The End of PEARUSA

Kevin Kallsen has done yeoman’s work in filming the recent PEARUSA Assembly and thereby shedding light on the official narrative of just how PEARUSA decided to end it’s jurisdictional connection to Rwanda. What follows below is a summary of the timeline for how this decision was reached, followed by a transcription of some of the remarks from the bishops. As with all history, this surface-level narrative must be taken with a grain of salt, but it is the best account we have for now.

The reaction of the bishops can be accurately portrayed as shocked. They did not anticipate this development and apparently hoped to continue as part of Rwanda for many, many years to come. They repeatedly profess their love and trust for the Rwandan bishops, showing that they have no idea of the nature of the RPF, the Kagame regime, and its tentacles into the Church, or that they disbelieve these stories or that they simply do not care. Their personal relationships based on a few annual visits back and forth override actual reason and evidence. In fact, Bishop Thad Barnum again praised John Rucyahana, a close servant of Kagame’s, despite ample evidence of his alignment with actual State evil in Rwanda and the DRC. This must be the subject of another post.

Bishop Breedlove at the podium.
Bishop Breedlove at the podium.

The Timeline

January 2015

Bishop Breedlove asks the leadership in Rwanda and the leadership of ACNA  about the future of the relationship, given that the time for a review of the protocols is almost upon them.

March 2015

PEARUSA bishops meet with Archbishop Foley Beach, Bishop John Guernsey and the PEAR bishops in Musanze, Rwanda to discuss the protocols governing PEAR/PEARUSA/ACNA relations.  The ACNA bishops tell the gathering that they believe that the Missionary District should be transferred to the Anglican Church in North America. The meeting lasted two days and is characterized as “direct” with “tough” work taking place.

The bishops in MusanzeThe bishops in Musanze

March 30, 2015

PEARUSA bishops present a proposal to the House of Bishops of Rwanda and the Archbishop of ACNA for PEARUSA networks to become diocese within the Anglican Church of North America and continue as canonical residents of Rwanda.

May 2015

The Rwandan House of Bishops meets  to consider the PEARUSA proposal.

July 2015

Bishops Breedlove and Lawrence meet with Archbishop Rwaje and Bishop Ahimana in Rwanda, where they are told of a unanimous decision that PEARUSA should move fully into ACNA, ending its formal relationship with Rwanda. 1)Note that Ahimana is a vociferous defender of tyrant Paul Kagame and his wicked actions in the DRC. See this post.

The Rwandan Provincial Synod makes a resolution on PEARUSA joining ACNA.

Bishop Ahimana
Bishop Ahimana

What follows are (1) notes from some of the talks the bishops gave, and (2) direct transcription of portions of those talks. The transcriptions are partial.

Bishop Breedlove’s Talk

 

By protocol, the protocols between Rwanda and the ACNA that govern and define how we operate had to be revisited, it was a requirement that we had built into the system.

We were coming up to this Assembly and we knew at that time if we were going to have a “synod” meeting an official meeting to vote on changes in our protocols, our charter, we had to be prepared for that so we began in January to ask the leadership in Rwanda and the leadership of ACNA ‘where do you think the future lies, do you see any changes coming, what do we need to sense in the work of the Spirit, here, now?’

At the same time ACNA was moving towards stability as a Province…One of the first to recognize ACNA was Rwanda.

International recognition and affirmation is a crucial part of any new Anglican entity being recognized in the Anglican Communion. 

The partnership with Rwanda was crucial, how did we advance the ball together.

In March, four of the five PEARUSA bishops were able to travel to Rwanda; all five of us were there in heart, spirit and mind. We went to a place called Musanze for a face to face meeting with the House of Bishops of Rwanda along with Archbishop Foley Beach and Bishop John Guernsey. And the topic of the conversation was the protocols governing PEARUSA. The talk was loving, it was direct, it was honest. There were genuine questions posed; it was a time in the light, walking in the light, which is one of the monikers of the East African Revival that we live with, “let’s get it out guys, let’s get it out.” 2)Unless it is talk about the Rwandan state, the RPF, or bishops supporting M23.

