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This page last updated 5 March 2007
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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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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 26 February to 4 March 2007

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.

Time will tell

THANK YOU for your reasoned and thoughtful comments on the interaction between lay and church parties and church governance. It is clear that power is the real issue in the current controversy, and not sex as behavior, though gender may indeed be a big piece of it — as women and other minorities "gain" power, men inevitably "lose" it, in a paradigm of government/life which presumes a finite quantity of almost everything, including power. I trust that your final [or almost final] comment about time and process favoring democracy over monarchy proves to be true.

Helen-Louise Boling
St. Andrew's Parish
Toledo, Ohio, USA
26 February 2007

The majority is always right?

With the primates’ validation (although “difficult”) of the ministry of CANA and AMiA, when will you add CANA and place it, and AMiA, in the In Communion listing? They must certainly be recognized by all as In Communion now. The primates would certainly not tell the faithful to leave the communion when they will not eject the apostate.

CH (CPT) Steven G Rindahl
Anglican Community of Camp Liberty
Baghdad, IRAQ
26 February 2007

L'Etat, c'est moi

Thank you for your editorial comment on the tight hold on power bishops have in most churches, including the Episcopal Church. And also for noting the high level of authoritarianism of those churches seeking to take over parts of the Episcopal Church.

However, I fear your republican sentiments are confusing state and governmental distinctions. May I point out that a majority of the progressive democratic countries in the world are also monarchies. Indeed, the intertwining of power and policies of the American Government in D.C. and the "Christian" fundamentalists sounds very medieval indeed — and just as worrisome to those of us who believe the Church still has a vital role to play in helping all people to recognise their spiritual centre through guidance rather than dictation.

Father Stephen Bartlett-Re
American Catholic Church of New England (independent Catholic)
San Francisco, California, USA
26 February 2007

But there's no such thing as normal

We need to appreciate the struggle Jesus had to define his own values and to consequently take a different path from what would have been deemed 'sensible' in society at that time. It would undoubtedly be easy to give in to the pressures 'to be normal' (whatever normal is) which equates to being acceptable, because usually that causes less stress and keeps people happy avoiding controvesy.

This is what the various provincial synods of the Anglican Church will be doing by agreeing to a convenant that will limit our inetrpretation of scriptutre and the historic creeds! Are we seriously going to capitulate on the significant understandings and learnings, not to mention developments, both theologically and culturally that the church has encountered over the last fifty years?

We have to ask: 'what do each of us stand for?' We have to accept each others differnces, not be arrogant about our own perspective and realise that answers to prayer is not a limited select chosen resources given for just a few!

For me to turn the clock back to a much more restrictive and dogmatic way of being Anglican is as stupid as not accepting that we all have a different perspective and understanding. The liberty to explore and use reason as much as scripture and tradition in discerning God's purpose for the world today is for many of us completely consistent with the life and witness of Jesus the Christ.

Colin Dale
St Luke's Anglican Church
North Shore City
27 February 2007

We drew a circle that took her in

In your most recent editorial I was suprised to read the following phrase "We note that the US Episcopal Church has a form of governance in which outsiders (lay people) share power with insiders (bishops)." Surely Christians believe that, in and through baptism, there are no "insiders" and "outsiders"? Ordination is not necessary to salvation, only baptism and holy communion, according to the 39 Articles of Religion. Much bitterness and discord could be avoided if Holy Orders were not seen as a way to power for individuals but a gift to the whole Church.

David Swyer
Benefice of Albourne with Sayers Common & Twineham
28 February 2007

Ah, authority

You write 'a (male) archbishop often has metropolitan authority, which makes him the equivalent of a king'. This is something of an over-simplification, and it is not what metropolitical authority is about.

In the classic mon-episcopal system there is (as the name implies) one bishop in an area, and that bishop exercises authority and jurisdiction. The archbishop exercises metropolitan jurisdiction, but this is essentially the power of a visitor, and of appeal. It is not, properly, a power of ordinary jurisdiction, which belongs to the diocesan bishop alone, except during an official metropolitical visitation. (In the Roman Church they have declared that the Bishop of Rome also has a universal ordinary jurisdiction, but even there I don't think than the metropolitical authority of an archbishop extends to ordinary jurisdiction of the dioceses in his province.)

The authority exercised by an archbishop is very often authority of another kind: it is 'moral' authority — the natural deference we give to those who are senior, those who are leaders. And it is force of personality (or personal 'charisma' if you prefer) and force of argument. Maybe it is also political authority — the recognition that they speak on behalf of some number of other people. But these forms of authority are generally not recognized in canon law!

Simon Kershaw
All Saints, St Ives, Diocese of Ely
St Ives, Cambridgeshire, UNITED KINGDOM
28 February 2007

Arise and be crazy

Am glad about the stuff I found on AO. I would want to use this medium to reach out to all the brethren in the Episcopal world, especially the youth, that we need to arise and be crazy for the Lord. We have a great way of worship, but it is just an aspect of our calling. We are not leaders of tomorrow, but now!

Hayford Mensah Ayerakwa
Christ Anglican Church
Accra, GHANA
1 March 2007

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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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