In the New York Times today, there is an article about Rick Santorum. It mentions that he attends St. Catherine of Sienna, a Catholic parish in Great Falls, VA. Justice Scalia attends there, Louis Freeh used to (maybe he still does), convicted spy Robert Walker did, as do other luminaries. It’s also a heavily Opus Dei parish by all accounts. I visited there six years ago and wrote about it here.
The two options presented to the Rwandan churches are a narrowing of the three envisioned options presented at Moving Forward Together, and they make more sense. They boil down to (1) joining ACNA outright, or (2) existing in a close relationship with ACNA on the same pattern that CANA has.
The Missionary District of Rwanda allows for a relationship with Rwanda that honors PEAR for its contribution to keeping orthodox Anglicanism alive in the USA during the last decade. It also means that clergy to clergy and congregation to congregation relationships can be maintained. It also means that these Rwandan congregations in America can work hand in glove with their local ACNA counterparts. This is how CANA is functioning on the ground in Northern Virginia. Truro and the Falls Church seem to see themselves as more a part of ACNA now, with CANA being a secondary affiliation, and this is how it should be. A future Missionary Bishop or two (lets hope its not more than that) can sit in the ACNA College of Bishops and in Rwanda at the same time (cf. Bp Dobbs and Minns).
The Missionary District means that the narrative of Africa re-evangelizing America is not lost. Both Nigeria and Rwanda continue to send missionaries to us (in a sense). This important narrative was threatened to be lost with the Pawleys Island “Missionary Society” concept.
The Jerusalem Declaration is central to the Missionary District, and this is a good thing. A definitively classical Anglican position is outlined for this District. This is a move back towards what most of us thought the AMiA was about given the Solemn Declaration. The other bullet points are clear distinctions against what AMiA had become, such as:
- Collegiality in place of a Chairman calling the shots.
- A “passion for transparency” in place of the ongoing drama over the finances of AMiA.
- Unity with ACNA, in place of rivalry and the pulling away that occurred in 2010. This breach began to be healed very publicly by Bishops Barnum and Duncan in Raleigh. This Communiqué uses the analogy of a marriage and becoming one over time, and that is a wonderful picture of what should happen. A decade from now, these recent struggles may be lost in the fog of the past as thousands of new parishes flourish in the United States.
The canons of Rwanda are being revised with the recognition that they currently do not reflect the faith and practice of PEAR. The travesty authored by Kevin Donlon will be undone, and this is a great thing for the future of GAFCON. A real disaster was averted.
Also, the Missionary District asks for “conciliar episcopal oversight” from Rwanda. This is a clear difference from the language of “reverse colonialism” and Egypt used by both Bishop Murphy and former Archbishop Kolini.
Anyone who wants to simply move to ACNA, CANA or the REC can do so with Rwanda’s blessing. This isn’t a power grab. The existing, interim structure will go out of business soon and churches will be back on track to disciple the nations. God has wrought wonderful things out of a tough situation.
Over at “Religion Dispatches”, a leftist site devoted to attacking Orthodox Christendom, Julie Ingersoll regularly posts on the horrors of a nascent Christian Reconstructionist movement, never mind that it largely passed out of existence a decade ago. The thing about her columns is that they are generally argument free. She just states things like:
In Rushdoony’s vision, the single most important tool for transforming the whole of culture to conform to biblical law (i.e. the exercise of dominion), was to replace public education with biblical education. The decades since have brought the rise of the Christian school and the Christian homeschool movements, both of which are rooted philosophically and even legally in Rushdoony’s work. A handful of Christian Reconstructionist writers who came after Rushdoony laid out detailed strategies to build a “biblical” system responsible only to parents, convince Christians that they are being disobedient to God if they send their children to government schools, and gradually choke off funding for alternatives that are public and/or secular.
And doesn’t offer any arguments as to why this is wrong. Her worldview is so totalizing and assumed to the readership that she needn’t even advocate as to why someone should believe what she says. In other words, what is wrong with Biblical law? Why should Christian parents send their kids to government schools? Ingersoll won’t tell you, it’s just a “duh” thing. With “arguments” like this, you can see how bankrupt the Apostate left really is.
In Peter Leithart’s excellent paper “Did Plato Read Moses”, he wrote:
According to Elias J. Bickerman, “long before Alexander, Greeks and Jews had encountered each other outside their homelands. In the Persian period [i.e., late sixthand early fight centuries] the Jewis diaspora had spread from the Ethiopean frontier to the Caspian Sea. And almost everywhere these Jews had come across Greek traders, craftsmen, and mercenaries.” It is possible, he suggests, that “Hebrew ideas and images could have reached Greece long before Alexander.”
Leithart also cites Neusner on the extent of the diaspora.
