The Anglican Mission Creates Another Mess

“I must now say, however, that I believe that the Lord’s present word to me…now directs me to look beyond Genesis chapters 39-45, and on into the Book of Exodus…The result, as we saw in the story of Exodus, is that God’s sovereign hand which had led His people into Africa (Egypt) in the earlier Book of Genesis, then took a dramatic turn in the Book of Exodus instructing His people that it was now time for them to leave Africa…God then begins to move within the hearts of the Egyptian leadership to make it more and more clear to the people of Israel that Africa (Egypt) could no longer be viewed as their lasting home. I now see a parallel between the Exodus story and the present situation with Rwanda and the PEAR. Things have now been made very clear to me, and I am thankful for the clarity that I now have.” – Chuck Murphy in December, 2011

CM 2015
AMiA “Consultor” Chuck Murphy

AMiA 2011-12

It did not take long for Chuck Murphy to disobey the “Lord’s present word” to him. In 2012, He tried to rope Anglicans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into supporting him shortly after “the Lord” told him Africa was not his home. For a refresher, see this post. Those efforts fell apart due to GAFCON intervention, and AMiA essentially collapsed.

AMiA 2015

Even in its current state of losing most of its churches and leadership, the AMiA continues to meddle overseas, mostly through Kevin Donlon, a man I have written about before,1 and ‘retired’ Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini. Kolini, who grew up in the Congo (formerly known as Zaire) has served the Rwandan dictatorship in fomenting murderous unrest in that nation and has also fostered relationships there with the help of Donlon and AMiA money. An AMiA press release said:

This spring, The Mission received signed concordats from the Diocese of Kindu and the Diocese of Bukavu, both located in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These concordats confirm mutually beneficial partnerships with The Mission under the oversight of Canon Kevin Donlon.

Kolini with Congolese clergy and Carl Buffington

What is “mutually beneficial” about these partnerships? The AMiA gets to brush up it’s credentials with a “we’re really Anglican” fig-leaf of “oversight” as they have from day one. I imagine that Kevin Donlon can attempt to influence more oddball ideas such as the one that Emmanuel Kolini floated in 2010 for “a new Anglican Ecumenical Council, modeled on the Councils of the Early Church with a constitution taken from the ancient apostolic canons (35 & 38) on how a council should function.”2 And the Congolese bishops get money and support from the remaining coffers of the AMiA, which is in fact a sort of double-dipping given that the Congolese bishops are also tied to the Congo Church Association in the UK. Don’t forget the $1.2 million or so that went missing in Rwanda while Kolini was in charge — even in its reduced state, I’m sure AMiA can provide some money to these bishops.

Congolese Archbishop Henri Isingoma put it this way:

This decision indeed taken on their own behalf, for the hope to get financial support to run their dioceses, under the influence of the retired Archbishop of Rwanda, the Most Reverend Emmanuel Mbona Kolini, and the lawyer of ASMAW, Canon Kevin Donlon.

The Dioceses that are involved

The AMiA press release goes on:

As a result of these partnerships, leaders from both Dioceses as well as Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, Bishop William Bahemuka of Boga Diocese, Bishop Sospeter Ndenza of Kibondo Diocese and Dr. Ross Lindsay met in Gisenyi, Rwanda, to plan the Anglican Leadership Ministry Institute. This joint project will bring ministry leaders from The Mission to assist lay and clergy from partner dioceses in equipping trainers in leadership development, spiritual formation and parish development. In the coming months, a team of 12 leaders from The Mission plan to work with leaders from Boga, Kindu, Bukavu and Kibondo in both the theory and practice of various areas of ministry.

The map below gives you some idea of where these Dioceses are located. Generally, they are near Rwanda, in the east of the DRC:

provinces_en
Diocese in the Anglican Church of the Congo

This just happens to be the same area where the CNDP and M23 “rebellions” occurred. Kolini helped his government support the wicked M23 movement, as Paul Kagame himself admitted in an interview with the New York Times where: “He acknowledged that some Rwandan churches have been sending money to Congolese rebels, as part of a Tutsi self-protection campaign.”3

map
The border between Rwanda, the DRC and Uganda.

Kolini and the Kivus

In May 2012, Kolini held a meeting to support the Rwandan/Tutsi invasion of the DRC through the M23 movement. At this meeting, Kolini conveyed Paul Kagame’s message to Congolese of Rwandan descent who lived in the Kivu provinces of the DRC:

Another similar M23 meeting with Rwandan authorities took place on 26 May 2012 in Ruhengeri, Rwanda, at Hotel Ishema. According to intelligence sources and to politicians with close ties to Kigali, the RDF organized the meeting for CNDP politicians, which was chaired by Bishops John Rucyahana and Coline {Kolini – editor}, both senior RPF party leaders. The aim of the meeting was to convey the message that the Rwandan Government supports M23 politically and militarily. All Rwandophone politicians and officers were instructed to join M23, or otherwise leave the Kivus.

M23 was active in the Kivus, two provinces of the DRC that Rwanda claims are hers.4 You will notice a great overlap between the Dioceses aligned with AMiA and the activity of illegal Rwandan groups. Kolini’s familiarity with this region presumably helps him both to support illegal Rwandan groups and to cultivate Congolese bishops, connecting them to Kevin Donlon and spreading money  if Archbishop Isingoma is correct.

According to AMiA: “The Diocese of Kindu covers …the territory of Shabunda in the neighboring Province of South Kivu. The Diocese of Bukavu…serves parts of South Kivu and parts of North Kivu.”

North and South Kivu are on the right of this map.

M23

sultani
M23 leader Sultani Makenga (right) a Tutsi of the Bagogwe clan who grew up in Rucuru District.

The group that Kolini and John Rucyahana supported was brought to an end through international intervention, but not before it committed great acts of wickedness such as killing a “4-year-old girl when she asked M23 fighters where they were taking her father”, starving deserters to death, forcing deserters to rape a girl, burying deserters alive, and on and on. If this bothers Kolini, Rucyahana, the AMiA, PEARUSA or ACNA, I haven’t heard of it.

Executed by M23

AMiA’s senseless African connections

By my count, the AMiA now has some sort of relationship with eleven Dioceses in five nations. That’s a whole lot of reverse colonialism to use Chuck Murphy’s phrase! A table of these connections follows:

DioceseNation
Dunkwa- On OffinGhana
BogaDRC
KinduDRC
BukavuDRC
KibondoTanzania
Lake RukwaTanzania
KageraTanzania
TaboraTanzania
Northern MalawiMalawi
Upper ShireMalawi
ToliaraMadagascar

Perhaps in the year 2000 there was some justification for outside oversight, but it is now 2015, and:

  • There is a full-fledged, orthodox Province in North America.
  • You cannot tell me that these five nations are going to “re-evangelize” the USA like you said about Rwanda.5
  • Chuck Murphy said Africans “directing  and shaping what happens in North America is a bad idea.” In fact, it could be “missiologically crazy and practically foolish.” So we know these bishops have no say over AMiA and are simply window-dressing.

Further, it is an embarrassment to Anglicanism in general and the AMiA in particular to have retired Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini, Moses Tay and Yong Ping Chung involved in this micro-denomination that defies ACNA and GAFCON whenever it feels like it, and is highly influenced by a canon lawyer with dubious writings.

As Archbishop Isingoma put it, the most recent actions of AMiA are “…contrary to the constitution of the Province of the Anglican Church of Congo” and serve “…to destabilize a sister-province of the Anglican Communion.”

Timeline of recent events

April 3 – As I wrote here, AMiA announced that two new bishops were on the way.

April 13-17 – GAFCON primates meet in London. “Isingoma shared the situation with his fellow Primates…The Primates then requested its chairman, the Most Reverend Eliud Wabukala, to officially write to Jones to stop him from going ahead with the consecration” (Virtue).

