More on World of Faith
Canon Bruce Saunders responds to last month's
I must have been at different 'World of Faith' event from the one described by
Mr Roberts in his letter published in last month's edition of The Bridge.
to what he suggests, Christian faith was certainly represented, with readings
from the New Testament deliberately given central place in front of the High
from attempting 'to present all religions as being equally valid and offering
equal paths to God' Canon Michael Ipgrave specifically declared in his opening
address 'I am not saying that all the religions are just saying the same thing
in different words'.
fact, Canon Ipgrave's interesting metaphor for religions being different
languages for converse with and about God acknowledges 'that it may be that
different religions are saying quite different things about God, the world and
ourselves; it may even be that at some points they are saying quite
contradictory things. Interfaith dialogue does not presume that we are all the
published letters from Mr Roberts and Dr Humber express a particular view of
Christian truth which was clearly articulated during the plenary session by Mr
event was not chiefly about putting the case for Christ, so it is misleading to
say 'the need for faith in Him was ignored'. It was about the scriptures of
several faith traditions and was designed and advertised as an exercise in
listening and learning for Christians. As both correspondents recognise, even
people for whom Jesus Christ is at the very heart of their faith discover value
in dialogue with other faith traditions, and often have their awareness of
God's grace and mercy enlarged.
happy to send a copy of Canon Ipgrave's text to anyone who sends me a stamped
envelope or an e-mail address.
Canon Bruce Saunders
...and the Rev. Paul Collier writes:
member of the Inter-Faith Group which organised the "World of Faith" event, may
I add to the comments of Matthew Roberts by thanking him and all the
participants for making Christ present at the Cathedral on 11 March.
called on by name, our Lord was most powerfully present in the welcome,
interest, courtesy, respect and love shown to the representatives of other
faiths by the Christian participants.
personal note, as a participant with Christian-tinted spectacles I was struck
by the fact that the eternal truth of the ultimate victory of sacrificial love
over evil (for Christians uniquely proved and manifested by God in the death
and resurrection of Jesus Christ), was expressed as a truth in all the faiths
represented. This has been for me the most powerful sign of hope for our world
in the new millennium.
Rev. Paul Collier,
St. Hugh's, Charterhouse.
David Haslam responds
As one of the
panel who produced the report on "Institutional Racism in the Diocese of
Southwark", I would like to respond to two of the letters in your April
writes that he knows "what it is to be in a minority, overlooked and outvoted".
If that is true, I would have thought he would have had more sympathy with our
report. He does his cause no good when he considerably exaggerates one of the
suggestions the report makes. He refers to the "centralised vetting of minority
Anglicans to establish their 'eligibility' as candidates for advancement by
electoral or other means".
That is quite
foreign to the spirit of the report. I think what Mr Sutcliffe must be
referring to is the idea that a register of potential candidates be developed
as a response to the continual argument that "we don't know anyone from the
minority communities who is suitable for this position". That remark can refer
to every position from candidates for a PCC to a bishop. I have found in the
church structures where I have been involved at local and national level that
there are many Christians from minority communities who have the experience and
talents to fulfil positions, but no-one ever asks them. They become invisible
when there are posts to be taken up.
On the same
Letters page Peter Challen argues that "To advance beyond racism, we must
advance beyond race". In one sense I believe this to be true, we should
"advance beyond race". Unfortunately there is this ideology around which
believes in distinct races, and in the superiority of some over others.
One can only
really describe this, and its pernicious effects, as "racism".
Peter goes on
to say that "Generous inclusiveness" should mark the dialogue not "adversarial
political correctness". I do not believe that the latter is what our report is
engaged in. "Political correctness" is a term emerging from the Right in the
United States to seek to ridicule discussion about genuine discrimination in
society, whether by gender, ethnicity or disability.
to suggest you can get through challenging institutional racism without pain.
That is not possible, though he is quite right to state that what we need is a
"theologically sensitive, tender and crucial exchange". That is what we hope
our report will encourage.
Rev. David Haslam
Violence and the Church's response
As we see,
alas, Africa is full of violent conflict, with nation against nation, tribe
and South Africa, in the whole of that great continent, enjoy the peace and
freedom of constitutional government.
What is at
fault? Surely the belief that political power may legitimately be gained by
violence. The same way of violence - the direct opposite of our Lord's command
to love our enemies - has been the curse of the world for centuries. We know
now, surely, that there is another way of overcoming evil and injustice - the
way of non-violence. Martin Luther King was an outstanding exponent of this
method. Shouldn't the Church take up this way and be an example to the world?
One cannot deny that it is a way more consistent with the love that Jesus
John Deleto, London SE23
interested in your item about St Mark's, Wimbledon in the
I lived in
Wimbledon in the 1950s and some time in that decade students at Wimbledon Art
School were asked to paint the walls of the church and carve the capitals. My
husband spent many evenings (he was teaching too) carving one of the pillars
and the available wall space was covered with striking paintings (by students).
I don't know how well it was received by most parishioners but I thought it
transformed the church into a vibrant and exciting building.
I moved away
in 1961 and was very sad to hear of the devastating fire in 1966. I wonder if
the art work is remembered by older members of the parish.
Ruth M Lacey, Reigate