We were already fully within the ACNA as a sub-jurisdiction, but the Anglican Church in North America believed that the Missionary District should be transferred to the Anglican Church in North America and they put that on the table. The Rwandan leaders needed time to process and so did the PEARUSA bishops.

And the PEARUSA bishops were given the question, “What do you believe you should do?” Not what do you believe you should do by way of emotionally visceral reaction to this question, but what do you believe is the will of God for the work of God in North America in your jurisdiction? What is God’s will? Because what you do emotionally may be satisfying to you, but it does not satisfy the generations to come. Beyond your own emotional sensibilities and reactions, what is the will of God for you? And our brothers in Rwanda kept pushing us to go back in prayer until we were united with one another in what the will of God was for us in the future.

We worked for two days in Rwanda, let me just tell you, it was some of the toughest good work I have ever done in my life. We were hammering it! Weren’t we?

On March…and we came back and prayed through and wrestled with the question here for a few more weeks..on March 30 we presented a proposal to the House of Bishops of Rwanda, the Archbishop of the ACNA for a renewed and strengthening and deepening of our place within the Anglican Church of North America and a continuing canonical residence with Rwanda, we would stay dual citizens, and even go deeper structurally into the ACNA but remain, our connection with Rwanda jurisdictionally.

And it was out of our hands, and we waited and we prayed, and we waited and we prayed, and one of the things about our dear brothers and sisters in Rwanda is they can wait and pray for as long as it needs to be. This sense of urgency…

So we prayed and we waited and uh, we knew that the House of Bishops had met in May to consider our proposal but we heard nothing, we just continued to wait. Finally, it was time, we had the opportunity to have a conversation in July. I had a window of time to go over to Rwanda, Bishop Quigg was there, we knew we had to at least have a couple of us there to meet with Archbishop Rwaje and the representatives of the House of Bishops and it all came together and I met with Quigg and we showed up and we met with Archbishop Rwaje and Bishop Ahimana and they came to report to us the leadership of the House of Bishops of Rwanda concerning our proposal. It was a precious time.

My entire experience and I think I can…I speak on behalf of all of us who have been involved in Episcopal ministry, our entire experience has been walking together in unity. And often that unity, it’s a challenge […] Through it all, the Lord has allowed us to walk together in unity, with one another, with Rwanda, with the Anglican Church in North America. The next logical step in our journey together with Rwanda, which we heard in July, is they had taken a step ahead of us. And were gonna wait until we caught up. And it was surprising for us, unexpected for us, but it, according to the verse we’ve been given, as we have sifted it through we have concluded that the Apostles and the Elders and the Church have gotten together and it seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit.

Bishop Lawrence’s Talk

Bishop Quigg Lawrence
Bishop Quigg Lawrence

We love Rwanda, we trust them so much. […]

So, the PEARUSA bishops had met, and really it was not a control thing, we were trying to say, “Lord, what is it you are doing?” … and so we prayed, and we all have our own different temperaments and opinions and we’re wrestling, not in a bad way, but a good way, trying to discern God’s will and we all have such a heart for Rwanda, it really flows through us. And so I think on March 30th, did we send, what seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us. And we decided, “You know, we’re Anglicans, and in the Anglican world you have diocese, not networks.” […] And so, it seemed very logical to us that we should stop being networks and become diocese. And oh by the way, guess who started ACNA, guess who one of the main partners was that started ACNA? Rwanda.

Anyway, the bishops in PEARUSA prayed and we thought and we didn’t argue but we had discussions…and so at the end it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us that we would become diocese in ACNA and remain canonically resident in Rwanda under Archbishop Rwaje, that’s where we landed.

And so, we decided to go to Rwanda…and Steve flew over…so we went over there and we were going to have a nice little meeting and Archbishop Rwaje was there and Bishop Augustin Ahimana was there and Francis the Provincial Secretary was there and some other bishops could not be there but these men were going to relate to us what the Holy Spirit had been speaking to them. And so, Steve and I went in there and we just kinda figured it was just going to be what the Holy Spirit seemed to be saying to us that they were going to go, “Yeah, that is what the Holy Spirit  has been saying to us.”