By the second century B.C., Jacob Neusner writes,
Every territory in the plain of the Tigris and Euphrates, from Armenia to the Persian Gulf, as well as north eastward to the Caspian Sea, and eastward to Media, contained Jewish populations, and in some of these places, particularly in Babylonia and Adiabene, these settlements were populous and strong.
With this in mind, I read with interest this story about a Greek helmet discovered in Haifa Bay today. An excerpt:
At the time the helmet was made, circa 600 B.C., Greek colonies dotted the Mediterranean coast, stretching from the Black Sea to southern France. Even so, there is no evidence of Greek colonies in Israel, indicating the warrior who ventured into Haifa Bay was likely the leader of a group of Greek mercenaries.
This warrior was likely one of Egyptian pharaoh Necho II’s troops, which he sent through Israel accompanied by a fleet of ancient ships. The pharaoh was heavily involved in military campaigns in the region for nearly a decade, operations in which this warrior and his group likely were involved.
“They were not fighting for the Greeks, they were fighting for Egypt,” Sharvit told LiveScience in an interview.
The series of wars engulfed Egypt, Judah (a Jewish kingdom), Assyria and Babylon, with Necho II of Egypt intervening on the side of Assyria.
The end result of these conflicts was the conquest of Judah and the rise of a resurgent Babylon led by King Nebuchadnezzar II. These events would be immortalized in the Torah (the Christian Old Testament).
At some point, amidst all this history, the elite Greek warrior’s helmet ended up at the bottom of Haifa Bay.
Plato lived from somewhere around 424 BC and died somewhere around 347 BC. This Greek mercenary helmet, circa 600 BC, is yet another point of contact showing that it is eminently possible that Jewish Scriptures or at least knowledge of them was passed from Israel to Greece. Plato may indeed have read Moses.
I’ll try to comment on this later, but for now, here is the text of the letter:
At the conclusion of the January, 2012 Sacred Assembly in Raleigh, NC, Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje established a temporary Steering Team on behalf of the Anglican Church of Rwanda to serve in directing its ongoing missionary efforts in North America. The Steering Team was commissioned to both respond to immediate needs and also to prepare the way for future long‐ term mission and structure. The immediate task of the team was to provide pastoral care and oversight for clergy canonically resident in Rwanda, as well as those congregations desirous of continuing affiliation with Rwanda, all under the auspices of an interim organization known as PEARUSA (Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda en USA). In preparing for the future, the team was charged to explore and develop plans for long‐term ecclesiastical structures. Toward this end, a working group of laity, clergy and bishops met in a retreat center outside of Washington, DC, on Feb 26‐28, 2012, to consider future possibilities. This communiqué reports the outcomes of this working group retreat.
Two Ecclesiastical Options
After many hours of prayer and fruitful dialogue, the working group agreed to recommend two long‐termecclesiastical options to clergy and congregations:
1. Affiliation with a nascent North American Missionary District of Rwanda, in full communion and collaboration with the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA).
2. Direct affiliation with existing dioceses or dioceses‐in‐formation of the ACNA. Each of these options will be explained in further detail below.
1. A North American Missionary District
God willing, the Missionary District is a means for both continuity and stability. It provides continuity as an ongoing missionary endeavor of the Anglican Church of Rwanda to North America, and it offers stability as an Anglican jurisdiction affiliated with both the Province of Rwanda and the ACNA. Reflecting shared convictions and practices of these two member‐jurisdictions of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), the Missionary District is intended to be:
• Centered on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
• Missional – a church planting movement of indigenous missionaries in North America.
• Anglican in beliefs, practices, and structures.
• Vitally connected to the living biblical orthodoxy and missionary passion of the Anglican churches of the Global South by subscription to the Jerusalem Declaration issued by GAFCON in 2008.
• Collegial and collaborative, through structures that always include a plurality of senior leaders and always encourage both voice and vote of laity and clergy.
• Intentionally relational, with a passion for transparency and reconciliation in the spirit of the East African Revival and the Church of Rwanda after the genocide.
• Flexible, allowing for subdivision into multiple missionary districts with varied administrative structures according to what best serves the needs of its constituents.
• United with biblical, mission‐driven North American Anglicans as a sub‐jurisdiction of the ACNA.
The spiritual leadership and friendship of the Anglican Church of Rwanda and ACNA’s God‐given calling to unite biblical, mission‐driven Anglicans in North America are potent sources of sustained mission and ministry in this generation and beyond. By way of analogy, this is like a marriage. In the mystery of marriage, two people who share much in common, but who are different, and remain differentiated throughout life, at the same time become one. They are one at the point when the marriage is established; and they become one over time.
