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This page last updated 4 March 2013  

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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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 25 February to 3 March 2013

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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Is plagiarism the highest form of flattery?

On reading in your news roundup of parishioners in Hong Kong leaving because of plagiarised sermons, I couldn't help but think of Miss Crawford in "Mansfield Park":

"You assign greater consequence to the clergyman than one has been used to hear given, or than I can quite comprehend. One does not see much of this influence and importance in society, and how can it be acquired where they are so seldom seen themselves? How can two sermons a week, even supposing them worth hearing, supposing the preacher to have the sense to prefer Blair's to his own, do all that you speak of? govern the conduct and fashion the manners of a large congregation for the rest of the week?"

Robert W. M. Greaves
All Saints Anglican Church, Jakarta
25 February 2013

It's Lent

Over the last 15 years or so I have written from time to time, and have continued to read AO from wherever my peripatetic ministry finds me. Being Lent you may like the following poem, written by my wife Christine, and used as a starting point for my sermon last Sunday morning. If it is useful to people they are welcome to use it, providing it is acknowledged as Christine's work.

Punctuating Lent

It’s Lent. Full stop. That’s it. A no-go zone: no flowers, no alleluias, no luxuries … denial.

It’s Lent, comma. Time to pause, to think about what has been and what may be. A space, a breather, a chance to see things afresh … listening space.

It’s Lent: colon. Punctuated with anticipation, poised on the brink, holding our breath, waiting … opportunity.

Christine Nelson 2013
St Peter's Cathedral Adelaide SA

Frank Nelson (The Very Revd)
St Peter's Cathedral
Adelaide, South Australia, AUSTRALIA
26 February 2013

A Happy Sense of Impending Doom

It is always difficult to know what to tell people who ask about Lent. Usually I resist the urge to cite the verse which says I mustn't say what I've given them up and, as you do, give them a straightforward answer. But I must confess, perhaps wrongly, that I love Lent. There is what we, amongst ourselves, have always called a Happy Sense of Impending Doom about Lent. It will be dark, but there is the assurance that if we are patient it will all come out gloriously right in the end at Easter Sunday. Perhaps more importantly, and this occurred to me somewhere between stations 9 and 14 as we were doing stations of the cross, we are not alone at Lent, because there are frequent reminders that Christ has been there first. This matters to me, I suppose, because I have never done deeply emotive relationships of a personal variety with God. It is probably the Presbyterian conception developed for me by Mrs. G over the radio when I was small. All the same, it is comforting to know we are in good company as Lent rushes headlong towards Easter. It may have a happy sense of impending doom, but it doesn't appreciate, in my experience, that it is meant to be sombre and slow.

Claire Steep
All Saints
St Andrews, SCOTLAND
26 February 2013

Bishop Pike

I greatly appreciated your essay on Bp James Pike. When I was baptized and confirmed, was in college and went off to religious life (Society of St Francis), Bp Pike was my bishop. Though I had met him on parish visitations, I didn't know him, per se.

My rector at the time, Father James T. Golder, mentioned to him that I was entering the Anglican Franciscans (where I stayed for 18 years, in NY and in the UK). When Bp Pike heard this, he sent me a letter requesting I come for a "visit and a blessing." This I did and was engaged, as you suggested in your article, on the level of faith exploration. He wanted to know the "why" of it; was it like the call to the priesthood? Would I keep him informed as I went along the path? Was there anything he could do to assist me?

His effect on this diocese was extremely positive in its enduring faith. He established a firm and fully catholic standard of regular Sunday Eucharistic celebrations, reservation of the Eucharist in all mission churches, and encouraging times of retreat, recollection, and high standards of stewardship. He also greatly encouraged recovery & treatment of addiction. His crowning achievement: the completion and consecration of his cathedral church, on the central hill of his see city.

God bless James Albert Pike, who truly was and remains an advocate and great pastor of the people entrusted to him by God.

Father John H Porter
Church of the Advent, San Francisco (Diocese of California)
San Francisco, California, USA
27 February 2013

Sad to see Bishop Pike's grave overgrown...

He has always fascinated me. Thanks for bringing up the issue of prophets like him, an excess of faith, perhaps, that leads to... where?

What he really needed was compassion, but many who knew him have told me that Jim Pike was not a man to receive pastoral care.

Pierre Whalon
Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe (Province II)
1 March 2013

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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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