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This page last updated 6 July 2009
Anglicans Online last updated 20 August 2000

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.

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Letters from 29 June to 5 July 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.

The simple explanations are never as much fun

My suspicion about the "Clergy only" switch is that it turns on a light so the organist knows the procession is ready. I do, however, like your more imaginative suggestions.

Watch my work on ISSUES 2009 at General Convention. Will any of you be there?

The Reverend Ronald H. Miller
Retired, currently between part-time interim assignments
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
29 June 2009

(Editor: AO staff member Helen Gordon will be in Anaheim as part of a diocesan deputation. The rest of us will be counting on the video feeds and on-the-spot reporting.)

Or risk the wrath-o-God

The photograph of the electrical switch on your front page immediately brought to mind a scene from "No Fond Return of Love", by Barbara Pym, a novelist who looked at the foibles of Anglican clergy with both amusement and compassion. The main character, someone who is not a regular churchgoer, encounters a sign in a choir vestry which reads: 'Nobody, repeat NOBODY, is to tamper with the electric heating apparatus in here.'

As rector of a small church with only a part-time sexton and a rectory next door to the church, I am frequently the one who flips the switch, and can sympathize with the - admittedly, inappropriate - imperiousness of such clerical commands. I recall the occasion when the organ tuner had asked me to turn up the heat in the church, so that it would be as warm as it is on Sunday mornings. A well-intentioned parishioner, thinking that the thermostat had been inadvertently ignored after the service the previous Sunday, turned it back to the weekday temperature, causing the tuner unnecessary inconvenience.

Since then, I have found that a little note saying 'Please leave the thermostat at its current setting - organ being tuned' works very nicely, while avoiding any appearance of clerical tyranny.

Thank you for all that you do for us in the Anglican Communion.

The Reverend William Bippus
St. Paul's CHurch
Marinette, Wisconsin, USA
29 June 2009

Not a moment sooner

I don't know what the switch is for, either, in the cathedral you visited, but as for "clergy switches," we used to have one. It was located high on a wall in an area underneath our choir loft (I'm sure that area has an official name, but d***ed if I know what it is — maybe subloftus?) that would flash a bright green light that was affixed to the organ console. That was the cue to begin the processional hymn, as choir and clergy were out of the organist's sight up in the loft. As I'm in the choir, it used to be amusing to watch someone (either clergy or chalice-bearer) flash away on that thing while the organist was in the middle of her final prelude — some folks just don't understand that, with music, it's over when it's over and not a moment sooner!

I think the wiring is still there, but it connects to nothing as the old console was replaced a few years ago with a new organ. Now, the rector usually invites everyone to stand and give praise to God with the opening hymn, from the front of the church. No switches necessary.

Bob Frederick
St. Andrew's Episcopal ç
Panama City, Florida, USA
30 June 2009

Well beloved

I direct your attention to the passing of the Right Reverend Robert Miller, former bishop of Alabama.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine.

Clark D. Myers
Saint Thomas Episcopal Church
Huntsville, Alabama, USA
2 July 2009

(Editor: Thank you for drawing this to our attention. We've made a note in our News Centre.)

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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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