Comparing the Statements

Let’s compare the Washington Statement with the AMiA press release and do a little exegesis. The AMiA’s statement is on the left, the Washington Statement is on the right.

On Tuesday, October 25, Mr. Conger made a call to Cynthia Brust, our Director of Communications, requesting confirmation of a “source’s” claim that the Anglican Mission Council of Bishops met the week before and decided to break their relationship with the Anglican Province of Rwanda. He was told that the information was not correct and that the source was misinformed. He followed up with an email dated October 31, indicating it was a “query” from the Church of England Newspaper. The AMiA will transition from an outreach of the Province of Rwanda into a missionary society in the tradition of religious orders such as the Jesuits).The AMiA will no longer be under direct oversight of the Archbishop of Rwanda, but instead under a “College of Consultors,” i.e. seated or former archbishops.
Perhaps we could say that “the information was not correct” in that a final decision has not been made to pursue this course of action, but that would be to cast a Clintonian view on the words that were presented to the Council of Bishops. As the Washington Statement shows, theAM was indeed planning to alter the relationship with Rwanda. We could quibble about the word “break”, but the intent seems clear.
It read in part: “What I have been told is that the Anglican Mission is exploring pulling out from the oversight of the Church of Rwanda. It will either find a new sponsor from among the GS primates, or ask Archbishop Kolini to be its sponsor. College will consist of retired Abp Kolini of Rwanda, and Abps Tay and Yong of SE Asia. Bp Murphy will transition from Primatial Vicar to “Apostolic Vicar.” While executive authority will be the responsibility of the Consultors, it will be largely delegated to the Apostolic Vicar and his “apparatus,” i.e. the national office of the AMiA.
Yes indeed, the Washington Statement shows that Archbishops Kolini, Tay and Yong are envisioned as part of the odd new structure concocted by Pawley’s Island. Conger et al are correct again.
The reason for this move, I am told, is friction over the decision of the Rwandans not to approve some episcopal appointments proposed by the Anglican Mission.” We responded to that email early yesterday afternoon (November 2) making it very clear that Mr. Conger’s source or sources were ill informed and clearly stating the Anglican Mission’s and Rwanda’s mutual desire to remain connected. The proposed structure doesn’t preclude “reverse colonialism” either. The Chairman coined this term in response to efforts by the Rwandan House of Bishops to provide to the AMiA increased oversight, particularly with regard to finances and the selection of senior leadership.
Calling oversight “reverse colonialism” sounds a bit like friction to me.
All of the concepts discussed, including the creation of a defined “society for apostolic work,” or “Missionary Society,” include an expectation that we will remain connected to Rwanda, and theAM leaders are working collaboratively, as always, with Rwandan leaders. These conversations with leadership on both sides of the Atlantic remain ongoing, and it is important to note that no decisions have been made – we are in a process of conversations only, and frankly any public discussion is premature at best. Religious orders must abide by a set of canons; the AMiA will voluntarily submit to the canons of Rwanda. For the time being, AMiA clergy will remain credentialed in Rwanda.
If by “connected to Rwanda” you mean “voluntarily submitting to their canons for the time being” then I guess you could say that.
2. There has not been “friction” or “discord” about appointing bishops for the Anglican Mission. A planned discussion of the possibility of new bishops at the Rwanda House of Bishops meeting in June was not brought forward simply because the two-day meeting had to be reduced to one-day due to a funeral. The very full agenda did not allow for a conversation about new bishops. The proposed structure doesn’t preclude “reverse colonialism” either. The Chairman coined this term in response to efforts by the Rwandan House of Bishops to provide to the AMiA increased oversight, particularly with regard to finances and the selection of senior leadership.

No friction or reverse colonialism due to ‘increased oversight…with regard to…the selection of senior leadership’ Score another one for Anglican Unscripted.

3. Bishop Murphy has in no way changed his personal position on women’s ordination to the priesthood, but the Anglican Mission in the Americas has made room for two integrities and two positions on this issue for two reasons: the Province of Rwanda does ordain women to the presbyterate, and the Anglican Communion is in a period of reception. There is no general acceptance of women’s ordination in the Anglican Mission, but we have chosen to live in the tension of two theological positions out of mutual respect. The new structure will permit the ordination of women to the priesthood but not require it. AMiA clergy will opt for either the Normative Rite (male presbyters) or the Provisional Rite (male and female presbyters) according to preference.

Bishop Murphy may not have changed his “personal position” but the envisioned changes seem to make women’s ordination possible with AMiA itself, instead of just all the various legal sub-groups. Anglican Unscripted is correct again.

The conclusion of theAM statement is very strident, calling Anglican Unscripted’s reporting false, uncorroborated and questioning motives. The decent thing for Bishop Murphy and Rev. Brust to do would be to apologize to Conger and Kallsen for this kind of exaggerated rhetoric.

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