Thy silver is become dross – Isaiah 1:22
Yesterday, the Archbishop Murphy Indaba Association (formerly known as the AMiA) released financial records. I confess, I have not had time to dig into them yet, but I intend to when I am not reading old Kevin Donlon statements on Johanine Awakenings.
Someone calling himself “Theophorus” has been commenting here, on TitusOneNine, and Stand Firm, and painting a different picture from the air brushed portrait of the finances coming from the PI (Pawley’s Island for my non AMiA friends). Theophorus knows, or claims to know, a wealth of details. He is either a big fraud, or someone who really knows stuff. So, for your reading pleasure, I am consolidating his version of events in one place. Here it goes.
I. From my blog
I can’t say how I know, but I can tell you that Bishop Murphy as downright disingenuous in his description of the June HOB [House of Bishops] in Rwanda. The entire house of Bishops objected to his bringing along Kevin Donlon and H Miller to [the] HOB meeting. They did not want to be lectured to, they wanted answers which the good Bishop and the former Abp. [editor – I believe he means Kolini] refused to give relating to a simple transparent accounting of monies supposedly given to Rwanda. No one, to this day, knows where more than 1 million dollars went over the course of 4 years. No one even knows what or whose bank account this money went to!
When the Bishops saw that they were not ever going to get an answer then they simply asked for proper procedures to be followed in the future. They also stated that the house of bishops would no longer be a rubber stamp for the Abp. when it came to the oversight of missionary districts, bishops, etc. At this Bishop Murphy stormed out of the meeting refusing to even take lunch with the Bishops.
Bishop Murphy is also attempting to deceive everyone with his talk, through Miss Brust, about ‘ongoing talks with Rwandan leadership’. He is only talking to Kolini and Rwaje. Bishop John [editor – I think he means Bishop John Rucyahana] wrote to Chuck Murphy begging him not to take this step. I know for a fact that none of the Bishops of Rwanda knew anything about this ‘new arrangement’. But, they all did know Chuck Murphy well enough to suspect that if they asked for financial transparency and proper oversight that the Bishop of Pawley’s Island would take his marbles and go home. The unknown is which circle he would go to to play marbles in next. Everyone knew he would not go to the ACNA. Now it seems he has co-opted the missionary vision of a good man and is twisting it to his own agenda. Isn’t it time for some AMiA people to suggest that Chuck retire and ask for a ‘real’ meeting with the Rwanda HOB?
II. From TitusOneNine
That is patently untrue, but I suppose you heard it somewhere. +Murphy’s use of the Israel/Egypt analogy was insulting and very poor theology. I imagine he will just chalk that up to a ‘cultural misunderstanding’. As one Rwandan bishop recently said, “How is it we understood each other perfectly well, until we began asking Chuck to share proper financial details with us … ?”
I don’t think anyone familiar with the history of +Murphy and the AMiA has any trouble understanding what Chuck is doing. He has always wanted to be somehow free to follow the rather unique ‘vision’ of a ‘reformed, charismatic, evangelical, Catholic Church’. Accomplishing that required that he have ecclesiastical legitimacy through a Province, yet unfettered freedom to fulfill his ‘vision’. (Please note: I do not feel competent to either fully understand or judge his vision.) This means he had to have a compliant Archbishop in the province and a submissive (trusting) council of bishops in the States. For ten years he had his dream.
Where did it all fall apart? We need to be very careful here. Please understand that no one is making any suggestion of any illegal or even necessarily unethical actions or motive yet. We just have to let the facts come to the surface. How that all falls out eventually we don’t know. As most people know the AMiA had a very clearly stated policy, and this is taken from their website:Given the Biblical principle of tithing as our standard for stewardship, all Anglican Mission congregations are expected to participate in the AM’s 10-10-10 stewardship model in which individuals give 10% to the local church; our congregations give 10% to the Anglican Mission; and the AM gives 10% to the Province of Rwanda. http://www.theamia.org/mission/practical-questions-answers/
In approximately 2009 it came to the attention of the Rwanda HOB that for several years the annual financial statements of the AMiA showed about $300,000.00 per annum being given to the Province of Rwanda under this 10-10-10 tithing arrangement. Unfortunately, the annual financial reports of the Province of Rwanda showed only $100,000.00 per year coming into the Province of Rwanda (spreadsheets available on request). Above the tithe was an additional $400,000.00 given to ‘the Province’ that never showed up in the Provincial Accounts. The total ‘missing’ monies seem to total at least 1.2 million US dollars. In Rwanda that is a LOT of money. The HOB inquired of Abp. Kolini as to what happened to this money. He refused to give any accounting to the Bishop who was the Chairman of the Finance Committee or to other senior Bishops who asked for this information. When the new Archbishop was installed (Feb. 2010) the Dean of the Province of Rwanda (most senior bishop) wrote a letter formally asking the new Abp. for an accounting since they were at the Winter Conference of the AMiA and all the people necessary to provide such an accounting were there. This letter was given to all Rwandan Bishops and all AMiA Bishops. Abp. Rwaje referred the Dean to H.Miller+, executive director of the AMiA. Incredibly H.Miller told the Dean that he, as Dean, did not have the authority to ask for that information and that only the Archbishop could ask for such an accounting. Catch-22.
