Archbishop Isingoma asks if Kolini is up for another term?

The Twitter account of Congolese Archbishop Henri Isingoma links to a picture of former Rwandan Archbishop Kolini at the recent AMiA consecrations, and asks:

Abp Kolini, is (up) for another term as bishop?  Here in front of his bishops

isingoma

 

The strange, perhaps unprecedented, situation that what is left of AMiA finds itself in never fails to surprise me.

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The Anglican Mission Creates Another Mess

“I must now say, however, that I believe that the Lord’s present word to me…now directs me to look beyond Genesis chapters 39-45, and on into the Book of Exodus…The result, as we saw in the story of Exodus, is that God’s sovereign hand which had led His people into Africa (Egypt) in the earlier Book of Genesis, then took a dramatic turn in the Book of Exodus instructing His people that it was now time for them to leave Africa…God then begins to move within the hearts of the Egyptian leadership to make it more and more clear to the people of Israel that Africa (Egypt) could no longer be viewed as their lasting home. I now see a parallel between the Exodus story and the present situation with Rwanda and the PEAR. Things have now been made very clear to me, and I am thankful for the clarity that I now have.” – Chuck Murphy in December, 2011

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AMiA “Consultor” Chuck Murphy

AMiA 2011-12

It did not take long for Chuck Murphy to disobey the “Lord’s present word” to him. In 2012, He tried to rope Anglicans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into supporting him shortly after “the Lord” told him Africa was not his home. For a refresher, see this post. Those efforts fell apart due to GAFCON intervention, and AMiA essentially collapsed.

AMiA 2015

Even in its current state of losing most of its churches and leadership, the AMiA continues to meddle overseas, mostly through Kevin Donlon, a man I have written about before,1 and ‘retired’ Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini. Kolini, who grew up in the Congo (formerly known as Zaire) has served the Rwandan dictatorship in fomenting murderous unrest in that nation and has also fostered relationships there with the help of Donlon and AMiA money. An AMiA press release said:

This spring, The Mission received signed concordats from the Diocese of Kindu and the Diocese of Bukavu, both located in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These concordats confirm mutually beneficial partnerships with The Mission under the oversight of Canon Kevin Donlon.

Kolini with Congolese clergy and Carl Buffington

What is “mutually beneficial” about these partnerships? The AMiA gets to brush up it’s credentials with a “we’re really Anglican” fig-leaf of “oversight” as they have from day one. I imagine that Kevin Donlon can attempt to influence more oddball ideas such as the one that Emmanuel Kolini floated in 2010 for “a new Anglican Ecumenical Council, modeled on the Councils of the Early Church with a constitution taken from the ancient apostolic canons (35 & 38) on how a council should function.”2 And the Congolese bishops get money and support from the remaining coffers of the AMiA, which is in fact a sort of double-dipping given that the Congolese bishops are also tied to the Congo Church Association in the UK. Don’t forget the $1.2 million or so that went missing in Rwanda while Kolini was in charge — even in its reduced state, I’m sure AMiA can provide some money to these bishops.

Congolese Archbishop Henri Isingoma put it this way:

This decision indeed taken on their own behalf, for the hope to get financial support to run their dioceses, under the influence of the retired Archbishop of Rwanda, the Most Reverend Emmanuel Mbona Kolini, and the lawyer of ASMAW, Canon Kevin Donlon.

The Dioceses that are involved

The AMiA press release goes on:

As a result of these partnerships, leaders from both Dioceses as well as Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, Bishop William Bahemuka of Boga Diocese, Bishop Sospeter Ndenza of Kibondo Diocese and Dr. Ross Lindsay met in Gisenyi, Rwanda, to plan the Anglican Leadership Ministry Institute. This joint project will bring ministry leaders from The Mission to assist lay and clergy from partner dioceses in equipping trainers in leadership development, spiritual formation and parish development. In the coming months, a team of 12 leaders from The Mission plan to work with leaders from Boga, Kindu, Bukavu and Kibondo in both the theory and practice of various areas of ministry.

