Bishop TJ Johnston Moves to C4SO

7/26/15 UPDATE: Someone informed me that Bishop Johnston never actually returned to AMiA in 2011/12, but that he and John Miller stayed in ACNA. This means Bishop Johnston is only transferring between jurisdictions within ACNA. The strange thing about this is that AMiA had him listed as a leader as recently as December, 2014:

tj in amia

AMiA will have to explain how it is possible that someone active in ACNA was also part of their Conference of Missionary Bishops.

The Churches for the Sake of Others (C4SO) diocese of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) announced that Thomas William (TJ) Johnston, Jr. has transferred to C4SO. In December 2014,  the AMiA listed Johnston as part of the “Conference of Missionary Bishops” in an inactive status.

Bishop Todd Hunter served with Johnston in AMiA and they both participated in the mass resignation from Rwanda that triggered the collapse of AMiA in late 2011. Bishop Hunter later apologized publicly for his actions and was quickly received into ACNA.

Bishop Johnston is a friend of Archbishop Foley Beach. Johnston once said:

But I dropped that into a context of a friend, of a dear friend that I trust completely since seminary, Foley Beach. We’ve been partnering in ministry no matter what label we’ve had, when he was in Tech when I was in the Mission, when he was with Bolivia when I was in the Mission. Now that he’s a bishop, and I was his co-consecrator with Bob Duncan and Frank Lyons.

So this is a natural relationship. This is not something like I just jumped to ACNA ’cause it’s ACNA. Foley Beach is a guy that I’ve been with.

Johnston had one of the first relationships with Rwanda in the 1990s, which as we know turned into AMiA. He said of that time:

 …started with Rwanda in ’98, before there was any other relationship to be had. That is the only way that I was Anglican. Ed Salmon, the bishop of South Carolina, voluntarily took my license and sent it to Rwanda. I was the first that ever had that done. And the national church passed a canon immediately blocking that kind of action from taking place again.

After Bishop Terrell Glenn resigned from AMiA during the conflict of 2011, Bishop Johnston and David Young worked out an arrangement for Glenn and Chuck Murphy attempt reconciliation.

In the wake of the AMiA collapse, Bishop Johnston and Bishop John Miller of AMiA met with Bishop Charlie Masters and Bishop Leonard Riches of REC/ACNA to attempt to reunite AMiA with ACNA. Johnston and Miller were also received into ACNA as “temporary honorary assistant bishops” working with Bishops Neil Lebhar and Foley Beach, while at the same time remaining within AMiA. These talks were not successful and in an email to Bishop Masters on 27 August 2012, Johnston wrote:

Personally, I have appreciated the integrity, leadership, and faithfulness that both you and Leonard brought to our conversations. I am disappointed with the outcome. I had hoped for so much more, but I trust that the Lord of the Church will continue the conversation. Practically, this means that I will be working with Bishop Beach to he transferred from my present position as an assisting bishop in the Anglican Diocese of the South so that I might continue my ministry with the Anglican Mission    

I assumed from this that Johnston and Miller actually did transfer back to AMiA, but this was not the case. Johnston changed his mind and remained in ACNA, as did Miller. Another update for my book!

2 thoughts on “Bishop TJ Johnston Moves to C4SO”

  1. RE: AMiA will have to explain how it is possible that someone active in ACNA was also part of their Conference of Missionary Bishops.

    I think you’re expecting a little too much from AMiA, you’re not expecting too much from Anglicanism as a whole, rather too much from this one group [in both its divisions since the schism].

    What I mean is that AMiA was never too worried about cannons and did not obey them. To illustrate that the whole schism of 2012 demonstrated that no one had a clue about the procedural processes. Murphy’s bunch turns out to be a 501c3 but not real structure and in the Washington Statement their upset about “Romanish Cannons” which were passed in 2008 [thus since no one other than Robin Jordan was upset about them before 2012 and were operating contrary to some of those cannons, it is a pretty good bet no one read them or felt bound by them, since the time to upset in a traditional Anglican setting would been 2007 or 2008]. Since Robin published them, I scoured them and discovered their were no cannons dealing disciple of laity and found none. In traditional Anglicanism no cannon means a limit where in AMiA they seemed irrelevant, thus why a PEARUSA bishop felt he could ask you to take down a blog post. However in traditional Anglicanism +Minns often used laity because the PECUSA cannons also were pretty much silent on those matters, +Minns and +Dobbs had a layman tell ++Akinola a “no,” probably for the same reason [++Akinola kept asking this layman when was he going to be ordained, presumably, when can I order you around via cannon law]. So again a completely inverse relationship to cannon law.

    I personally am less trouble by Bishop Johnston and this post as I am that PEARUSA is in the college of bishops in that they have the same roots and same foundation and thus bringing their free-form ideas of ecclesiology into ACNA but thankful CANA and the REC have proper understanding of these matters. My impression of AMiA/PEARUSA is that they’re loosely connected set of individual parishes with an African connection, more congregationalist than denominational, in fact I believe it to be more congregational under PEARUSA than under a Murphy’s AMiA, for a driving personality actually brought more consistency, even is still errant to traditional Anglicanism.

    As to your post about bishops Johnston and Miller. Canonically I do not see a probably in fact they have much better legal standing than Gerry Schnackenberg and Carl Buffington. In that I don’t think anyone questioning Johnston’s or Miller’s consecration, thus keeping their residency in regular branch of Anglicanism while working with an irregular [chaotic] branch makes sense unless there is a exclusivity cannon [which there would not be since CANA, PEARUSA and REC all have duel residency]. My guess is they are kept apart in concern for the AMiA sheep, meaning Murphy maybe rogue but Anglicanism does have a greater concern for the Lord’s flock than yours and mine former pastor showed [in which submission to his authority seemed the greatest concern and self-selecting a flock]. In that way, to me this actually seems very Anglican, how to have two with clear canonical licence [thus not rogue and under authority with means of discipline] and reach to the sheep in rogue branches of Anglican renewal.

  2. ADDENDUM: A personal reflection, now that I’ve spent more time in another branch of Anglican Renewal than I spent in AMiA. I had been declared “rebellious” a few times inside the DC area AMiA, oddly never in the REC, however my clergy is submitted to something greater than themselves and do not seem to be their own personal pope thus it’s safe for me to trust them.

    I write this because on my review of this blog post and my comment. What struck me were the presuppositions that probably lie under each of our statements. I have some theories about the author’s but probably best to reserve comment other than maybe liking more solid and clear lines. Where I am advocating order but with a toleration of some messiness for the purpose of the good of the Church overall. I began to laugh at myself, for I am a cradle Anglican and we’ve always had that tension, it maybe why the current mode of attack on the Church happen in ECUSA first, since now in UMC and PCUSA, with very different churchmanship, I think it would be errant to blame it solely on Anglicans willingness to accommodate as the sole reason, but would be why the attacks happened in TEC first of the old mainline protestant denominations. The canonical residence in Johnston and Miller are much less troubling to me than Schnackenberg and Buffington, thus two inside my fussy lines and but two are just out of order and poor form and outside. Much of that might be hard for me to explain to someone outside as it more a just know from my own presuppositions of ecclesiology.

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