April 19 – Archbishop Isingoma writes a letter Anglican Primates denouncing the AMiA plan.

Sometime in April – AMiA “Primatial Vicar” Jones writes Isingoma attempting to “fix the problem” according to David Virtue.

Sometime in April – Isingoma writes Jones back and again asks him to stop the consecrations.

May 2 – AMiA goes ahead with the consecrations, defying GAFCON and the Anglican Church of Congo.

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“We could care less what GAFCON thinks.”

The Consecration

amia consecration 15
Rules have never stopped AMiA before.

Bishop William of Boga Diocese, Bishop Bahati of Bukavu, Bishop Sospeter of Kibondo and Archbishop Kolini along with Philip Jones and Chuck Murphy consecrated Carl Buffington and Gerry Schnackenberg on May 2nd.6

According to AMiA Bishop Silas Ng7 someone had a heart attack when the service started:

Michelle and I went to Florida two days ago to participate in the consecration of the Very Rev. Carl Buffington and the Very Rev. Gerald Schnackenberg as two new AMiA bishops. It was a glorious celebration yesterday. Today we went to Bishop Carl’s church to participate in an ordination for two deacons as priests.

When the service came to the time of ordination and Bishop Edmund D Ahmoah from the Anglican Church of Ghana was reading the first line of the ordination part, a parishioner had an heart attack with his heart beat stopped. It was a holy moment when everyone was praying, including four bishops, many priests and deacons and the whole church of the New Covenant Church, Winter Springs, Florida. There were three nurses there using CPR and a defibrillator(AED). We heard the loud sound of a voice from the defibrillator to guide people to use that and we were singing, praying in an atmosphere full of peace. The new consecrated Bishop Carl stood next to me and he was praying and singing in a very peaceful mode. Ten minutes later two paramedic came in and in five minutes time the parishioner got his heart beat again and was sent to the hospital for observation. The whole church clapped hands when they saw what happened of how God gave peace to all of us in a crisis during an ordination.

Bishop Ng says he has a prophecy for one of the new bishops, namely that he will resurrect the Mission:

After Bishop Carl and I received communion, I said, “Bishop Carl, I got a prophetic word for you, one word “resurrect”. I feel that God is going to pour down His fresh anointing on you that you are going to raise up more priests for the Mission to resurrect “dead people”. There are so many dead people walking around us.” He said, “Wow! That is quite a prophetic word because the past 30 years since this church was found we have 23 people being ordained as priests.” I asked, “How many years for you as the Rector of this church?” He said, “Twenty-two years.”

amia 15 4
New Congolese bishops!

Another ordination

The irregular consecration of two bishops was not all! Bishop William Mugenyi of Boga in the DRC also ordained Walter Volmuth to the permanent diaconate as a Deacon from Boga Diocese. Does Archbishop Isingoma realize that “Congolese” clergy are now multiplying in AMiA? Of course, if the Archbishop does something about it, AMiA will probably transfer orders to another Diocese. Bishop Murphy knows that once you establish facts on the ground, there is little willingness in Anglican circles to undo them.

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Breaking rules since 2000.

My takeaways

  1. The AMiA will not police itself. It does not care about defying governing authorities when it is clearly in the wrong. It does not care about what Kolini did with M23. It does not care about where 1.2 million dollars went in Rwanda. It does not care about possible plagiarism.
    To be clear, PEARUSA, ACNA and GAFCON also seem unconcerned when their member churches are subservient to wicked governments, but I am focusing on AMiA in this post.
  2. GAFCON and Rwanda made a mistake allowing AMiA to walk away with no consequences. There was some talk of stripping Bishop Murphy and others of their orders back when AMiA imploded. Archbishop Rwaje insisted on real reconciliation, but none of that ever happened, AMiA went its own way, crippled yes, but still breathing. Because GAFCON and Rwanda did nothing in terms of discipline, AMiA, Murphy, Kolini and Kevin Donlon are still out there causing havoc.
  3. The Congo is a mess. Three bishops have a relationship with a sub-Anglican group in America and never tell their Archbishop. He orders them not to ordain Americans, and thy go ahead and do it anyways.
  4. This is a test for Archbishop Isingoma. Can he do anything to his disobedient bishops? Can he do anything to the new AMiA bishops and other clergy?
  5. This is a test for GAFCON. I don’t think GAFCON has any real authority over anybody about anything, but do they stand totally impotent in this case? Does this spur GAFCON to at least think through the crazy quilt world of CANA and PEARUSA?
  6. Could the AMiA spend enough money to oust Archbishop Isingoma? AMiA has already poached a third of the bishops in the DRC, if it could nab a couple more, could it influence the election of the next Archbishop? I don’t know when Isingoma’s term is up, but I wonder if this is even a remote possibility.
  7. Chuck Murphy puts words in God’s mouth. Was God wrong about AMiA and Africa in 2011? I don’t think so. That means that Chuck Murphy was wrong when he said God called AMiA out of Africa, because AMiA is right back in Africa. As the Lord said, “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
    AMiA’s terrible theology allows for this kind of nonsense.
  8. Archbishop Beach and ACNA should make it clear that AMiA remains a renegade group. Unfortunately, the “be nice” philosophy has carried the day recently, with former Archbishop Duncan telling us about a phone conversation he had with Philip Jones on his way out as Archbishop.8
    Jones was also in the procession at the Investiture of Foley Beach and was recently at the C4SO retreat (see below). This thaw of relations is clearly not reciprocated when AMiA disregards another Anglican Primate and the will of GAFCON. These kind of gestures should end.
jones with beach
‘Primatial Vicar’ Philip Jones at the Investiture of Foley Beach.
jones hunter
Jones and ACNA Bishop Todd Hunter at the C4SO Retreat.

Archbishop Rwaje on the East African Revival and the 1994 Genocide

In the course of responding to questions about the East African Revival at GAFCON’s 2013 meeting in Nairobi, the Archbishop of Rwanda, Onesphore Rwaje talked about the relationship of the revival to the 1994 genocide.1 He says:

…and I don’t know whether it is one of the questions you would like to ask me, let me respond to it before asking this question.  You may hear there is a contradiction and there is in fact, a country where revival movement was born, 1930’s—a second revival and the same time the country where has been a genocide against the Tutsis.2 That’s a contradiction, that’s a contradiction, and we are requesting ourselves what’s happened; 1960’s onward mainly within the church, mainly within the revival.

But after analyzing there {were a} few remnants among the revivalists in fact who stood against {the genocide} and we have testimony, some of them were killed and others are testifying for that. So that’s a contradiction and we have to bear that and this is a challenge we have to bear that not only for revival even for the church itself.

Archbishop Rwaje seems to be saying that the Anglican Church in Rwanda is trying to figure out what happened after the 1960’s that caused a nation of 85% Christians to slaughter one another. This is a good question, and you can see that for all the talk of revival and reconciliation before the genocide, it did nothing to stop the killing:

Moreover, by 1990, the Anglican church was deeply involved in internal wrangling and divisions. They were focused on jealousies and bitterness between Adoniya Sebununguri, bishop of Kigali, and John Ndandali, bishop of the second diocese of Butare, created in 1978. The conflict was focused on who would become the first Archbishop of the new Anglican province of Rwanda created in 1992. Although personal factors were paramount in this conflict, it did strangely parallel political divisions between the ‘north,’ where the deeply unpopular president came from, and a ‘south,’ which felt excluded. A series of other conflicts among the leadership of the churches began to disfigure the Anglican church: based on personal and family rivalries, regional differences, political disputes (as a multi-party system was introduced). Hutu-Tutsi divisions were only one of many factors fueling and sustaining these disputes.  Often the rhetoric of the Revival was introduced into the disputes. At high-profile meetings of reconciliation, church leaders confessed and sang Tukutenderza in the old spirit of the Balokole [Balokole means ‘saved’ – editor] fellowship, but these occasions did not seem to have the power to transform the faction-riven nature of the church. The form of Revival had replaced its genuine spirit.3

Bishop Laurent Mbanda tells us that some participants in the revival meetings were active killers in 1994:

Christian survivors of the genocide who participated in these evangelical meetings tell stories of church members and testifying Christians who, having attended the same meetings, were later seen in the uniforms and activities of Interahamwe (militia). During the killings, many were also seen at roadblocks with machetes. It is hard to believe, but reported by trustworthy individuals.

