PEAR and ACNA – Options

The statement issued at the close of Moving Forward Together listed three long-term options for parishes still affiliated with Rwanda (not the AMiA parishes):

1. Full participation in an existing diocese of ACNA

2. Remaining affiliated with PEAR while also forming a subjurisdiction of ACNA

3. Remaining affiliated with PEAR by establishing a missionary jurisdiction in North America

I would think, although I am not sure of it, that the first two options will be the most popular. Some churches may want to simply be part of the new province in North America and will move accordingly. Others may desire to have a part in ACNA and do what Archbishop Duncan called for in planting churches with Anglican 1000, still maintaining ties with our Rwandan brothers and sisters.

The option of creating a missionary jurisdiction in North America is what the AMiA was supposed to have been, before all the talk of a ‘personal prelature’ came about. What I don’t understand about that option is why PEAR would want two separate entities within the USA? Also, what would the difference be on the ground between option two and option three? I’m sure time will bring clarity to these options.

Bishop Dobbs: Why Am I an Anglican?

Bishop and Jedi Knight Julian Dobbs has written a good short summary of why he is Anglican here. An excerpt:

The Anglican Church provides a place of worship—common prayer for all people. One of the greatest strengths of the Anglican Church is the rich tradition of liturgical worship, which provides an opportunity for all people to connect with the Living God through prayer, sacrament, the public reading of the Bible, teaching, the creeds of the church, song and dance. The Anglican Church recognizes the primacy and centrality of the Bible and is enriched by reason and tradition. Reason and tradition must always be subservient to the Bible, however they help us understand and comprehend the word of God and the function of the church.

Update on ACNA’s Theological Lens

Robin Jordan has found the ACNA’s “Theological Lens” document, hiding in plain sight on the ACNA website. An initial look at the document cannot be positive for Reformed Anglicans. Unless there is a course correction, we may receive another Prayer Book that moves us further away from the Anglican Reformation. I suggest that ACNA put up any proposed BCP for a long period of intense review by several parties.

Jordan’s first article on the Lens is here.

V. AMiA Upheaval – The Road Ahead

I suspect that the Pawleys Island group wants to have something concrete in place to present to folks at the Winter Conference. I don’t see any way that this is possible given what Archbishop Duncan has said. The course suggested by Archbishop Duncan will require time, effort and discussion.

The Pawleys Island group is currently a continuing church, not attached to any Province of the Communion. It has an invented College of Consultors that it claims are providing it oversight and somehow connecting it to the Communion, but both of those claims are dubious. The Washington Statement said, “The Anglican Mission in its current form is a hierarchy in search of a polity” and that has proven to be true. If the Pawleys Island organization can somehow find its way into ACNA, what will it look like, who will remain with it, and what will it do? I have a few guesses:

  1. It needs fewer bishops, not more. Perhaps some of the bishops who have been around longer could step down. The Pawleys group has resisted folding in to ACNA’s geographical dioceses, but one theoretical solution is for this group to simply cease to exist, with its churches fully absorbed into ACNA and its bishops working geographically, or however Archbishop Duncan sees fit for them to work. I see this option as highly unlikely, but the prospect of 7-10 more bishops with not that many churches strikes me as less than optimal.
  2. Could Archbishop Duncan actually embrace the missionary society as outlined by Pawleys Island? I cannot see him sanctioning something as disruptive and unaccountable as what is currently drawn up, but I won’t rule anything out.
  3. I suspect that the current Council of Bishops could find a way to report to ACNA as a Mission Partner, with leadership changes, and with a subset of the former AMiA churches. Perhaps it could be sold as a ‘missionary society’ within ACNA and with the purpose of planting churches in the Americas only, but then what about Anglican 1000? And why exist as a separate structure at all?
  4. I think several existing churches will simply join ACNA of their own accord and say enough of the shenanigans. The individual congregations are free to do whatever they want, and if they have seen enough drama over the past few months, they might head for greener pastures.

