglican, Northcote
Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
22 June 2004
Bishop Selwyn of New
YOU FOR YOUR FEATURE about the Anglican Church in Aotearoa,
New Zealand, and Polynesia and George Augustus Selwyn, our first
bishop. Sometimes living in NZ can feel as remote as the moon from
the rest of the Anglican world, and it is good to know we are not
The Anglican Church
in this country has often led the way in race relations, especially when
we adopted the "three tikanga" (strands) approach, with Maori, Pakeha (white)
and Polynesian dioceses having equal representation in the church. We led
the way in liturgical and theological reform when we issued the New Zealand
Prayer Book, and consecrated Bishop Penny Jamieson as the first female diocesan
bishop. Like you, I hope and pray that we can continue to work and pray for
reconciliation in our multicultural society and between different theological
One of the strengths
of the Church here (as I see it) is the way we embrace and celebrate difference
-- theological, racial, language, sexual practice etc. I pray that we can
continue to find our unity in diversity -- here and in the Communion as a
We continue to pray
for Archbishop Whakahuihui Vercoe, that he will represent our church with
grace both in New Zealand and on the world stage.
Blessings on your
ministry at AO,
Robyn Parkin n/tssf
St James' Lower Hutt
Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
25 June 2004
THE NORTH OF ENGLAND there is an Anglican evangelist
called the Reverend Robin Gamble who works hard to bring the
Gospel to people in our post-modern culture. In the past
he has used both the Simpson family stories and rock music (like that of
the pop-group Queen) as opportunities to communicate the Gospel. His present-day
suggestions, called START, are being used by forward-looking vicars to reach
out to those who are not yet of the Faith. This is a difficult task because
popular culture is changing with the speed of light, and harassed vicars
are having to widen their role to include that of a diplomatic enabler within
In another context,
although still relevant, it was John Mbiti who said that the Gospel came
to each culture as a stranger, a stranger which settles down, although later
it may criticise that culture.
Your article on Bishop
George Augustus Selwyn, who brought the gospel to the, as then, different
culture of New Zealand, is most apt.
Clayton, Bradford, UNITED KINGDOM
22 June 2004
Come all ye shepherds
I AM THE
WEBMASTER for the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd In Edmonton. I am starting
a web page with pictures of other Good Shepherd Anglican churches. I
would like to get as many digital pictures of Good Shepherd Anglican
churches as I can to post. I will credit the photographer if they want
me to. I have only one at this time but would like to get more if possible.
The web page address is http://www.goodshepanglican.org/othergsc.htm.
Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd
Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA
22 June 2004
'A scruffy little
band of holy barefoot radicals'
AM AN EPISCOPAL PRIEST IN MONTANA and a vowed solitary.
This is the essence of an email I sent Dr.
Ephraim Radner in response to his essay, but I decided I would
like to share it with the whole.
profoundly Dr. Radner's appeal for all to stay within the church. My
heart has felt broken and torn open in prayer over divisions. I truly
believe division rends asunder the Heart of Christ. The Sacred Heart
of Christ image is one of the most profound of images for me in prayer
and I pray to enter into that Sacred Heart.
I am convinced
that it is only the conservatives that can offer this clarion
call for unity, especially the conservative bishops. And alas it seems to
me the reasons for threatened division are less than pure and more intertwined
with multiple motives than admitted. It seems against the heart
of Christ to seek division. I understand those who speak up for the necessity
of the division of the reformation but it seems we are far from that historical
point. And it seems to me the 'current issue' separates us from
the core Bonhoeffer 'costly grace' of the gospel. It is like straining at
the gnats. 'Is Christ divided?' Where do the conservative/liberal boundaries
fall when one of us saith 'I am of Paul; and I of Apollos, and
I of Cephas and I of Christ?' Shame on us all.
It seems to me
there is another paradigm. I say this portion writ large, with blood
and tears and prayers. It seems to me the very labels of conservative
and liberal are not scripturally useful nor spiritually healing. Would
the Jerusalem Church be the conservative one, and Paul the liberal? Our
history falls along many fault lines.
The concept of
a RADICAL church, a mystical church seems truer than the labels
of conservative or liberal. Rahner speaks of the church that must become
mystical or die. The gospels are the most radically costly of any religion
in the world. Every thing is required. Every. Even our righteousness,
even our own way. With the gospel in our hands and the Lord in our hearts,
there could be no participation in war or materialism. We would be pre-Constantine,
pre-power and archy. We would give up power, position, salary
and title. When we enter into the Heart of Christ, most of our divisions
would be petty compared to the crucified power of love. We would be a scruffy
little band of holy barefoot radicals following Christ with all
our hearts. We would lay down our lives. This is the inerrant gospel. There
are incredible models of saints through history that have followed this model
of Christ. This is the model of barefoot in the snow, naked in the night,
Paul in prison, Christ crucified upon the cross to lead us to redemption.
I beg and pray and beseech for this model.
I have not put
this well. It is actually so profound a call that words fail. It is living
the Sermon on the Mount. I truly believe that the survival of Christianity
beholds us to this intensely radical gospel of Christ. I am not there
yet; none of us are; but the taste is on my tongue as I pray for the
Church Whole. When Jesus was transfigured, the apostles saw only Jesus.
Only Jesus. So must we.
Hermitage of the Transfiguration
Kalispell, Montana, USA
22 June 2004
We launched our 'Letters
to AO' section on 11 May 2003. All of our letters are in our