Unfortunately, the pattern of acquiescence with evil has continued as clergy support many evil actions of the Kagame regime. For example, bishops Rucyahana and Kolini supported and raised funds for M23, a group that kidnapped child soldiers, raped and murdered in the DRC. Before we rush to embrace the East African Revival, it is wise to ask what its legacy is in the world outside of church meetings, in the nitty gritty of political life and society.

  1. His remarks begin here
  2. He is using the official government term for the genocide. Deviation from using “against the Tutsi” is a signal inside Rwanda that you question the regime’s narrative of events. 
  3. “Christianity, Revival and the Rwandan Genocide,” Kevin Ward. 

The Doctrinal Foundations of ACNA

house of bishops acna procession

Although the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) released a catechism, the catechism itself carries no doctrinal weight on its own (as far as I know). It is only useful as an explication of the doctrinal standards that are enshrined in ACNA’s Constitution. In the future, when there are doctrinal conflicts in ACNA, I envision appeals being made to what the Constitution says about doctrinal standards.

Before I look at what the Constitution says, it may be helpful to recall how it came into being. The Constitution imports language from the Common Cause Partners Theological Statement. A “Governance Task Force” drafted the Constitution, and that Task Force consisted of: Hugo Blankingship, Chair – CANA, Philip Ashey+, Esq. AAC, Larry Bausch+ FIFNA, Travis Boline+ Kenya, Jerry Cimijotti+ Southern Cone, Kevin Donlon+ AMiA, +Robert Duncan Southern Cone, Cheryl Chang, Esq. ANIC, Bill Gandenberger+ Southern Cone, +Royal Grote REC, +John Guernsey Uganda, Matt Kennedy+ AAC, +Martyn Minns CANA, +Bill Murdoch Kenya, +Chuck Murphy AMiA, Jim McCaslin+ Kenya, Ron Speers, Esq. Uganda, Scott Ward, Esq. CANA, Barclay Mayo+ ACiC, Wick Stephens, Esq. Southern Cone, Scott Ward, Esq.CANA and Robert Weaver, Esq. Southern Cone.

I am told that Kevin Donlon was front and center during the process. A participant told me that he “…had a lot of objections and suggestions and effectively vetoed some of the Reformed stuff people argued for.” We have a brief overview of the process in this press conference, but as with all such events, it did not in any way delve into the actual nitty gritty of what happened. Organizations necessarily put on a “sunshine and roses” take on their own deliberations, and the way to the truth is usually found when talking to participants off the record. I doubt we will see such an accounting of this process given the participants.

I tried to conceptualize what the Constitution says in the following chart:

Taken from the ACNA Constitution
Taken from the ACNA Constitution

The Constitution uses three words regarding the doctrinal standards: confess, affirm and receive. If the words imply weight to the different sources of doctrine, then I take confess to be the strongest, affirm the second strongest, and receive the weakest word. Even if they are weighted in such a way, the Constitution does say, “we identify the following seven elements as characteristic of the Anglican Way, and essential for membership.”

The GAFCON Statement and Jerusalem Declaration are affirmed in the Preamble, probably because they were issued very late in the process of drafting the Constitution, and so were presumably included at the last minute and not as one of the “essential elements” for membership.

Early on, Dr. Ephraim Radner pointed out the different weight that the Constitution’s words carry, and noted a move towards “indefiniteness” on the part of the writers:

The identification of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal, and the Thirty-Nine Articles as “standards” and “principles” has struck some as overly and perhaps impossibly precise. After all, have not Anglicans, through the Lambeth Conference now over 100 years ago, made formal the lack of explicitness with which these formularies are to be held as standards for all Anglicans. at least as it determines Communion-related “Anglican” identity? Yet we note the care with which the Constitution has cloaked these standards with a certain indefiniteness: “We receive the Book of Common Prayer…as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline” and as “the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship”; “we receive the Thirty-Nine Articles…, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing fundamental principles…”.

The clear implication is that there may be other legitimate “standards”, and that the BCP of 1662 is rather one among many, although obviously an acceptable one. Clearly, that the early BCP’s represent the standard for “the tradition” of Anglican worship is incontestable as a historical claim. Furthermore, a “tradition of worship” is itself a loose referent and already indicates an acceptance that the BCP’s of the Reformation and post-Reformation are no longer in explicit use among many Anglicans. Finally, it is hardly constrictive, let alone historically odd, that the Thirty-Nine Articles would be received as holding doctrine appropriate to its time of composition, that continues to express certain “principles” that cohere with “authentic Anglicanism”. For the Constitution does not claim that the Articles articulate necessarily all such principles, exhaustively, or straightforwardly (since “principles” can only be gleaned from historical records aimed at local moments and controversies), nor that all “authentic Anglicanism” is bound by them in any exhaustive way. None of this should surprise us, however, given that the proposed new province contains both Anglo-Catholic and evangelical churches and bishops, who, vis a vis the Thirty-Nine Articles, for instance, hold very different views, and for whom there are, therefore, perforce several “standards” and “principles” at work.

On this score, we must note the difference in the Constitution’s language from the GAFCON “Jerusalem Declaration” (no. 3) regarding the Thirty-Nine Articles “as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today”. Even this statement is open to some latitude in doctrinal reference however – does “authoritative for Anglicans today” mean for “all” Anglicans, necessarily? Can one be an “Anglican” and hold to some different (though perhaps not conflicting) standard? That the doctrine in the Articles is “true” does not clearly imply “exhaustively” true. And what exactly does “authoritative” mean in this context? Is it similar to the claims to salvation-status granted to certain beliefs by the Athanasian Creed? Probably not; indeed by their own standards, they are authoritative only to the degree that they are clearly supported by Scripture’s own teaching. Still, while the Jerusalem Declaration is itself hardly explicit in many ways, there is a definite move towards indefiniteness in the Constitution, one that is clearly by design, and most likely involves the reality of catholic and protestant sensibilities and commitments seeking incorporation in the same church. The Constitution “affirms” the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration (1.10), but such “affirmation” is itself general and necessarily loose in its meaning.

The “taken in their literal and grammatical sense” line about the Articles of Religion is the famous Anglo-Catholic evasion from Newman’s Tract 90, which reads: “For its enjoining the “literal and grammatical sense,” relieves us from the necessity of making the known opinions of their framers, a comment upon their text;”. This same kind of move away from the Reformed tenets of Anglicanism occurred during the second GAFCON meeting in Nairobi, as you can read here.

These moves to placate the famous “three streams” are understandable if you think of the Anglican realignment in America as stitching together a diverse group of Anglicans who do not agree doctrinally. Archbishop Duncan said that the Constitution provided, “flexibility, recognizing the diversity of Godly approaches common among the partners coming into union.” I believe that the Formularies, Prayer Book and Ordinal (alongside the Bible of course) provide us with enough tools of persuasion to make the case for Augustinian orthodoxy even in the current confused doctrinal environment of ACNA, but we should not be deceived about the fact that there are many camps under the banner of ACNA.

The reality for those of us who hoped for a Reformed rebirth in the realignment is that ACNA is a “here comes everybody” church. What we might hope for in the long run is a decade or two of Reformed church planters, Reformed clergy moving into the role of bishop, and an eventual change of the Constitution to read that “the Articles of Religion are confessed as the doctrinal standard of ACNA as proved by Holy Scripture.”