Another possibility is that negotiations break down due to something like “a difference in vision.” ACNA’s demands may be too much for Pawleys Island to bear, and they could go looking for another suitor. I can’t imagine who that would be, but we can’t say that this group isn’t creative, so maybe they could come up with someone else. And as the bishops said, “several options have been considered and have presented themselves to us…” ACNA is only one option, one that they probably felt the most pressure to attempt.

I expect the clergy at the Winter Conference to endorse the missionary society ‘nothing more, nothing less’ concept and give the resigned bishops a blank check to negotiate on their behalf. They will land somewhere in the next few months. Given that the churches staying loyal to PEAR are generally the more classically Anglican parishes, what you will have left in the new AM is the emergent, “accidental Anglican” theology, the Kevin Donlon ‘Celtic’ Catholic theology complete with copious canon law, the women’s ordination theology advocated by Cynthia Brust, and miscellaneous a-theological or anything goes thinking in some quarters. There is no unifying prayer book, and indeed the very concept of a prayer *book* is more and more remote. What you will have in short is 1970’s Episcopalianism with somebody akin to a Jesuit near the top setting the rules.

Next, consider the group affiliated with PEAR. I don’t know what to call it, because although the Apostles Mission Network of the former AMiA is the core of the group, no one has officially named it. For the moment I will call these churches the “Rwandan churches.” This group has been silent for the most part throughout this entire upheaval. Bishop Glenn issued a letter when he resigned, bishops Glenn and Barnum issued the call for an Advent respite, and now Archbishop Rwaje has announced the Moving Forward Together assembly in Raleigh, almost immediately after the Winter Conference. Other than this, you have not seen the Rwandan churches providing press releases and interviews with David Virtue.

I have no clear indication of what the results of this assembly will be. I think that it will legitimately look for a collaborative way forward with the PEAR bishops. I don’t think the decisions coming from the assembly are pre-ordained, scripted or stage-managed. So it is harder for me to guess at what the Rwandan churches will do in the future. My hope is for a recommitment to the principles of the Solemn Declaration, the 39 Articles, the Jerusalem Declaration and historic Anglican norms. I know there will be a continued commitment to reaching the lost with the Gospel and planting churches, something we share with all sections of  ACNA and Pawleys Island. Hopefully there will be a commitment to begin our own discussions with ACNA about the eventual union of our two groups. I would eventually like to see a diocese of affinity within ACNA that is committed to a Reformed Anglican position, against women’s ordination, and nimble about ordaining new clergy and planting solid churches. But all this remains to be seen.

In closing, it is worth considering how the stated purpose of the Washington Statement remains unfulfilled. The Statement said, “Our purpose in writing this document is to speak the truth in love, in hopes of fostering honest and open dialogue together, for the sake of our shared Gospel mission to North America.” That honest and open dialogue was never had. Instead, precipitous decisions occurred and attempts were made to shut discussion down. There is a lesson here for ACNA and anyone else willing to heed it: discussions of theology, ecclesiology and just about anything else should be open for all clergy to participate in, and should be transparent to the watching world. Hiding documents from the public view or keeping things secret until it is too late to change them is not consistent with the praxis of a healthy communion of churches.

IV. AMiA Upheaval – A Changing Course

After the meeting in London between the Triumvirate of former Archbishops, the ever present Canon Donlon and Bishop Murphy, the Pawleys Island leadership regrouped in North Carolina.   Next, they sent two of the resigned bishops to Pittsburgh to meet with ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan.

Archbishop Duncan issued a Pastoral Letter following this meeting. What follows are my comments on parts of the letter.

For the Anglican Church in North America the starting point was the importance of our Provincial relationship with the Province of Rwanda (a sister GAFCON Province) and with His Grace Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, of our relationship with the North American Bishops Terrell Glenn and Thad Barnum and all the clergy licensed in Rwanda, and of our relationship to those represented by the Pawleys Island group with whom we were meeting. We, as the Anglican Church in North America, have been deeply connected to all three, and we can only move forward when issues and relationships have been adequately addressed and necessary transitions are in progress.

