Saturday Mailbox


June 02, 2007

Episcopals find unity in diversity

On Monday, The Sun ran a front-page article describing a worship service held near Stevenson by a group of dissident Episcopalians under the auspices of the Diocese of Chile ("Churches form links abroad," May 28).

The article, of course, stressed divisions within the Anglican Communion - between the church in the United States and the church in the developing world - over a number of issues, including human sexuality.

On that same Sunday, the Feast of Pentecost, in which the church offers thanksgiving for the gift of the Holy Spirit's making us one people, a service was also held at the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation on University Parkway.

It was a combined celebration that included a large number of Anglicans from Africa.

People from Nigeria, Liberia and several other nations sang with joy and praise and shared the sacraments with people of many different traditions, languages and theological perspectives.

The cathedral was full in numbers and in spirit. It was Pentecost.

As dean of the cathedral, I made a brief comment: "The next time you read an article about the division in the Anglican Communion, remember your experience here today" (not knowing that such an article would appear in The Sun the following day).

That comment was met with an immediate and spontaneous standing ovation (which is not a typical response in an Episcopal church).

Many of us have made a home in the Episcopal Church precisely because we found it to be a community of acceptance, healing and reconciliation for all people.

The Rev. Van H. Gardner


The writer is dean of the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation.

Carson taught us dangers of toxins

Perhaps the authors of the column "Rachel Carson's legacy nothing to celebrate" (Opinion

Commentary, May 27) could re-examine their own arguments by simply reading an article on the front page of the same issue of The Sun.

"`Is it even safe to live here?'" (May 27) recounted the long history of a long-demolished pesticide plant that inflicts damage even today through toxic levels of arsenic in the soil of Swann Park and surrounding neighborhoods.

The toxic arsenic levels in the park's soil are 100 times the safe level - more than 30 years after the plant closed.

People who worked at the plant had three times the normal rate of lung cancer after just one year of exposure.

It is no coincidence that they also experienced nosebleeds, headaches, nerve damage and tumors after exposure to chemicals such as arsenic, lead, kepone, DDT and chromium - some of which have been known carcinogens for centuries.

This pesticide plant, long torn down and covered by cement, lives on in the soil, the water and the bodies of people nearby.

This is just the kind of thing Ms. Carson was talking about.

She brought public attention to the toxic effects of harsh chemicals that remain lurking hazards in the environment.

Some of these chemicals are not harmless insecticides; they are lethal poisons.

Just ask the 12-year-old with unexplained nosebleeds and headaches and his father with chronic tingling in his feet.

We are inextricably tied to our environment, and poisons for insects become poisons for us.

If you ask me, Ms. Carson's legacy is well worth celebrating.

Tracey Slaughter


The writer is a health sciences major at Towson University.

One big omission in positive review

Glenn McNatt's recent review of Art on Purpose's exhibit Speaking of Silence I was positive and mostly a pleasure to read ("What silence looks like," May 24).

One glaring omission, however, cries out for comment.

In his review, Mr. McNatt argues that the audio and photography piece "Youth & Silence" is "among the most compelling works in the show." Furthermore, the story is illustrated with two photographs from this project.

All this ordinarily would be quite gratifying to the artist who created the praised and well-represented work of art.

Trouble is, the artist who took the photos and spent hundreds of hours interviewing young people, transcribing recordings and (with sound editor Yutaka Houlette) weaving voices together to create a powerful sound piece was not once mentioned by name.

Her name is Beth Barbush, and she deserves credit.

Peter Bruun


The writer is artist/director of Art on Purpose.

Symphony explores the spirit of hip-hop

Rashod D. Ollison's critical review of Darin Atwater's Paint Factory exposes his failure to understand the essence of the composer's creative work ("Making rap nice is counterintuitive," May 21).

Mr. Atwater's work presents hip-hop as a work of art, expressed by colors representing a variety of sentiments the genre can convey.

Mr. Atwater seeks to expand the definition of hip-hop beyond rap, which is just one expression of that culture.

In the program notes for the symphony, Mr. Atwater wrote that Paint Factory is a "celebration of hip-hop on a grand scale," a coalition of music, dance and poetry, designed to be "a symphony of sound, sight and, more importantly, thought."

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