The map below gives you some idea of where these Dioceses are located. Generally, they are near Rwanda, in the east of the DRC:

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Diocese in the Anglican Church of the Congo

This just happens to be the same area where the CNDP and M23 “rebellions” occurred. Kolini helped his government support the wicked M23 movement, as Paul Kagame himself admitted in an interview with the New York Times where: “He acknowledged that some Rwandan churches have been sending money to Congolese rebels, as part of a Tutsi self-protection campaign.”3

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The border between Rwanda, the DRC and Uganda.

Kolini and the Kivus

In May 2012, Kolini held a meeting to support the Rwandan/Tutsi invasion of the DRC through the M23 movement. At this meeting, Kolini conveyed Paul Kagame’s message to Congolese of Rwandan descent who lived in the Kivu provinces of the DRC:

Another similar M23 meeting with Rwandan authorities took place on 26 May 2012 in Ruhengeri, Rwanda, at Hotel Ishema. According to intelligence sources and to politicians with close ties to Kigali, the RDF organized the meeting for CNDP politicians, which was chaired by Bishops John Rucyahana and Coline {Kolini – editor}, both senior RPF party leaders. The aim of the meeting was to convey the message that the Rwandan Government supports M23 politically and militarily. All Rwandophone politicians and officers were instructed to join M23, or otherwise leave the Kivus.

M23 was active in the Kivus, two provinces of the DRC that Rwanda claims are hers.4 You will notice a great overlap between the Dioceses aligned with AMiA and the activity of illegal Rwandan groups. Kolini’s familiarity with this region presumably helps him both to support illegal Rwandan groups and to cultivate Congolese bishops, connecting them to Kevin Donlon and spreading money  if Archbishop Isingoma is correct.

According to AMiA: “The Diocese of Kindu covers …the territory of Shabunda in the neighboring Province of South Kivu. The Diocese of Bukavu…serves parts of South Kivu and parts of North Kivu.”

North and South Kivu are on the right of this map.

M23

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M23 leader Sultani Makenga (right) a Tutsi of the Bagogwe clan who grew up in Rucuru District.

The group that Kolini and John Rucyahana supported was brought to an end through international intervention, but not before it committed great acts of wickedness such as killing a “4-year-old girl when she asked M23 fighters where they were taking her father”, starving deserters to death, forcing deserters to rape a girl, burying deserters alive, and on and on. If this bothers Kolini, Rucyahana, the AMiA, PEARUSA or ACNA, I haven’t heard of it.

Executed by M23

AMiA’s senseless African connections

By my count, the AMiA now has some sort of relationship with eleven Dioceses in five nations. That’s a whole lot of reverse colonialism to use Chuck Murphy’s phrase! A table of these connections follows:

Diocese Nation
Dunkwa- On Offin Ghana
Boga DRC
Kindu DRC
Bukavu DRC
Kibondo Tanzania
Lake Rukwa Tanzania
Kagera Tanzania
Tabora Tanzania
Northern Malawi Malawi
Upper Shire Malawi
Toliara Madagascar

 

Perhaps in the year 2000 there was some justification for outside oversight, but it is now 2015, and:

  • There is a full-fledged, orthodox Province in North America.
  • You cannot tell me that these five nations are going to “re-evangelize” the USA like you said about Rwanda.5
  • Chuck Murphy said Africans “directing  and shaping what happens in North America is a bad idea.” In fact, it could be “missiologically crazy and practically foolish.” So we know these bishops have no say over AMiA and are simply window-dressing.

Further, it is an embarrassment to Anglicanism in general and the AMiA in particular to have retired Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini, Moses Tay and Yong Ping Chung involved in this micro-denomination that defies ACNA and GAFCON whenever it feels like it, and is highly influenced by a canon lawyer with dubious writings.

As Archbishop Isingoma put it, the most recent actions of AMiA are “…contrary to the constitution of the Province of the Anglican Church of Congo” and serve “…to destabilize a sister-province of the Anglican Communion.”

Timeline of recent events

April 3 – As I wrote here, AMiA announced that two new bishops were on the way.

April 13-17 – GAFCON primates meet in London. “Isingoma shared the situation with his fellow Primates…The Primates then requested its chairman, the Most Reverend Eliud Wabukala, to officially write to Jones to stop him from going ahead with the consecration” (Virtue).

