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Letters to the Editor
Episcopal Life welcomes letters and will give preference to those in response to stories. Letters should be no longer than 250 words and must include the writer’s name, address, phone number for verification. Pictures are welcome. Send to Letters, Episcopal Life , 815 Second Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017; or e-mail to letters@episcopal-life.org. All letters will be edited for brevity and clarity.

Stop torture now
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A long, long time ago, some nineteen hundred and seventy-three years, so they tell me, a most remarkable man from backwoods Galilee died by torture at Roman hands, real hard torture: stripping, whipping, slow suffocating over many hours.  He has many friends and followers to this day. I would like to be counted as one. Today our head of state and his deputy want a free hand to practice torture with impunity and, in effect, in our name. Of course, this torture, even to death, is to be reserved for “enemies.”

I have spent a lot of time recently trying to get some of the tortured Galilean’s followers to speak out against the practice now before more are dead thus at “our” hands. But I am refused anything so simple, direct and immediate.  It will take time and more dead or broken human beings. So I must speak alone. I do. I say that torture or any cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of anyone is wrong, ungodly and unallowable. For God’s sake, for a memorial to the slain Galilean, stop it. Stop it now!


Blue Christmas a great idea
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What a wonderful idea (“Recognizing losses with ‘Blue Christmas’ service,” December), I wish I had seen the article earlier.  We will be offering a Blue Christmas Service next year.

Thanks for sharing
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Thank you to Father Ralph Pittman for responding so lovingly and effectively to the emotional and spiritual needs of the suffering at Christmas time (“Recognizing losses with ‘Blue Christmas’ service,” Great idea, December). For many years I worked in hospice and attempted to accomplish something of the principals his Blue Service addresses. Thank you for sharing this pastoral gem. I'll be greatly surprised if Father Pittman isn’t inundated by applause and requests.

Welcome the imports
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Thank you for the very interesting article ("The British are coming") in the latest issue. However, the implication of the article is that the importation of British and British-educated organists and choir directors to these shores is something new.  I beg to differ ... there have always been British organists and choir directors involved in some of our bigger churches, especially the high Anglican parishes and cathedrals, in both the United States and in Canada. Think of T. Tertius Noble, Healey Willan, Leopold Stokowski, Edwin Lemare and E. Power Biggs, to name a few.

In this century, one of the best things ever to happen to American orchestras was the influx of European musicians moving over here to escape both World Wars. They raised the bar for American conservatories and established a higher standard of performance, and now American orchestras and soloists are generally equal to or better than any in the world.

In other words, this is nothing new and, if nothing else, it will (again) challenge our college and conservatory sacred-music programs to equal and surpass those in which our "competition" is being trained. Our biggest problems at present are that (1) our music programs train toward the happy medium, producing very good organists and choir directors, technically proficient and interchangeably Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, et cetera, who simply aren't up to the historical standard demanded by the English Cathedral practices; and (2) we do not have the number and quality of ecclesiastical choir schools in the grand old English tradition available to train kids who might be interested in singing in church. Most kids are limited by what they can get in their school's music program or maybe a children's choir at church, directed usually by someone who has no idea of how to train a children's choir.

As far as British imports, I say bring 'em on!  Maybe that's just what we need to show that there's an alternative to the infamous "blended service" and permanently to relegate our choirs' singing of the letter "r" to the purgatory it so richly deserves.


Look to American musicians
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While Andrew Cantrill, Michael McCarthy and John Scott are fine musicians and men of God, it is a shame that we have to look overseas for church musicians while fine American talent is hurting for church employment (December, “The British are coming!”). We Americans would not be welcomed in the United Kingdom to take an organist position. It is only right to hire the best musician to give God the best, but let's take care of our own. As for Dr. Gerre Hancock's students, I have heard them perform. Once they put that on their resumes, they have no difficulty in hiring, and they never starve.

Acoustics matter
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I thought it curious that no mention was made of the difference in buildings for making music between the U.K. and the U.S.  Part of the profound difference in music-making between the two countries (or Europe and the United States) is that the average city in the United States has very few places with acoustics comparable to the buildings overseas.  It has a great effect on the final product.

‘Settlement’ the wrong term
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Re: Your article "Staying engaged in Palestine" in the latest issue of Episcopal Life: I hope that someone has pointed out to you by now that there is no such thing as a "Palestinian settlement"  (paragraph four).  The correct term is "occupied territories" or "Israeli settlements built on occupied land." The whole meaning of the article is changed by this mistake.

