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This page last updated 11 March 2005
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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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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 27 February to 6 March 2005

Like all letters to the editor everywhere, these letters are the opinions of the letter writers and not Anglicans Online. We publish letters that we think will be of interest to our readers, whether we agree with them or not. If you'd like to write a letter of your own, click here.

Identity check?

Thank you, thank you for your front page of 27 February.

What troubles me most, regardless of my own views on Windsor, etc., is the lack of ecumenical spirit within our own Anglican ranks. We seem more able to talk to Catholics, Baptists, or whomever than to fellow Anglicans of differing stripes.

Abandoning the Anglican communion may well bring us to the place where we remember the reason it was there to begin with. Yet, if we neglect the gathering of ourselves together, will we still have the grace and graciousness to be with Christ in his works of healing, mercy, and peace?

Jesus does not ask whether we are gay or non-gay when he commissions us to feed his sheep. So why does it worry the sheep so much?

Brian McKinlay
28 February 2005

'Introverted squabbles'

Some weeks ago you quoted Archbishop Tutu's simple but compelling description of the Anglican Communion: 'we meet'. Yet no more are we to meet as one body in the Anglican Consultative Council now that the US and Canadian churches have euphemistically been asked to withdraw. As a result the Archbishop of Canterbury is left trying to explain to the global media and the few people outside the church still interested in these introverted squabbles that being apart for a while helps the process of listening!

The primates' communique represents an appalling affront to the heart of Christ who prayed that the disciples should be one so that the world may believe. My heartfelt prayer is that those Anglican provinces who remain open to the prompting of the Spirit, will want to continue to meet with our US and Canadian sisters and brothers, whose presence is vital for our mission to the world. Maybe this can be done bilaterally in one on one meetings or plurilaterally with regional meetings.

If our increasingly doddery and out-of-touch primates cannot act together in unity for the sake of the Gospel, then the rest of us will just have to do it for them.

Stephen Jacobi
St John's Cathedral
28 February 2005

Feels like home

Your site is the one I use as my home page. It is continuously the voice of reason and, I hope, not just crying in the wilderness. This week was more than the best! I am encouraging many to go and see.

Your work and dedication is worth a great deal to me.

JC Eriksen
St. Clare's Episcopal Church
Blairsville, Georgia, USA
3 March 2005

Can you offer a home for this book?

In 1959, the Cambridge University Press produced the "Draft Report of the Joint Committee of both houses of the General Synod on the Revision of the book of Common Prayer. I have a copy of this book, signed by every member of the revision committee ... thirty-five signatures ... everyone from the senior bishop at that time Philip Charrington (Philip Quebec) to the baby bishop, George Snell (soon to become Bishop of Toronto).

I have contacted various Toronto Anglican sites and have received no reply. Perhaps you could be of some assistance in finding some person or institution that would be interested in acquiring this item.

Terrence J. O 'Neil
St. Paul's Cathedral
London, Ontario, CANADA
6 March 2005

'When did the word "communion" mean "everyone thinks alike"?'

Thank you for your as-usual brilliant, reasonable take on the current unpleasantness in the Anglican Communion (your missive published the week of 2/27).

I am so puzzled: since when did the word "communion" mean "everyone thinks alike"? Lovely irony in all this, isn't there... the American Colonies split from Great Britain because we didn't like some of GB's ideas... the Puritans left Great Britain because they were being persecuted for their beliefs... the early American Anglicans were persecuted by other early Americans for reading the BCP...

...and now, for a change, the Episcopal Church in America is actually embracing, welcoming, even loving those whom Jesus did -- the socially unacceptable -- yet the Anglican Communion as we know it may cease to exist because of it What terrible wounds cause such fear-driven actions?

The Anglican Communion has weathered great political upheaval, wars, famine, pestilence, the ordination of women and people of color, and even, for Heaven's sake, interpretive dance. May She withstand something so extraordinary as love and acceptance.

Christy Favorite
St. Mary's Episcopal Church
Anchorage, Alaska, USA
4 March 2005

Bishop as intercontinental missile?

