AMiA Splits (Again)

Well, the AMiA has split again. News is hard to come but you can piece things together if you look hard enough. What we seem to have now is the old Anglican Mission in America, led by Bishop Philip Jones and the Anglican Union For The Propagation Of The Gospel: A Confraternity Of Oratories–the AUPG! It just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it?

AUPG is rooted in the Anglican Tradition, an ancient-future faith that dates back to the first century church and developed in the English Reformation. The Anglican Union is distinctly nourished by three streams.

(source)

Essentially, another group totally the same as many others, but that needed to split from them for reasons we don’t know, but which I would suspect are personal.

It looks like Kevin Dolon, Gerry Schnackenberg, Carl Buffington and some others have left. The AMiA and AUPG are now just another couple continuing churches in the constellation of odd Anglican groups out there.

Dr. Phillip Cantrell on Anglicans and Rwanda

In my previous post on “Playing an Away Game”, I referred to a document written by Dr. Phillip Cantrell called “The Anglican Church of Rwanda : domestic agendas and international linkages.” Dr. Cantrell was kind enough to comment on that post, and his insights are important. He has expanded on that comment a bit and given me permission to post it here. He welcomes dialog on the subject, so please give this a read. His concluding sentence should give PEAR USA, ACNA and GAFCON pause: “I have never been more fearful for Rwanda and the region.” Let’s hope that Anglicans can fulfill the role of Jeremiah in relationship to the government of Rwanda. Dr. Cantrell’s comments follow:

I’m Phil Cantrell, author of the above mentioned article “The Anglican Church of Rwanda: domestic agendas and international linkages.” I came across this blog and mention of myself from following Nkunda Rwanda on Twitter. I decided to write in order to clarify my own position, explain some issues raised here and invite further discussion. I’m a professor of African history at Longwood University in Virginia and I specialize in East Central Africa. I’m also a believer in Christ and was a member of an AMIA church for five years, and would be still if there was such an option where I now live.

In 2004 I undertook a mission trip with AMIA to Rwanda and knowing it was a Franco-phone country I brushed up on my French, only to find that the Anglican pastors and bishops I met with spoke better English than I. Finding this intriguing, I undertook my own research as a professional historian of Africa; research that resulted in the article. Let me state that like Joel, I have found the rank-and-file Anglican pastors and parishioners in Rwanda to be utterly sincere in their faith and desire for a better Rwanda. I have never questioned their faith in my writing and presentations on Rwanda. But I stand by my conclusions regarding the church’s relationship to the ruling RPF of Kagame. In a larger context, this should not be surprising in that mission-minded Americans fail to realize that the concept of separation of church and state as its understood in the West does not exist in Africa. I do not say that disparagingly of Africa; it’s a cultural difference. But it does mean that Rwanda’s Anglican hierarchy supports the RPF’s public face in Rwanda, perhaps unknowingly themselves but they do nevertheless. And their hierarchy certainly does knowingly.

As far as RPF members “infiltrating” the church, I think that is a complicated and arguable proposition. The RPF and the present Anglican hierarchy were born of the same Tutsi refugee diaspora in the camps of Uganda prior to the genocide and the RPF takeover of the country. They were a tight-knit diaspora and so some crossover is to be expected. I do contend however that the Anglican Church has failed to distance itself from the regime, with may contribute to a disastrous future for the country. I harbor no animus towards AMIA and its former relationship to the Anglican Church. As I said, I speak as a grieving member for the broken relationship and Rwanda’s plight.

In 2007, I made another research trip to Rwanda as an advisor to an ad hoc Rwanda Missions Board with AMIA. On that trip, I challenged my own conclusions before the article went to press. My research only confirmed my findings however and I published the article. I will also say Kolini and Rucyahana and other pastors and bishops I interviewed in 2007 were fully aware that I was a historian researching Rwanda and did not withhold talking to me. I suspect that at the time they were unaware of my knowledge of what was happening in the country. Because, after my return, the Mission Board was dissolved and I was disinvited from coming to Rwanda and will not return until the situation is changed. The full reasons for that are still somewhat unknown but it may have become apparent after my departure that I was asking the “wrong” questions. Some of my more outspoken and accomplished colleagues in the academic profession have been threatened if they return.