Pluralism combats colonialism
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I am surprised that a professor of Christian history presents such a nonhistorical view of the Christian past. David C. Steinmetz, in "World Christianity under new management?" (Commentary, December), argues that "one of the oldest tests for authentic Christian teaching is to ask whether it is universally accepted. The old rule was it should have been taught 'everywhere, always and by all.'"

He suggests that this rule works to ward off colonial thinking.  The historical evidence, however, points the opposite way.  The only time such a test of universality prevailed in Christianity was when a powerful enough hierarchy was able to impose its will universally and when any who disagreed were rendered heretical and "outside" of Christianity as defined by the hierarchy.

Blessedly, Anglicans tend to shy away from such notions of rigid and imposing hierarchy.  The Anglican Communion, as a federation, honors pluralism and precisely the local option that Steinmetz decries. In doing so, it is more true to Christian history. The church, from its beginnings, struggled over yet embraced diversity (e.g., Paul's dispute with the Jerusalem church over the place of Gentile Christians, the local character of different churches, the inclusion of four canonical Gospels, etc.).

The best guard against new forms of colonialism, from whatever direction they may arise, is precisely pluralism, not a feigned notion of a universality.


Seeking more information
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I just stumbled across a copy of the May 2005 Episcopal Life. Having just finished a book review presentation on Abraham - A Journey to the Heart of three Faiths by Bruce Feiler, I was fascinated by a Professor Akbar Ahmed's account of the service at the National Cathedral.  This event recognized the common Abrahamic ancestry shared by the three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Reading this article further supported my belief that it is important for us to begin conversations designed to exercise the faith as Abraham did to address our differences. Feiler offers some suggestions in his book, and I hope to implement them on this university campus where I work.  Finally, is there a video of this service available for sale?


MDGs a chance for engagement
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Amy Domini's excellent column (“An opportunity as a nation,” December) adds reinforcement to the energy of the Global Reconciliation Movement in the Episcopal Church, centered on the reduction of world poverty through the means of the Millennium Development Goals.
More than 30 dioceses have made commitments of 0.7% of their resources to this great end, using the MDGs to pattern their giving. The UNICEF Halloween image Ms. Domini used was very evocative for me and is apt for the personal level of global giving, the movement of God's people, that is needed to meet the MDGs. There are, however, a few differences from the pattern established in the UNICEF Halloween boxes and the model needed today.

It was easy to give to UNICEF: The box was there, the United Nations could do the distribution. With our 0.7% giving, there is more individual challenge in deciding how and where to give. The lack of definition in giving around and through the MDGs opens us to an opportunity to engage the world outside U.S. borders more profoundly. If a diocese is in a companion-diocese relationship, giving through the MDGs creates an opportunity to engage in conversation with those companions about the needs of that diocese, increasing mutual understanding. Also, such engagement can be an opportunity for self-discovery: Where are my passions, my priorities, in other words, the discovery of my heart's contents?


Disagreeing with Domini
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I disagree strenuously with Amy Domini’s bleak and overall negative viewpoint about America and her pointed comments about how we are perceived and what we contribute to the world’s well-being (“Our opportunity as a nation,” December). I challenge her to name one other country in the world that has done more to fight AIDS than the United States, both as a nation and the companies that have been working hard to find a cure. Her piece makes it sound like we are doing nothing.

I challenge her comment about wasted wealth in what she refers to as “economically privileged countries.” What she fails to point out is that these countries just happen to be essentially the free, democratic societies in the world that offer equal access to opportunities to all, regardless of their race, religion, creed or sex. A case in point is the story of the two Koreas.

[Ms. Domini] states that we need to turn to a “better, more altruistic time.” I challenge her on this. Is she referring to the 1800s, when people were treated as slaves and chattel, or perhaps the 1930s during the Great Depression, caused in part through protectionism? Her self-serving comments about foreign “sweatshops” undercutting our own domestic small business were disingenuous at best. I was most disappointed to read those comments in her piece, for as a smart broker and capitalist herself, she knows all too well that protectionism and artificial barriers to trade not only don’t work, but they also are often the cause of strife and conflict. This is a fact of history.


Disturbed by ‘true gospel’ comment
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The Rev. Glen Jenks' article (“Seeking God’s kingdom in Africa,” November) about his recent travels in Africa contains thoughtful insights about the reality of poverty and affirms some of the values of partnership that the Episcopal Church has recognized for quite some time.

