Yong Ping Chung retires from the AMiA

Retired Archbishop Yong Ping Chung has been part of the Anglican Mission In the Americas (AMiA) “College of Consultors” since its odd inception, but is finally retiring. Archbishop Chung stood by the AMiA in the face of its defiance of both Rwanda and the ACNA. He also stayed affiliated with the group after his home province had moved on from sponsoring it.

Update on the new AMiA Bishops

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You may recall that in May of this year (2015) the AMiA consecrated two new bishops: Gerry Schnackenberg and Carl Buffington. 1)See this post and this post. This action produced some turmoil within the ranks of GAFCON, but the AMiA went ahead with the consecrations. Since then, the story has dropped off the map, which says something about the state of Anglican journalism today.

Recently, Archbishop Henri Isingoma tweeted a picture of the Anglican bishops of the DRC on retreat. A crude translation of his tweet says, “Anglican Diocese of DR Congo in spiritual retreat from the 18th to 24th of August 2015 in Butembo.”

I asked the Archbishop if the Anglican Mission bishops were included in this retreat? He replied:

His language is very direct and strong. Their consecration was “illegal.” Despite what the Archbishop says, the AMiA’s Apostolic Vicar, Bishop Philip Jones, refers to these men as bishops in a YouTube video this week. It remains to be seen how this will be worked out, if at all.

I also asked Archbishop Isingoma about the Congolese bishops who consecrated the AMiA Americans, he replied, “after recognising their big and historical mistake, forgiven they assured to don’t do it again.”

References   [ + ]

1. See this post and this post.

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!

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)Also, see these posts: 2, 3, and 4. 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)My assumption is that this proposal came straight from Donlon, not Kolini. 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)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.

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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)A claim that has no historical basis, see here. 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)Which was a farce anyhow.
  • 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)You can watch a video of the ceremony here.

According to AMiA Bishop Silas Ng 7)Bishop Ng made all kinds of false predictions/prophecies/words of knowledge a few years ago; see here. 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)“I called Bp. Philip Jones the other day. We had a lovely conversation.” Source.
    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:

References   [ + ]

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.

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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New AMiA Bishops

If there is something that Anglicans are good at, it is making bishops. The Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) has two new bishops: Gerry Schnackenberg and Carl Buffington. Schnackenberg was one of the first wave of AMiA priests way back in 2000, as you can see in this article. According to the website of his church:

Fr. Gerry Schnackenberg, Rector of Epiphany has his license for ordained ministry with the first Bishop of the Diocese of Kibondo, the Rt. Rev. Sospeter T. Ndenza. Fr. Gerry is also Bishop Ndenza’s Commissary or representative in the U.S.A. and serves as his Canon to St. Hilary’s Cathedral Kibondo.

AMiA publicized Schnackenberg’s April 2013 visit to Tanzania:

During the services, Gerry participated in the Holy Spirit falling on many in attendance and delivering others from demonic influence.

“This sort of ‘Power Ministry’ has been largely unknown to the people which means they are really, really open to it under the godly leadership of their Bishop whom they trust,” Gerry says. “Bishop Sospeter told me last February after experiencing the evening of healing prayer at Winter Conference that this is what he very much wanted for his Diocese. I believe he is setting a pattern for healthy and powerful ministry of releasing the fullness of the Holy Spirit in a gentle, but moving way.”

 

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Gerry Schnackenberg

 

Carl Buffington joined AMiA in 2004. Last year, Buffington went to Rwanda to attend the funeral of retired Archbishop Kolini’s son, John. Buffington’s article relating this experience mentions Pierre Habumuremyi and Rwigamba Balinda, both prominent Rwandan regime insiders, as being at the funeral. Habumuremyi was Prime Minister until 2014 when Kamage sacked him, see here. Balinda was part of a triumvurate of M23 supporters that included Bishops Kolini and Rucyahana, as the U.N. pointed out:

RPF members have been recruiting sympathizers and raising funds for M23 from within Rwanda. Politicians, former Rwandan armed forces and CNDP officers told the Group that Rwigamba Balinda, a Rwandan senator and Rector of the Free University of Kigali, and John Rucyahana, a bishop (see S/2012/348/Add.1, para. 29), both RPF members, had overseen those activities in Rwanda and abroad.

It is fascinating that these regime insiders attended the Kolini funeral, and is more evidence that both PEARUSA and AMiA are tied to the Rwandan regime, although they may not even realize it.

4-3-2015 12-44-14 PM
Carl Buffington

H. Miller has left AMiA for Holy Trinity Brompton, to serve a dual role as Associate Pastor at St. Barnabas Kensington and as the Church Planting Network Developer for the HTB Network (Holy Trinity Brompton). This leaves a very top heavy structure as follows:

College of Consultors

Rector The Most Rev. Emmanuel Kolini
Vice Rector The Most Rev. Yong Ping Chung
Secretary The Most Rev. Moses Tay
Consultors:

The Rt. Rev. Charles H Murphy, III

The Rt. Rev. Sospeter T Ndenza

The Rt. Rev. William B Mugenyi

General Secretary

The Very Rev. Mike Murphy

 

Conference Of Missionary Bishops

The Rt. Rev. Alexander Maury (Sandy) Greene
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Silas Tak Yin Ng
The Rt. Rev. Charles H Murphy, III
The Rt. Rev. Gerry Schnackenberg
The Rt. Rev. Carl Buffington
The Rt. Rev. Thomas William (TJ) Johnston, Jr.
The Rt. Rev. John Hewitt Rodgers, Jr.

