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This page last updated 26 November 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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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.

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 19 to 25 November 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.

And aren't those beautiful twins?

Archbishop Greg Venables, who is also the Bishop of Argentina, has, in my humble opinion, lost it. Although the geographical territory of the Province of the Southern Cone is enormous, the membership of all the churches combined is small -- the Argenine Church may have 5,000 members on a good day. You would have to be here in Buenos Aires at the main service on Sunday at any of the six or so functioning parishes to see how irrelevant the Anglican Church in Argentina is.

Most of the 40 to 60 parishioners would be older expats from the UK or US, and there would be a number of native Argentines who are basically angry former RC people who like to giggle a lot when jokes are made from the pulpit about the vagaries of their former church. It truly beggars description. At the parish in my 'burb of Martinez (St. Michael & All Angels), the priests normally vest in unkempt cassock-albs with uneven stoles, and refuse to pronounce the Absolution after Confession as well as the Final Blessing. Lay people read the lessons, often as well as the Gospel (there is no Gospel salutation). Clergy sermons are beyond comprehension whether in English or Spanish. Lay people often preach, producing incredible "sermons" that can go on for 30 minutes or so, making up stuff as they go along whle the clergy sit nodding off in a front pew.

A visiting evangelical bishop from the UK "preached" about his and his wife's fascinating trip to the Iguazu falls, asking the congregation at one point, "Do you know about these marvelous waterfalls?" Since the falls are a national treasure and one of the world's great natural wonders, uh, most people DO know of them and have visited them. At the end of his travelogue he wanted to close with a "spiritual" quote but finally confessed he couldn't find it because he must have left it at his hotel. I could go on and on, but won't. It's all just sad and even pathetic as seen through the eyes of a US Episcopalian.

The real question is why I keep going back every so often to one of these parishes just to wind up grinding my teeth and feeling like crying.

Peter Winterble
Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
19 November 2007

With God on our side

Your cannon and crÈche combo are quite a sight this week. At first it was a bit startling but then recognized for telling the truth on Americans and our take on theology. We quite often wrap the cross in a flag (Newsweek even had a photo of such as their cover a while back) and assume God is on our side. Why is it that so many people claiming to be Christian desire to trade in the Sword of the Spirit for something more physically lethal? Worse yet, they often claim it is all for the sake of doing God’s will.

CH (CPT) Steven Rindahl
The Anglican Community of Camp Liberty
Camp Liberty (Baghdad), IRAQ
19 November 2007

They probably are

I sent the link to the editorial to an American friend, who instantly responded with information about the "attack submarine USS city of Corpus Christi", apparently the "city of" was added to its official name only after some pesky protesters complained about the symbolism of a submarine called "the body of Christ". With a motto of "for God and country", I just wonder if, when they fire the guns, they might be saying under their breath "taste and see that the Lord is good". I have always found it easier to consider those who have given offence stupid rather than evil, so I really hope they are idiots.

WJ Arnold PhD
St. Mark's
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA
19 November 2007

Speaking of non sequiturs ...

After reading your November 18, 2007 Letter that prefaced the updated Anglicans Online on the first day of this week, I feel very much moved to write and cite something I believe is unique in the world.

In Okinawa, Japan, American soldiers, desiring to worship using our Book of Common Prayer, built what was to be called “All Souls’ Episcopal Church”. The dedicatory stone described the intention of the congregation: “FOR THOSE OF EVERY NATION WHO DIED IN THE BATTLE OF OKINAWA 1945”.

Fifty Years later, the Okinawa Prefectural Government in 1995 erected within the Okinawa Peace Park, the “Cornerstone of Peace”. On row upon row, a series of granite slabs were laid out to simulate waves of the Pacific Ocean that wafted the shores of the Island, and on the polished surfaces were engraved all the names of all the people who died in the Battle of Okinawa – over 234,000 names – the people included:
(1) the non-combatant Okinawan civilian population (fathers and mothers, youth, children, infants, grandparents),
(2) American military personnel (army, navy, air corps, marines),
(3) British military personnel,
(4) Japanese military personnel (of all their services), and
(5) Koreans (Korea was a colony of Japan, and male and female persons were compelled by force to go to Okinawa to serve the Japanese military.

During the 50th Anniversary we my wife and I were serving in Okinawa at All Souls’ Church. We and the congregation, supported by literally over one thousand volunteers, (Okinawans, people of the American military service, Korean wives of American personnel, Japanese nationals from North to South) remembered that the invasion of Okinawa occurred beginning on Easter Day, April 1, 1945, lasting for 4 months (that is 12 weeks, or 84 days). We began a series of Services beginning on April 1, 1995, and with the Bishop’s permission lit a Paschal Candle as a reminder of Easter Day 1945, although April 1, 1995 was in the middle of Lent. For the subsequent 84 days we had Services two times each day as we observed “The Reading of the Names” - until the 84 days had passed. It was made possible because of he help of a vast throng of volunteers, compassing numerous racial and language groups who could more likely correctly pronounce the great variety of names from so many regions of the various nations!

The cenotaphs and memorials I have seen in various communities I have served as a Priest in Canada, the United States and Japan, have been erected by a victorious nation to those of their country’s respective war dead. In Okinawa, those who were commemorated were of those of every nation who died.

As we attempt to proclaim through the Church to which we have been called, we have the unparalleled opportunity of sharing God’s “Good News” that Jesus was sent by God to be born among us in the world, to live among us as one of us, then to die for the forgiveness of our sins, to rise to life again, and lives to make intercession (that is, to pray) for us, and that God has sent the Holy Spirit, the personal presence of God in this world to be present with us now – and for ever. Amen.

The Rev'd Canon Timothy Makoto Nakayama, Retired
St. Mark's Cathedral, Seattle - Diocese of Olympia
Seattle, Washington, USA
19 November 2007

(Ed: Sweet Fr Tim is our most frequent correspondent here in the Letters to the Editor section of Anglicans Online. We haven't heard from him for a while.)

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


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