However, I remain disturbed by his comment that one of his parishioners "travels all over the Third World teaching local church leaders the true gospel, which they have never even heard before."  This sounds far too much like missionary appeals from the 19th century for my comfort.  Moreover, in my four decades of engagement in Africa, it simply isn't true that African church leaders have never heard "the true gospel," however it is defined (and Father Jenks provides a good definition).

In moments of honesty, I suspect all of us -- in North America and in the Global South -- can identify aspects of our lives of faith that need attention as we seek to deepen our understanding of the Good News of Jesus Christ and to live out our understanding.  I'd imagine that the initiatives of which Father Jenks is a part help our brothers and sisters in Christ to hear the gospel message afresh, much as others from all over the world help us to do.  But the age is long past when we should claim that African church leaders are hearing the gospel message "for the first time."


Seek risks, not stability
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I read with interest Don Greenwood’s column (December) about the “club mentality” causing the shameful shrinkage of the Episcopal Church.  I think that Don Greenwood’s premise is only part of the truth.  The whole truth includes at least two more components.

First, bishops, rectors and vicars have conspired in this cozy club atmosphere.  Typically after about 10 years serving the same parish, a rector, vestry and parish tend to settle into a complacent atmosphere where key decisions about the life of the parish are subtly co-opted and the deciding criteria becomes that set of actions that will insure the rector’s stability.

Second, the entire model of Episcopal Church planting and clergy deployment in North America continues to be based upon the English country-church model. The reason why so many mega-churches grow while the Episcopal Church shrinks has nothing to do with the message being proclaimed.  It has everything to do with how and where we proclaim the Good News.

As long as clergy job stability remains the focal criterion for parish life, nothing will change.  When a few bishops and rectors begin to take some risks, we just might see the gospel take root in surprising places.


Seeking book from review
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I enjoyed the review of the book Food to Die For A Book of Funeral Food, Tips and Tales (November). I would like to order this but cannot find it.  Can you send me the website for the Southern Memorial Association or some other useful information?  We do receptions after funerals and believe this would be helpful as well as an interesting book to have.

Music needs new life
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With much chagrin I have read the article "The British are Coming!"  (December). The practice of giving preference to British musicians — and it is clearly that, no matter how the parties concerned wish to gloss it over — is, in a word, a disgrace.

We really need to ask if we want to perpetuate the English cathedral tradition here in America.  Do we really want, Sunday after Sunday, a repertoire that is largely devoted to third- and fourth-rate music — which is what Howells and company are, if one considers the likes of Bach and Mozart — that mostly reflects some sort of perpetual Edwardian twilight?  And do we really want choirs trained to sing everything as if they were going to war — to sing a Palestrina motet (the rare times they actually sing one) the same way they sing Stanford in B-Flat?  Is this aggressive and often downright nasty sound what we want in our churches? 

This is America, the great melting pot.  Should the ECUSA, musically speaking, be a bastion for Anglophiles to the exclusion of everything else?  We need to breathe new life into our choral music — wherever there is any choral music left.  We need to think in terms of the extraordinarily beautiful sound that Ted Marrier got from the Boston Boy's Choir and start hiring the many Americans who are capable of that.

If we must hire outside of the country, let us look to Oslo, Copenhagen, Budapest, Regensburg or Leipzig.  Let them teach us a choral tradition and repertoire that is more universal — and more musical.


Experiencing different environments good
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I read with great interest the recent article about British musicians moving to the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. I think that people from this side of the pond often apply to your side because both pay and conditions in the U.S.A. are perceived as being better. There is a lot to be said for getting experience in a different environment, whether it be a permanent post or a brief visit. In 2004, I was invited to Columbus, Ohio, conducting an Evensong and giving an organ recital and a talk on Anglican chanting, at St. Paul's Church (now sadly closed). It was a delight to receive such an enthusiastic response.

In a different way, we had the opportunity to meet pilgrims from St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, Minneapolis, at my own cathedral, St. Patrick's (Church of Ireland) in Armagh, Northern Ireland. We were able to do our usual thing at our two Sunday services and also provide them with what they specifically wanted -- Be thou my vision, St. Patrick's Breastplate and “anything Irish.” Again, a mutually beneficial occasion for the visitors and the visited alike.