Now many of the Rwandan Bishops were very inquisitive about why such information should be hid. Most of all they seemed to want to know why – if all of this money seems to have never gone into the Provincial bank account, whose bank account was it wired to? A million dollars has to go somewhere! That seems like it would be a simple question to answer. In May of last year another formal letter was written to Abp. Rwaje asking that Bishop Murphy be required to provide a full accounting at the Rwanda June HOB.
Now, Bishop Murphy is saying, and has given talking points to his sympathizers and staff, that he brought H. Miller to provide the required accounting and H. was not allowed to attend the meeting. The fact is that the Rwandan Bishops were nearly unanimous that they did not want to be lectured to by H. Miller + and K. Donlan +, rather they just wanted some straightforward answers and discussion among bishops. They did not want any ‘non-bishops’ taking over a House of Bishops meeting.
Bishop Murphy’s ‘position’ is that he didn’t bring the books, spreadsheets, or whatever documentation on finances to the HOB in June because he needed H. there to explain it. So he just left all that, hopefully, exculpatory data in his hotel rather than to bring it along to the HOB and try to explain it to the Africans. Now, really, does anyone think that +Murphy doesn’t understand the bookkeeping of his own organization or that he and H.+ had not spent countless hours discussing how they would explain these financial anomalies to the Africans. At the very least he could have told the HOB whose account the $1,000,000.00 had been deposited into… In an effort to diffuse the situation the Rwanda HOB graciously stated that they would be willing to overlook the embarrassing missing funds if Bishop Murphy would agree to provide a better, more dependable, and more transparent means of accounting for the future. He did not agree to that except in the most general and non-committal terms. The Rwandan HOB then passed a UNANIMOUS resolution that the American Bishops should be called to a general meeting of all Bishops, Rwandan and American in September 2011 to discuss more collegial ways of working together. At this point +Murphy literally stormed out of the meeting and went back to his hotel. Later he wrote a most disrespectful letter to the HOB telling them that they had basically wasted his time and money and that he would not ask the AM bishops to go to Rwanda.
There are many, many more sad and distressing details, but we’ll stop for now.
As I said in the beginning, as we are familiar with Rev. Murphy (I mean is he actually a bishop now, having renounced his province?) and his leadership style and his dogged perseverance trying to attain his goals we cannot be surprised that he makes this move to seek to maintain his independence. What we are surprised and terribly saddened by is to see that he doesn’t seem to care that there are clergy and saints in many, many of the AMiA churches who didn’t realize that Murphy’s relationship and respect for Rwanda was always a fiction. Many of these priests and people actually have a deep affection for Rwanda and for the Rwandan Bishops and clergy that have ministered to them from time to time over the last ten years. Many of them have read +Thad Barnham’s excellent book “Never Silent” and deeply appreciate the Rwandans for coming to their side in a desperate hour.
I am sure they will be saddened to know that in order to pursue his own agenda Chuck Murphy is willing to rip asunder all of these noble people’s illusions and relationships and let them see that it was always just about politics. I know for a fact the Rwandans are shocked that after risking, and for many losing, very much to support the AMiA that Murphy and most of the other Bishops are willing to throw them under the bus rather than simply provide an honest accounting of funds. I think we should all take a moment, especially AMiA bishops and clergy and ask this question… Why did Chuck Murphy feel compelled to rush out and resign so precipitously? Some might suspect that it’s like the guy who says, “You can’t fire me, I already quit.” It could be that he wanted a fait accompli, to get as many people as possible committed to this course before they had the opportunity to be exposed to ‘the rest of the story’.
