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This page last updated 10 September 2007  

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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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 Canadian 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.

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Letters from 3 to 9 September 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.

The preacher does windows

Your recent editorial concerning sermons (link here) suggests 30 minutes. Perhaps a bit shorter would be better. Ten to 15 minutes should be enough to get a message across. If it takes longer, then the message is being blurred by irrelevance.

My son attends a private school — formerly Presbyterian and now Uniting Church — and is in the choir. There are few general services, as opposed to those for students. The chaplain has recently given a series of sermons in the general services, explaining the exceptionally good glass in the chapel. The sermons have gone a bit longer than the limit I suggest above, but they are interesting, enjoyable, and to the point. They are certainly sermons which I shall remember.

Graeme Durie
Making a journey back to the church, with the help and support of St A
3 September 2007

(Ed: Actually, we wrote that the average is — appropriately for this day and age — 10 to 15 minutes, adding that 30 minutes is likely the maximum now. So we quite agree with you.)

Appalling tripe too often on the menu?

Thank you for your editorial of 2 September. It made me appreciate once again the preaching skills of our parish priest Father Carl Somers-Edgar. He preaches about God, without notes, always theologically and historically correct, often bitingly amusing and never too long. When one visits other parishes (here and overseas) and has to endure the appalling tripe that some serve up as a sermon it is a treat to return home to quality preaching. Our parish now puts sound recordings of some of his sermons on our website

Father Carl was trained at St Stephen's House, Oxford UK and served his curacy at All Saints, Margaret Street, London. Fancy leaving all that behind to return to the antipodes. When my wife and I visited All Saints Margaret Street a couple of years ago we asked if Father Carl was remembered. 'What a great preacher, does he still preach without any notes'! was the reply.

Ray Sisley
St Peter's Church, Caversham
3 September 2007

Thank you for not sharing

With respect to sermons being memorable or not (or even worthwhile), nothing is worse than when clergy fill a sermon with references to what they have been reading lately, or, worse, by reading direct quotations.

The only reason for a sermon is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is meant to come genuinely and freshly through the preacher — whose own faith is what matters most to listeners yearning for spiritual nurture.

Henry Greville
Christchurch, Hampstead
5 September 2007

Not putting Hyfrydol above Hosea

I read your assessment of preaching with great interest. I remember some of the earliest advice I receive when it comes to constructing a Sunday morning service, “Spend more time picking your hymns than writing your sermons. People remember what they sing a lot longer than what they hear.” Whether right or wrong it is typically true. I take preaching very seriously, so I do not follow my early mentor’s advice. That said, I often wonder (especially after difficult weeks as this one has been) how seriously the parishioners take the sermon.

Chaplain (CPT) Steven G Rindahl
The Anglican Community of Camp Liberty
Camp Liberty, Baghdad, IRAQ
8 September 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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