April 19 – Archbishop Isingoma writes a letter Anglican Primates denouncing the AMiA plan.

Sometime in April – AMiA “Primatial Vicar” Jones writes Isingoma attempting to “fix the problem” according to David Virtue.

Sometime in April – Isingoma writes Jones back and again asks him to stop the consecrations.

May 2 – AMiA goes ahead with the consecrations, defying GAFCON and the Anglican Church of Congo.

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“We could care less what GAFCON thinks.”

The Consecration

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Rules have never stopped AMiA before.

Bishop William of Boga Diocese, Bishop Bahati of Bukavu, Bishop Sospeter of Kibondo and Archbishop Kolini along with Philip Jones and Chuck Murphy consecrated Carl Buffington and Gerry Schnackenberg on May 2nd.6

According to AMiA Bishop Silas Ng7 someone had a heart attack when the service started:

Michelle and I went to Florida two days ago to participate in the consecration of the Very Rev. Carl Buffington and the Very Rev. Gerald Schnackenberg as two new AMiA bishops. It was a glorious celebration yesterday. Today we went to Bishop Carl’s church to participate in an ordination for two deacons as priests.

When the service came to the time of ordination and Bishop Edmund D Ahmoah from the Anglican Church of Ghana was reading the first line of the ordination part, a parishioner had an heart attack with his heart beat stopped. It was a holy moment when everyone was praying, including four bishops, many priests and deacons and the whole church of the New Covenant Church, Winter Springs, Florida. There were three nurses there using CPR and a defibrillator(AED). We heard the loud sound of a voice from the defibrillator to guide people to use that and we were singing, praying in an atmosphere full of peace. The new consecrated Bishop Carl stood next to me and he was praying and singing in a very peaceful mode. Ten minutes later two paramedic came in and in five minutes time the parishioner got his heart beat again and was sent to the hospital for observation. The whole church clapped hands when they saw what happened of how God gave peace to all of us in a crisis during an ordination.

Bishop Ng says he has a prophecy for one of the new bishops, namely that he will resurrect the Mission:

After Bishop Carl and I received communion, I said, “Bishop Carl, I got a prophetic word for you, one word “resurrect”. I feel that God is going to pour down His fresh anointing on you that you are going to raise up more priests for the Mission to resurrect “dead people”. There are so many dead people walking around us.” He said, “Wow! That is quite a prophetic word because the past 30 years since this church was found we have 23 people being ordained as priests.” I asked, “How many years for you as the Rector of this church?” He said, “Twenty-two years.”

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New Congolese bishops!

Another ordination

The irregular consecration of two bishops was not all! Bishop William Mugenyi of Boga in the DRC also ordained Walter Volmuth to the permanent diaconate as a Deacon from Boga Diocese. Does Archbishop Isingoma realize that “Congolese” clergy are now multiplying in AMiA? Of course, if the Archbishop does something about it, AMiA will probably transfer orders to another Diocese. Bishop Murphy knows that once you establish facts on the ground, there is little willingness in Anglican circles to undo them.

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Breaking rules since 2000.