My concern always, as I was uniquely positioned as a professional historian and an AMIA parishioner, was that if American churches blindly provided aid to Rwanda vis-à-vis the Anglican Church of Rwanda, they would be de facto supporting an increasingly despotic regime which failed to enact the Arusha Accords of 1994, which promised a multi-ethnic and inclusive democracy, which the RPF itself signed in Arusha. Incidentally, the pre-genocide Anglican hierarchy in Rwanda did in fact support the genocidal actions of the previous Habyarimana regime. They were removed after the genocide and replaced with new leadership (i.e. Kolini, Rucyahana, etc) when the RPF took over, hence the close and troubling relationship presently. My fear, as someone who loves Rwanda and the region, is that the church is making the same mistakes the pre-genocide leadership did. And American missionaries must be wary of tacitly endorsing it too.

All that being said, I do not believe the rank-and-file of the church is behaving in an intentionally sinister way. The theological origins of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, born as it was from the English Church Missionary Society of the 1920s, gives it a tendency to avoid political engagement and critique, even as they collude with the false narrative of Rwanda’s history. As for the recent information concerning Kolini and Rucyahana and Rwanda’s actions in Congo, I think we must warily wait and see. I have met both men on several occasions and found them to be entirely sincere in their faith and intentions. I will need more evidence to convince me otherwise, but a connection to M23 is possible. Kolini after all is Congolese Rwanda. Other information was unwittingly provided to me in 2007, which raised my concerns about Rwanda’s intentions in Congo. For example, an Anglican pastor, whose name I will never reveal so as not to endanger him, tried to inform me that Eastern Congo had once been part of Rwanda. This is false but I felt it must have been coming from somewhere higher than him and its implications troubled me. I’m not sure of this clarifies or confuses but I felt like adding it to the debate here. I am happy to continue the dialogue. The things I have written about Rwanda and the AMiA relationship have caused angst and soul-searching for me but I have counseled with pastoral friends and I believe God has called me professionally to seek and speak truth, especially to power. I have never been more fearful for Rwanda and the region.

The Sin of Journalism

Rod Dreher said this on his blog today concerning the Benedict Groeschel scandal:

EWTN and the newspaper it publishes has made John Burger, now jobless, suffer for committing the sin of journalism. At the Register, the truth won’t set you free; it’ll cost you your job. See, this is part of the reason why so many talented men and women of faith stay away from church-affiliated news and entertainment media. People who run churches and church organizations often don’t understand what communications (journalism, filmmaking, etc.) is. They think it’s all supposed to be publicity, and so they guarantee mediocrity, and ultimately the discouragement of talented people — artists and journalists — who have good and useful talents to give to the whole church.

How true does this ring in light of the Anglican Autumn? Christian denominations almost always have newsletters and they are almost always fluff piece propaganda. They serve a purpose, but it sure isn’t journalism. That’s one reason why the powers that be can’t stand blogs. They hate any channel of communication that they can’t control.

Father Kevin Donlon and Plagiarism IV

In approximately August 2006, Father Kevin Donlon contributed a paper to the Global South Anglican website that he called “The Challenges of Covenant and Canons for the Future of a Ius Commune Anglicanae.” The paper was subsequently pulled from the website when the AMiA rebellion against Rwanda was in full swing.

A close examination of the paper shows that it borrows heavily from an article by Dr. Lewis J. Patsavos, Ph.D. called, “The Canonical Tradition of the Orthodox Church,” available here. Donlon did a bit of editing and rephrasing, but the ‘borrowing’ is obvious. Donlon’s article does not list Patsavos as a reference.

Donlon

Patsavos

It is from the earliest biblical times that covenants and canons were developed in response to the needs of the ecclesiastical community.

