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This page last updated 29 October 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.

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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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 18 October 2004 to 24 October 2004

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

Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters

I SORROW OVER ALL THE ENERGY expended to exclude gays and lesbians from full inclusion into The (not our) Church. The Church is the Lord's, and Christ is, according to the bible I read, for inclusion. Would that we use half the energy to feed the hungry, educate others so they may be self-sufficient, and back off on our western greed.

Having reading the parable of the unjust judge and the widow, and imaging God as the widow and us as the judge, when WILL we be tired and worn down, like the judge, and actually seek justice?

Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me.... Makes me think, worry and pray.

The Reverend Marilyn Lamb
Nova Scotia, CANADA
18 October 2004

No longer interested

I AM VERY HURT AND UPSET at today's report on the rights of homosexuals to be treated equally in the Anglican Church. You are effectively excluding me .... so my response is simple...

Just get on with your rapidly shrinking world of narrow bigotism, I am no longer interested in what you do or say.

Joanne Williams
18 October 2004

A loving difference of opinion?

THE LONG-AWAITED REPORT has been issued. The mild depression I have felt since this issue erupted has not diminished. While I very much appreciate the love and acceptance I experience in my local parish, I find it increasingly difficult to worship in a communion where I am constantly being reminded that the overwhelming majority would rather I was not here.

I certainly am cognizant of the majority view; one could not grow up gay and not be aware of it. I also respect those who disagree with me. What I have real trouble with is the vitriol and inflamed rhetoric that this issue is generating.

I recently had an hour-long discussion with a dying uncle. For the first time, he asked me if I was gay, even though I have lived openly as a gay man for years. I acknowledged that I was. He then shared his views with me. He wanted to 'witness' to me so that we could one day be united in heaven. I also shared my perspective with him. I regard that conversation as an act of love. How could I not be touched by his kind intentions?

While I made it clear that my understanding is very different from his, I believe that, even at the end of his 91 years, my Uncle Mart gained some understanding. And I learned that, even though we were never close, he cared very much for me. In an attempt to provide some comfort to him, I told him that Christians are not of one mind on this topic. We were both able to find some comfort in that. I did not try to 'change his mind' and he made it clear that, in spite of our difference of opinion, he still loved me.

My uncle was a member of an evangelical church. If he and I could have a loving difference of opinion, isn't possible for the Anglican Communion to do so?

F. William Voetberg
Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Hastings, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
18 October 2004

You are loved, you are blessed, you are welcome

I WANT TO MAKE A STATEMENT about the current situation regarding same-sex marriages and ordination of gay clergy in the Church.

I grew up in a household with a gay father who could not admit his sexual preferences because of society's restraints. I was miserable, he was miserable and so was my mother. I truly believe that if he could have admitted his role and not been penalized at work {he was a grade school teacher} or ostrasized by the community, we all would have been happier and healthier in our relationships.

I congratulate the people who voted for the ordination of Bishop Robinson. His sexual preferences do not make him less able to preach Christ's word. His sexual preferences should not even be an issue. His character, his compassion, or even his understanding of the scriptures should be the issue. The people of his Diocese knew him, loved him and wanted him in a leadership position. That should be enough for the rest of us.

When it comes to same-sex marriages, lead on. The blessing of a monogomous union should be paramount in our society. Who the union is between is not our business. Monogomous couples whether straight or gay deserve the same previlages and rights. We need to return to loving our neighbor as ourselves and step away from judging our neighbors.

I understand, maybe erroniously, that the Anglican Communion believes that the Churches in the USA and Canada should apologize for the actions taken in the last year or so. I also understand that they would like a promise that no more such actions will take place. Please, by all means apologize, if it can be done without admitting fault. I do not believe that such a promise should be made. We are finally moving forward in welcoming gays into our midst and this cannot be wrong.

I would love to see the Anglican Communion as a cohesive group that is in agreement with all it's parts. But, that cannot happen as long as any part is repressed. So to the Church here and world wide, regardless of your opinions on these matters, you are loved, you are blessed and you are welcome in the eyes of the Lord.

Eugenia Madore
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Winslow, Arizona, USA
19 October 2004

Sydney has something to offer

I WRITE TO COMMEND TO YOUR READERSHIP the excellent, searching and even prophetic Presidential address, given by Dr Peter Jensen at Sydney Synod, Monday 18 October.