My takeaways

  1. The AMiA will not police itself. It does not care about defying governing authorities when it is clearly in the wrong. It does not care about what Kolini did with M23. It does not care about where 1.2 million dollars went in Rwanda. It does not care about possible plagiarism.
    To be clear, PEARUSA, ACNA and GAFCON also seem unconcerned when their member churches are subservient to wicked governments, but I am focusing on AMiA in this post.
  2. GAFCON and Rwanda made a mistake allowing AMiA to walk away with no consequences. There was some talk of stripping Bishop Murphy and others of their orders back when AMiA imploded. Archbishop Rwaje insisted on real reconciliation, but none of that ever happened, AMiA went its own way, crippled yes, but still breathing. Because GAFCON and Rwanda did nothing in terms of discipline, AMiA, Murphy, Kolini and Kevin Donlon are still out there causing havoc.
  3. The Congo is a mess. Three bishops have a relationship with a sub-Anglican group in America and never tell their Archbishop. He orders them not to ordain Americans, and thy go ahead and do it anyways.
  4. This is a test for Archbishop Isingoma. Can he do anything to his disobedient bishops? Can he do anything to the new AMiA bishops and other clergy?
  5. This is a test for GAFCON. I don’t think GAFCON has any real authority over anybody about anything, but do they stand totally impotent in this case? Does this spur GAFCON to at least think through the crazy quilt world of CANA and PEARUSA?
  6. Could the AMiA spend enough money to oust Archbishop Isingoma? AMiA has already poached a third of the bishops in the DRC, if it could nab a couple more, could it influence the election of the next Archbishop? I don’t know when Isingoma’s term is up, but I wonder if this is even a remote possibility.
  7. Chuck Murphy puts words in God’s mouth. Was God wrong about AMiA and Africa in 2011? I don’t think so. That means that Chuck Murphy was wrong when he said God called AMiA out of Africa, because AMiA is right back in Africa. As the Lord said, “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
    AMiA’s terrible theology allows for this kind of nonsense.
  8. Archbishop Beach and ACNA should make it clear that AMiA remains a renegade group. Unfortunately, the “be nice” philosophy has carried the day recently, with former Archbishop Duncan telling us about a phone conversation he had with Philip Jones on his way out as Archbishop.8
    Jones was also in the procession at the Investiture of Foley Beach and was recently at the C4SO retreat (see below). This thaw of relations is clearly not reciprocated when AMiA disregards another Anglican Primate and the will of GAFCON. These kind of gestures should end.
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‘Primatial Vicar’ Philip Jones at the Investiture of Foley Beach.
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Jones and ACNA Bishop Todd Hunter at the C4SO Retreat.
P.S. Here is an Anglican Unscripted episode covering the mess:
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  1. Also, see these posts: 2, 3, and 4

  2. My assumption is that this proposal came straight from Donlon, not Kolini. 

  3. I asked Times reporter Jeffrey Gettleman about this quote and he told me “I asked Kagame about allegations of Rwandan government support to the M23 and he said that the government is not providing support but some private individuals inside Rwanda are.” This is clearly untrue, but it does confirm Anglican support for M23. 

  4. A claim that has no historical basis, see here

  5. Which was a farce anyhow. 

  6. You can watch a video of the ceremony here

  7. Bishop Ng made all kinds of false predictions/prophecies/words of knowledge a few years ago; see here

  8. “I called Bp. Philip Jones the other day. We had a lovely conversation.” Source

Partnership between ACNA and Rwanda?

Bishop Mbanda and Paul Kagame.
Bishop Mbanda and Paul Kagame.

Greg Goebel is Canon to the Ordinary and Chief of Staff for the Anglican Diocese of the South in ACNA. This means he serves Archbishop Foley Beach because Archbishop Beach is also the Bishop of the Diocese of the South. Fr. Goebel travelled to Rwanda with Archbishop Beach and the PEARUSA bishops in March “for discussions related to the Protocols between the Province de l’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda (PEAR) and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). The Archbishops will develop new Protocols this year to clarify PEARUSA’s relationship within ACNA and PEAR.”1

Fr. Goebel writes about the working relationships of Fr. Brandon Walsh, an American who works for Archbishop Rwaje, Canon Francis, the provincial secretary in Rwanda and Bishop Steve Breedlove, the Presiding Bishop of PEARUSA.

Fr. Goebel then provides a pretty standard “testimony” about Rwanda that you will hear a version of if you spend any time around PEARUSA (or AMiA before it) parishes:

My time spent as an American priest of Rwanda was formative, and affects me much to this day. The pastors and lay leaders that I’ve met are lifelong friends. The spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness, missionary church planting, and a fully integrated social ministry still serves, for me, as a benchmark of following Jesus faithfully here in the U.S.

When American Anglicans bear witness to Rwanda, they emphasize the East African Revival, reconciliation and church planting; Fr. Goebel is true to form here.

I emphasize his mention of reconciliation, because the narrative that he and many others spread is simply not true. If Fr. Goebel would take the time to consult academic literature on Rwanda, he would find a very different story. For example, Susan Thomson’s article “Rwanda’s National Unity and Reconciliation Program” says:

Hearts remain broken as many Rwandans recognize the government-led national unity and reconciliation program as the product of a distorted and self-interested history that legitimizes its own grip on power.

