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This page last updated 15 June 2009
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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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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 8 to 14 June 2009

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.

What's in it for me?

Curdmudgeon here, in response to your happy story about the covenant relationship Anglicans and Methodists have established in New Zealand. I'm all for intercommunion but I don't believe that any legitimate purpose is served by the time, energy and money denominational bureaucrats spend putting together such covenant relationships or promoting ecumenism.

Officially, any baptized person is welcome to receive communion in any Anglican Church, as I understand it, and unofficially, so is anyone whether baptized or unbaptized, regardless of their theological commitments of lack thereof. I'm all for this. Moreover, as a baptized Episcopalian I am, as I understand it, welcome to participate in the services of most non-RC, non-Orthodox churches and receive communion. So how, pray, do these ecumenical efforts with fellow-Protestants benefit me, or any other ordinary layperson, in any way?

Now if there were prospects for intercommunion with Catholics or Orthodox, that would make a difference because I am not welcome to receive communion in Catholic or Orthodox churches. But that is not going to happen. Where we need intercommunion we aren't going to get it. Intra-Protestant ecumenical efforts not only yield no benefits — they're potentially costly since ecumenical enthusiasts almost always promote liturgical uniformity which restricts individual choice. I like ultra-high-churchiness in the Anglican style. I enjoy the smells and bells but I don't just want a simulacrum of Tridentine Roman Catholicism — I want lots of deep Sarum bowing, Anglican chant, jolly hymns and the liturgical year starting at Trinity Sunday rather than Whitsunday (a.k.a. "Pentecost").

I want to enjoy myself. But I can also understand people liking completely different liturgies, and would like to have the opportunity to experience them too. Everybody should get what they want and enjoy themselves. Lutherans should sing Bach Chorales. Calvinists should put the pulpit at the center of their churches and attend to preaching. Holy Rollers should roll in the aisles. I would like to be able to go to churches in those traditions and enjoy their distinctive practices whenever I feel like it for variety and for additional enjoyment. We don't belong to "denominations" and shouldn't, I believe, regard ourselves primarily as members of "congregations." We're members of the Church.

Church membership doesn't make us members of "communities" or, in the current smarmy phrase, "church families." It entitles us to participate in liturgy — it is a communion ticket. We should be able to go to any church of any "denomination" and participate, in the same way that we can go to any supermarket, of any chain, and shop. We already, in effect, have communion tickets for any Protestant church we care to visit so what is the point of these ecumenical efforts?

H. E. Baber
University of San Diego
San Diego, California, USA
8 June 2009

Included church

Please find the direct web link to our denomination, it was listed until recently on your listings but is not there now? We are part of the Anglican Independent Communion Worldwide & wish to be listed. I personally am a member of the American Anglican Council (joined in 2003 as a priest) & have until recently received your newsletter, which I have enjoyed. Thank you for including us in your listings.

Archbishop Dr. Peter McInnes
Primate, Anglican Independent Communion Australia
Capalaba BC, Queensland, AUSTRALIA
12 June 2009

(Editor: Please use this form to submit a site for inclusion in our resource listings. We weren't aware that we had a newsletter, and we don't remember ever sending one out. Could you be so kind as to forward one back to us for our archives?)

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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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