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This page last updated 13 November 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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.

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Letters from 31 October to 6 November 2005

Like all letters to the editor everywhere, these letters are the opinions of the 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.

'The other end of the telescope'

Your message last week talked very clearly about the mix of cultural traditions in America and, indeed, around the world. Certainly I experience that here in the [San Francisco] Bay Area. However, regarding the whole world now being neighbors due to communication possibilities nowadays.

I was struck by your statement "Whilst Jesus was quite clear in his exhortation to 'love your neighbour as yourself', his explanation of who might be our neighbour was to our mind less clear." May I suggest that the explanation given by Jesus in the parable called the Good Samaritan is perfectly clear — but looks at the question from the other end of the telescope: rather than looking at who might be our neighbor, He tells to be neighbors to those around us in need.

Your readers have probably responded to the needs of the victims of Hurricane Katrina, but how many of us have responded to the need of victims in the Pakistan/Kashmir earthquake? A thought for pre-Advent preparation . . . Yours in Christ, Stephen+

Stephen Bartlett-Re
(hospital chaplain)
San Francisco, California, USA
31 October 2005

'How much clearer could the Lord have been?'

While I greatly appreciated the thoughts on the fusion of culture, I was somewhat astonished that the writer struggled to comprehend Jesus' instruction on who is our neighbor. Surely the parable of the Samaritan where the Lord picks a protagonist from an almost the same, but different enough, religion to cause violent, hateful reaction in his audience; from another country (and if you think Samaria is close, it is faster to fly to Lagos than it is to walk from Jerusalem to Samaria); and from the wrong class. He then goes on to use that person to teach his oh-so-religious crowd to behave as God would expect. Surely this is instructional to us all, whether conservative or liberal.

Our neighbor is the one that we most despise or who most despises us, whether for racial, political, theological, or class grounds and we are called to love them whether we agree or not. How much clearer could the Lord have been?

Richard Griffith
St Mark's, Gulfport
Biloxi, Mississippi, USA
1 November 2005

Loving your neighbour as yourself

Father Daisuke Kitagawa came in 1967 to Seattle to attend General Convention. It was in the time of racial turmoil in the USA. Taking note of the tenor of the times, he said, "One of the best ways to overcome racial tensions is for people of different backgrounds to meet and really get to know one another." He did that all his life, as well as introducing people to our Lord.

Father Dai and his brother, Father Joseph Mitsuo Kitagawa, were born in Taiwan (it was known as Formosa in those days). They were both educated in Japan (Kyoto and Tokyo). They both came to the USA for additional education and training in our seminaries and in various dioceses and congregations. Their plan was to return eventually to their native Japan, but with the outbreak of WW II their lives and geographical venues were completely altered as they were caught up in the US internment of everyone of Japanese Ancestry.

In 1942, the Rev. Dr. Daisuke Kitagawa was the last Priest to be at Seattle's St. Peter’s Japanese Mission before members of his congregation — including himself — were sent off to the "relocation centers" set up in American military camps all over this land. He wrote an account in the Register of Services at St. Peter’s Church of the visit of Bishop Reifsneider on the occasion of the last service at St. Peter’s in the spring of 1942. His brother, The Rev. Joseph Mitsuo Kitagawa, similarly was incarcerated.

Father Joe came back to Seattle when the Japanese Americans were allowed to return in 1945. St. Peter’s Mission Hall became a temporary hostel for the returnees because during their evacuation and relocation other people had come to live in their dwellings in Seattle to work in the war effort during their absence. Now, while they were looking for new living quarters they were camping out in the Parish Hall and Father Joe helped them.

After he left Seattle, he helped to set up a "St. Peter’s Japanese congregation" in Chicago, where some people from Seattle and Los Angeles had settled after they could leave the wartime camps. Father Joe was to serve as an instructor of Comparative Religion, and eventually to become the renowned Dean of the University of Chicago Divinity School.

When the Reverend Daisuke Kitagawa left the internment camps, he went to Minneapolis where he taught US soldiers the Japanese language because the war was still going on. Then he went on to college work at the national level of our Church, and then to the Division of Studies at the World Council of Churches, Geneva. He made numerous travels to Africa. Instead of talking in demeaning ways about "underdeveloped countries", he spoke rather of "areas of rapid social change".

Such were the touches of Christian love, human compassion and sensitivity that he brought to bear in his pastoral ministry and service among high and low, the powerful and downtrodden.

The Reverend Timothy Makoto Nakayama
St. Mark's Cathedral, Seattle
Seattle, Washington, USA
31 October 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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