The law which emerged from the earliest times developed in response to the needs of the ecclesiastical community.
Throughout church history, they have been rendered to adapt to the circumstances throughout the generations. During both good and bad periods of the Church’s history, her law has adapted itself constantly to the circumstances of the time, up to the present day.
As the church is an institution of divine purpose composed of imperfect human beings, As an institution of divine origin composed of human beings,
canons and covenants reflect a certain imperfection They reflect a certain imperfection;
Should acceptance of a local Church’s custom as law be acceptable providing it allows for the spiritual well-being of the members? The overriding consideration in the acceptance of a local Church’s custom as law is the spiritual well-being of the members of Christ’s Mystical Body.
As a church that has adapted well to Canon 39 (“For our God-bearing fathers also declared that the customs of each church should be preserve”) of the Quinisext Synod/Synod of Trullo recognizing the right of any local church to have its own regulations, Canon 39 of the Quinisext Synod or the Synod of Trullo, held in 691, recognized the right of a local Church to have its own special laws or regulations: “For our God-bearing fathers also declared that the customs of each church should be preserved…”
That unity in Anglicanism has primarily focused on how people in various ages and places could best serve and worship God What is of importance is how people in any age or place may best serve and worship God.
it must not be supposed that any local custom automatically establishes itself as part of the canonical tradition. it must not be supposed that any local custom automatically establishes itself as part of the Church’s canonical tradition.
For that to occur it must evolve with the conviction of the ecclesiastical community expressing a long and steady practice of the custom recognizing that in that practice there is a consensus of that takes on the force of law. For that, certain conditions must be met. In the first place, it must be the conviction of the ecclesiastical community concerning a certain act repeated in the same way for a long time. Therefore, two main conditions are necessary for the acceptance of the custom as law: it must have enjoyed a long and steady practice, and the consensus of opinion must be that it has the force of law.
Additionally for Anglicans in order for custom to be accepted as a source of the canonical tradition, it must be consistent with scripture, tradition and reason. In order for custom to be accepted as a source of the Church’s canonical tradition, it must be in full harmony with the holy tradition and scripture, as well as doctrine.
The ius commune ecclesiarium Orientalum tends to be corrective in nature (responding to a situation once it has occurred) and not prescriptive the canon law of the Orthodox Church… is corrective in nature, responding to a situation once it has occurred.
great importance is attached to the local legislation of each autonomous jurisdiction. great importance is attached to the local legislation of each of these Churches.

Father Kevin Donlon and Plagiarism III

In 2011, Father Kevin Donlon published an article that he called “Liturgical, Catechetical & Conciliar Considerations for a Johannine Awakening” in The North American Anglican, a short-lived magazine. In it, he plagiarized the “Ravenna document” published by the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church on October 13, 2007. He spliced in some words relating to the Anglican situation and altered some statements a bit:

Donlon 

Ravenna Document 

the Anglican ecclesiological and canonical imperative flows from the Trinitarian nature of the Church the ecclesiological and canonical consequences which flow from the sacramental nature of the Church.
Since the Eucharist, in the light of the Trinitarian mystery, constitutes the criterion of ecclesial life as a whole, the time has come to ask how we as Anglicans will authentically reflect the mystery of this … (koinonia katholica). Since the Eucharist, in the light of the Trinitarian mystery, constitutes the criterion of ecclesial life as a whole, how do institutional structures visibly reflect the mystery of this koinonia?
The one and holy Church is realized both in each local Church celebrating the Eucharist and at the same time in the koinonia katholica of all the faithful in the National Provinces. Since the one and holy Church is realised both in each local Church celebrating the Eucharist and at the same time in the koinonia of all the Churches…
…the proclamation of the Church’s faith in Christ Jesus and the clarification of the norms of Christian conduct is theirs! In proclaiming the Church’s faith and in clarifying the norms of Christian conduct…
as successors to the Apostles;  they are responsible for communion in the apostolic faith, for fidelity to the demands of a life in keeping with the Gospel As successors of the Apostles, the bishops are responsible for communion in the apostolic faith and for fidelity to the demands of a life in keeping with the Gospel
In our heritage lies an essential episcopal structure of authority and leadership, which is first and foremost the faith professed and the sacraments celebrated, ever aware of the apostolic deposit of faith and succession. To this essential structure belong the faith professed and the sacraments celebrated in the apostolic succession.
linked structures exercised and regulated by the liturgical tradition along with the canons and norms of a conciliar church. Authority in the ecclesial communion is linked to this essential structure: its exercise is regulated by the canons and statutes of the Church.