And so, we said what we thought God was doing and we turned to our brothers and said, “Well, what has the Holy Spirit been speaking to you? What do you guys think?” Because unlike in our previous affiliation, we really…believe in being subject to authority. We don’t believe that you’re under an Archbishop wink wink…

And so, Steve and I go and we’re meeting and we’re really eager.  We think we know what they’re going to say, but we’re eager to hear what the Lord has been speaking to them. And so, Bishop Ahimana was kind of the main speaker, and he’s very articulate, super bright, and he’s just kind of taking us point by point, and he basically says, “We believe you should become diocese in ACNA and furthermore we think that there’s going to be a change. We believe that you guys should go fully…” we’re already in ACNA, it’s not like we’re kind of circling around ACNA, we’re really in ACNA, Amen? We go to a lot of meetings in ACNA, wow, we go to meetings there!

[…]

They just unpacked and they said, “You know what, we believe that you guys are going to go fully into ACNA and you’re no longer going to be a missionary district.” Archbishop Rwaje will tell you more, he has some really good reasons…it involves ecclesiology, it involves what God is doing in America, the thing that they prayed for, that God would birth here: an orthodox Province. That was their heart back then and they’re waiting for our sake, and for the kingdom’s sake to have eyes to see if that happened and when that happened that the plan always was that Rwanda wouldn’t be in two places but that God would raise up an orthodox Anglican Province. And so they basically said, “We see that, we see what God’s done and based on our view of scripture and ecclesiology, we don’t intend to have the Rwandan Church in two places, we think God has done an amazing thing there.”

It wasn’t a bad thing, it was a shocking thing, we didn’t expect that. But, in the context of relationship and trust we were there with open hands. “Lord we just wanna hear what you’re doing.”

[…]

Even though it was very shocking to think that they’re a step ahead of us, like, we trusted them and our brain was trying to process it but underneath it was this incredible trust. We love these men, we are under Archbishop’s authority and collegially we are walking alongside the Rwandan bishops, but kind of like as a little brother.

And so when Bishop Ahimana said what the House of Bishops had come up with, what God had been speaking to them, I remember asking the question, I said, “Bishop Ahimana is this the view of every bishop in PEAR, all eleven bishops, is that your view or the view of all eleven bishops?” And without batting an eye he said, “We are all of one accord, we have all heard from the Lord, we are crystal clear on this point.” And maybe like a lawyer myself, I turned and I had another question, and I said, “Archbishop Rwaje, your grace,” I said, “I need to know, is this what you believe the Lord has said?” I’m looking to my spiritual father and without blinking an eye he says, “Yes” with nothing added. “Yes, I believe this is what the Lord is doing.”

And so, while there was great surprise, I will have to tell you there wasn’t really angst. There was surprise…We believe God has spoken to us, he prepared us, but he spoke more fully through our brothers in Rwanda. We are of one accord that we fully submit to our older brothers and also to our Archbishop. And now, in hindsight, once the shock kind of wore off, we can say “Yea and Amen.”

Archbishop Rwaje’s Talk

Looking ahead. Together, walking together, even if it is marching together, let us march together for the Lord. As Quigg mentioned, we are a church with a clear ecclesiology in the matters of leadership. Normally, you have your own Province, you don’t cross the boundary of that Province. A Province is a geographical entity, you don’t cross the boundaries of that geographical entity.  That’s the Anglican ecclesiology. After defining the boundaries of that Province you don’t cross, but in the time of crisis, you cross, and we crossed the boundaries in the time of a crisis of faith. Having created, or being involved in the creation of the Anglican Church of North America,  we have always been in partnership with ACNA.

