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This page last updated 7 November 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.

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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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 23 to 29 October 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.

OK, we'll call it 'The US Episcopal Church'

Your editorial letter this week interests me a great deal, as I am one of the leading exponents of "TEC" as an acronym for our church. First off, please note that the canons of the church refer to "The Episcopal Church" with the capitalized "T" and they have since 1967, except in the Constitution. Second, the name "Episcopal" and "Episcopalian" were not chosen by the church, but developed by Roman Catholic colonists in Maryland to distinguish the CofE from themselves. Thus the moniker predates the organization of the independent American church. Furthermore, as the founder of about one-quarter of the Anglican Communion's provinces, to refer to ourselves as The Episcopal Church is not arrogance, but simply recognizes which came first. Finally, to refer to "The Episcopal Church USA" perpetuates rather than negates the americanocentric bias of Episcopalians as well as that of our critics in the Communion. We are the most international province of the Communion, stretching from Taiwan to Austria. Our largest diocese is Haiti, which isn't even anglophone. Our fastest-growing dioceses are overseas, i.e., not USA.

In this time when the culture wars have become globalized, we Americans must learn to think globally. TEC could help, after we begin to be able to see things from the perspective of other cultures. In this, the input of the overseas dioceses will be crucial.

But first, we have to be able to recognize we are an international, not a national, church. "The Episcopal Church USA" doesn't cut it.

Bp Pierre Whalon
Convocation of American Churches in Europe
30 October 2006

(Ed: When last we visited your cathedral, good bishop, its sign said 'The American Cathedral in Paris'. And its website is ''. But we feel your pain: we've been to France quite a few times, and we fully understand the desire to guide the local populace to a belief that we aren't from the US. Maple-leaf flags in our collars helped. Indeed the US Episcopal Church has branches in other countries, but are they often a mixture of expats and people practicing their English? It's very hard to say. La différence entre 'international' et 'national avec une saveur coloniale' est subtile et peut-être mieux réservée pour que l'histoire le décide.)

New and improved! More fibre! Less fat!

Your editorial on the 'rebranding' of "The Episcopal Church" got me thinking of brand names in church, right up there with dental associations recommending toothpaste ... "This sermon is recommended by The Episocopal Church®, Salvation is brought to you by Jesus".

W.J. Arnold PhD
St Mark's
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
30 October 2006

But the Baptists have better food at coffee hour

As an avid reader of Anglicans Online I draw to your attention a sermon preached in Wellington Cathedral last Sunday night by Dr Jenny Plane Te Paa. Jenny is Dean of the Maori Theological College in Aotearoa/New Zealand and active in the international Anglican scene. Given all that is happening in the Anglican Communion at present, here is another perspective. I trust it may be of interest to some.

With grateful thanks for a splendid resource.

Frank Nelson (Very Revd)
Wellington Cathedral of St Paul
Wellington, New Zealand
30 October 2006

We're thinking about 'The Website'

Enjoyed your editorial this week about "branding." The new name seems analogous to the change a few years ago in the name of the local university. "Ohio State University" became "THE Ohio State University," and many still emphasize the first word in a sarcastic tone of voice. This accompanied a change in university governance from an academic model to the current business model. It's a matter of opinion whether the change was for the better. I imagine some believe the name change from "The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America" to "The Episcopal Church" may signal a similar negative phenomenon.

Dr. Catherine Tremper
Hilliard, Ohio, USA
1 November 2006

We even propose to include the unfaithful

You folks are wonderful! While at times I must scamper to when reading your lead page (thus enriching my own vocabulary and informing my reading of the material) I am, especially recently, struck by your understanding of unity within the 'blessed company of all faithful people, gathered together because of our love for and in the Name above all names'. As a member of that company practicing in the Lutheran tradition (and facing some of the same issues of inclusion and liturgical tepidity as many an Anglican) I find your comments to be insightful, illuminating, and hopeful! Oh how often the lust for power, influence, and 'bickering of church leaders', things which will, at some point, pass away are allowed to detract us from that which will never pass away!

One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church – what a wonderful understanding, and about all the label one should need. Don’t you think?

Lyle Clark
The Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity, Saranac Lake, New York
Tupper Lake, New York, USA
2 November 2006


Why not refer to the church wanting to be known as TEC as simply the American Church or the Church of the United States? This is similar to the name of the mother church, CoE. The non-US parts of the church are just vestiage of the colonial past and are not central to the church. In any rational model they would be spun-off as independent entities.

Ralph Walter
All Saints Beverly Hills
Los Angeles, California, USA
2 November 2006

(Ed: do recall that the Church of England is, in fact, the church of England. It is official. Established. Its bishops are appointed by the Prime Minister. We don't think this model would work well in the USA, and we also suspect that were there ever an established church in the US, the US Episcopal Church would not be first in line among the candidate denominations for the title of 'The Church of the United States'.)

What's good for Britian is good for America

Dear Gentlepeople: I find nothing to be more arrogant than the idea of anyone "british" pointing out what they feel is someone else's cultural arrogance. Is there anything more arrogant than siezing independent nations's, renaming them, imposing systems of rule that bring them to the brink of cultural genocide, draining them of resources and dignity than, when exhausted as a force pushing them into a "market" system that benefits no one but "britian". I think not. Is the culture wars in the Anglican communion more a statment for a place in the world by emergent national churches in former british colonies than a defense of biblical truth? Yes.

North Americans (believe it or not my Candian and Mexican relatives as well as Filipino friends are not offended by the use of The Episcopal Church) have commonly called the P.E.C.U.S.A. THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH for over a century. The move in the trademark court by 815 is right and was done in the interests of 95% of the membership of The Episcopal Church who aren't interested in leaving, aren't looking to be supervised by African Bishop's and who are also aware that we are blessed by a vibrant anglo-catholic wing.

The rankest arrogance is the continued exclusion of all of God's children form all roles of worship and inclusion at all levels of the anglican communion, be they male, female, white, brown, black, mixed, gay, hetrosexual, bi-sexual, a-sexual, young, old, married, single, families, celibate, African, European, Asian, American North or South.

Arrogance? To me it is the idea and acutal pracice that the spiritual leader of the world's 3rd largest Christian denomination most be a male subject of a feudal monarch and approved by a secular socialist legislative body. Spare us that continued horror. The Romans' are more progressive in that at least The Pope must no longer be Italian.

On a practical note you may wish to update your computer's address book, as once the Trademark has been approved, the United States Postal service will return to sender anything not directed to The Episcopal Church. Like mail sent to the Royal Gov. in New York it will be a dead letter.

Blessings to you all on this glorous day .....we are blessed by a new Bishop...Kathrine.....

Lawrence Guest O'Connor
Church of the Advent. San Francisco & St. Pauls, San Diego
San Francisco & San Diego, California, USA
4 November 2006

(Ed: the new primate of the US Episcopal Church spells her name 'Katharine', with two a's. We certainly enjoyed watching the service of her institution even though it began at 8:00am in the time zone where we live. We giggle at the notion that the United States Postal Service would refuse to deliver mail addressed to "The US Episcopal Church, 815 Second Avenue, New York".)

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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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