Archbishop Duncan wisely tells the Pawleys Island group that there must be some degree of restoration with the Rwandan House of Bishops. Consider that in the previous weeks, these PEAR bishops were attacked by Pawleys-aligned clergy and former Archbishops as being akin to Pharaoh and Lot and being part of a plot by Satanic forces! The tone of communication since beginning to dialog with ACNA has markedly changed. The harsh rhetoric has been replaced with pleas for harmony and an end to criticism.

The agreement from today’s meeting in Pittsburgh was that the Anglican Church in North America is prepared to enter into a process by which our relationship with those who will rally to the Pawleys’ vision and leadership (Anglican Mission in the Americas, Inc.) might be restored to a status like the one existing before the Ministry Partner decision of 2010.

Archbishop Duncan is outlining something that will take time and will result in a mission partner status at the end of the line. This status was rejected by Bishop Murphy in 2010 when he claimed that AMiA was “embedded in the constitution and canons of Rwanda.”

All those at the meeting today agreed “that there were no subjects that were not on the table.” For the Anglican Church in North America, these subjects must include leadership, relationships, and jurisdictional participation in a way that is fully Anglican.

Archbishop Duncan mentions three factors, the first being leadership. The mere mention of the term with no elucidation of meaning leaves us to guess at what is implied. I hazard a guess that the existing structure of a Triumvirate of ex Archbishops and Bishop Murphy as “the ecclesiastical authority” will not do. The second factor mentioned is relationships and it is easy for us to figure out what that refers to, namely, the many broken ties between bishops, clergy and others. I am not sure that there is a way forward on that front other than to agree to disagree, but God is capable of great things. Thirdly, Archbishop Duncan says that the structure and relationship of whatever the AMiA becomes and ACNA must be fully Anglican. I believe he is implying that reporting to a College of former Archbishops won’t cut it. Only in time will we realize the full implications of his statement.

We made a partial beginning. Bishops Leonard Riches and Charlie Masters agreed to lead the negotiations from the Anglican Church in North America. Bishops Doc Loomis and TJ Johnston will lead from the AMiA side. There is much about what has happened that will have to be faced.

I think this implies that the resignation and flight from discipline will have to be acknowledged and somehow dealt with before anything else can happen.

The other part of this beginning will be to come alongside P.E.A.R. and their designated bishops (Barnum and Glenn), clergy, people and parishes in North America as they discern their next steps.

Whatever happens with the Pawleys Island group, I expect relations between ACNA and the Apostles Mission churches to be fraternal, cordial and ultimately, unifying.

Shortly after the Archbishop’s letter appeared, the Pawleys Island leadership issued its own letter. Note a couple important features of the latest communication:

First, it did not come from Bishop Murphy or Rev. Cindy Brust. This is not to say that they did no have a hand in crafting it, but the email was sent from the email address of Bishop T.J. Johnston and was signed by the “Council of Bishops” minus Bishop Murphy. This is the first time in recent memory that communications have not flown directly from the office of “the Chairman.”

Second, in a complete volte-face, the aggressive and hostile communication that began with the resignation letter to Archbishop Rwaje ended, and in its place we find language of conciliation. The Pawleys letter first apologizes “for the fallout that you have felt” from the “collision” between PEAR and the Pawleys Island bishops.

The Pawleys letter then repeats the language of Archbishop Kolini et al in saying “Nor are the attacks, in particular, against our Chairman, Bishop Chuck Murphy, true in regard to his character or leadership.” I am not sure what this refers to, but I know that I have called into question the truthfulness of statements made by Bishop Murphy and I see no reason to change my mind. If anything, events have now proven that Bishop Murphy was not honest about the status of AMiA when he changed the mission partner status with ACNA in 2010. Nevertheless, the Pawleys letter is not specific, so I cannot be specific in assessing it, because I don’t know what it refers to.