We have prayed over and over for now three years and since March this year, working together with the Council of Bishops here, let us create a process, let us take this to the synod to make a decision. So after July, we proposed, we made (an) agenda and proposed to the Provincial Synod to make a resolution on PEARUSA joining ACNA to be (an) integral part of the Anglican Church of North America and continue to walk with us, not in another form but continue to walk with us. So personally, I have been insisting on this ecclesiology, we have a Province in North America and a Province which is our partner in the Anglican Communion….we are praying together for the mission of the church to hear what God is telling us, both from Rwanda, from Global South, from USA, a partner Province.

Bishop Bryan
Bishop Bryan

Bishop Ken Ross’ Talk

Bishop Ross
Bishop Ross

I was on sabbatical in July when the meetings happened…and all of the sudden I started getting messages from everybody, “Quigg is trying to get ahold of you”…I learned of this and I’ll be honest my first response was heartbreak…I really did not want to lose this prophetic voice of Americans who think we know all and have all being under and led by Rwanda, I was afraid of losing them. And, we’re under authority, and the truth is, I deeply love and trust Archbishop Rwaje and the Rwandan House of Bishops and their synod. So I could say, this is not what I would have chosen.

 

References   [ + ]

1. Note that Ahimana is a vociferous defender of tyrant Paul Kagame and his wicked actions in the DRC. See this post.
2. Unless it is talk about the Rwandan state, the RPF, or bishops supporting M23.

12 thoughts on “The End of PEARUSA”

  1. RE: “As with all history, this surface-level narrative must be taken with a grain of salt”

    You have THAT right!

    ====

    I think ++Rwaje’s words are VERY important here, I also heard of pressure, though said to me as a point of comfort not information, so will reserve comment on that. However, “clear ecclesiology” and “we have prayed over and over for now three years” are very interesting phrases. My opinion was that AMiA/PEARUSA are the bad boys in ACNA without much regard for cannons, BCP or customs, always “Spirit lead” blaming God for each of their acts of disorder, but painting picture of God as the Spirit of confusion, who quickly changes His mind. However, ++Rwaje’s words remind me of ++John Chew after he took over from ++Moses Tay, in fact Bishop Tay and Bishop Kolini actions three years ago may even be hinted at in his statement [thinking rational actor theory of how would he take predecessor actions, so not so much ++Justin Welby pressure on the Windsor Report, though I’d guess he’d laud this development, but ++Rwaje may think Windsor Report with the odd ecclesiology going on with AMiA — meaning Obama trying to govern is Bush and/or Clinton suddenly re-calming governmental authority instead of writing books or something].

    The Archbishops words are in stark contrast to the other bishops. It’s not to say ACNA also did not add pressure for a more disciplined approach — Just as ++Rwaje said much which praying for three years, +Lawrence said more than he knows with “We go to a lot of meeting in ACNA, wow, we go to meetings there!” PEARUSA is not used to Anglican ecclesicology!

    From the days of First Promise, this group been doing their own thing. Of course there a lot of meetings for mutual submission is key to Anglicanism [or Eastern Orthodoxy], which is why those meetings are important and why nothing meets the ranker like a good old fashion prayer book fight [that’s a huge rabbit trail, which I’ll acknowledge but not flush out farther, no matter how much I’m tempted to do so]. CANA was formed as a prepared out of the pocket alternative to AMiA [in good order with the Anglican eccelcology the other was lacking] to see what TEC GC06 would do, when they failed to meet the Windsor Report or DES standards, it was implemented. Kenya and Uganda actually followed the AMiA fussiness, but once CCP became ACNA released their clergy to the new province.

    I think the language of each of the bishops is VERY interesting. It’s pretty clear to me that the American PEARUSA folks have a lot more difficulty with this than does ++Rwaje.

    1. It’s pretty clear to me that the American PEARUSA folks have a lot more difficulty with this than does ++Rwaje.

      Yes, absolutely.
      Do you know if ++Chew made any remarks about why they were ending support for AMiA?

      1. ++Chew is retired. I seriously doubt he’ll say anything.