Father Kevin Donlon and Plagiarism II

After a bit of what seems to be original content, Donlon returns to taking text directly from the Informative Dossier:

Donlon

Informative Dossier

In ancient times and in the Middle Ages, to make good for the lack of manual copies, the system of “tablets” was used; on these ” tablets ” the truths of the and the prayers were inscribed and were put in a place in the house or Church where they could be easily seen, so that everybody could understand their content. In other times, they were “illustrated catechisms” which served not only the illiterate but also the whole community as didactic aids. The entirety of this journey formed a deep and abiding Christian mythic consciousness. However, once the RCIA fell into disuse this mythic consciousness was very difficult to recapture. In ancient times and in the Middle Ages, to make good for the lack of manual copies, the system of “tablets” was used; on these “tablets” the truths of the faith and the prayers were inscribed and were put in a place in the house or Church where they could be easily seen, so that everybody could understand their content. In other times, they were “illustrated catechisms” which served not only the illiterate but also the whole community as didactic aids.
By the Fifth Century, St Augustine of Hippo at the request of a catechist, writes Twenty Seven chapters in which he tries to help deepen the faith of those Christians who, though educated in profane knowledge, were “rude” in the religious one. In the beginning of the V Century, an exceptional author, St Augustine, on the request of a catechist, writes 27 chapters in which he tries to help deepen the faith of those Christians who, though educated in profane knowledge, were “rude” in the religious one.
This work is entitled De Catechizandis Rudibus. He begins with the history of salvation which culminates in the charity brought by Jesus Christ, who through his Resurrection gives joy to the catechist and the one being catechized. Thus he entitles his work De catechizandis rudibus(5). He begins with the history of salvation which culminates in the charity brought by Jesus Christ, who through his Resurrection gives joy to the catechist and the one being catechized.
In the Ninth century, Alcuin of York, the great promoter of the cultural Renaissance during the time of Charles the Great, is attributed the redaction of Disputatio Puerorum Per Interrogationes et Responsiones (an exposition for children in questions and answers). It includes sacred history and the doctrine on the Sacraments, the Creed and the Our Father. The title indicates already its method and is a forerunner of modern catechisms as the vernacular language was used for the catechesis. In the IX century, Alcuino, the great promoter of the cultural Renaissance during the time of Charles the Great, is attributed the redaction of Disputatio puerorum per interrogationes et responsiones (an exposition for children in questions and answers). It includes sacred history and the doctrine on the Sacraments, the Creed and the Our Father. The title indicates already its method and is a forerunner of modern catechisms. It was widely used until the XII century. The vernacular language was used for the catechesis of this period.

Donlon appears to make a copy / paste error in the next selection, which mangles the Catholic text to read “In the York…”:

In the York there was used published what was known as a Lay Folks Catechism, which included the Creed, the Sacraments, the two precepts of charity, the seven capital sins and the seven cardinal virtues. For the first time the name Catechism was explicitly used. It was published in two languages, Latin and English, for popular use. Already several other times catechetical works were written in the vernacular language for those people who did not normally use Latin. the vernacular language for those people who did not normally use Latin. In the XIV Century (1357), the Archbishop of York published the “Lay Folks Catechism” which included the Creed, the Sacraments, the two precepts of charity, the seven capital sins and the seven fundamental virtues. For the first time the name Catechism was explicitly used. It was published in two languages, Latin and English, for popular use. Already several other times catechetical works were written, in the vernacular language for those people who did not normally use Latin.
On the eve the Reformation, Martin Luther, in 1529, using the material of his catechetical sermons wrote his first catechism as a guide to those who would preach and teach the goals of his reform of his reforms. This was followed by one he authored for “children and simple people”, which he even called Enchiridion. Martin Luther, in 1529, using the material of his catechetical sermons wrote his Catechismus Maior, as a guide to the preachers of his reform. Later he wrote another one for “children and simple people”, which he even called Enchiridion. 

