PEAR USA has begun to cobble together a website. Also, the first financial report is up for all the world to see, here. What follows are a report and the FAQs from the new website:
A Visit with the PEARUSA Steering Team, February 10, 2012
May God give grace and peace as you read this report from your brothers serving Christ in the United States and Canada!
Yesterday our Steering Team had its third extended conference call since the Sacred Assembly. We are grateful for the support of our friends at Knox Seminary in providing the technology to enable us to talk across the miles.
The main substance of our conference was hearing from regional leaders who shared reports from their conversations with dozens of PEARUSA clergy over the past week. These conversations were a follow-up to an email blitz that began January 30: this linked message was sent on or shortly after January 30 to all PEARUSA clergy (all clergy whose orders are held in Rwanda) on behalf of Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje.
Although a few clergy that we called feel fully cared for in their current relationships and await further guidance through an AM bishop, most were grateful for the contact and conversation. The FAQs produced in previous weeks were helpful for some questions that arose, but many more questions about the future remain unanswered. It is clear that the biggest issue on everyone’s mind is, “What next?” In particular, “What is next for our relationship with the Anglican Church of Rwanda; and what is next in our relationship with the Anglican Church of North America?” Our urgent work lies in unraveling the answers to those questions.
Thankfully, the ball is rolling. Conversations with ACNA Archbishop Duncan and other ACNA bishops and canons are happening daily. The process for direct affiliation within existing and emerging ACNA dioceses is coming into focus, and Archbishop Rwaje has pledged full support to PEARUSA clergy and churches that choose that path. Rev Clark Lowenfield and his team are hard at work assembling the details, knowing that the steps will vary from situation to situation, from diocese to diocese. Nevertheless, a model for moving directly into ACNA is emerging and should come into focus within the next few weeks. Keep checking pearusa.org, or call Clark+.
1. What is PEARUSA?
a. PEARUSA is not a new entity: PEAR is the acronym for the Anglican Church of Rwanda. PEARUSA is simply a way to talk about and identify the US clergy who are seated in Rwanda and the churches they serve. Therefore, we are clergy and churches that seek to remain in active participation in mission and ministry under the oversight and care of the House of Bishops of Rwanda and Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje. In order to clear up confusion, we are using the name PEARUSA in an effort to reclaim and identify what we have always been.
b. As the Steering Team for PEARUSA, at the request of ++Rwaje, we are seeking to develop a collegial pastoral process to offer continuing care and service to AMiA clergy (and their churches) that desire it.
c. We do not do this in ignorance that AMiA exists and continues to serve churches affiliated with it: we know it’s there! We know that the AMiA is trying to figure out its own status and we are not working against that. In fact, it will be to everyone’s advantage for the AMiA to have its own jurisdictional questions answered.
2. Who are the clergy and churches that are in PEARUSA?
a. All AMiA clergy are canonically resident in Rwanda. In essence, PEARUSA comprises those clergy who want to continue solidly connected with Rwanda, submissive to the spiritual oversight of ++Rwaje and the Rwandan HOB. These clergy are committed to staying together to plant churches and grow the kingdom of God as biblical, mission-driven Anglican churches and leaders.
b. In this moment of time, we are using PEARUSA to talk about a voluntary positive collaboration in ministry. Nevertheless, remember: all AMiA clergy are seated in Rwanda unless they resign and transfer their orders to another province. ++Rwaje has been generous in this position, but unless one opts out of Rwanda, he / she should presume themselves to be in PEARUSA.
3. What about our church and its status?
a. While the canonical status of clergy is clear, the status of the churches is disputed: AMiA is a 501 (c) 3 organization, not an ecclesial body. There is question whether or not the resignation of the eight bishops effectively dismantled AMiA as it was constituted.
b. However, the main point is this: as this temporary process moves toward a yet-to-be-determined permanent jurisdictional status, churches will need to clarify their status with the AMiA. Some churches have already disaffiliated with AMiA; some have decided to remain in AMiA through the process; others have just begun to consider the possibilities. Because of the questions that we are being asked, we are establishing a team to explore and clarify questions of possible bylaw changes, the AMiA’s own procedure for stepping out of the mission, how a church would go about confirming its determination to stay in PEARUSA for now (or for the long haul), etc. As information is gathered, we will post “procedural documents” on our website under the Administration tab. In addition, I will try to find answers for specific questions and direct information to you in response to anything you need to know.