        He actually was pretty silent on this type of matters when he held his office [resolute but ++Anis been much more vocal in his similar position]. I’m basing my comments on things I know from various sources at the time [mostly admin to people in power, gatekeepers are never ones to dismiss they hold many interesting bits of information] and a public forum at TFCA in the Spring of 2006, during a ARDF [the same one with Bishop Chane trying to crash the board meeting, if you know that story] in which the Primates were on the chancel area of the big sanctuary and he was asked a few questions directly [with ++Akinola sitting next to him]. They both did an outstanding job of modeling love, respect, unity in essentials and differences in second order things. It was not a dog and pony show like AMiA/PEARUSA puts on.

        1. What I mean is did Chew say anything at the time when he ended support for AMiA?
          I do not know about Bishop Chane/ARDF.

          1. He did, ++Rwaje’s words, ” Normally, you have your own Province, you don’t cross the boundary of that Province. A Province is a geographical entity, you don’t cross the boundaries of that geographical entity. That’s the Anglican ecclesiology. ” basically paraphrased ++Chew’s explanation as I can remember, though at this point much is blending together [I have a good memory, but not an eidetic memory]. You may want to ask Dr. Radner+ for more specifics, for ++Chew was an ally in his position.

            Sarah Hey wrote a book in which she coined the terms “Federal Conservative” and “Communion Conservative” to define an inside or outside approach. Most of your bishops who favored APO where outspoken and most who were uncomfortable with it where quiet, I guess ++Anis and ++Nzimbi would be the oddball in their camps [meaning ++Anis was outspoken and I could probably quickly google search and get you a joke in opposition to APO where I found ++Nzimbi a very quiet man].

            ++Onesphore Rwaje basically gave us the classic “Communion Conservative” position here. If he held it in 2011, it’d explain his flip-flop-flip he did between the camps of his willing to let +Murphy leave into some missionary society {guessing the pressure coming from the Rwandans in the PEAR HoB to cause him to move in the opposite direction, those three years may have been his internal dialog with his HoB [see above about order and mutual submission]. If one went back ten years ago and read SFIF blog, maybe just after +Lyons [Bolivia] ordained Bill Haley+ [TFC] and a few others, those who were violently opposed to this move but also thought TEC was wrong are arguing the same points the Archbishop is here.

          2. If you look back at the history, I think they would have let Murphy do the Missionary Society, but Murphy was in such a hurry that he rejected all oversight and blew things up prematurely. I think the money concerns were really paramount, and were behind the “Missionary Society” idea. It was really an attempt to set up an alternate ACNA, accountable to no one, with money sloshing around unaccounted for. I am still piecing that story together, all these years later, and I don’t have the complete picture yet.

          3. RE: I have a good memory, but not an eidetic memory

            Note – that’s why I name drop and keep alluding to things. I’m actually not trying to impress people, rather my mind thinks in terms of stories. I guess that maybe one reason Jesus taught in parables, because I’ve found it a very efficient way to store data, but I have to recall what event something is near or some other detail which will lead me to what I’m trying to pull out of my memory. Also does give something for people to fact check me on [such as going back to around when +Lyons did APO ordinations and see if the arguments against it are the same as ++Rwaje made here]. It does mean I was instantly struck by the similarities where it seemed to go over those in the room at the time [though they been too busy with the narrative to notice].

  2. [Separate from back and forth of above]

    I finally listened to most of the YouTube videos … first reaction from +Breedlove … 10 years in Anglicans and six years to priesthood before bishop. Sure St. Ambrose had a fast track, but that just a little ambitious, back then it was 3 years to become a Christian and 10 years to become a priest …

    Anyway, +Breedlove tells it came from ACNA, but obviously ++Rwaje was welcomed this development. So at least by words, the origin is established. Then the dog & pony show.

    I think it odd mentioning going to Pittsburg with Dan Claire+ and having Erin Clifford in clericals [Dan+ like myself does not recognize WO, but I know personally Erin and IJM {get IRS tax statements}, this was not an IJM talk … it was hugely symbolic for a number of reasons, as was several other choice decisions, it was like a hat tip and middle finger all with a smile]. PEARUSA 2015 is VERY different beast than in 2012, that is for sure.