The Pawleys letter blames the new bishops in PEAR for wanting to “exercise much greater control over the day-to-day operations and direction of the Anglican Mission, moving in a direction that is inconsistent with anything that had been fully discussed or engaged in over the past thirteen years.” Why is this a bad thing? Is the oversight of the Kolini era, which appears to have been no oversight, the only acceptable form of ecclesiastical relationship? What does it say to Archbishop Duncan as he weighs allowing these bishops into some form of relationship with ACNA? It seems that Archbishop Duncan, or anyone else, should not exercise any meaningful oversight over this group, because they can’t handle it.

The Pawleys letter then describes the missionary society yet again. No one from Pawleys has yet made an argument for why this society is necessary. The Church by her very nature is to be a missionary endeavor. The Great Commission is part of the warp and woof of every single church. Further, ACNA is clearly committed to evangelization. Further still, AMiA used to claim the narrative of “Rwanda re-evangelizing America.” So what possible need is there for yet another change in structure, ecclesiology, and theology? To me, it suggests a greater desire for autonomy, control, and theological deviation from Anglican norms. There is no pressing missiological reason for AMiA to adopt a new structure.

The letter says “For today, we will leave the details of these past nine months to history. Things will all be made clearer as the dust settles, as relationships are restored and truth comes to light…We will not speak further of what has happened save in the pursuit of reconciliation among our Houses.”

This reflects the apparent belief of Pawleys Island that they are in possession of the true narrative of what has happened. They have not provided an account of why Bishop Murphy separated from ACNA in 2010, only to now approach ACNA again in a time of distress. They have not accounted for Canon Donlon’s activities, or the reason why Donlon inserted provisions for ‘a missionary jurisdiction, a missionary society, or an extra-territorial missionary diocese’ in Title Six of the Rwandan Canons way back in 2007. Historically, PEAR never had any extra-territorial outreach, but Donlon saw fit to provide for three alternate structures for such a purpose in their canons. As someone told me, “It looks like Murphy was putting the possibility of these structures in place to accommodate his future plans as early as 2007.” Truth is indeed the daughter of time.

The Pawleys letter says:

Although several options have been considered and have presented themselves to us, in prayer and conversation with many of you, it became clear that a process of discernment should first be engaged with the Anglican Church in North America.

Note the claim of “several options.” My take on this is that the clergy, baffled by what had just occurred, pressed their leaders in the conference call with Doc Loomis to work with ACNA. So bishops Loomis and Johnston are now working with ACNA “first” but not exclusively. What may develop is a conflict between Bishop Murphy’s desire for control and continued leadership, versus ACNA’s desire for legitimate Anglican structures. Also, how does ACNA bring in at least seven more bishops for 80-100 churches? The bishop to laity ratio is becoming absurd in the rump AMiA. Add to this the desire to make Shuler a bishop and who knows how many other potential bishops in waiting (all declined by the PEAR HOB this summer) and you have a more and more top-heavy structure, despite protests to the contrary.

A close reading of these letters provides several hints that Bishop Murphy may be shown the door. The Pawleys letter says that “strategic decisions” have to be made, and says “a number of important leadership issues and transitions…would be involved in formalizing a Missionary Society.” Finally, it says, “the Council affirmed Bishop Murphy’s leadership as Chairman, even as all of us, including Bishop Murphy, acknowledged that in this time of transition to a Missionary Society, current positions and leadership roles are likely to change.” In all likelihood, the coming days will involve a set of decisions about what is more important to AMiA, Bishop Murphy maintaining his choke hold on leadership with Pawleys Island exploring some of the other “several options,” or the Council of Bishops moving to ACNA somehow and Bishop Murphy departing for the lecture circuit as “Chairman Emeritus” or something like that.

In my next post, I will do some guesswork on the road ahead.

