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This page last updated 17 January 2011
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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.

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Letters from 10 to 16 January 2011

Like all letters to the editor everywhere, these letters express 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.

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Why not choose better church leaders?

In your news section over recent weeks reference is made to leadership problems in two Anglican Dioceses in Australia. In both cases there have been wide differences and issues between the leaders and the led. What is really sad is that the rift has gone on for so long as due process is worked through. Why is it necessary that parishioners have had to endure such a toxic environment in their Dioceses for so long?
Conventional, contemporary wisdom says that a fence at the top of the cliff is better than an ambulance at the bottom so I ask the following questions:

  1. Is there an orientation programme/course for new Bishops in Australia - outside the major capitals?
  2. Have they access to expert opinion and counsel in management styles and practices - and the development of healthy inter- personal relationships?
  3. What training do they have in managing the various factions, and differing viewpoints, that are part and parcel of most parishes/dioceses?

I am old enough to have seen a huge change in the Anglican landscape in recent years as Anglicans have become better educated and better informed. Sadly there is still an attitude on the part of some church leaders that says "do as I say - not do as I do!" Some are very threatened by an educated laity. There are those of us who manage large numbers of people in our day jobs. Constant in-service training and upgrading of management skills is a necessary part of our life. In the past some dioceses gathered clergy in a residential setting for further training. It always fascinated me that some rectors came up with all sorts of excuses to stay away.

Despite Solomon's wisdom, he did not manage the succession well. There are, I suspect, many Anglicans today in dioceses outside the major capitals that echo the cry at that time "To your tents, Israel." Certain irrelevant authoritarian leadership styles should never be tolerate, let alone encouraged.

Those charged with finding bishops in Australia must be more vigilant and more discerning in those they seek out so that placement of potential misfits is avoided.

Ken Chao
St Andrew's Cathedral
Sydney, AUSTRALIA
kenchao66@yahoo.com.au
10 January 2011

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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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