If anyone wants to do a study of organists settling from abroad, they might like to see how many English organists there have been in Ireland (both north and south) in major posts in the Church of Ireland -- and also how many Belgian organists there are, or were, in the Roman Catholic Church. When I was interviewed here in Armagh, I did ask how an Englishman would get on in Ireland. The committee fell about with laughter, and one, when he had composed himself, said that they had hardly had an Irishman in 200 years!!


Wondering about earthquake response
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Approximately two months ago, one of the most severe natural disasters occurred in Pakistan with more than 87,000 deaths and 7 million left homeless. I am thankful to read that ERD has responded to this disaster, but why no mention of the response of the church in Episcopal Life?

Reflections from London
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This one has been bubbling for a few months now hasn't it (“The British are coming!” December)? First, I think the North Americans should realize that there was much gnashing of teeth in the United Kingdom when we lost Mike McCarthy; their gain was as much our loss of a pre-eminent choir trainer. And in John Scott they have bagged one of the U.K.'s most senior and well-known cathedral musicians. It’s not as if he wasn't already very well-known in the United States as a concert organist.

The article is long and considered, and quite rightly focuses more on the question of choir training and Anglican choir sound. North America unquestionably has a large number of very fine organists already, so that is not at issue. Perhaps a solution would be for the British Council (or other organization with similar aims) to step in and do what they do for other areas of English arts and culture abroad.

Maybe three “assistant” posts could be funded in suitable U.K. cathedrals -- ones that had directors who have a talent for choir direction. Each year a talented young U.S. church musician could be appointed for a three-year tenure to soak up what they feel they need to take back to the U.S. circuit on their return. I imagine the U.K. cathedrals hosting the positions would be pleased to either be able to relax a strained budget or take the opportunity to have an additional member on their musical staff.


A duty to serve
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Re: Deciding before the draft. I have read and reread Charles Pope’s article (October) concerning what he euphemistically called "informed consent" regarding the draft and feel inclined to present the other side.  Christ was under no illusion as to the necessity of the secular state, without which there is anarchy.  As such, there is a requirement to ensure that it is preserved.

Our nation is a democracy, a major tenant of which is that we chose our leaders.  When those leaders, acting for us, decide it is necessary to defend the nation, it is the duty of the citizens of the nation to answer that call. No one wants to fight, kill or be killed.  To say otherwise is disingenuous.  Many in our nation seem to feel that it is somehow patriotic to disagree with our president and subvert our intentions as they relate to the war in Iraq and to wars in general.

This is a democracy, and another basic tenant is that, once the election is over, the fighting and rancor should be as well.  If we are called to fight for our country by our country then, as citizens and regardless of our personal thoughts or beliefs, we should do so. 
I find it interesting that the organization is called "Conscientious Patriots."  I can find nothing in what they do or stand for that is patriotic, unless sitting home on moral high ground will somehow help the nation. We live in a brutal time.  I am sure the Lord weeps for humanity, but it is the reality of today.  To simply say "let’s not participate but let’s call ourselves patriotic" is not a solution.


Opposed to all violence
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In its September issue, Episcopal Life published my letter about the roles of military chaplains. I wrote it in the context of the current war and of the recruiting ad for chaplains that the Army has been running in the newspaper. The December issue is now out, and nothing I have seen or read has changed my mind about that letter.

My intent was to warn priests who might be seduced by the ad into joining the Chaplain Corps that they could find themselves performing duties that compromised their principles. I am not anti-military. What I am against is militarism and illegal, unprovoked, imperialistic, pre-emptive wars of aggression. I was against the last one, I am against this one, and I am already against the next one. My touchstone is a prophetic statement I heard former Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning make just after the First Gulf War: “When you make war, you don’t get peace; you just get more war.”

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship is a tiny group of clergy and laity dedicated to an end not only to war but also to violence in any form. Why isn’t the whole church a peace fellowship? Since it doesn’t seem to be, what is its point?


‘Clubs’ stunt growth
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I believe the Rev. Don R. Greenwood hit the nail right on the head in his article “Club mentality damaging” (December). I have noticed this “club mentality” seems to pervade some of our small churches.  Basically, they do not want to invite anybody in because if the membership were to grow, they might loose control.  I have even heard of one church where the membership started to grow and was doing great things and then stopped -- you might say dead in its tracks.  It turns out the club members called new people and told them they were not wanted.

As long as this condition exists, do not expect to see any growth or spreading the Good News.


Belief, not belonging
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I strongly agree ... but I strongly disagree also with Don Greenwood's column “Club mentality damaging” (December). I agree all churches have become clubs. But this is what happens when the church teaches that salvation is a product of mere membership.