CANA Continues

Lost in the AMiA kerfuffle has been the CANA story. If you think back to the first AnglicanTV episode with tidings from Pawley’s Island, you’ll remember that there was also a story about CANA creating a new diocese in America geared towards Nigerians. This was met by mutual statements of support from ACNA and Bishop Dobbs (a man that I respect a great deal).
In my view, the problem is not so much the creation of a new diocese, but rather the continued existence of CANA. CANA issued a pastoral statement yesterday, saying in part:

The bishops rejoiced in the recent creation of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic where many clergy and congregations continue in their relationship with CANA. While acknowledging that the concept of ‘dual citizenship’ continues to raise some questions we heard a number of testimonies from those who have embraced this gracious provision and celebrate this opportunity for a direct connection to the Anglican Communion through the Church of Nigeria. We believe that this can only strengthen the ongoing work of ACNA in its determination to demonstrate the transforming love of Jesus Christ throughout North America.

Yes, this concept does raise some questions, such as, what is the end game? I can understand why groups with theological qualms might hesitate to jump into ACNA with both feet. The REC seems to be sticking only one foot in the water, for example. But as far as I can tell, there is no discernable theological difference between ACNA and CANA. Further, there is not a difference in praxis. Both ordain women, both do not seem to be particularly affectionate for the Prayer Book in their worship and so forth. So why the separation? And what event or series of events will signal to CANA bishops that their structure can come to an end? The pressure should be on Bishop Minns and the other CANA bishops to answer these questions clearly.
I must say as an observer of the Anglican scene in North America that the lack of transparency from all parties does not engender trust. Statements from bishops seem to assume knowledge that does not exist. ACNA has not revealed its “Theological Lens” document, CANA has not revealed why it keeps a separate identity, and the issue of women’s ordination is as clear as mud. For there to be unity, these discussions should be had in the open, not revealed to the masses when the bishops feel that it’s safe. Perhaps an unfortunate legacy of the Episcopal Church is this tendency to do things quietly behind closed doors and only reveal a matter when it has been decided. CANA should lead the change here by openly stating why they continue to exist, and what would allow them to cease existing.

ACNA’s Theological Lens

The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) issued The Apostle, which looks to be their annual report; you can download it at this link. Inside the report, in a section titled “Prayerbook & Common Liturgy,” Bishop Bill Thompson discusses the work of the Prayer Book and Common Liturgy Task Force on revising the liturgy. He mentions something called “the Theological Lens”:

…we authored what we have called our “Theological Lens.” This document has become our guide for all of the liturgies that we will author. It has been approved by our College of Bishops and the Provincial Council of the church.

Somewhat disconcertingly, this important document cannot seem to be located anywhere publicly. We can only guess at its contents when Bishop Thompson says:

As we have noted in the “Theological Lens,” we want to have the liturgies of the church be rooted in the tradition of our Anglican heritage while also being accessible to both long-time Anglicans and those new to the tradition. The liturgies that we produce will not be innovative but clearly founded in the historic Anglican Prayer Book tradition.

Something this important should really be available for everyone to see. I can’t think of any reason to keep it hidden. It doesn’t engender faith in the process if these things aren’t available. There is nothing inherently wrong with another Prayer Book revision, but given the theological proclivities of some in ACNA, such a revision could be prove to be divisive.

Further gleanings from the Lens can be found from a review of the Theological Lens written by the Reverend Gavin Dunbar of the Prayer Book Society, located here. However, Dunbar was reviewing an earlier draft of the “Lens,” so the final version may be very different. What follows are the apparent excerpts from the first version of the document as provided by Rev. Dunbar:

The Initial Report of the Prayer Book and Common Liturgy Task Force

An expanded explanation of our guiding principles [for prayer book revision] (pp 2-5),

Section I – III Anglican Worship

(pp 6-8)

Finally, it treats of the late modern developments which have undermined the “hegemony” of the Prayer Book: evangelical, catholic, charismatic, and “missional” agendas (about which little is said); modernization of liturgical language; the drives for inculturation and ecumenical convergence.