In my next post I may reveal the real reason that I suspect Chuck can’t tell what was done with the money. That is unless he makes that unnecessary by stepping up to the plate and providing us all with the long overdue answers.
In saying that, again, please understand that no one is suggesting at this point that +Murphy has profited personally by any funny bookkeeping. I suppose it was always for the ‘vision’.
III. From Stand Firm
On Standfirm it seems people are buying into the poison injected into this story by the AMiA“accounting”. Archbishop Rwaje, John Rucyana, George Conger are the only individuals singled out in this most shabby and unprofessional accounting. Could this be because these four men are the greatest danger to +Murphy. The so-called accounting states that Bishop Bilindabagabo Alexis was given $90,000 of 10-10-10 funds. This is a complete fabrication.
Bishop Alexis was on a two year sabbatical studying at CIU in Columbia, SC 2007-2009. During this time he had no salary from his diocese. His wife and five children were with him. My understanding is that various AM churches helped to provide for the graduate courses and the children’s education, as well as housing, and other needs. All Saints in Pawley’s Island and Church of the Apostles in Columbia were generous in their support. How you twist the funds given by these churches to assist a Bishop with his private educational and family support to be “Tithes to Rwanda” is totally beyond me. Of the money given directly by the AMiA to Rwanda not one cent was given to Bishop Alexis or his diocese of Gahini. The diocese of Gahini did receive gifts from individuals and groups within certain AMiAchurches, but this was never 10-10-10 money. The idea that Bishop Alexis or his diocese received $90,000.00 from the 10-10-10 funds is a total fabrication designed to smear a courageous and godly man and to steer people away from the truth.
The AM can twist the truth in any direction they like but is anyone foolish enough to accept the simple little spreadsheets, with almost no details or supporting documents, bank accounts, or anything as the final word on the distribution of 1.2 million dollars? It seems that from 2004-2010 the AMiA collected $16,341,441.00 in tithes (10-10-10) from their parishes. The tithe to the Province of Rwanda should have been $1,634,144. The actual amount given to the Province where it could be properly accounted for and distributed was $1,110,525.00. That means that over the 7 years there was a shortfall of $523,619.00. We can forget, for now, about the amounts AMiA claims were given above the tithe. We can forget, for now, about the $460,000.oo supposedly given to be used by Murphy-Kolini as they saw fit. Let’s just talk about this missing half-million plus. Before we go any further can we agree that 500,000 that should have gone into the Rwanda Provincial Bank Account went elsewhere? And, who knows where? We only have the word of Cynthia Brust with no details
According to the AMiA we are to accept that in the years 07-10 an average of $100,000 dollars a year was used for ‘designated travel”. Are you kidding? That much? No details of any kind? No names, no destinations? Every year? And why the dramatic increase from the average of $22,000.00 the previous three years? Is anyone paying attention?
I would imagine the bulk of that money was used for flying the Rwandan Bishops to the AMiA winter conferences where they were basically used as window dressing. No Rwandan Bishop ever gave plenary session address or led a workshop, or did anything but sit in a neat row at the conference. A fairly large amount was used to fly + Muprhy/++Kolini/Donlan+/etc to Jerusalem and other places. It is incredible to think that the AMiA held out this fiction that they were generously bringing these precious African brothers to the USA and putting them up in a four star hotel out of the goodness of their hearts… when in fact the Rwanda Bishops were actually being transported with money that was supposed to be tithes to the Province to help their churches! Where is the ECFA.org when you need them?
According to the AMiA we are to accept that between 2004 – 2010 $312,000.00 was used for ‘designated support’. Again, we return the $90,000.00 supposedly given to Bishop Alexis. When was that given? He never received any money in Rwanda from AMiA, or from AMiA from the Provincial budget. So when did they give him $90,000.00 from the 10-10-10 money? He was in the USA for two years Mid 07 – mid 09. Did they give him $45,000.00 per year when their “designated expenses” per year averaged only $34,000.00 per year including ALL expenses?