Discipleship must be based on belief, not belonging. Belief must be based on a certain spiritual understanding and cannot be based on a certain emotional spiritual criteria (as the author seems to advocate). Reason has the ability to discern the real from the counterfeit. Emotional spirituality can be faked -- it has no ability to discern. Salvation cannot be something one emotionally decides for oneself, no matter how convincing that emotion might seem.

Rather than trying to save the church as a viable business and fretting over trying to come up with the best marketing scheme, we as Christians might better serve God seeking him and trying to understand why the church fathers and their traditions might have been right all along. Perhaps it's modern society that has redefined God, creating institutions and rituals in their own image. It seems to me that modern spirituality is more the result of nihilistic desperation and willed, self-induced faith than an actual belief that Christ is the verifiable Son of God.


Intellectual dishonesty
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Professor Steinmetz's rather piecemeal article "World Christianity under new management?" (December) provides an excellent challenge to those who would claim the virtue of tradition as a justification for their opposition to unapologetically gay persons in the life and ministry of the church. He proposes one "of the oldest tests for authentic Christian teaching," namely: "whether it is universally accepted," i.e., is taught "everywhere, always and by all."  I suggest that people will want to be very cautious about applying this test.

Someone has to determine what in fact is universally accepted.  Those who make that pronouncement are, by default, participants in the dominant ecclesial and social strata.  A few of the bishops of the Global South are clearly interested in modeling their behavior after that of those bad old colonialists of the past and are seeking to impose their own definition, not of what is, but of what should be universally acceptable. 

Perhaps more important, as a church born of the Reformation, the Church of England clearly violated the principle of universal acceptance when it determined its polity against that of Rome.  The C of E's offspring continue still today, by their very existence, to perpetuate the violation of that principle.

It would appear then, that a selective application of the principle of universal acceptable is in play.  Episcopalians and Anglicans who would use this principle to defend their a priori disdain for the presence of unapologetically gay people in the life and ministry of the church are denying a self-serving blind spot and are being intellectually dishonest.


Missing worship connection
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In your lengthy article on the appointment of English musicians to American churches, I was saddened to find not one mention of worship.

Forced to leave
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Lately the letter section  in your publication has carried many letters that question the intelligence, the sincerely, the ethics and even the mental stability of those who oppose the actions of the General Convention 2003.  For many of us, this is very disheartening.  We are not out for gain, and we are not in the business of hurting others.  We have offended consciences.  The offense is not that others have sinned (a given of human nature) but that through the official actions of our province we are drawn into cooperation with the sins of others.

By decisions of General Convention 2003, the Episcopal Church has indicated its rejection of the continuous teaching of the whole church.  The province has decided to engage in the sin of cooperation in a blanket manner. I have found it necessary to stand away from the cooperation of our province and to protest.  I have come to the conclusion that this does, and will do, no good.  If I continue here, I affirm the cooperation of ECUSA and I am tarred with the same brush of collaboration.  I must leave for my soul’s health.  My only question is when and to where.


Misrepresenting history
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Sometimes people with Ph.D.s say the silliest things.  David Steinmetz, who holds a prestigious post of church history at Duke University Divinity School, soberly invokes “one of the oldest tests for authentic Christian thinking” while discussing our current conflict over sexuality with the African and Asian churches (“World Christianity under new management?” December)  The rule he cites is “the rule of universality”: that in order to be authentic, a theological position has to be acceptable “everywhere, always and by all.”

I do not possess a Ph.D., nor do I have a specially endowed chair that I get to sit in while making vague pronouncements about ancient rules, but even a casual reader of early church history will find that there was never a time when deep theological controversies were settled by some mysterious acceptance of a rule of universality. 

Orthodoxy is written, like history, by the victors.  Before our doctrines were carved in stone, they were written in the blood of the vanquished.  Let’s not pretend that the early church presents us with any kind of a model for the patient working-out of differences.  If we were to imitate our predecessors, we would be less inclined, not more, to respect intellectual diversity. We will never learn from history if we continue to fabricate myths in the name of history.


Planning for peace
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My soul is tortured by the immense suffering we have inflicted on the Iraqi people. I do not know any Iraqis, nor do I have any reason to pay (through my tax dollars) for their killing. Christ loves each Iraqi just as much as he loves me. Washington is wrapped up in the blame game. Forget the blame game and come up with a peace plan. Here is one:

  1. Admit we were wrong.
  2. Ask all neighboring countries of Iraq (whether considered terrorists or not) to come up with a consensus plan on Iraq.
  3. Submit this plan to the United Nations.
  4. Once this plan is approved, remove our troops from Iraq.