4. Please explain this current phase of PEARUSA (refer again to #1)
a. In response to ++Rwaje’s instructions, we have established a two step-process, one a time of temporary communication and care; and the other, the exploration and development of a long-term, more permanent jurisdiction for the clergy and churches of PEARUSA.
b. The temporary process is focused on care, connection and communication: regional leaders will be spread throughout the US and Canada to proactively and responsively serve clergy and their churches. We will seek to provide basic information and help in areas such as:
Ongoing support for current church plants and support for emerging plants: we do not want the work of church planting to stop!
Ongoing support for people in the process of ordination: we do not want the process of ordination to stop!
Connecting clergy and churches with bishops in order to provide episcopal ministry.
Answering every question we can to keep us on track in our efforts to maintain and grow mission-minded, biblical Anglican churches while remaining under the spiritual oversight of Rwanda.
Our hope is that we will be able to work with the AM resource center to insure that every church plant, ordinand and church is well-cared and that no one slips through the cracks.
c. The long-term process focuses on exploring, and eventually determining (under the collaborative and active guidance of PEAR and ACNA), one or more options for more permanent jurisdiction to offer PEARUSA clergy and churches as the transitional phase ends.
5. What are some of those long-term possibilities?
a. Right now we are looking into (1) “ACNA direct”, (2) PEARUSA as a subjurisdiction of ACNA or as a dual citizenship between PEAR and ACNA and (3) PEARUSA as an ongoing missionary jurisdiction of Rwanda in the US. We may determine that one or more of these options are not canonically viable (or desired by the respective archbishops), or we may discover other options we don’t yet know exist. Rest assured, we are doing this under direction and submission to the Rwandan HOB and in full collaboration with the HOB as well as the office of ACNA.
6. Who is exploring these options? How can I get further answers and have further input?
a. Clark Lowenfield: “ACNA direct”
b. Steve Breedlove: PEARUSA Subjurisdiction and dual citizenship
c. Ken Ross: Missionary jurisdiction
d. Their contact information will be on website soon, or I can give it to you.
7. When will I need to choose what to do long-term?
a. Only when things come into focus in the next 3- 12 months. We’ll communicate liberally with you and in the meantime seek to insure your needs are met as best we can.
b. We urge you not to act precipitously: we all need time to pray, research and figure out many details.
8. Who will my bishop be during the interim? How do I choose a bishop?
a. ++Rwaje is your bishop. +Terrell & +Thad are not your overseeing bishops (in a traditional sense) but are assisting ++Rwaje at this time in all things episcopal. If there are distinct episcopal issues that you need help with, you may email +Thad or +Terrell directly. At the same time, please let me help you as much as I can. Providing episcopal care for dozens of churches scattered from coast-to-coast is a challenge. That’s why our Steering Team is working to develop and provide answers to many practical questions to help +Thad & +Terrell fulfill their ministry.
b. Therefore instead of seeing either +Terrell or +Thad as your overseeing bishop, please understand that they are two bishops who will, if possible, provide episcopal ministry upon request. In addition, ++Duncan has generously offered access to ACNA bishops as well, and we will help you make the link with the closest bishop to you if needs arise. (I know that this is a new way to think about it: we all need to adjust our thinking for this temporary time.)
c. In this time, we may have to delay ordinations or confirmations or group them more than we might normally. But again, we hope this is no more than a short-term challenge.
9. Why are you calling? What is your motivation? (Refer to #1)
a. We are not asking you to join anything: there’s nothing new to join!
b. This is not a recruiting call. We are calling because ++Rwaje asked us to reach out to all the clergy of Rwanda in the US.
c. We are not here to hash through the sad events of the past few months. We don’t have many answers for things that only God knows. We have gotten enough answers to feel peace and trust in our own hearts that we are exactly where we need to be ourselves, but we are not trying to convince anyone to join us. We are here to serve. If you would prefer to not be in further communication, just let me know.