Every expense the AMiA had which had anything to remotely do with Rwanda they took it from the 10-10-10 money. For example some nameless Rwandan clergy asks for $45,000 for medical expenses? No problem we’ll steal it from the tithe. Do we need to print up some nice, new, Prayer books for our US churches? No problem we’ll use the money supposedly tithed to help the poor Rwandan diocese. Of course we’ll give them a handful of these prayer books which almost none of the Kinyarwanda clergy can read, nor will they ever use because they have their own liturgy. Folks, these people have been playing fast and loose with God’s money. (the tithe is Holy).
I think in putting these figures out that Cynthia and Chuck thought everyone hates math and bookkeeping as much as I do and would just take a quick at the spreadsheets and say, “Duh, ok.”
I think we can all say, “It’s high time for an audit!”
One last note. Lest anyone think this is all about money. The Rwandan House of Bishops knew they would never get any more out of +Murphy and Co. than these vague figures. So they simply asked him in the June HOB if he would agree to see to the Rwandan HOB and the American Council of AMiABishops could meet together and set up a method of transparent and accurate financial accounting. Forgetting the past, moving together toward a more conciliatory ands smoother future. At that point +Murphy stormed out of the HOB meeting and went to the airport. So, you see, its not about money. It’s about accountability and submission to the Province which created the Missionary Jurisdiction.
I will stand by what I said without equivocation. No one is accusing anyone here of breaking the laws of man. The problem is one of lawlessness, rebellion, arrogance, manipulation, violation of trust, insubordination, using ‘money as muscle’, and on and on. In the OT the King of Israel was required to produce his own hand-written copy of the entire law. I am quite sure this was to remind him that though he was king, he was not above the law. The problem with Chuck Murphy is that he makes up the rules as he goes along. He thought he had bought himself a province and after that 2.5 million dollar investment failed to pay the expected dividends (the Rwanda HOB pulled his chain) he jumped off the proverbial cliff and pulled his friends over with him. Now he’s trying to convince us all that Alexis did it, or Conger did it, or the devil made someone do it. How sad. Kind of a Joe Paterno moment. (Apologies to Penn State fans in advance)
IV. From Anglicans Ablaze (I think this is the same guy)
This is actually amazing. This accounting is almost identical to the information that was given to the Rwanda HOB in their March or April HOB meeting. It was flatly and unanimously rejected by the House of Bishops as being evasive, incomplete, and unsatisfactory as an accounting. Because this very general and incomplete accounting would not suffice the HOB required a more complete accounting at the June HOB. Chuck Murphy came to the HOB but did not bring a single spreadsheet or ledger with him. The issue in all that is happening is not about the money it is about a missionary jurisdiction gone ‘rogue’ and refusing to be accountable or answerable to the HOB that voted to create such a jurisdiction. +Murphy is involved in some serious revisionist history if he claims the AMiA was the creation of the Abp. The entire house of bishops voted to create such a Mission, it was always understood that the Mission was under the oversight of the HOB, and all the Diocese’ of Rwanda suffered great loss of TEC support in taking this stand. ROGUE is the word here.
[end of Theophorus quotes]
Who do I believe, the always transparent and honest press office from Pawley’s, or this guy? I’m sure you can tell. I wouldn’t advocate one or the other to you, make up your own minds out there, you’re adults.
But to me, it doesn’t add up when first one bishop (Thad) retires last year, then another (Terrell) this year. Why did they resign? They are good men and will not tell us in the public. Then, when someone finally attempts to hold his feet to the fire, Bishop Murphy ignores all admonition and flees discipline because he ‘couldn’t get a fair trial’ (exactly what Kevin Donlon claimed when he fled ECUSA a few years back by the way – look it up, all the posts are still on Virtue as of today). That is what modern Christians do. If you don’t accept my divorce, I go to the church down the road. If you will discipline me, I will run away. Remember Athanasius who was repeatedly disciplined but kept coming back? Even if Bishop Murphy feels he was so wronged, he could have stayed and taken it for the betterment of AMiA, but he fled.
So perhaps Theophorus is a liar with an agenda. But given the history of obfuscation from Pawley’s (“meeting in Palwey’s? what meeting in Pawley’s? there was a meeting in Little Rock, is that what you were talking about?”), the behavior of the Chairman, the way that the canon law was imposed on Rwanda, and the way the Bishop Murphy maneuvered Archbishop Rwaje into signing off on his “Satanic” accusations towards AnglicanTV, you can bet where my sympathy lies.