This may not be the best peace plan. It may be naïve. If you have a better one, please write it down and send it to Episcopal Life. I hope we can fill up this newspaper with peace plans.


Thankful for bishop
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I was really moved by Cindy Carlton Ford’s article (“Give me this little servant of God,” November). Bishop Thompson, when a priest on Long Island, N.Y., was so supportive of my sister Betsy Mills when her husband had a severe heart attack. A year or so later, Betsy died and Father Thompson was preacher and celebrant at her funeral. Bishop Thompson was and is, I’m sure still is, such a loving and caring man. He has had a special place in my heart since. May God continue to work in and through him.

Hire the most qualified
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Apparently the transnational nature of the Anglican Communion does not extend to church musicians. While there are certainly pros and cons to hiring “Brits” for some of our most prestigious positions, the bottom line should always be hiring the most qualified person for that position.

My grandfather, Dr. T. Frederick H. Candlyn, came to this country prior to World War I. During the war, he was drafted into the United States Army and saw duty fighting in the trenches in Europe. In 1930, he was chosen as one of the two best organists in this country and represented the United States at an international Guild of Organists recital in Lausanne, Switzerland.

He enjoyed a long and distinguished career as organist and choirmaster at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Fifth Avenue, New York, a position he took after he was turned down for a similar position at National Cathedral. The reason for that rejection – in spite of being a naturalized citizen, he was not a native-born American, he was British. St. Thomas’ had, during his tenure, one of the three finest boys’ choirs in the world. The others were in Europe.


Setting a poor example
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I once visited a church where the celebrant was drunk. I commented on this with my rector, who responded that the priest is only a servant and it is God’s house, not the servant’s. But who can be expected not to follow the example of their spiritual guide? When a man with this responsibility divorces his wife, leaves his family and moves in with another woman – or man – does that not set an example for his flock to follow? I am not going to allow the servant’s misdeeds to keep me from what is God’s house, but the example set by this situation is clearly not the example I would like to have my fellow church members follow.

Popularizing faith cuts membership
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Wishful thinking! With all due respect, those two words are sufficient to respond to the Rev. Don Greenwood’s belief that club mentality is the primary reason our Episcopal Church has become smaller in the past 30 years. His denial that division came over prayer book revision, the ordination of women and gay clergy flies in the face of reality.

Before the prayer-book controversy, membership ion the Episcopal Church had reached 3.5 million. Our numbers grew consistently from 1880 until 1967, when trial liturgies were introduced. Following the adoption of the 1979 prayer book, memberships were swiftly diminished by 1.2 million – one-third – and have not recovered even a little.

That loss, however, was only the opening of an ever-widening breach of our traditional faith. Scripture, reason and tradition were replaced with Rotary Club fellowship and feel-good theology. Jazz masses and folk masses were introduced, priestesses were ordained and consecrated. More recent was the divisive consecration as bishop of New Hampshire of V. Gene Robinson, a noncelibate, openly gay, divorced father of two girls who lives openly in a 14-year relationship with another man.

The Episcopal Church is not being led into irrelevance by club mentality. The primary reason our church has become smaller is the proclivity of our hierarchy to popularize our faith, and it is fitting to characterize them as being never in doubt but often wrong.


Love without labels
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In response to the “At least apologize” article by Nell Braxton Gibson in the November issue: I became distressed while reading the article for several reasons.  I am personally sorry that slavery ever existed, anywhere, but it did, and that is in the past. The clock can not be turned back.  Most of the people who should apologize are long dead. Many countries allowed slavery at some point in history. What's tragic is that slavery still exists in some places in the world.  It is too bad more energy isn't spent on today's problems then those of the past!

This may sound terrible, but I honestly believe that most blacks today are far better off in the United States than they would be if they still lived in most parts of Africa.  Notice that I didn’t use the term “African-American.”  I think it is a highly racist term, and I don’t wish to contribute to racism.

It is unfortunate that many blacks today promote racism by separating themselves from the whole of society by having special all-black functions, i.e. Miss Bronze, Black History Month, Black Caucus in Congress and so forth.  This self-inflicted segregation simply insures that racism will continue for a long time in the future. I believe that we are all God’s children, and we should try to love each other without labels of color or origin.