Or he could read Jennifer G. Cooke, who wrote in “Rwanda: Assessing Risks to Stability“:

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has largely skirted—or been forced by the Rwandan government to abandon—investigations and prosecution of RPF war crimes. Similarly, the traditionally inspired gacaca court system, set up by the government to process the many thousands implicated in the genocide and provide some measure of justice and community reconciliation, addresses only those crimes committed during the genocide and excludes RPF crimes committed in the genocide’s aftermath. The issue of RPF war crimes is high- lighted in this report not to obscure or draw parallels to the scope or extreme horror of the 1994 genocide. But the RPF’s refusal to acknowledge the extent of those crimes—and its suppression of independent investigations and reporting—is a source of deep and enduring resentment among many Rwandans. Among Hutu who played no part in the genocide, it fuels a sense that the government and justice system accord less value to innocent Hutu lives lost than those of Tutsi.

Or he could speak to Theogene Rudasingwa, former cabinet member and friend of Paul Kagame, who said:

The fact of the matter is that even when I was part of the establishment, when Kagame called a kitchen cabinet and all of us were military guys, we were all Tutsi and we had a preoccupation of thinking how we could survive in a sea that is populated by Hutu. So during the day Kagame and us would be talking about all these things but the fact of the matter was that this is a regime where you have a tiny minority within an ethnic minority and that kind of minority tends to rely on force, on coercion, on brutality in order to survive.

In fact, Kevin Ward points out that the Anglican church had “reconciliation” going on before the genocide of 1994: “At high-profile meetings of reconciliation, church leaders confessed and sang Tukutenderza in the old spirit of the Balokole fellowship, but these occasions did not seem to have the power to transform the faction-riven nature of the church.” It is quite obvious that this pre-1994 reconciliation is not a model to follow, nor should the post-1994 version inspire more confidence.

But Anglican boosters of Rwanda are not deterred by these facts, and so Fr. Goebel continues:

For this reason, I am sold on a vision of communion and partnership between Anglicans in the U.S. and Anglicans in Rwanda. My trip strengthened this conviction even more. Regardless of which network or diocese we are affiliated with, we can all benefit from partnership with Rwanda.

It seems like Fr. Goebel is advocating for partnership with Rwanda that goes beyond PEARUSA and extends to every part of ACNA! He writes:

Finally, I was inspired by the desire of the leaders of the Rwanda church to maintain relationship with us here in America. Our connection is mutual, affectionate, and important.

So I would encourage all of us to consider how we might be a part of maintaining that communion and partnership. For some churches, it may be through a sister-to-sister parish relationship. For some, through sending visitation teams, or hosting visitors here. For individuals and families, raising awareness, visiting or sponsorships. You will receive so much, and your friendship and fellowship will be a blessing to so many as well.2

If Archbishop Beach and PEARUSA are going to propose that the way for PEARUSA to sever formal links with Rwanda is for all of ACNA to now embrace Rwanda, then we need to raise some serious questions about church subservience to an evil regime in Rwanda, false narratives, racism towards the Hutu and many other specific problems.

Fr. Goebel’s post says nothing about the dictatorship in Rwanda, state sponsored evil, the complicity of bishops in this evil, or any potential future hazards if Rwanda again explodes. This is standard fare, as I have never seen or heard any Anglican in PEAR/AMiA/ACNA discuss these problems openly, they only present the sanitized, false view of Rwanda.

Let’s talk about the missing money that Bishop Alexis was after and that precipitated the AMiA implosion, how bishops Kolini and Rucyahana supported M23, how Archbishop Rwaje wrote the United Nations in favor of Paul Kagame’s position on a U.N report, and many other issues. All of these things are ignored in PEARUSA “City Gates” posts, blog posts from Bishop Breedlove, and other official communications. How long will this kind of whitewashing go on?

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  1. Post by PEARUSA Bishop David Bryan. 