Proposed Theological Statement of the Common Cause Partners

We, the representatives of the Common Cause Partners, do declare we believe the following affirmations and commentary to contain the chief elements of Anglican Reformed Catholicism, and to be essential for membership.

1) We receive the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Scripture as the inspired Word of God containing all things necessary for salvation, and as the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life.

2) We confess the historic faith of the Undivided Church as declared in the Catholic Creeds.

3) We believe the teaching of the Seven Ecumenical Councils in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures, and have been held by all, everywhere, at all times.

4) We hold the two sacraments of the Gospel to be ordained by Christ Himself, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord, and to be administered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of Institution and of the elements ordained by Him.

5) We accept the 1549 through the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and its ordinal as the foundation for Anglican worship and the standard for doctrine and discipline.

6) We believe the godly Historic Episcopate to be necessary for the full being of the Church.

7) We affirm the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion as foundational for authentic Anglican belief and practice and as correctives to doctrinal abuses.  

Speaking in Tongues in ACNA

At the recent consecration of Keith Andrews, Archbishop Foley Beach briefly spoke in tongues while laying hands on Andrews. I am not claiming that what he did was the Biblical gift of tongues, only that this is what passes for it in our day. Nevertheless, this spurred me to look at what the ACNA Catechism says about the practice.

Question 87 of the Catechism says, “What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit?” The answer is:

The manifold gifts of the Holy Spirit include faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, other languages, the interpretation of other languages, administration, service, encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy and others. The Spirit gives these to individuals as he wills. (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 27-31; Ephesians 4:7-10)

The Biblical proof texts for the answer include I Corinthians 12:10, which says in part “to another different kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues…” The catechism is rendering “tongues” or “γλωσσῶν” as “languages” which is formally correct.

So it seems that the catechism is making a place for glossolalia, but is using the more sober term “language” to perhaps deflect attention away from a “three streams” reality. It is certainly not saying that the “sign gifts” are not active today. It does not seem to be coming from the position of many Reformed theologians such as John Frame, who says, “I Corinthians 14 would tell us that we should not practice the use of tongues in public worship services” (Systematic Theology, 930).

What Archbishop Beach was engaged in was glossolalia, as outlined in William Samarin’s book, “Tongues of Men and Angels,” available here.

Whether you like it or not, if you sign up for ACNA, you are signing up for a “three streams” reality. Archbishop Beach has endorsed this view:

Currently—and this is something I think that’s very distinctive about who we are— we are a group that is Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical, and Charismatic. Some call that the ‘Three Streams,’ and that’s a simple way of explaining it. But, even some of our most Anglo-Catholic folks would be more charismatic than I am. All of us tend to have those three streams somewhere in our mix.
I think that’s very unique for American Christianity today. All of us have our core; my core would be evangelical. Although I have the other two pieces, my core or default is evangelical. But, these streams enable us to bring the richness of the breadth of Christianity, and it’s truly powerful when these streams are together.

The Catechism seems to be allowing for glossolalia as it has come to Anglicanism from Pentecostalism. This is another area where some people sign on to ACNA and hope to change things.

“There might be charismatics out there, but I’m not one of them.” You might hear someone say. Well, when the official Catechism of your denomination seems to endorse glossolalia, you cannot really deny it to people in your congregation, can you?

The reality of ACNA on the ground right now in its formative days is that there is a live and let live reality. However, the Catechism codifies a view of things that I imagine will become more ingrained over time. So like it or hate it, ACNA is a “three streams” denomination.

Reviewing Laurent Mbanda’s Book, “Committed to Conflict”

Even in the 1994 genocide, I believe that there were people who followed whatever their leaders decided to do, without ever exercising their own minds. – Laurent Mbanda (Page 133)

mbanda 20144
Rwandan Anglican Bishop Laurent Mbanda

I’ve previously written about some snippets of Laurent Mbanda’s book “Committed to Conflict, the destruction of the church in Rwanda,1 These posts: one, two, three, four and five now I will take a look at the rest of the book. The book was written in 1997, long before Mbanda became a bishop in the Anglican Church of Rwanda and I suspect that it had something to do with the powers that be selecting him as a bishop, along with his work for Compassion International and Western connections.

Bishop Mbanda is well connected in the West. He currently sits on the board of Compassion International, the International Justice Mission, Food for the Hungry, the Mustard Seed Project, and the Kigali Institute of Education in Rwanda. He succeeded Bishop John Rucyahana in 2010, as the Bishop of the Shyira Diocese. Bishop Mbanda was at the center of the split between the Anglican Mission in America and the Rwandan Church with AMiA leaders making accusations against him of leaking communications to George Conger – charges which he denied at the “Sacred Assembly” in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The book was “assisted” by Steve Wamberg, who functioned as a Communications Specialist for Compassion International from 1992-97.

I have not seen any analysis of Mbanda’s book, and I doubt that many, if any, clergy of PEARUSA have taken the time to read it and think through its implications.

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Mbanda correctly points out that the early Protestant missionaries and thus the Protestant communities in Rwanda avoided overt political connections:

The colonial administrators and the mission leaders had different views regarding the people of Rwanda, especially Hutu and Tutsi. The traditional structure used to accomplish colonial objectives was not favoured by the Catholic missionaries, who termed it ‘oppressive’, while the Protestants tried to remain apolitical. (Page 7)

This was partly due to the origins of Anglicanism in Rwanda, which was brought by missionaries who were steeped in Keswick theology and dispensationalism, both of which are often apolitical. Keswick’s emphasis in this regard is profoundly un-Biblical. Mbanda returns to the apolitical nature of Rwandan Protestants over and over:

The Protestant Christian missions were largely apolitical in their approach to the Rwandan sociopolitical structure. The first Protestant missionaries to enter the country supported the indirect German colonial approach and in so doing, raised no sociopolitical issues. A small minority in the country, they were not highly visible and had limited personal influence; their interest was in evangelism, leaving the social issues alone. (Page 49)

Note that in this case Mbanda suggests that “leaving the social issues alone” was a good thing when compared to the Catholic Church. He he launches repeated diatribes against the Catholic Church, such as this:

This favouritism, and its closeness and involvement with the colonial administrators, virtually married the Catholic Church to the state, such that under the leadership of Bishop Classe, it became a state church with a strong influence in matters of civil government. (Page 20)

Mbanda’s position on the Catholic Church is accurate, but as I cannot emphasize enough, this is the same situation that the Anglican Church finds itself in today! It is tied at the hip to Paul Kagame.

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Retired Archbishop Kolini, President Kagame, Bishop Mbanda

I am told by a former advisor of Kagame’s that he is an atheist who uses witch doctors and mocks Christians behind closed doors. He uses the churches as tools to propagandize the West with genocide guilt and a false narrative of reconciliation.

Mbanda says that the former colonial powers and the churches share a large part of the blame for the 1994 genocide:

The most recent genocide in Rwanda derives in part from the deep historic divisions in Rwandan society created by the colonial rulers and the churches. (Page 25)2

The contradiction at the heart of Mbanda’s book is that he condemns the church for its involvement in politics, but turns around to blast the church for silence in the face of injustice! He is correct about the problem of silence, but speaking up about injustice is an inherently political activity. In the following quote Mbanda condemns Christian silence:

The policy of Iringaniza (total exclusion of one ethnic group) in most cases was not different from the colonial discriminatory school system executed at the expense of Rwandan children of the time. And the silence of many Christian missions in the face of such injustices was deafening. (Page 43)

Yes, this silence was deafening, as is the silence of Anglicans today when their government tortures and kills its own citizens!

Calvin teaches Christians that resisting evil authorities is salutary: “For earthly princes lay aside all their power when they rise up against God, and are unworthy of being reckoned in the number of mankind. We ought rather utterly to defy than to obey them whenever they are so restive and wish to spoil God of his rights, and, as it were, to seize upon his throne and draw him down from heaven.”