At the end of a wide ranging address that lasted an hour and a quarter, Dr Jensen called the synod to depend on God in prayer: 'I speak as your chief pastor: we have yet to see a new spirit of prayer. If our prayer-lives remain weak it is because we are still to be overwhelmed by the message of God's love in Christ. I am asking that we pray constantly, specifically, faithfully, earnestly for the outpouring of the Spirit in blessing on the preaching of God's word.'

One of your correspondents this week (Tom Sramek) commented that 'the church seems to be defensive, reactionary, and apologetic (not in the defending the faith sense, but in the apology for giving offense sense) rather than confident and unapologetic. Sometimes I think we just need to get over ourselves and be about the work of the Kingdom.' Tom, here is a brilliant example of a diocese doing just that.

Sydney bashing has become very popular lately, and sometimes, we do fail to communicate with humility and grace, but I commend Dr Jensen's address in the hope that others may see a church pressing on to make a difference for the Lord Jesus in its city. One can read the address here, or even watch and listen by clicking appropriately on this page.

As you yourselves noted here, for all its shortcomings (some real, some perceived), I believe under God, that Sydney (and its Archbishop) has something to offer the wider church.

The Rev Mark Calder
Roseville, Sydney, AUSTRALIA
19 October 2004

Waste of time, effort, and money?

REGARDING THE WINDSOR REPORT 2004: You call it "brilliant classic via media". I would probably call it something else. Section B, paragraph 43 sums up what should have been done, but wasn't; the failure to comment or make recommendations on the "theological and ethical matters". You know, the things that really matter. Maybe "waste of time, effort and money" would be a better description. I seriously doubt anyone was really suprised by outcome.

Darlow Maxwell
Albany, Georgia, USA
19 October 2004

Is God doing something new?

COULD IT BE THAT God is doing something new here? When Peter was hungry and faced with an empty fridge, God offered him a sheetful of non kosher animals, which is why we are no longer bound by Jewish dietary laws. Wherever you stand on the homosexual bishops issue, you must admit that the circumstances were unusual: New Hampshire rather than California, a first round win rather than the usual horsetrading, and then the fact that Gene Robinson has been openly gay for years, without his parish or diocese being noticeably damned throughout his years of ministry. The more significant question is what this means for gay marriage: If he can be Bishop, fine, but without marrying his partner he is presumably committing adultery every now and again, which is perhaps an example his flock (and the rest of us) don't need.

James Forbes
Grace Episcopal Church
St. Helena, California, USA
19 October 2004

Pope for a day?

I HAD THE GREAT PRIVILEGE of attending services at both Westminster Abbey and St Paul's last week and prayed in both for the Eames Commission. I, too, think that the Windsor Report is a masterful exercise of the classic Anglican via media. Beyond that, I felt that the report was reflective of the influence of the Holy Spirit in tone, spirit and counsel. I felt that influence though personally I strongly identify with the views of the Anglican Communion Network here in ECUSALAND, and personally wish we could have a pope only long enough to put Griswold and Robinson under interdict, or more; maybe a crusade or two. After rejoicing in the committment to via media and communal inclusiveness so abundant throughout the Windsor Report, I went to the ECUSA web-site and read the hypocritical and evasive "initial thoughts" of our much-to- be-regretted Presiding Bishop. A proper response to his meanderings involves vomitus. I do hope that the remainder of the Communion will pray for us poor Anglicans stranded in ECUSALAND and that the Communion will take seriously the guidance to reject admission of Griswold and Robinson to Anglican councils. Pray that we who strive to remain with you may be one in spirit with you.

Bruce Pingree
St Michael and All Angels
Dallas, Texas, USA
19 October 2004

Challenges me to seek and serve

FOR ALL THAT H. E. BABER CRITICIZES 'liberals' for subscribing to stereotypes, her recent letter perpetuates not a few.

I am one of those liberals whom Baber decries as 'positioning themselves on the politically correct side of the culture wars' and 'unable to distinguish between mainline Christians and fundamentalists, Episcopalians and holy rollers, [and] view all as equally benighted.' My belief that the church must strive to full embrace of all people, white and black, gay and straight, rich and poor, doesn't come out of some misguided sop to political correctness. It is rooted in that baptismal covenant I will soon renew on All Saints' Sunday. It challenges me to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving my neighbor as myself, to strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being. The covenant doesn't say, 'love only those who think the way you do' or 'respect the dignity of those of whose behavior you approve.' It says 'all.' I fail at this all the time, yet it continually calls me into valuing people--all of us, every one--as completely and unconditionally as God does. This is the core of 'morally correct doctrine.'