In making a unilateral decision to go forward with Bishop Robinson's consecration, the American Church has exhibited the same arrogance and disregard for the opinions of others that is often attributed to the United States in its foreign policy.

However, even more disturbing was the reported refusal of some of the primates from other Provinces to receive communion at any service at which Bishop Griswold also received the sacrament. Do they really believe they are serving our Lord by following the example of the Pharisees?

Paul Powers
Fort Worth, Texas, USA
6 March 2005

'Wisdom in our Reformation roots'

Thank you very much for this week's essay, which articulates something I've been pondering as we deal with the current crisis: are we in danger of making an idol of the Anglican Communion? There was a time when I would have welcomed a greater centralisation of authority, seeing it as proof that we are, indeed, a 'Catholic' body. Recently, however, I have reflected on how a major tenet of the English Reformation was the notion that foreign bishops don't have the right to meddle in the affairs of a national Church. Yet that is precisely what is happening.

A lot has changed since the idea of the Anglican Communion first came into being. The sun has long since set on the British Empire, and the various provinces are developing very differently in widely divergent cultures. Perhaps it is time to look for wisdom in our Reformation roots.

The Reverend William Bippus
St. Paul's Church
Marinette, Wisconsin, USA
3 March 2005

Money moratorium

Since the Primates have decided that it is appropriate for the voices of the Anglican Church in Canada and ECUSA not to be heard on the Anglican Consultative Council, perhaps they should also consider a moratorium on member churches receiving financial assistance from all Canadian and American Anglicans, whatever their individual stances. This would seem to be the only way to avoid the unseemly appearance of Primates being for sale to the highest bidder.

Stephen Stray
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
1 March 2005

Another side of Sydney

Bashing the Diocese of Sydney is popular worldwide these days. But I thought your readers might appreciate this thread on the forum of its web pages. Although one can click here ( and read the full thread, I thought it would be interesting to quote this first post. How encouraging that among our brothers and sisters here, there is a desire to self-examine, in a spirit of humility.

Of course, I cannot speak for the Diocese. But in my opinion, we have much to learn and much to give. May we have the humility to do both.

I love [the] Sydney Diocese. I praise God for our leadership in Peter Jensen. I praise God that we have been stirred up for mission. I am grateful for the Bible teaching I have received.

Yet, for all that I give thanks for, I have some sadnesses and concerns. Sometimes this means I feel a little out of place and alienated, within my own diocese. Most issues have to do with our reaction to error. As we have reacted to error over time, it seems to me that we have always tended towards over-correction.

If I may give some examples:

1. To the excesses of charismatics, we have overreacted so that the Holy Spirit in many of our churches, is a silent partner.

2. To the lack in the past of good Bible teaching, we now speak of ministry as if it only consisted in Bible teaching.

3. To the error that worship was seen as the hour on Sundays, we think that the Sunday gathering does not consist in worship at all. Related to that - to the error that our church services emphasised purely the vertical, we have turned services into meetings which focus mainly on the horizontal.

4. To the error of over-emphasis on the Lord's Supper, we endeavour to make sure it hardly means anything.

5. To the error of some churches which could be accused of manipulating people's emotions, we steer away from any emotion in church and emphasise the cerebral.

6. To the push of feminism, and in reaction to the ordination of women, we harshly judge churches that have women preach. Students from college steer away from such churches. It is often the new touch-stone of orthodoxy.

7. In reaction to the 'social gospel', we have pushed away any attention on giving to the poor, because every dollar for the poor is one less for mission!

8. Sadly there is an epistemological arrogance about us -- which of course puts many people off side.

9. In reaction against formalism and order in services, and liturgy, we have largely abandoned it, and at times and in some places, little thought is given to order or form at all.

Brothers and sisters, I think these are real concerns. I know I am not alone in seeing these. But what to do? I pray. I speak with like-minded people. I ask the Lord to fill us with grace and humility -- before Him and one another.

Thank you for letting me share these thoughts in this forum. I am sorry in advance, for any offense caused.

May the Lord make us more like the Lord Jesus.

Liz Shore
28 February 2005

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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