An “exegesis” of the six principles

the “expanded explanation” of these six “guiding principles” is found on pp.9- 10 where it is called

Sections I-III deal with the nature and purpose of worship

Section V The Holy Spirit and the Church

Section VI Scripture

Scripture is “God’s Word written, the authoritative witness to God’s saving words and deeds in the history of Israel”

Section VI.2

The Old Testament is “the record of the revelation of God’s interaction with the world and humankind, especially the people of Israel”…the New Testament is “an historical record of God’s presence among us in Jesus the Christ, and those who followed Jesus.”

“God’s directives for humankind,”

“how to behave toward God, our neighbors, and community.”

Section VII The Catholic Faith

The Bible “both convicts of our sin and provides guidance in fulfilling God’s will”.

Guiding Principles for Anglican Worship

The Report discerns six principles for Anglican liturgy in Anglican history: four of them identified by Cranmer’s “inspired genius under Divine Providence”; the fifth by modern liturgists (not similarly distinguished); and a sixth arising out of the experience of liturgical revision. These are:

The Liturgy should be:

  1. Grounded in Scripture

Holy Scripture must be the foundation of all Christian worship

A.3 …words and concepts, metaphors and images, used in common worship should be as close to direct quotations of the Holy Scriptures as is grammatically possible

  1. Respectful of the Tradition of the Undivided Church where this is not contradictory to Scripture

Tradition is to be carefully respected, especially the worship practices of the Undivided Church, as long as they do not contradict Scripture…the 16th-century Reformers attempted to return to the practices of the Early Church in their liturgical revision, but were hindered by a lack of primary resources…scholars today have much more direct access to the primary sources of the liturgies of the Undivided Church, and are not hindered (as much) by the polemics of the 16th century; therefore they can provide us with more authentic resources from which to draw for our contemporary liturgies.

  1. Edifying to the people – by using language and ceremonies “understood of the people”

Edification means that language must be understood by the congregation, and that the ceremonies should be correspondingly relevant to them…archaic language can become idolatrous if it gets in the way of common comprehension, or when it is valued more for its beauty than its content.

Language is constantly changing, only “dead” languages like Latin or Archaic [sic] Greek do not change because they are no longer spoken; therefore for a language to remain understandable it has to constantly “morph”, i.e. thee/thou used to be an intimate form of address, now it is only used in a formal manner towards a “distant” God.

  1. Permissive of cultural variation not contradictory to Scripture or Creeds

Ceremonies do not have to be identical across nationalities and cultures, but they must also not contradict Scripture or the Creeds…an important question for liturgists today is whether 16th-century English Court rituals are still appropriate for the informal and egalitarian society admired in the West.

D. 3 -whether the Church year should be revised to reflect the southern as well as northern universal calendar for all circumstances?

  1. Ecumenical rather than distinctively Anglican

Words and liturgical forms should correspond to what the catholic faith has always taught and practiced (i.e. Vincentian canon) and emphasize our closeness to other Christian Communions rather than our uniqueness (ecumenical convergence vs. ecclesial divergence.

  1. Evolutionary in development [rather than revolutionary (as in recent liturgical revision)]

Words and liturgical forms should show a continuity with the Church’s historic tradition; change and development should take place in a way that creativity and innovation do not undermine either the orthodoxy of the liturgy or confuse the piety of the people.

…the BCP and KJV “still resonate in modern British and American speech

Recommendations for the Immediate Future

Both [1928 and 1962] can become obstacles to modern comprehension because of their 16th century language and limited acknowledgment of new approaches to sacramental life. Since those who prefer Cranmerian language are already using either the BCP 1928 or the Anglican Service Book, there is no reason to publish yet another traditional language book.

…a Prayer Book for the ACNA “should be in modern language, with few variables, and closely relate to the classical BCP texts”…the 1979 BCP was a “self consciously revolutionary composition…with some redeeming characteristics.”