Bishop Mbanda seems to agree with Calvin’s sentiments in this book, and yet, in authority as a bishop he has only praised the wicked rule of Kagame and has maintained silence in the face of evil. He has in fact gone beyond silence and has openly praised Rwanda’s leadership as “visionary.”

visionary leadership

This is in clear contrast to his past self, who decried silence in the face of injustice:

It is important to protect people and strive for unity in the nation, but without true justice there can’t be sincere unity. Under the previous government, killings and other social injustices went unchallenged. (Page 105)

And again, Mbanda says the role of the Church:

Hopefully, the new Kigali government will keep its hands clean in the matters of the Church, just as they have so far. My prayer is that the Church can divorce itself from the kind of church-state relationships that seek favours from politicians in exchange for the Church’s prophetic voice. The former Vice President of Kenya, Mr Mwai Kibaki, put it well while addressing members of the National Council of Churches of Kenya : “The church leaders should not spend their time praising politicians; we have enough people to praise us. Your task is to correct us when we go wrong and need to be reminded of the justice of God, and to pray for us.” Respect for church leaders does not come from their association with political leaders, but from their relationship with God, a relationship proven in non-conformity to ungodly things. Christian leaders are often caught in the political trap of their countries; this has been the case for Rwandan church leaders. David Gitari in his book Let the Bishop Speak wrote:
A position of active and positive support for the state is obviously the easiest position for the Church to adopt; however, it is also the most unfortunate posture in which the Church can be found. Churches which are favored by the state find it very tempting to respond by giving full support to their patron; but they tend to suffer most when the regime they support is removed and replace by a new government.
It is likely that Bishop Gitari was well aware of the Rwandan situation; at least his insight describes exactly where the Rwandan church leadership has been. (Page 116)

Mbanda says:

Remembering the Kinyarwanda saying, ‘Wibuba uhetse ukabawigish uwo mu umugongo’, meaning if you steal when carrying a youngster on your back, you are teaching the youngster to steal, could this be what happened as a result of Catholic involvement in power politics while they were simultaneously preaching good news and its message of unity, love and peace? (Page 48)

Some say that the Anglican Church today is not involved in “power politics” like the Catholic Church was before, but the role of her bishops on government bodies such as NURC and the praise they speak for Kagame’s leadership shows a dangerous degree of affinity for the current regime. As American Bishop Steve Breedlove pointed out, “In Rwanda, the church’s program IS the community program, and in many places the government yields the platform of developing and transforming communities to the church.” According to Mbanda’s own reasoning, being aligned with a police state that oppresses Hutus and Tutsis who speak up against it is a terrible witness to the Rwandan population.

Mbanda goes on to blasts the Church for not defending the rights of all, but again, the current Anglican Church is silent about oppression:

Somewhere in the process, the Church lost its prophetic role. It could have been an instrument of positive change as a witnessing, worshipping and serving community – by acting as salt and light. But the Church in Rwanda failed to give warning, or even advice, concerning the actions of its own people, while playing political power games. The Church failed to defend the rights of all, whether the attack came through abuse of power or through dehumanizing propaganda. (Page 52)

Today there is a diaspora of Rwandans — Hutu and Tutsi — who have fled to the DRC, other African nations and the West to escape imprisonment or death at the hands of Paul Kagame. The Anglican Province of Rwanda has said nothing about this that I am aware of. But Mbanda critiques the Church of the past for not speaking up for Tutsi refugees:

Unfortunately, it does not seem that the Church wanted the Tutsis back, and if it did, there were no clear steps taken by the church leadership to address the refugee problem, or even condemn the evil acts that led to thousands of deaths and sent hundreds of thousands into exile. Was the Church in Rwanda in a position to plead for the return of the Rwandan refugees in exile? Given its status at that time, and the role it played in the bloody massacres, I believe it could have contributed significantly. Even if there had been no government response, if the Church had done its part, the international community would probably have echoed the message. But the Church’s silence contributed to the perception of its previous political involvement, thus indicating its support of ethnic distinction and separation. And if the Catholic Church’s militant spirit regarding social issues during the German colonial rule and politics of the 1950s was a sincere response to social injustice and oppression, surely the Church would have spoken up for the gross human rights abuses of the period from the 1960s to 1994. What do we say of the Rwandan church’s theology regarding God’s creation of humankind? Is this an issue for Hutu and Tutsi alone, or an issue that Christians around the world need to address? (Page 58)

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Bishop Mbanda Teaching in his Diocese

Mbanda is critical of the pre-genocide Church’s adaptation of the government’s agenda:

Even though the Church tended to be sympathetic to the social status and conditions of the surviving Tutsis in general, both the Catholic and Protestant churches (and more so the leadership) were politicized enough to keep in line with what the Rwandan government wanted. It did not matter about belief, the biblical teaching of love and unity, or one’s view of humankind; the Church chose to listen and move with the political agenda of the country. (Page 59)

Mbanda points out that the pre-genocide Church was silent, that is published the government’s agenda in its journal, that favoritism blinded it, and that prestigious positions manipulated its leaders:

By 1961, the Catholic Church was profoundly connected with the Hutu-dominated republics; Kayibanda’s proclamation of the ‘Country of the Battutu’ received wide support from the Church, which knew that the government’s aim was to promote Hutu solidarity against what it called ‘Tutsi feudalism’. The identity card introduced by the colonial rule was retained and the Church said nothing about it. The newly formed government managed to use the Church for furthering much of what had been started and propagated through Kinyamateka, the White Fathers’ journal. Favouritism and the prestigious position of both the Church and its leaders served to blind the Church. As the Burundi people’s saying goes, ‘Na Umugabo uvugana irya mukanwa’, meaning ‘No man talks with food in his mouth.’ The favours and prestigious positions were used to manipulate the church leaders, who, for fear of losing these, could not address real issues. (65-66)

Is any of this different today? The evidence says no:

Rucyahana_Parliament_Nov_13

Mbanda shows that the Rwandan government imprisoned or disappeared those who stood against it:

In 1973, the Protestant Church was still unprepared to participate in the conflict or take a pastoral role. The missionaries had left by then, and Protestant church leaders were not courageous enough to stand up and speak against the evils of the Rwandan leadership and Hutu extremists’ acts. Nothing had been done to address the Church’s political involvement against the Tutsis in 1959-61, much less the public acts. This would not be the time either. Instead, Tutsi priests suspected by the government (or anyone else who wanted them to be killed) of having contacts with outside Rwandans were imprisoned. Others disappeared. (Page 67)

It is hard to read this and not be struck with the paradox that Mbanda himself is now silent when the Rwandan government of Paul Kagame imprisons, tortures and disappears Rwandans. You can read examples of this here, here, and here.

Mbanda correctly says that clergy serving in the ruling party of Habyarimana signaled to a watching public that the Church agreed with the government.

The seating of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Rwanda on the Central Committee of the ruling party of ex-President Habyarimana’s government was like putting a stamp of approval on the politics and policies of a government that discriminated against its own people. The Archbishop’s position and relationship to the government identified the Church with the position of the government on the social and political issues regarding the Tutsi population. […] In later years the goal for many Christian church leaders, as they competed for relationships with Rwandan authorities, became clear. Each not only desire to be a close friend of the president, about which they bragged, but also sought to become a powerful voice of whatever church they were leading. (Page 68-69)

How is this different from bishops such as Rucyahana, Kolini, and Gasatura serving on government bodies? How is it different from Kolini and Rucyahana hosting meetings for the CNDP/M23? How is it different from Pastor Antoine Rutayisire laughing it up with Kagame at annual prayer breakfasts in Kigali? How is it different from the Archbishop penning a letter to the United Nations attacking the Group of Experts on the DRC in line with the government’s position? How is it different from Bishop Mbanda calling Paul Kagame’s leadership “visionary?” The answer is, it is not different. Mbanda is now part of something he condemned in this book.

