Last week I speculated that GAFCON was dropping the ball on church discipline based on the communique from Johannesburg. I was wrong. The Anglican Church of Rwanda is indeed setting out some clear parameters for the rebellious bishops of AMiA. It still offers the bishops the option of moving on gracefully, when I think there should have already been penalties, but nevertheless, it is a good step for the health of the Church.
The options facing these bishops are to resign their orders, find another Anglican jurisdiction to take them in or to face discipline and ‘get out’ that way. Clearly, if they can find another Anglican Province to take them, that would be their preference. Now, I think they already attempted this with a bishop in the Congo (not the Archbishop), but it came to light and nothing more was heard of it. I am not sure under what authority recent AMiA ordinations have occurred. So maybe their is a possibility that some other Province takes them in.
This does throw a wrench into the meetings of the "Design Group" of ACNA and AMiA bishops. Would ACNA accept AMiA in immediately per Rwanda’s demand? I doubt it, but stranger things have happened. I think it is more likely for AMiA to say that they tried to work with ACNA and it just didn’t pan out.
AMiA has already laid a foundation to say that Rwanda has no authority over it. They claimed that their submission to the canons of Rwanda was ‘voluntary’ and that they would not renew it. They claimed that due process was not followed in threatening to remove Chuck Murphy. So the likely scenario in my mind is to see a Kevin Donlon letter about canon law saying that Rwanda has no authority to do X, Y and Z. Perhaps the bishops could renounce their orders (or have them removed) and then be re-instated by the former Primates to the new Missionary Society that we saw put forward in December. This would be entirely outside of Anglicanism formally, but would retain a veneer of Anglicanism due to the historic connections of the ex-Primates.
Whatever happens, AMiA will be left with a small number of parishes and members, sustained by the donations of a few millionaires. The model looks more and more like many of the Anglican micro-denominations that we have seen over the past thirty years.