A bit more creativity is shown with this borrowing:

There were also other reformers, such as John Calvin, who made use of this genre to teach people their new doctrines and whose influence would be felt catechetically. When the Reformation dust settled, most reformation traditions had some example of a catechism, as did the Roman Catholic Church in response. Irrespective of where one found one’s self on the theological fault line, few could dispute the efficacy of these “books in the effective dispensation of religious information/propaganda at all levels. Also other reformers, among whom Calvin, made use of this genre to teach people their new doctrines. The efficacy of this “book” had already been proved and thus all employed this indispensable aid for the religious formation at all levels.

Father Kevin Donlon and Plagiarism I

Last year during the heat of the AMiA meltdown, I was reading through a paper by AMiA Canonist Kevin Donlon entitled “Catechisms: More than Remembering.” You can find the paper here. Another paper I referred to was pulled from the site, this one wasn’t. I had occasion to re-read the paper last night, and I was quickly able to find some glaring cases of borrowing in it.

The first few paragraphs of the paper are lifted wholesale from a Vatican document called “Informative Dossier” by the Editorial Commission of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Some of the phrases are cobbled together in different places, but they are still there. Judge for yourself:

Donlon Informative Dossier
a word which the ancient Greeks used in reference to the theatre and which means “to make resound like an echo”. This word, which does not appear in the Old Testament a word which the ancient Greeks used in reference to the theatre and which means “to make resound like an echo”(1). This word, which does not appear neither in the Old Testament
as there is some usage of the Greek word “didaché” which is given the meaning of “transmitting the Word of God as a teaching of life”. In the Old Testament the word “didaché” – teaching – is found. It is given the meaning of transmission of the Word of God as a teaching of life.
Thus, in Deuteronomy 4:10 (“Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children so” and in Deuteronomy 11:19-20: “And you shell teach them to your children, talking of them… And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house”.) Thus, in Deut 4:10 we read: “Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children so”. And in Deut 11:19-20: “And you shall teach them to your children, talking of them… And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house”.
In the New Testament Gospels one could argue that the Gospels are the first great “Catechism” which was transmitted orally and eventually put to writing containing the essentials of all that Jesus “teaches” and “preaches” (Matthew 9:35; Mark 1:21; Luke 21:37). In the New Testament, the Gospels are the first great “Catechism” which was transmitted orally and then put to writing. Jesus “teaches” and “preaches” (Matt 9:35; Mark 1:21; Luke 21:37). The Sermon of the Mount (Matt 5,2) speaks of the “teaching to the disciples”.
taken up by the nascent Church to indicate the primordial duty to make disciples (cf. Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline Letters). taken up by the nascent Church to indicate the primordial duty to make disciples (cf. Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline Letters).
The proclamation of salvation was to be consolidated into the words and deeds of Christ, so as to provoke an “echo” in the mind and in the heart of the listeners, and transform their lives. The proclamation of salvation was to be consolidated, the deeds and the work had to provoke an “echo” in the mind and in the heart of the listeners, to transform all their life.
by the end of the first century, the “Didaché” or “Doctrine of the Apostles” was compiled. It was a guide to instruct those who were preparing to be baptized as well as to inform about the nature of the life in the community. In Syria, at the end of the first century, the “Didaché” or “Doctrine of the Apostles” was compiled. It was a guide to instruct those who were preparing to be baptised as well as to dispose all the life of the community…
fundamental Christian truths, formulated in a clear way so that understanding, apprehension and application could be appropriated. fundamental Christian truths, formulated in a clear way so that their understanding, apprehension and lively reception are made easier.
As time went by, became the normal aid for this duty was called Catechism. as time went by, became the normal aid for this duty was called Catechism.
This failure of attribution is noticeable in Donlon’s footnotes, which make no mention of the Vatican document, but say:

