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This page last updated 8 March 2006
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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.

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Letters from 27 February to 5 March 2006

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.

Behold, we go up to Jerusalem

Thank you for your reminder of the lovely old pattern for this time of the year. John Betjeman's poem "Septuagesima" provides another as he begins

"The Gesimas - Septua, Sexa, Quinc
Mean Lent is near, which makes you think."

But for those who use the Book of Common Prayer (still as Archbishop Donald Robinson wrote, the one official liturgy of the Church of Australia, the new books being authorised variations) no reminder is needed. In my former parish, dark blue stoles and frontals at this time signalled the approach of Lent (and in a busy unheeding world that is helpful), followed on Ash Wednesday by the simple Lenten array. (Green for the gesimas would also be appropriate if a major emphasis then is on reading at this time, according to ancient custom, the early chapters of Genesis at Mattins and Evensong, that reading like the singing of the Benedicite in Lent — and eg at Harvest and on the Sabbath Day — a valuable reference to God's endangered creation).

In a few places (such as St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne) at the celebration of the BCP Holy Communion the 3 year lectionary replaces the BCP Communion readings — unfortunately, not least because the latter are so appropriate. On Septuagesima, for example, as we look towards Lent, the Epistle (as Betjeman's poem notes) speaks of our running the course, but that is balanced by the Gospel of the necessary grace of God.

As for a favourite Sunday, apart from Easter and Whitsun, Quinquagesima would probably be my own. (It would be equalled by the Sunday before Advent with Jeremiah's word of a king who would bring "justice in the earth", and a Gospel that speaks of "that Prophet that should come into the world", and, as recalled in John Meade Falkner's poem for that Stir-up Sunday, with Ecclesiastes 11 and 12 read at Morning Prayer - "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth" — a great passage absent altogether from the 3 year lectionary!)

Quinquagesima gives us on the eve of Lent what is always at the heart of the matter, 1 Corinthians 13 (on which the wonderful collect is based) and then our Lord's words, "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem". I don't think anything can beat that! For most of the last 60 years I have heard these passages read in church year by year on those Sundays and find it so sad that late in life that for me and too many others in Australia that is now only rarely possible.

The Revd John Bunyan
St John the Baptist's Canberra & King's Chapel, Boston
Campbelltown, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA
27 February 2006

Praying for everyone in need

I hope that this is the proper venue. I represent the Anglican Prayer Network. We are a global fellowship of orthodox Anglicans committed to praying for everyone in need. We are based in San Diego, CA, USA. We accept prayer requests all the time, and welcome new members. Our web page is

Kindly review this page, and add as a link. May God bless you and keep you in His everlasting care.

David Valentini
Saint Mary's Anglican Church
San Diego, California, USA
28 February 2006

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Earlier letters

We launched our 'Letters to AO' section on 11 May 2003. All published letters are in our archives.


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