    This dog and pony show was a buy in, much like CANA’s 40 days of discernment ended at a predetermined conclusion, so did these speakers lead PEARUSA to a predetermined [by man] conclusion of what the bishops already determined, sadly never appealing to the Magisterium, though that exactly what they have done.

    1. Yes, there has been a chronic issue of making bishops too quickly in AMiA/PEARUSA. To be fair, +Glenn and +Barnum wanted out, so they needed to make *someone* a bishop if they were going to continue. The wise thing to do back then would have been to end things and fold into ACNA, but there were different agendas/thoughts and ++Beach becoming Archbishop probably eased fears. If +Sutton or +Guernsey had become Archbishop, it may have played out differently, who knows?

  3. ^^^ RE: a hat tip and middle finger all with a smile

    Reference a position against WO from the time of the split. It may not be that at all, people could have changed their minds. It very possible that hard line was actually a vocal minority not a overall position and with +Terry Glen is retired, maybe he was the one who was strongly opposed and those left were not. However, she is an interesting addition to this gathering and the fact she wore her clericals is very important. Also that not the typical IJM narrative, she gave 25 minutes of Bible study, 5 minutes of the traditional IJM narrative [which she obviously given many times before since there is like a gear change of intensively] then moves to the Mother Teresa video, which was edifying, but odd. The talk is not that disjointed, and most in the room the three part probably went over their heads, especially after hours of the show. However, I know Erin, I know IJM, she’d not craft this type of message unless she were asked to, also I don’t think she’d wear clericals unless asked, also most prayers were given my women. My thinking is that actually most of the current PEARUSA bishops are either pro-WO or neutral but fearing the previous strong voice against is hurting them politically or something.

    AMiA/PEARUSA never operated like others, such as our diocesan synod a few weeks ago, so we do not know what the congregation there was thinking as it came from the stage down. However as the author pointed out this gathering is in stark contrast to the one three years ago and the messages [both open and subtle] are crafted to a purpose, that comes across to me.

    1. Regarding WO: Advent DC now has a “pastor” on staff who is a woman. I’m not sure if she is ordained to the diaconate, or is just called “pastor”, but it’s not without meaning. Also, Jay Greener’s church has a female “pastor” who is a deacon, and preaches. Of course you have +Thad and his wife, although he is somewhat peripheral in PEARUSA. I think there is a soft inclusion going on, and that the Reformed core is somewhat soft. And after all, we are only talking about 70 or so parishes, most of which are quite small.

      1. You have much better information than I here. My thoughts are draw from the confusing period between the October Anglican TV and December period when PEARUSA gets a coherent narrative together, I remember in November 2011, WO was one of the charges made against +Murphy, so may given me a stronger impression than the reality.

        Also the fact that I know Erin as a very godly lady, she’d at least ask, more likely want to not wear clericals [in 1 Cor 8 way, I know several who would be disposed to do the opposite, but not Erin’s character as I remember her]. Second is talk is so disjointed and a bait-in-switch in posting on Facebook photo verse her talk and her first words and how it’s structured. It’s all hers in content and probably even the Mother Teresa video [the Greek lexicon study, to +NT Write, she is of Kairos stalk]. It’s choppy, now my logic is often disjointed and chappy, but Erin could have continued with the Bible study for 45 minutes easily, her rapid fire IJM part tells me she know the IJM narrative and could talked for 45 minutes there. Also in the IJM story is how it’s formed post-genocide by a DOJ lawyer interviewing a little Rwandan girl, that is omitted. It seems to me that Erin was obedient to deliver exactly what they asked of her.

        Erin brother in law is good friends with a PEARUSA priest, so I’m not surprised to see her. However, PEARUSA has a reputation with me to have a very cult like narratives and Erin has a reputation with me of being a woman of character. She even said she feels like sitting in on a family discussion, but each of the talks do not seem like a discussion rather part of a narrative construct and someone wanted Erin to full in something, it did not seem like her talk as as natural as I remember her a decade ago.

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