I’ve turned this into a PDF here.

Robin Jordan ably brought attention to the hidden nature of the document in his comments on Virtue Online here.

Freedom is a Road Seldom Travelled by the Multitude

Although I have theological differences with Archbishop Duncan, I congratulate both he and the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh on their growth.


We are eighty-two congregations as this convention opens.  We have grown by thirty congregations since realignment.  This is the largest number of congregations ever for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.  We lost a third of our congregations at realignment, but here is the Lord’s promise working itself out.  We are more than we were three years ago!  For those willing to leave what they have – whatever they have – to follow Jesus the restoration is a hundredfold.  Deep ecumenical friendships and partnerships have also been added.  Anglican congregations are in partnership with Methodist congregations, Presbyterian congregations, Non-denominational congregations, and Catholic congregations for new homes and meeting places, and even some shared ministries.  We meet here in this Benedictine Abbey and College as a sign of what has happened. God has provided new friends and encouragers for our post-exodus journey.  We are much more – yet possessing much less – than we were before.  (2 Cor.6.10)

The Archbishop Weighs In

In the past few hours, a statement from Archbishop Rwaje and Bishop Murphy was issued, saying in part:

We have recently been made aware that a number of unfounded rumors and false assertions regarding the relationship between the Anglican Mission and Rwanda have begun to swirl in various circles and on the Internet. We are releasing this statement together to urge you not to be misled or distracted by those who would sow destructive seeds of discord through innuendo and commentary, for we know that this is the work and design of the Enemy.

This vague statement doesn’t really answer much of anything. What are the “unfounded rumors”? What are the “false assertions”? Three clergy in good standing have issued a statement of fact, yet to be countered in any meaningful way, in order to foster a discussion. That is what grownups do, they discuss things and have a conversation. This latest attempt to shut down the conversation with an “all is well” press release doesn’t answer any questions. So rather than generalities about “innuendo and commentary,” let’s hope there is a charitable and public discussion going forward.

One possible side affect of the Washington Statement is that it will derail whatever Bishop Murphy had in mind in terms of a College of Consultors. Ultimately, there is no reason for AMiA, CANA or the REC to exist any more. They should all disband and fold into ACNA. Why continue to maintain separate staff, offices and work at cross purposes? Why not shelve these groups before further hardening happens and divisions become permanent? Keeping AMiA apart from ACNA is indeed inviting discord.

A Missionary Jurisdiction of Rwanda?

The AMiA document “A Canonical Charter for Ministry Of the Anglican Mission in the Americas” says, “The Anglican Mission is a Missionary Jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of Rwanda…” (Article 1). Bishop Chuck Murphy has written that, “The Anglican Mission Charter states that the Anglican Mission remains as a missionary outreach of the Province of Rwanda, and in addition, the Mission is embedded in the Constitution and Canons of the Province of Rwanda.”

And yet, the Washington Statement issued by three AMiA clergy says:

In 2007, Kevin Donlon wrote new canons for the Province of Rwanda, which were then approved by the Province. The canons do not mention the AMiA, but they do make provision for organizations such as the AMiA to become “missionary jurisdictions” of the province through petitioning the House of Bishops.The AMiA has yet to make such a petition. Consequently, the AMiA’s Canonical Charter for Ministry (9/2009) wrongly identifies the Anglican Mission as a missionary jurisdiction. Further, it is incorrect to say, as Bp Murphy has often said, that the AMiA “is embedded in the Constitution and Canons of the Province of Rwanda.”In truth, the AMiA exists as a “Personal Prelature,” i.e. a  personal ministry initiative of a bishop, in this case, Abp Kolini until his retirement, and  now Abp Rwaje, who will serve for another 6 years.

The question should be put to the leadership of AMiA: why this discrepancy? Why hasn’t AMiA made such a petition? And wasn’t this one of the driving reasons behind the move away from ACNA last year?