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This page last updated 28 January 2008
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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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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 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 21 to 27 January 2008

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.

We have too done it before

With 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.

Attitudes differed 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 their congregants.

The survey report is available in the Archives of the Anglican Church of Canada in Toronto.

The Reverend Orville Endicott
St. James' Cathedral
Diocese of Toronto
Toronto, CANADA
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.

Name Withheld
23 January 2008

Two bishops leading an incursion into a nearby diocese

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 so.

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 the Doxology.

CH (CPT) Steven G Rindahl
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.

"Almighty and 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

Rob Moody
Kingston, Ontario, CANADA
25 January 2008

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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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