The communication from AMiA follows:

Last week the Anglican Mission was pleased to announce that at a recent College of Consultors meeting Gerry Schnackenberg+ and Carl Buffington+ were elected Bishop Emissaries for the Diocese of Kibondo and Boga, respectively. A bishop emissary, in Anglican custom, represents the respective mission partner diocese in matters that might assist or affect them outside of their dioceses. As both men are members of the Society, they will be given responsibilities in the Society as delegated from my office for confirmations, ordinations, etc, which our Concordats provide for. As one of our main values is spiritual oversight for clergy, the addition of Gerry+ and Carl+ will help greatly in that area. I will be meeting in Dallas with both bishops-elect soon to work on their portfolios for their ministry in The Mission. They will continue to serve as senior pastors of their respective churches. Their consecrations will be scheduled during Eastertide as plans are being finalized mindful of the schedules of the partners who will be attending, the available venues, etc.

We in the Society are excited about the election and grateful to our partners for sharing the emissaries, Bishop-elect Schnackenberg and Bishop-elect Buffington. Please keep them in your prayers as they go forward to serve your missionary interests.

An ACNA – AMiA Reunion?

AMIA_WC-66-X2

Could AMiA be headed back into an ACNA relationship? With Chuck Murphy back to being a church “planter” (and “Consultor”) and H. Miller off to England, the players have changed a bit. So it was with interest that I saw this:

new thang

But it got even more interesting when I read this from Archbishop Duncan today:

I called Bp. Philip Jones the other day.  We had a lovely conversation.  There are now 50 congregations of the Anglican Mission.  These 50 congregations are no longer numbered in our congregational count in the Anglican Church in North America. 

Given Archbishop Beach’s friendship with T.J. Johnston, are we headed for “New Thing”, Mark III? It is worth recalling what Archbishop Duncan said about AMiA in the past:

They have not been so good about accountability and the unity of the church. They are now former Anglicans. That’s what they have to grapple with.

the new chairman

 

 

New Cantrell Paper on PEAR

Professor Phillip Cantrell has just published a new paper that traces the East Africa Revival and its impact on the Anglican Church of Rwanda (PEAR) after the genocide. It’s called “We Were a Chosen People”: The East African Revival and Its Return To Post-Genocide Rwanda, published in Church History 83:2 (June 2014), 422–445.

Cantrell points out that the current Anglican Church of Rwanda is complicit with the RPF’s sanitized version of Rwandan history:

Although many contemporary clergy and parishioners in Rwanda are either unaware of it or deny it, the Anglican Church contributed to ethnic division in the past. And, it is doing so again in the post-genocide state. The leadership of the Anglican Church is largely comprised of Tutsi returnees. Its leaders accept and endorse a misleading portrayal of Rwanda’s history, a history endorsed by the ruling party which serves to mask ethnic divisions in the past and social tensions in the present. The church, at times, even builds upon some of the traditions of the Tutsi monarchy.

The RPF version of history (which I have seen parroted in books like Bishop Laurent Mbanda’s) has been debunked by recent historians:

But the remembrance of the Revival as a time of unity between Hutus and Tutsis is problematic in several respects. The official version of Rwanda’s history, endorsed by the RPF regime in Kigali, asserts Rwanda had always been a harmonious country with no conflict or differences between Hutus and Tutsis prior to the racialization of the country under Belgian rule in the 1920s. This author, though, is in agreement with numerous Rwanda scholars, such as Catherine Newbury, Alison Des Forges, and Jan Vansina, who claim the distinction between Hutus and Tutsis was firmly established by the end of the nineteenth century during the reign of Mwami Rwabugiri. Following their arguments, Johan Pottier argues the RPF’s version of the past is used by the Tutsi-dominated regime to mask past oppression of the Hutus and blame the genocide on Europeans.

Along with a revisionist history of the nation, PEAR has embraced a revisionist history of the East African Revival itself, one which claims that the Holy Spirit was virtually absent from Rwanda from 1959 to 1994:

More important than the recounting the Revival’s history through the colonial and post-colonial periods is the contention of this article that the Revival has become the focus of much attention as the Anglican Church has regained its status in post-genocide Rwanda. And along with the ascendency of the post-genocide Anglican Church and the Revival has come a renewed and often revisionist interpretation of the Revival’s history, meaning, and implications for the country.