The Rwandan House of Bishops has already confirmed that the Missionary District concept is anticipated in the existing Rwandan canons and is in keeping with their sustained vision to serve the work of the Gospel on this continent. With this in mind, the PEARUSA Steering Team unanimously agreed to petition the House of Bishops to formalize the existence of a Missionary District in North America. The House will consider this petition during their next meeting on March 29, 2012, and hopefully it will be affirmed. Once this Missionary District is established, a task force will develop protocols to govern the Missionary District’s relationship with ACNA, similar to documents established between the ACNA and its other sub‐jurisdictions. In the meantime, a working group is currently developing a Charter for the Missionary District, as well as assisting the Church of Rwanda as it pursues revision of its own canons in recognition of the need to accurately reflect its own (PEAR’s) faith and practices and to provide proper long‐term conciliar episcopal oversight for the Missionary District.
Here is a proposed timeline for implementation of the Missionary District concept (subject to the guidance and blessing of the Anglican Church of Rwanda and the ACNA):
• March 2012. Submission of the Petition and Charter to the Rwandan House of Bishops
• March 29, 2012. Consideration and Response of the Rwandan House of Bishops.
• March 30, 2012. Declaration and naming of the formal existence of the Missionary District.
• March‐June 2012. Development and completion of protocols for sub‐jurisdictional relationship with ACNA.
• April 2012. Initiation of formal affiliation processes for clergy and congregations.
• Late April 2012. Assembly to introduce the Missionary District plan, and for prayer, worship, vision, information, and broader collaboration.
• May 2012. Informational teleconferences to introduce the Missionary District plan to those unable to attend the April Assembly.
• May‐August 2012. Collaborative preparation for Inaugural Synod, via proposals and nominations for administrative structures, possible subdivisions, leaders, etc.
• Late August 2012. Inaugural Synod.
2. Direct Affiliation with ACNA
Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje has blessed clergy and churches canonically resident in Rwanda who are finding their way directly into the ACNA. Clergy and congregations may affiliate with ACNA, either through existing or nascent geographical dioceses, or through other sub‐ jurisdictions such as CANA, Forward in Faith, and the Reformed Episcopal Church. While each ACNA diocese or sub‐jurisdiction will provide guidelines for such transitions on a case‐by‐case basis, the PEARUSA Steering Team remains eager to assist affiliated clergy and congregations who choose this alternative. In addition, the Steering Team is working with the House of Bishops of PEAR to provide formal and liturgical resources to facilitate, support, and celebrate those who choose direct affiliation with ACNA.
We anticipate the possibility of a liturgical celebration at the ACNA Provincial Assembly in June 2012 to thank God for the collaboration between PEAR and ACNA on behalf of these clergy and churches. The Mission and Ministry of PEARUSA The PEARUSA Steering Team will continue to provide pastoral care and support for clergy and congregations through the summer of 2012. Assuming the establishment of the North American Missionary District by March 30, 2012, clergy and congregations will be encouraged to make their affiliation decisions by Pentecost Sunday, May 27, 2012. With the Inaugural Synod of the Missionary District in August, 2012, the mission and ministry of PEARUSA will be completed, and the temporary Steering Team will be disbanded.
PETITION TO THE HOUSE OF BISHOPS PROVINCE DE L’EGLISE ANGLICANE AU RWANDA
Greetings in the Name of the Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord and Savior: Praise the Lord! We are grateful to God for his grace in the leadership of the Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda in its indigenous missionary effort in North America. We are committed to participating in this effort and have a renewed sense of call to that end. It has become necessary to clarify the identity of this effort. Therefore, we petition the House of Bishops to formally recognize this missionary effort as a Missionary District of the Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda in North America.
Attached to this request is a proposed charter that clarifies the anticipated identity, structure and function of this Missionary District.
The Steering Team and Working Group
Bishop Thad Barnum
Rev Dr Steven Breedlove
Rev Paul Briggs
Rev David Bryan
Rev Aaron Burt
Rev Dan Claire
Rev Chuck Colson
Rev Chip Edgar
Bishop Terrell Glenn
Rev Greg Goebel
Rev Arthur Going
Dr Todd Granger
Rev Alan Hawkins
Rev Clark Lowenfield
Bishop Laurent Mbanda
Rev Thomas McKenzie
Dr Bill Roper
Rev Ken Ross
Mr Dhrubo Sircar
Writing in his book “A Christian Directory”, (something every pastor should consult) Richard Baxter talks extensively about Lent, he says in part:
It is not unlawful for those that cannot totally fast, yet to use more abstinence and a more mortifying sort of diet than ordinary, for the exercises of repentance and mortification, in due time.
As for the commanding such an abstinence, as in Lent, not in imitation, but bare commemoration of Christ’s forty day’s fast, I would not command it if it were in my power; but being peremptorily commanded, I cannot prove it unlawful to obey; with the aforementioned exceptions.
It was anciently held a crime to fast on the Lord’s day, even in Lent; and I take that day to be separated by Christ and the Holy Ghost for a church-festival or day of thanksgiving; therefore I will not keep it as a fast, though I were commanded, unless in such an extraordinary necessity, as aforesaid.