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This page last updated 27 November 2006
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.

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Letters from 20 to 26 November 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.

Preparation for Advent

Last week (and in previous years at this time) you have commented on the need for a season to "prepare for Advent". I wonder how widespread is the observation of "Kingdom Season", which is celebrated by friends of mine who are Anglican Franciscan brothers in another part of Australia. We don't mark this season in our parish nor is it mentioned in the Australian Lectionary. However, a quick web search revealed at least a couple of churches in the United Kingdom where the season is recognised.

I know very little of the details, but Kingdom Season begins on the eve of All Saints (or nearest Sunday) and ends just before Advent Sunday. Quite a few of our lectionary readings during this period relate to the time of the coming of the Kingdom, or the coming of the Son of Man, as a kind of precursor to Advent, and Kingdom Season also includes the Feast of Christ the King, on the Sunday before Advent.

My favourite reading from this season is from the Gospel of Luke, where Christ answers a question about the timing of the coming of the Kingdom of God with, 'The coming of the Kingdom of God does not admit of observation and there will be no-one to say, "Look, it is here! Look, it is there! For look, the Kingdom of God is among you." It certainly starts us thinking about the coming season of Advent.

Julianne Stewart
St Luke's Anglican Church, Toowoomba
Toowoomba, Queensland, AUSTRALIA
20 November 2006

The time is right to rediscover Maurice

Is anyone out there reading Frederick Denison Maurice? He's right up there with Richard Hooker, explaining why we Anglicans are full participants in the Kingdom of Christ, without assuming that that Kingdom is defined by the Church of England.

You could call him the Anglican Kierkegaard, if you take into consideration that he considered himself part of the Church, rather than some sort of beautiful Lutheran individual, for whom the Church was just some creepy version of "christendom."

I think FDM is very interesting, and possibly useful for us desperate Anglicans, once you get around his early Victorian mode of expression. Rather like Hooker in substance, but with a lot more 1840s fluff and Romophobia.

Rob Moody
[Still looking for a home parish]
Kingston, Ontario, CANADA
24 November 2006

'Rafter-rattling heart-beating hand-raising smile-giving'

Here are some observations I made when watching the investiture of the new presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, on my tiny laptop computer screen:

Color. Above all I noted color. Color in vestments. Color in people. Color in windows. Color in clothes. Wild, wonderful color. Colors melting into each other like wet watercolor paint. Bird egg blue, sea green, stripped sparrow browns, bright canary and oriole yellows and oranges, red of wine, the rainbow flowing off the reflection of every person there. The colors danced with the faces, danced with the music, danced with the dancers. One camera caught hands, just hands, no faces, hands reaching, reaching for the Eucharist, from left and right, now a hand, now another, brown, white, old, young — making their own rhythms and rhythm together.

Sound. Organ blaring, drums of all sizes, saxophone wailing, violins stretching, feet tapping, body swaying and languages mingling — Spanish, African, Chinese, Navajo, English, a cacophony of praise.

Circles. There could not be a much more hierarchical occasion than the investiture of a presiding bishop yet there was not a hint of that. Everything circled. Everyone circled. Equality oozed and mingled. It was so different from the Roman Catholic formal clergy weighted ceremonies witnessed on TV. No sense of power or control. Just us. All of us. Each and every one of us.

One of the most beautiful moments in the liturgy was the renewal of our Baptismal Covenant. Dancers in flowing white gowns carried huge stone teal colored jars filled with water and gently, softly, one dancer held aloft, they swayed around the large bronze font, and at last with the sound of a flowing stream emptied the huge jars of water into the font. I was reminded of Jesus turning the water into wine and was not quite sure what color would pour forth.

The sermon was a challenge. A call to Shalom. A call to unity. A call to peace. A call to courage to let go of our fears enough to love, our insensitivities enough to hear each other's pain. It was a call to Come Home together... a homecoming for all humanity.

There was great love, great glory, great joy in this celebration of the Body of Christ. It was a rafter-rattling heart-beating hand-raising smile-giving celebration of life and God's love. I even was able to catch a glimpse of our own bishop with a big smile on his face as he helped distribute Eucharist.

I was filled with great pride as I partook long-distant in this glorious liturgy, proud of who we are as a people in both proclamation and living human flesh. It was truly a witness of God's Glory incarnated in all humanity.

The Reverend Sister Judith Schenck
Hermitage of the Transfiguration
Kalispell, Montana, USA
21 November 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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