In-the-Middle-is-The-Rt--Rev--Dr--Laurent-Mbanda-explains-to-the-Archbishop-of-Cantebury-and-the-Archbishop-of-Rwanda-Onesphore-Rwaje-about-different-projects-in-the-diocese-_Photo-by-Eugene-Mutara-Rugamb
Archbishop Rwaje, Bishop Mbanda, Archbishop Justin Welby

Mbanda discusses how the government influenced who was picked to lead the churches prior to the genocide:

Among the Protestant bishops, Episcopal Archbishop Nshamihigo and Bishop Sebununguri (even though some say that he had fallen out of grace with Habyarimana) were very close confidants of the president. […] Many sources have indicated that most church leaders had been bought off by the government officials through favours. The government’s patronage of top church leaders had strings attached to it, and church leadership selection was one among many. Within the Rwandan Christian Church, among Protestants as well as Catholics, tensions always arose when there was an election or selection of church leaders. Scandalous situations and acts were observed more in the Episcopal Church of Rwanda. The selection of the very first bishop was a more political than spiritual matter. After dealings that were characterized by corruption and deceitful acts, the church ended up selecting a bishop based on ethnic criteria to satisfy the government’s unwritten policy; the president of the country had to give his approval to the selection. Where ethnic distinction was not an issue for the top government authority, geographical origin could play a key factor, especially in the lay leadership of the Habyarimana regime. (Page 70)

I could also remember hearing stories of the Episcopal Church fights involving the late Bishop Ndandali, Bishop Sebununguri and Archbishop Nshamihigo. There were serious fights were weapons were carried into meetings and special bodyguards hired on suspicion of life-threatening plans. (Page 82)

He shows how the Church gave up its prophetic role to be involved in national politics:

It is no secret that the church leaders in Rwanda responded to two basic and related situations: the possible advantages of having extremely close ties to the colonial interests, and the pursuit of such ties with the first and the second Rwandan governments (the Kayibanda and Habyiramana regimes); these caused church leaders to compromise their prophetic and pastoral roles in exchange for being power-brokers of national politics. (Page 72)

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Mbanda’s and his Predecessor, Bishop John Rucyahana

He shows that when some in the Catholic Church did speak out in 1990, it was a good thing, but far too late:

When the Catholic priests formally spoke out on ethnically sensitive issues in March 1990, it signalled a change in the thinking of the Catholic church leadership. The voices involved may not have been high enough in the hierarchy to be heard immediately as in past political involvements (such as those from 1916 to the 1960s), but they definitely provided a significant, if belated, warning. These priests spoke against the ethnic quotas in education and in civil service that limited Tutsi participation. Whether this was God’s Spirit at work or the result of an intellectual analysis of the political situation (or both), I can’t judge. Still, the warning should have been voiced at least some 30 years before. (Page 73)

The fact today is that Tutsis run every level of government, and are often “twinned” with Hutus who serve as puppets for a Tutsi boss behind the scenes. The United States government knows this, as this leaked State Department cable shows. So why isn’t the Anglican Church speaking out against the ethnic discrimination going on in Rwanda today?

Mbanda shows how the dictator Habyarimana eliminated his opponents, which is exactly what happens with Paul Kagame’s opponents today:

(Habyarimana) had political enemies both inside and outside the country and was basically ruling through a gun in his opponents’ backs and ‘suspicious’ car accidents. The whereabouts of his identified enemies was top secret; human rights abuse had become a way of life, and his own conscience bothered him. (Page 74)

Kagame in fact boasted about an assassination at a prayer breakfast in 2014, with Mbanda in attendance. The Anglican Church was silent about Kagame’s boasting.

Figure x. Bishop Mbanda (rear) at the recent appalling prayer breakfast
Bishop Mbanda (rear) at the appalling 2014 prayer breakfast

Mbanda returns again and again to the silence of the Church:

In Rwanda, certain denominational leaders were close friends and strong supporters of the Habyarimana regime. Among them were all the bishops of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda (except one non-diocesan titular bishop formerly in Kigeme, a Tutsi and survivor of the genocide), […] Some of the church leaders’ reputations became widely blurred as they appeared in political scenes, advancing political agendas, leading political party demonstrations, and making inappropriate political declarations in public support of the corrupt regime – including the justification of both genocide and the mass killing of Hutu moderates. The Anglican leader Augustin Nshamihigo, the former Presbyterian head, and the Catholic Church’s Archbishop Nsengiyumva acted like competitors. The silence and role of the top church officials during the 1994 massacres made them accomplices in the genocide. (Page 75-76)

And yet today, John Rucyahana was a government puppet in the Rose Kabuye matter, Emmanuel Kolini relayed Kagame’s orders to America to cancel a speaking engagement of Paul Rusesabagina.

Mbanda says that Western partners of Rwanda from before the genocide were confused and did not know what to believe about Rwanda:

Some Christians around the world were disappointed in the Rwandan church leadership, while others were morally and financially behind them. From my discussions with executives of Western-based Christian non-government organizations and mission agencies, I have come to learn that many were confused and did not know what to believe about the Rwandan situation. So they continued working relationships with church other indigenous Christian organizations in the country, based on the relationships and trust developed over the years prior to the 1990 war situation. (Page 76)

This is identical to today’s situation, with the additional factor that many Westerners aligned with Rwanda are so ignorant that they do not even realize there is a problem.

He relates stories of Evangelical Christians who participated in the genocide or later interahamwe killing:

Honest Christians, godly people, the ‘saved’ (in the Kinyarwanda language, ‘Abarokore’) were holding evening and weekend meetings characterized by groups engaging in prayer, fasting, confessions of sins, predictions of what might come, rich Bible studies, willingness to entertain deep thoughts, singing heavenly songs and concern for one another. Both Hutus and Tutsis participated with no fear of each other, even though there was an atmosphere of suspicion in the country. The meetings developed into large public gatherings where political issues were addressed, and the involvement of church leaders in the political scenes was condemned. There was a call to pray, to love each other and to pursue peace and unity. Christian survivors of the genocide who participated in these evangelical meetings tell stories of church members and testifying Christians who, having attended the same meetings, were later seen in the uniforms and activities of Interahamwe (militia). During the killings, many were also seen at roadblocks with machetes. It is hard to believe, but reported by trustworthy individuals. (Page 77)

Mbanda says that most Christians behaved no differently from the average Rwandan:

The behaviour of most church members, including their leaders, was outwardly no different from the non-Christians’ conduct and therefore lacked the Christian testimony that would have made a significant difference. (Page 112)

Mbanda discusses how returnees from the Tutsi exile took over leadership of many denominations in Rwanda. This was true of the Anglican Church, which has turned heavily to those born outside the country to run it in the years after the genocide:

To the surprise of many people in Rwanda, including some Christians, church services resumed immediately following the RPF’s takeover of the country, certain churches being packed to their maximum capacity. Initially, most people found in the capital city of Rwanda were new faces to Kigali. Faces in most churches were also new, then, with few old church members, and among new faces in the churches were old Rwandan refugees. In some churches, the initial church service organizers were from among the returnees who targeted the denominations they were connected with in countries of exile. The new organizers were either elders and ordained pastors in refugee resettlements where they lived, or church pastors in the national churches of their countries of asylum Returning into the homeland, some had actually been eyeing the takeover of local church leadership situations as they thought that most of the former leaders would not want to return to Rwanda due to accusations of involvement in the genocide and compliance with the whole killing situation. (Page 112)

He ominously refers to innocent Hutus who fled the country, believing that RPF forces would take revenge on them when they took over. Mbanda implies that this was not the case:

As churches resumed their responsibility (in most cases with new service and church activity organizers) the newly established government did not waste time in calling upon recent refugees to return home and participate in the rebuilding of the country. The call to return went hand in hand with an assurance of bringing justice to the murderers and planners of the genocide. Those with no direct involvement in the slaughter had nothing to fear and therefore no reason to live in exile, but were being called home. The government knew that there were many innocent people who followed the killers into exile believing that the RPF would exact revenge for murdered Tutsis immediately after it reclaimed the country. (Page 113)

However, this did happen, as documents like the Gersony Report show. The Report said in part:

Local residents, including entire families, were called to community meetings, invited to receive information about “peace,” “security” or “food distribution” issues. Once a crowd had assembled, it was assaulted through sudden sustained gunfire; or locked in buildings into which hand-grenades were thrown; systematically killed with manual instruments; or killed in large numbers by other means. Large-scale killings which did not involve such “meetings” were also reported. House-to-house killings, and attacks on villages and displaced populations.