This is explicitly stated in the following paragraph:

Central to the theology of the current Balokole Revival Movement is the belief that only the Holy Spirit can move people’s hearts to repentance, reform and ultimately revival. Thus, for the Balokole, the revival movement comes and goes with the Holy Spirit, which, as they explain it, left Rwanda in 1959 with the Tutsi refugees but returned with them, their descendants, after the genocide. A retired headmaster of a school in Shyogwe during the 1950s, who left for Uganda after the 1959 Revolution but who now lives in Gahini, claimed there was “no Holy Spirit in Rwanda during the 1960s but [the Spirit] was in Uganda,” presumably with the Tutsi Diaspora. This belief, that the troubles which beset Rwanda during the years from 1959 and until the genocide was over occurred because of the parting of the revival spirit with the Tutsi Balokole, is widespread and endorsed from the highest levels of PEAR.

Cantrell relates a story that retired Archbishop Kolini 1)Currently one of the AMiA’s “College of Consultors.” told him: “Former Archbishop Kolini explained to this author that when the Tutsis, of which he is one, left Rwanda for the refugee camps in Uganda in 1959, the Spirit left as well.” But contrary to Kolini’s theory, Hutus that were part of the Revival legacy stood up against the single party state and the genocide it inspired:

In 1986, three hundred members of the Abarokore and several other Christian sects were brought to trial for refusing to pay the state-required membership dues in the ruling MRND party and for failing to venerate the Rwandan state and its symbols of sovereignty. When the genocide began, a disproportionate number of the Abarokore, including soldiers and policemen, refused to participate. A number of witnesses reported to Longman how people sometimes saved Tutsis from the genocide because they were “umurokore,” a member of the Abarokore. So despite Kolini’s claims, elements of the Revival survived in pre-genocide Rwanda, questioning the policies of Habyarimana’s regime and their church leaders’ collusion with its policies. Interestingly, several interviewees admitted that some Hutus affected by the Revival spirit did not participate in the genocidal killings, and indeed the Anglican hierarchy today includes a small number of Hutu bishops, most prominently Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, formally Bishop of Byumba Diocese.

Cantrell says that despite public protestations that there are no more ethnic divisions, privately all Rwandans know this is not the case (something that the current ndi Umunyarwanda campaign proves even the government knows good and well). The current Archbishop of PEAR is forced to disown his own ethnic background in totalitarian Rwanda:

In a perhaps unexpected way, the contention by many Anglican Church figures of the Revival bringing unity between Hutus and Tutsis serves to undermine the official version of Rwanda’s history, a version that PEAR does not challenge otherwise. Church figures publicly contend there are no more Hutus and Tutsis, only Rwandans. Privately, they know otherwise, although it’s technically illegal in Rwanda to even ask. At a dinner conversation in Byumba Diocese with Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, this author was corrected and gently chastised on this point when he used the terms “Hutu” and “Tutsi.” Later, and privately, Rwaje admitted he “used to be a Hutu,” the only bishop in Rwanda, incidentally, of whom this is true.

Rwaje_Ng
Archbishop Rwaje says, “I used to be a Hutu”

Much of PEAR’s political quietism can be traced to the influence of the Keswick Revival in the U.K. Cantrell has some interesting points about this, which are not directly germane to politics in Rwanda, but are of interest to Anglicans in the West. For example, he says that Rwandan Anglicans are unsure if Pentecostal “sign gifts” were evident in the East African Revival in Rwanda:

Another prominent theme in the church’s recounting of the Revival’s history was the alleged harmony between Hutus and Tutsis. Nearly always, when asked what the Revival means for Rwanda, the first point made was the unity it brought between the two groups and the same revival spirit would unite Rwanda again. In actuality, the supposed unity brought about by the Revival was remembered far more than the specific practices of it. For example, several interviewees were unclear and in disagreement about whether the so-called “sign gifts” of the Holy Spirit were practiced by the Balokole at the start of the Revival.

He says that Keswick’s legalistic codes were imported into PEAR:

The Revival’s new-found impact on the post-genocide Anglicans is evident outside of church gatherings as well. The use of alcohol and tobacco products and gambling is strictly prohibited and formal Western dress-codes are adhered to closely, especially by men.

He shows how Simeon Nsibambi, a pioneer of the Revival in Rwanda, came under the dreadful influence of Charles Finney’s theology:

Nsibambi, born in 1897, was an officer in the public health department of the Ugandan civil service. Educated at CMS schools in Kampala and at King’s College in Budo, he served as a sergeant in the African Native Medical Corps during World War I, which interrupted his career. Nsibambi, in a 1952 interview, claimed his first conversion to Christ was on a ship bound for Zanzibar during the war. Nsibambi further claimed to have a “second conversion” by the Holy Spirit in 1922, a direct reflection of the Keswick teachings and the Higher Life Movement.
Throughout the 1920s, Nsibambi was involved in church matters and teaching, often leading Bible study groups in the evenings. In 1929, he resigned from his post in the Ugandan health department and devoted himself to full time evangelism. According to Richard MacMaster, based upon interviews he conducted among the participants, Nsibambi was impressed with American evangelist Charles Finney’s 1835 book Lectures on Revival. Finney’s ideas influenced the Keswick holiness movement and the Anglican revivalists of Uganda and Rwanda.

This is yet another article that should be required reading for PEAR USA clergy and ACNA bishops.

 

References   [ + ]

1. Currently one of the AMiA’s “College of Consultors.”