Letters from 21
to 27 January 2008
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We have too done
regard to your
feature on plebiscites as a means of reaching decisions to divide
or join Christian bodies, you may be interested in what was called a "Church
Union Survey" conducted across the Anglican Church of Canada in 1975.
The survey was to determine the wishes of Canadian Anglicans as to a
proposed "Plan of Union" with the United Church of Canada and the Canadian
members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The United Church
had been created fifty years earlier by an amalgamation of Canadian
Methodists, Congregationalists and some (but not all) Presbyterian congregations.
The survey explored
a broad range of attitudes towards church union. It did not ask a simple "yes
or no" question, but offered the respondents an opportunity to express
the degree of their approval or disapproval of the proposed plan, and
the reasons for their positions. Responses from clergy and lay people
were gathered separately by means of a questionnaire in parish churches
across Canada on a particular Sunday.
There was no
complete tallying of the responses, which numbered more than 100,000,
but a statistically significant random sample of responses was analyzed
and a report prepared for the General Synod of the Anglican Church of
Canada later that year. Although opposition to the union was by no means
overwhelming, the Synod concluded that there was not sufficient support
for it to proceed.
between clergy and lay people, and also between those living in the
eastern and western halves of the country, the latter being generally
in favour of the Plan of Union and the former being generally opposed.
Clergy also tended to be less enthusiastic about the merger than were
The survey report
is available in the Archives of the Anglican Church of Canada in Toronto.
The Reverend Orville
St. James' Cathedral
Diocese of Toronto
21 January 2008
But look at the alternative to voting
I read with interest your essay
about the role of voting in church
governance. It sounds clumsy, but believe me, it is better than the alternative. I enclose a photograph showing two bishops leading
an armed incursion into another diocese. The bishop on the left in the photograph was consecrated for this country by the primate
of a province in another continent. The man on the right is his Gunnery Suffragan. Evidently he tired of waiting for congregations
to join forces with his newly-declared diocese and decided to engage in direct recruiting.
23 January 2008
Was Ridley 'realigning'?
I as usual enjoyed your front page
commentary. As to church history bearing examples of
a small number breaking from the larger church, what about the origins
of the Church of England?
I do not suspect
that anyone will name +Pittsburgh, +San Joaquin, and +Ft Worth along
with +Cranmer, +Latimer, or +Ridley (at least not for a very long time),
but the concept is similar if not the same. A small number of bishops
who have a desire to reform the church break from the larger church
structure, keep the property (notably with the crown's help), and declare
themselves to be within the church catholic and apostolic succession
— all at great personal loss (the historic obviously much greater
than the current).
There are of
course also differences, but it is a different world. Would the first
three availed themselves to international resources or alliances had
they been available? The answer can only be speculation, but I suspect
As I have mentioned
in earlier letters, I think we must accept the fact that a "re-alignment" is
occurring and recognize that each side of said alignment reaches different
constituencies. There is no reason to spend time and effort on fighting
— spend it spreading the Gospel.
Lastly, my fifteen
months in Iraq are now over and I am back home. Please join me in singing
CH (CPT) Steven
The Anglican / Episcopal Community of Fort Hood
Fort Hood, Texas, USA
23 January 2008
(Ed. note: Welcome back to you, Chaplain Rindahl. We're grateful you're a
regular reader of Anglicans Online.)
Not the Babylonish
Captivity but the 'US Captivity'
Is the Church
ripe for a new reformation from the US Captivity? I heard an American
preacher this morning talking about why Jesus became incarnate:
A) "Jesus came
to oppose liquor." Well, no, he didn't. He never said anything about
it, unless he did so by turning water into wine . . .
B) "Jesus came
to oppose abortion." Well, not quite . . . Jesus came to oppose all
kinds of murder and its origins in anger. The preacher in question was
a Southern Baptist of a certain age, from Tennessee, and I wonder whether
he used to tell his congregation 50 years ago that "Jesus came to oppose
lynching." Bet he didn't.
At some point,
God is going to have to reform his Church yet again, as He did in the
time of Samuel and Isaiah, of St. Benedict, and Ss. Francis and Dominic,
and Luther and Hooker and St. Ignatius Loyola, and Maurice and Newman
. . . you get the idea.
Is anyone out
there thinking about these issues in other terms than those of "right" and "left"?
I don't think Jesus came to discourage either homophobia or homophilia.
He was all about saving us all from much larger sins.
everlasting God, the giver of all spiritual gifts: Send down upon our
Bishops and Clergy, and all Congregations committed to their charge,
the healthful Spirit of thy grace; and that they may truly please thee,
pour upon them the continual dew of thy blessing. Grant this, O Lord,
for the honour of our advocate and mediator, Jesus Christ." Amen
Kingston, Ontario, CANADA
25 January 2008
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