I have no evidence that Bishop Mbanda has ever spoken about these killings.

Mbanda describes the chaos of the post-genocide environment, where funds were diverted and mis-spent:

Relief and rehabilitation funds have been diverted to hire youth fighters from marketplaces to come and drag pastors from church pulpits, disrupting services and even beating individuals who resist. These thugs have pulled a bishop out of his chair, have cleared sanctuaries filled with worshipers and have overturned tables with communion elements. Pick-up trucks purchased from Christian organizations with church-donated funds have been seen transporting these young fighters to wherever a certain ‘self-imposed’ bishop was to be. (Page 129-130)

Mbanda calls on church leaders to monitor the Church-State relationship, so he should thank me for this blog! See below:

The Hebraic model of theocracy, which would link spiritual leaders with political power, failed to become reality in Rwanda, but made a significant impact on the political leadership. Church leaders in Africa, and elsewhere, have to be careful to avoid combining religious and political functions. Church and mission leaders must watch the relationship between church and state, as these can be dangerous for the Church. In Rwanda they have demonstrated patterns of manipulation within the Church, and the abuse of governmental relationships by the Church. (Page 138)

Mbanda’s summary of the pre-1994 Church rings just as true today when related to massive human rights abuses in Rwanda and the DRC:

The Rwandan church failed to challenge social injustices. It is sin to allow social injustice anywhere, especially in the Church; and yet there are places where Christian missions and churches have actually sought to justify the drawing of lines according to their view of the human race. The Rwandan genocide is a typical example of what can happen when we draw lines and view others as less than people made in God’s image. (Page 139)

To summarize, the Bishop’s book is disappointing. The very things he castigates the old Church for doing, he is now involved in himself. The players have changed, but the song is the same.


  1. These posts: one, two, three, four and five
  2. Mbanda’s take on the colonial past meshes with the RPF “victor’s narrative.” Jennifer Melvin describes this narrative in her article, “Correcting history: Mandatory education in Rwanda.” She says: “In its most general form, this remit seeks to create a single set of conclusions about Rwanda’s past, present, and future. his interpretation is informed by a singular narrative of Rwandan history referred to in this article as the ‘victor’s narrative’. The term ‘victor’ refers to the RPF’s role in creating and disseminating this particular version of events. Like the term ‘victor’s justice’ used by authors including Tiemessen (2004), Sarkin (2001), and Waldorf (2010) to describe RPF impunity at gacaca, the ‘victor’s narrative’ denies RPF involvement in human rights abuses and violations in Rwanda and DRC. These allegations include: limiting the freedom of speech, press, and association; silencing journalists and political opponents through politically motivated accusations of ‘divisionism’ and ‘genocide ideology’; and contributing to conlict in DRC, such as the M23 rebellion. The ‘victor’s narrative’ emphasises pre-colonial unity, the detriments of ethnic identities, and the beneits of RPF-led programming. In the context of education camps and school classrooms, this narrative functions to limit critical analysis, bolster political support, and denounce criticism of the RPF regime.” 

Notes

Hard and Honest Work: The 2014 ACNA Conclave

Former Archbishop Duncan characterized the 2014 Conclave to elect his successor as “hard and honest work” and a variety of other participants offered similar characterizations. The conclave ended with a unanimous vote electing Bishop Foley Beach as the second Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). Given this unanimity, what can we discern about what was “hard” about the “work” of electing Archbishop Beach? I collated several sources to look at the process that ACNA used and will probably continue to use to elect its Archbishops in the future.

The ACNA Conclave

Prelude to the Conclave

In the months leading up to the Conclave, the College of Bishops and their congregations committed to prayer and fasting for the election. They also met with Dr. Cynthia Waisner, a consultant with a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change, whose LinkedIn profile says her expertise includes “systemic approaches to change.” 1Dr. Waisner had been involved since at least 2013 in facilitating group unity amongst the College of Bishops. “Their meeting in Orlando this January was of great significance. Cynthia Waisner of Catalyst Consulting had a big role in preparing for and facilitating their time together…Bishop Eric Menees shared about the covenant the bishops made for their relationships with one another: 1) Honesty, avoiding triangulation, discuss matters directly and not indirectly. 2) Avoid pressuring one another and politicizing things. 3) Focus on the things that unite us and not the things that divide us. 4) Do not threaten to leave if we don’t get our way. 5) Give each other the benefit of the doubt and not try to read in motives or agendas. 6) Speak for ourselves and not for unnamed others. 7) All of this would be undergirded with regular prayer for one another. Bishop John and The Rev. Meg Guernsey established a prayer chain for the college of bishops. 8) Think about others and recognize that our actions affect other people in other jurisdictions. 9) Spend special time getting to know one another, especially those close to us geographically. 10) Practice humility – it’s not about building up individual dioceses but about building the Kingdom of God and the ACNA.”

In their January 2014 Communique, the College of Bishops described the process leading up to the Conclave:

Archbishop Duncan then graciously absented himself so we could pursue facilitated conversation with Dr. Cynthia Waisner, who again served as our consultant. Seeking to avoid a political process, the bishops committed to a covenant of behavior and a season of prayer as we move toward the bishops’ conclave in June. The College of Bishops will have regular days of prayer and fasting in the coming months, and then gather the week before the Provincial Assembly to discern in prayer the one whom God is calling as successor to Archbishop Duncan

Instructions for the Conclave

The Conclave followed certain instructions for its proceedings, instructions that I have not seen in writing anywhere. They are not enshrined in ACNA canons and do not seem to be available for public scrutiny as of this writing. However, enough has been said publicly that we can discern the main outlines of the rules.

Bishop Neil Lebhar wrote about the structure of the Conclave prior to its beginning, and he outlined following steps:

As we meet as bishops in conclave, our process contains essentially three stages.

First, we will pray and discuss where we think the Lord is leading us as a Church, and what the corresponding role of the archbishop should be based on that vision.

Second, we will nominate bishops whom we think are gifted to lead in that next direction. Any diocesan bishop is eligible according the canons. Those nominated will of course have the freedom to withdraw their names.

Third, we will go through a prayerful series of ballots until one is chosen by two-thirds of the bishops. There will be no campaigning or pressuring. We will not be free to share the details of the nominations or balloting, but instead will be fully committed to support whomever is finally chosen.

Note the “fully committed” phrase, as it explains the final unanimity of support for Archbishop Beach. It seems that the candidate needed the two-thirds vote, and then the assent of all the bishops to present a united front coming out of the Conclave. Bishop Wood confirms this impression: “The challenge of that is that the ballot has to be unanimous. The challenge of that is, they are sinners, I’m a sinner, and we all have our own agendas, and we all have our own issues.”

