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This page last updated 22 March 2005
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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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 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.

Fewer doctrines, more Christ-likeness

I must take issue with a statement made by David Schulenburg to the effect that we in the Body of Christ need more doctrines. We have enough doctrines to cause regurgitation to the entire Western Hemisphere. In other words, the lack of doctrine is not the problem within Christendom.

Doctrines of men have and always will divide the body. Calvin wrote volumes of doctrine and had a professing believer, Michael Servitus burned at the stake over a doctrinal issue. Please look it up. No, what Christendom needs is more Christ-likeness. Until we achieve that we have serious problems.

Steve Langford
St Paul's Episcopal, Indianapolis
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
18 March 2005

Volunteers? Or draftees?

I quote:

14. Within the ambit of issues discussed in the Windsor Report and in order to recognise the integrity of all parties, we request that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference.

Surely the operative word here is 'voluntarily'. As one Canadian Anglican (for 73 years) I do not want to 'voluntarily' withdraw, so I believe Archbishop Hutchison should tell them that their request is hereby denied. How about the remainder of the Primates? Any of them want to voluntarily withdraw?

David T. Brown
St. Peter's Anglican Church
Campbell River, British Columbia, CANADA

Still listening

As I read your letter, I was reminded that it comes upon Holy Week. A thing I used to cherish and dread. I dreaded the misery of church functions... of smiling until my face hurt, of bearing up under the petty power plays that exist within any parish. Of a half-psychotic rector who publicly called me out because I questioned whether or not I should give a schizophrenic homeless man, who turned up at every function, wine when it was clear he was off his medication; the same rector who publicly announced at a wedding the bride's 3-month pregnancy, unknown to her family, to her utter humiliation. Those are my memories of that season.

It is hard indeed to recall the real reason for them. I'm not sure I believe it. I don't know if I ever did. I do know that it was dear to me. It was real. My dearest spiritual moment was at between 12 and 2 am on Maundy Thursday-Good Friday's Vigil. I walked to the the church in the darkness of a city. I sat in the chapel amid the flowers and the hope of salvation, my mind lost in prayers, both predictable and unexpected. I stayed there for hours. I kept vigil. I was watching over something more than a wake. This was The One. I was so immersed.

Well, I learned the hard way. I learned that there is no certainty in anything, even faith. I continue, not so many years later, to waver between trying to align my gut reactions to belief. And I never have any answers.

But deep down, in that part of myself that has no fancy words or any illusions, I know. I may not partake in the Great Mass of Easter. I may simply raise a glass. But I know.

Maybe that says something. Maybe it only proves how bitter and pathetic I am. Whatever it does, I'm still listening.

Briony James
None at the moment, formerly St. Thomas the Apostle, Hollywood
Los Angeles, California, USA
19 March 2005

To Rome or not to Rome

David Sculenburg's letter to AnglicansOnline, posted here, laments the fact that "the Roman Catholic Church does not promote an Anglican Rite." But it does! There are a number of parishes in the United States, Roman Catholic, that exclusively use an Anglican rite, albeit said parishes consist of former Episcopaleans (one in Texas and another in Boston come to mind).

The ARCIC dialogues having at last come to a halt, given that current Episcopalean actions have rendered reunification with Rome impossible, the Holy See has of late I hear taken an interest in the Traditional Anglican Communion, which is growing worldwide at a rate of 15,000 souls per month since the ordination of Robinson.

Further, it looks as though the ECUSA will soon be relegated to the status of somewhat what well-healed, albeit increasingly obscure liberal American protestant denomination, losing funds and members much as the once rather popular Christian Scientists and Unitarians had earlier in the last century. The reality is that there were more Episcopaleans in 1927 than there are today.

As these somber developments continue, fewer Episcopaleans will consider the unity of all Christians in one Church something pertaining to the will of Christ, our Lord's prayer in the Garden of Gethsemene at the start of His Passion for the unity of His followers notwithstanding.

The issue boils down to who His true followers are.

Fr. James Barlow
St. Francis of Assisi
Estes Park, Colorado, USA
18 March 2005

Diversity, division, and dust

I am deeply disturbed and offended by the recent action of ECUSA bishops in declaring a moratorium on the ordination to the episcopacy of gay people in committed relationships, and to its refusal to give public sanction to the blessing of such relationships. After having taken courageous stands on both issues, it appears that the bishops have succumbed to blackmail from third-world bishops intent on forcing their narrow views on the civilized world.

It is high time that American Episcopalians and Canadians voice publicly what they already know: that the African and Asian bishops attempting this theological coup are, many of them, a step removed from animism, cannibalism, and polygamy. The glory of the Anglican Communion has always been its diversity of opinion. If these prelates are not willing to concede this, perhaps it is best that North Americans should shake the dust off their feet, leave the obscurantists to their own devices, and -- by the way -- take their financial resources with them when they go.

Michael D. Fleming
St. Mark's Cathedral
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
16 March 2005

Not too much

I am so glad you appeal to Charles Williams often in your thoughtful letters. His generous orthodoxy offers the Anglican Communion a better way to deal with disagreements than the ones various provinces have been resorting to, of late. Blessed Charles Williams, pray for us.

Phoebe Pettingell
St Stephen's Episcopal Church
Providence, Rhode Island, USA
17 March 2005

Whew. Another fan. Thank you.

A question from Nigeria

I am a dental surgeon, working in Lagos, Nigeria. I work in hospital where the other doctors are of the Roman Catholic faith, and one of them recently declared that the problem of the Anglican Church worldwide is from their legalising abortion. This I have never heard about in all my years as an Anglican. Please could you send me any write-up on the Anglican Church anywhere in the world concerning abortion, whether for or against abortion.

Yours faithfully

Dr. Donald C. Onyedika
Church of Epiphany Iba -- Ojo Lagos
18 March 2005

If you would like to respond to Dr Onyedika, email us your response and we'll forward your reply to him.

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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