  2. I also would like to know more about the claim “…one bishop told me that his diocese has grown from 23,000 members to over 100,000 members during his episcopate. Most of these new members are converts. The Faithful in Rwanda still have much to teach us.”
    In a nation said to be 85% Christian, is it likely that there are roughly 70,000 ‘new converts’ in one Anglican diocese? 

When you’ve lost Virtue…

David Virtue addresses the latest actions of the AMiA (which I will write more about later):

Truth be told, the AMIA or ASMAW is now little more than a congregational operation with a creedal overlay. They can no longer be considered Anglican in any sense of the word. They have no existence apart from themselves and recognized by nobody.

Blame for all this truly rests with former Bishop Chuck Murphy whose narcissism has been well documented. Having lost 95% of his bishops and left with just a handful of small parishes, Bishop Jones, his successor, has been trying to pick up the pieces ever since, but with little success. This attempt to backdoor his small flailing group into something more has proven disastrous. If he had any sense or humility, he should go cap in hand to Archbishop Foley Beach and ask to be the 31st diocese of ACNA. We can only hold our breath and hope that repentance is forthcoming. As things now stand ASMAW has no future with anyone in the Anglican Communion. They are history.

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Matthew Weiner on America

A few years ago I started reading John Updike’s books and they really spoke to me, not in a morally uplifting way, but because they show what I think is a slice of reality regarding late 20th-century America. In the same way, I love Mad Men, not due to any moral lesson, but as a window into what the last century may have been like for some people. The near past is the hardest for us to decipher, because we are too close to it and yet so far away from it – what was 1992 like? I barely remember myself and would find it hard to reconstruct accurately. Anyway, Matthew Weiner discusses aspirational America in this interview, and I love his take on it:

Everyone loves the Horatio Alger version of life. What they don’t realize is that these transformations begin in shame, because poverty feels shameful. It shouldn’t, but everyone who’s experienced it confirms this. Sometimes people say, I didn’t know we were poor—Don Draper knows he’s poor, very much in the model of Iacocca or Walton, who came out of the Great Depression, out of really humble beginnings. Or like Conrad Hilton, on the show. These men don’t take no for an answer, they build these big businesses, these empires, but really it’s all based on failure, insecurity, and an identity modeled on some abstract ideal of white power. I’ve always said this is a show about becoming white. That’s the definition of success in America—becoming a WASP. A WASP male.

The driving question for the series is, Who are we? When we talk about “we,” who is that? In the pilot, Pete Campbell has this line, “Adding money and education doesn’t take the rude edge out of people.” Sophisticated anti-Semitism. I overheard that line when I was a schoolteacher. The person, of course, didn’t know they were in the presence of a Jew. I was a ghost. Certain male artists like to show that they’re feminists as a way to get girls. That’s always seemed pimpy to me. I sympathize with feminism the same way I identify with gay people and with people of color, because I know what it’s like to look over the side of the fence and then to climb over the fence and to feel like you don’t belong, or be reminded at the worst moment that you don’t belong.

Take Rachel Menken, the department-store heiress in the first season of Mad Men. She’s part of what I call the nose-job generation. She’s assimilated. She probably doesn’t observe the Sabbath or any of these other things that her parents did. That generation had a hard time because they were trying desperately to be buttoned-down and preppy and—this is my parent’s generation—white as could be. They were embarrassed by their parents. This is the story of America, this assimilation. Because guess what, this guy Don has the same problems. He’s hiding his identity, too. That’s why Rachel Menken understands Don, because they’re both trying desperately to be white American males.

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Anglican Bishops with Kagame in Huye

Paul Kagame visited with “opinion leaders” in Huye, Rwanda this week. Front and center in the audience were two southern bishops, Augustin Mvunabandi and Nathan Gasatura. Their Dioceses (Kigeme and Butare) are on the border of Burundi, where the town of Huye lies.

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Bishop Nathan Gasatura (left) with Paul Kagame
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Bishop Augustin Mvunabandi in the audience.

Bishop Mvunabandi was (is?) part of the Peace in the Great Lakes campaign. Here, he is sitting in front of the man who foments war in the Great Lakes. I wonder if he had anything to say about it?

 

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