Last May, Rev. Jon Shuler petitioned Archbishop Rwaje with an idea for his New Anglican Missionary Society (NAMS). Shuler said he was advancing this idea at the behest of Chuck Murphy. The idea was for Shuler to become an AMiA bishop and to be the Primatial Vicar for NAMS outreach to the world.
The NAMS idea was not the full-blown, canon law, College of Consultors Frankenstein that later emerged from the AMiA drawing board. In contrast, it envisioned partnering with supporting Provinces and supporting their work, with “Bishop Advocates” in each of nine major global population blocks of the world. Shuler also saw a sitting Archbishop as a “NAMS Archbishop Guardian” who would in some way guide the “Global Leadership Team” through a future Bishop Shuler. Shuler made it clear that he was happy being a priest, but Chuck Murphy had encouraged him to ask about being made a bishop in order to enhance the ministry of NAMS.
This preceded the Rwandan HOB meeting in June, where the document Why Did AMiA Break with Rwanda? tells us that:
The House of Bishops meeting is shortened due to unrelated and unexpected circumstances in the Province. Murphy’s hope of obtaining permission to consecrate more AMiA bishops is not included in the meeting agenda. The Rwandan Bishops unanimously resolve to call a meeting in Kigali in September for all bishops, Rwandan and AMiA, to discuss ways of working together more collegially. Murphy refuses, saying that it is both cost-‐prohibitive and impractical to do so when they could all meet together in Texas in January 2012 after the Winter Conference. The Rwandan House agrees to delay the joint meeting until then.
The Rwandan bishops ask Murphy to answer questions regarding the AMiA tithe. Murphy has brought AMiA Executive Director H. Miller to give a presentation on the topic. In the interest of time, the Rwandan bishops request direct answers from Murphy and a written report. Murphy indicates that he is unprepared to do so.
During lunch, Murphy chooses not to eat with the bishops. After lunch, he announces that he has a plane to catch and leaves the meeting. After that, he meets for several hours with Kolini before flying home that evening. He later refers to this trip as a “painful visit.”
Bishop Barnum gives us a glimpse behind the curtain and says that Archbishop Kolini decided right then (in June) that the AM should leave Rwanda.
Our Chairman reported that in June, at some point during or after the turbulent House of Bishops meeting in Rwanda, retired Archbishop Kolini said to our Chairman that he believed it was time for AMIA to leave Rwanda.
Now, the NAMS idea was transformed into an idea for the entire Anglican Mission:
By mid-summer, our Chairman met in London with AMIA’s retired and founding archbishops. It was here, as I understand it, that the concept of a new AMIA Missionary Society took shape out of a perceived concern that AMIA was suddenly vulnerable to the leadership changes in Rwanda. As this meeting took place, the vision of the Missionary Society — a real, tangible “option” — was as yet completely unknown to, and outside the counsel of, our own Rwandan Archbishop, Onesphore Rwaje.
Cindy Brust in her press release of November 3rd said the opposite:
As was communicated to Mr. Conger, discussions about the possibility of formalizing what has long been the stated vision of theAM’s functioning as a missionary society, is simply that – a possibility being discussed that represents a consistent trajectory. Remaining connected to Rwanda remains a high value in these conversations, and we have no reason to believe this would change.
Fortunately, Archbishop Duncan has stood his ground and has said that the crazy idea that a Missionary Society with a College of Consultors and a Primatial Vicar (with paid ‘oversight’) is not authentically Anglican and has implicitly indicated that Chuck Murphy needs to move on, something that Murphy has not found himself able to do. This mess has been a long time coming.