1 Stuart G. Hall., Doctrine and Practice in the Early Church.,(Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmanns Publishing Co.,1991)p.29-31
2 William Harmless., Augustine and the Catechumenate., (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press/Pueblo Books,1995) p.24-25
3 Joseph Christopher., (trans,) St. Augustine The First Catechetical Instruction., (New York :Newman Press, 1966)
4 T.F. Simmons and H.E. Nolloth (ed) The Lay Folks Catechism or The English anl Latin Versions of Archbistop Thoresby’s Instruction for the People, (London : The Early English Texts Society, 1901) Series N. No. 118
5 B.Lohse.,, Martin Luther: An Introduction to His Life and Writings., (Philadelphia: Fortress Books, 1986)
6 Ian Green., The Christian’s ABC., p.93-94
7 Ibid., p.66
8 Alexander Nowell, A Catechism ( Cambridge: The Parker Society Series, 1840) p.143
9 Edward Cardwell., Canons of 1604 (London : Synodalia, 1842) vol. 1, p.281

This is a serious breach of academic integrity and bears further investigation.
UPDATE: The original post mentioned a paper pulled from the Global South website. That is a different paper, and I will look into it as time allows.

HONA merges with ADGL

How’s that for acronyms? The Heart of North America (HONA) Network was part of the AMiA under the leadership of Bishop Doc Loomis. HONA is now merging into the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes (ADGL) under Bishop Roger Ames. Salient portions of the letter announcing this change include:

The ADGL is receptive to the ordination of women in Holy Orders serving as Deacons and Presbyters. We want to be perfectly upfront about our desire to honor the “duel integrity” in regarding the ordination of women to Holy Orders in our shared life together.

Bishop Loomis will continue to serve on the AM Council of Bishops canonically resident in the Anglican Province of Congo and will return to full-time church planting with a focus on building Missional Communities. He intends to begin a new church near his Ohio home and will continue to provide coaching and counsel for the churches in the region. The ADGL fully supports Bishop Loomis in his work and looks forward to continuing in partnership with him and with the AM.

Clergy desiring to remain in the AM are free to request transfer to the Anglican Province of Congo. (Parishes are currently affiliated in the AM and would not have to move). Parishes remaining in the AM may choose to ask Bishop Loomis or any other AM Bishop to be their overseer. This letter is an invitation; any clergyperson or parish is free to choose another option and will be released to go and love and serve the Lord as they feel led.

One wonders how many churches are actually left inside AMiA? You can also see from this that the Wave only talks about good news.

The Dude Abides

As I mentioned last month, Bishop Todd Hunter is slated to be a speaker at the ACNA assembly. That was before AMiA removed itself to the Congo, a Province that has been more in communion with Rowan Williams than Robert Duncan. You might think that Hunter’s participation in disobedience to Rwanda and flight from GAFCON would make him an unlikely speaker at the Assembly, but ACNA now has a story up that very much confirms that he will be there.

Bishop Hunter has hopped from place to place, having worked as National Director of the Association of Vineyard Churches from 1998 until 2001, then from 01-04 he was the Director of Allelon, an emergent movement that seems to have vanished, from 04 to 08 he was the National Director of Alpha USA, from 08 to 10 he headed a non-profit called Society for Kingdom Living. He was then brought in from being a non-Anglican to being ordained and consecrated as a bishop by Chuck Murphy in 2010.

Hunter brings an unorthodox view of women’s ordination to the AMiA (and thus fits right in):

It’s not about ordaining a particular gender or an issue of social justice for me – ordination is not a ‘right’ for anyone. While I recognize and celebrate the differences between genders, I want to raise up human beings gifted and called to Kingdom ministry…I guess you can say I’m an egalitarian of the complementary sort.

I am excited about the potential for women to be part of our church planting movement on the west coast and am already seeing fruit of such ministry in C4SO. This is all about facilitating a missional commitment.

A close eye is going to have to be kept on ACNA to see where it goes on women’s ordination and a host of other issues. Is it going to be TEC without the gay stuff, or is it going to be something better? That story remains to be written.