There is something that gives me hope for our Communion. It's a community supper that the shared ministry of which my parish is a part holds every Wednesday night in one of the poorest, most drug-and violence-ridden neighborhoods of inner-city Cleveland. My rector, a partnered gay man, Anglo-Catholic to the bone, works alongside Episcopalians from a conservative evangelical parish who kept our dying refrigerator running for weeks past its appointed time by laying hands on it. We serve a meal to homeless people, neighborhood children, drug addicts and alcoholics, college professors, transvestites, wealthy suburbanites, anyone who is there. All are welcome; all are cared for. It is the closest thing I know to the Kingdom of God. And it is in working together in love, in dedication to Christ made manifest in our fellow human beings, that we just might pull through this.

Gia Hayes
St John's Church, Cleveland
Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA
19 October 2004

Time will tell what will happen

I HAVE READ THE REPORT in its entirety. It is "classic via media," managing to give most groups both something to praise and something to complain about. What happens next is anyone's guess.

As a member of the ECUSA who supports Bishop Robinson's episcopal ministry and the expanding presence of open homosexuals in the Church, I am well aware of the implications of the recommendations the report makes in regards to us. Expressions of regret are fine and good, so long as it is carried out as Presiding Bishop Griswold has done in expressing regret for the effects of the act rather than the act itself. However, the moratorium on homosexual ordinations and same-sex blessing rites, if it is adopted, would be an unpardonable step backward for our homosexual brothers and sisters. This may soon be the decision we are faced with, do we chose to stop loving those whom Christ has called us to love or do we chose to continue loving and accept the consequences?

I don't see the ECUSA turning our back on our brothers and sisters who happen to be homosexual. I see us moving forward to be an even more inclusive and loving Church. If this results in us being forced to disassociate with the Anglican Communion, then so be it.

We are not the Roman Catholic Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury is not a pope. The section of the report that I found most disturbing was the recommendations regarding increased power for the Archbishop of Canterbury in regards to provincial affairs and the suggested formation of an Anglican covenant to which all member provinces would have to agree to uphold. It's pretty clear that the Anglican Communion is moving to "get everybody in line" with one group's version of the truth instead of respecting each province's autonomy and the tolearance and diversity that historical Anglicanism is known for.

I don't understand why a decision that the ECUSA makes should bother another province. Cannot a disgruntled province simply issue a statement saying, "We don't agree with you?" Is it not understood that individual provincial actions don't set unilateral precedent? We are a Communion, a confederation bound together by common fellowship and Christian love. Our prayer books vary radically as do our policies. We understand, or at least we used to, that our Anglican Communion does not require that we all agree. And if we, as Archbishop Akinola suggests, "can only walk together if [we] are agreed" (pardon me if my quote is inaccurate), then our Communion has been null and void from the start. It would be absurd to suggest that there are any two provinces that actually agree with each other on absolutely every point.

Time will tell what will happen in regards to the Anglican Communion. Two questions regarding the acceptance of homosexuality in the Christian Church seem to be demanding answers. If not you, than who? If not now, than when? The ECUSA has already answered those questions. If the Anglican Communion answers those questions with "nobody" and "never" then perhaps we as a Church need to reconsider our participation in this Communion.

Jesus Christ, in the written records we have of him, said not a word about homosexuality. But he did say something else. "Love one another as I have loved you." His love did not differentiate between those accepted and not accepted by society. He opened his arms to everybody and died for his radical love, his arms spread on a cross. Have we as a Church finally started to learn the lesson he taught us? Or are we content, once again, to turn away... and close our eyes against the sight of his tears?

Anna Cleveland
All Saints Episcopal Church
Gastonia, North Carolina, USA
20 October 2004

Re-read Jesus' teachings and get with the program

AS A PERSON WHO KEEPS UP with current events around the world I continue to be perplexed why in the 21st Century the Anglican Church is still having the debate regarding gays and lesbians in your church. It is time to be one with Christ's teachings of love and inclusion of all. I suggest that you re-read Jesus' teachings on such matters and get with the program that he set forth 2000 years ago. If you consider yourself a Christian, or even just a human being, it is the least you can do.

Bart Graham
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
21 October 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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