10. How long will PEARUSA be in business?
a. We are creating structures and positions that are temporary, intended to be easily dismantled in favor of one or more long-term jurisdictional options that will emerge in the next few months. The name PEARUSA may well be transferred to one of those future jurisdictional options, but we do not know that for sure yet.
b. We will all know clearly when this temporary phase of care and communication gives way to a long-term ecclesial jurisdiction; and we will learn along the way (and communicate clearly) what will be necessary at that time for each of us to do.
c. +Terrell Glenn is the leader of our temporary Steering Team, partnering with +Thad Barnum. Neither of them covets anything past this temporary process: their heart is to care for clergy and churches in this moment that may be suffering and confused after the train wreck of events.
d. Steve Breedlove is serving as canon to +Terrell, and the temporary PEARUSA â€œhome officeâ€ is in his church in Durham, NC. Brad Acton (a PEAR deacon) is assisting Steve.
e. Regional Leaders include: David Bryan, Aaron Burt, Dan Claire, Chip Edgar, Art Going, Alan Hawkins, Clark Lowenfield, Ken Ross.
f. Task Team Leaders are identified below.
11. What about finances?
a. We have an Administrative team headed by David Bryan, with two sub-teams: Finance / Budgeting and Procedural Questions
b. The Finance sub-team is headed by Paul Briggs, an AMiA deacon and banker. The Procedural Questions sub-team includes Randy Kenna, a warden in a PEARUSA church.
c. Our monthly budget is already available and I can go over it with you now or email it.
d. PEARUSA is in the process of securing a 501 (c) 3 status as a means of securing a bank account in order to be able to easily receive contributions, handle funds, pay bills, etc. However, it is important to know that this is in order to satisfy the need for corporate accountability during this temporary phase of life: we seek to grow as soon as we can into a clearly-defined ecclesial body in relationship to PEAR and ACNA, and our long-term financial and legal structures will reflect the business practices and structures proper to our identity.
e. We will publish monthly financial reports on our website and / or send them upon request to anyone interested in tracking how money is spent.
f. We are seeking financial participation from all PEARUSA churches to cover the following general categories: Church planting support, charitable giving to Rwanda, administrative costs for this temporary phase of PEARUSA and support for Bishops Glenn & Barnum.
g. We hope that all PEARUSA churches will contribute monthly or quarterly on a level similar to the support that they were giving to AMiA. We know that some churches are choosing to escrow their contributions until there is greater clarity; other churches are splitting their contributions between PEARUSA and AMiA.
h. PEARUSA is maintaining the concept of 10/10/10 in our contributions to the Church of Rwanda during this temporary period. We are also working on a long-term financial relationship with PEAR appropriate to whatever ecclesial structures emerge. All contributions and gifts sent to Rwanda are being sent to the Province in such a way that there is complete transparency and disclosure for the entire House of Bishops.
12. If I choose to give, how do I give?
a. Information will be posted on the website as the process is solidified, but the short-hand answer for the immediate moment: send money to Christ Church, PO Box 1065, Murrell’s Inlet, SC, 29576 clearly marked PEARUSA.
13. What about the current church plant in my world? (NOTE: Alan will fill in this FAQ in more detail soon.)
a. We are setting up a team of people to receive and catalog all information about current and “near-term” church plants to mobilize resources to support them until a more permanent jurisdiction is established. Requests will be evaluated, heavily weighted toward pre-existing commitments and recommendations of established clergy. But that is not yet ready to go . . .
b. In the meantime, tell me about this plant: stage of existence, current financial commitments and needs, promises and pledges that were made to the plant / planter, everything you possibly can tell me.
14. What about people seeking ordination?
a. Chip Edgar is the team-leader for the interim credentialing process.
b. Spencer Clifford, who was the CFA (Clergy Formation Advisor) for the Apostles Mission Network, is now serving in a similar capacity for PEARUSA.
c. For persons who have NOT begun the credentialing process: For the time being, we are not receiving any NEW applications to begin the ordination process.
We will publish revised guidelines for the credentialing process later in the spring, and at that time we will receive new applications.
The guidelines are being revised in such a way as to foster compatibility
The guidelines are also being revised in such a way as to decrease costs associated with the AMiA process, yet remaining thorough.
d. For persons who HAVE begun the credentialing process: We are currently gathering information on those who are in process, and as the information comes in, we triage how best to steer them through the remainder of the process to completion. Wherever possible, we are regarding the former AMiA process as the good faith agreement between PEARUSA and the ordination candidate, thus minimizing changes. Please fill me in and give me contact information and one of our team members with the ordination track will be in touch, or I will be in touch, as quickly as we can. Specifically, I need to know:
Status in process
Any other relevant information
e. We will have a tab devoted to this question on the PEARUSA website within the next several weeks.