The process described by the bishops points to similarities with the Roman Catholic Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis (‘the Lord’s whole flock’), available here. For example, Archbishop Beach said, “We made a vow together before the Lord that we would be silent about our time in the Conclave.” Other bishops emphasized the commitment to silence about the proceedings. Bishop Ruch said, “…we made a pledge to each other that we would be confidential about all that occurred in what we called the Conclave…” 2From this video This is similar to: what Universi Dominici Gregis says:

I, N.N., promise and swear that, unless I should receive a special faculty given expressly by the newly- elected Pontiff or by his successors, I will observe absolute and perpetual secrecy with all who are not part of the College of Cardinal electors concerning all matters directly or indirectly related to the ballots cast and their scrutiny for the election of the Supreme Pontiff.

I likewise promise and swear to refrain from using any audio or video equipment capable of recording anything which takes place during the period of the election within Vatican City, and in particular anything which in any way, directly or indirectly, is related to the process of the election itself. I declare that I take this oath fully aware that an infraction thereof will make me subject to the spiritual and canonical penalties which the future Supreme Pontiff will see fit to adopt, in accordance with Canon 1399 of the Code of Canon Law.

So help me God and these Holy Gospels which I touch with my hand.

Universi Dominici Gregis also contains instructions for counting votes and burning ballots, called the “post-scrutiny.” I have seen no evidence of how this was handled by ACNA. Papal Conclaves require two-thirds votes for election. We know that no phones were supposed to be used during the sessions and we know the schedule that the bishops followed. Beyond this, I have not seen further details of the rule that they followed.

What Happened During the Conclave

While information on the actual proceedings is sparse, it is not totally lacking. The bishops roomed together, apparently two to a room. They ate together and spent the entirety of their days together. Bishop Steve Wood shared a room with Bishop Beach; Wood described the process:

Days began at seven in the morning and ended at 10:30 at night, we were locked in a crypt, under the Basilica of St. Vincent in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. We had our meals together, and the entire time was spent in prayer, and worship and in conversation.

He described the time to his parishioners: “It was rich. It was honest. We clearly saw the Spirit bring us to a profound unity.” Bishop Ruch described the time as, “unmanaged, carefully allowed freeing spiritual process in which we heard, I believe, from the Holy Spirit.” The schedule the bishops followed was:

DaySessionResult
19 JuneThursday nightPresentation only
20 JuneFriday morningNominating ballot
21 JuneSaturday morningNo decision
21 JuneSaturday afternoonNo decision
22 JuneSunday morningNo decision, or Beach reaches ⅔ here?
22 JuneSunday morningUnanimous decision for Foley Beach

On June 19th, the Thursday night session kicked the Conclave off with, “each of the bishops…given three minutes to share what was on their heart in regards to the church and their view of the direction and priorities for the next phase of our life together.” 3From Bishop Atwood’s comments can be found here. Archbishop Duncan said, “Every single bishop talked and said what he felt the challenges before the church were and the kind of person we need.”

The nominating ballot came on Friday morning, the 20th. Each bishop was allowed to nominate a candidate. I believe they were limited to one nomination per bishop, and the nominees were allowed to withdraw their names from consideration.

The nominating ballot came on Friday morning, the 20th. Each bishop was allowed to nominate a candidate. I believe they were limited to one nomination per bishop, and the nominees were allowed to withdraw their names from consideration. We do not have anything like a session-by-session, ballot-by-ballot breakdown of what occurred, but in general, we know that there was prayer, Scripture reading, and bishops sharing “words from the Lord.” Bishop Bill Atwood writes:

There was a lot of time for worship and prayer, with Scripture being both read and acclaimed as authoritative. There was also time for bishops to share their sense of “words from the Lord,” as distinguished from personal points of view for which there was also ample time to share. Each time someone spoke, there was time for weighing the words that had been given, seeking to honor not only our thoughts and decisions, but also to listen to what God was saying. Naturally, this is something which must be weighed very carefully and measured against Scripture, but the fact that God’s voice and guidance is taken seriously is a great encouragement.

Much of the time was spent articulating different senses of direction for the future of the church, and then resulted in an agreement of what was needed for the present. The process led to prayers of repentance and acts of reconciliation, prayers, brotherly hugs, and even tears. As relationships were strengthened, agreement on what next steps to take and how to engage challenges emerged. In many ways, this was a time of “being the church” and “doing the work of the church.” As trust increased consensus more readily grew, ultimately resulting in enthusiastic and unanimous selection of the new Archbishop.

Bishop Bill Murdoch tells us that a bishop said: “that unity in the church is more often a fruit of faithful prayer and work and living, rather than a destination imagined by the people of God.” 4Murdoch’s comments can be found here.

Archbishop Duncan provided another glimpse into what was said:

It was stirring at the conclave to hear about bishops and their wives who were giving 20% of their income to the work of God.

5Former Archbishop Duncan’s comment is from here.

At some point in the Conclave I am told that Bishop Ray Sutton was almost selected, he is said to have had the numbers required, which I assume means a 2/3 vote. However, there was a strong voice of opposition to his election and the bishops went back to work to find a candidate more suitable to the whole body. While I could speculate on the factions that may have opposed Bishop Sutton and the reasons why, I have no hard evidence on this, but we do know that women’s ordination was a bone of contention.

The fruit of getting back to work was the selection of Bishop Foley Beach. This means that Beach was acceptable to all the camps within the College, rather than simply two-thirds. Remember that a unanimous vote was mandated after the two-thirds line was crossed. It was not enough to simply get to two-thirds.

Bishop Lebhars’s wife, Marcia Lebhar, wrote:

The election. It was undoubtedly arduous and took every minute allowed for it. But all the bishops describe the process as open, transparent, loving. Along the way there must have been discussion over places of disagreement, but disagreement, if handled with the Holy Spirit, builds fellowship rather than destroys it. That was the testimony of the bishops.

I believe that women’s ordination and the near victory of Bishop Sutton explain the many comments about difficulty in the Conclave. Bishop Stewart Ruch said:

…what occurred in that time was real conversation, real tensions real joys, deep prayer, times of spontaneous worship, sharing our hearts one with another. Every one of the 51 bishops who are active and able to make the election for a new Archbishop shared about their heart, their passion for the next five years of the Anglican Church in North America;

Archbishop Duncan himself characterized the Conclave’s conversation as intense: “Over the course of three days of intense conversation and sometimes vigorous fellowship…”

Disputes over Women’s Ordination

George Conger broke the news that women’s ordination generated the most difficulty during the Conclave:

Sources tell Anglican Ink the issue that generated the most vigorous fellowship was the question of women’s orders, with the bishops unable to rally round a common view. The theological issues surrounding women clergy were coupled with fears that behaviors exhibited in the Episcopal Church in its debates were being repeated within the ACNA.

And after the election of Archbishop Beach, Anglo-Catholic bishops emphasized Beach’s position on Holy Orders. In a letter to the Missionary Diocese of All Saints, Bishops Ilgenfritz and Lipka wrote: 6The letter is located here.

The Archbishop-Elect upholds the orthodox position on Holy Orders. He believes the Christian ministerial episcopate and presbyterate are reserved to males.

Archbishop-Elect Beach embraces the Anglican catholic tradition within the ACNA and is supportive of upholding catholic faith and order of the undivided church.

Writing to Forward in Faith North America, Bishop Iker also emphasized women’s ordination:

I am delighted with the selection of Bishop Foley Beach to serve as the next Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America. He is of the same mind as we are on the question of women in holy orders, and he shares our appreciation of the rich catholic tradition of Anglicanism. At the same time, he has close connections with evangelicals and charismatics and is highly regarded by them.

The ability of Archbishop Beach to appeal to Anglo-Catholics, “evangelicals and charismatics” was likely what enabled the college to reach unanimity on his candidacy. Bishop Ruch also spoke to an evangelical, Catholic and charismatic components in Foley Beach:

I have great confidence in Archbishop Foley. I’ve had a chance to build a personal friendship with him and prayer relationship with him over the last year, and so I know his evangelical heart, I know that he’s a deep churchman that loves Mother Church. He’s a man who moves and works and lives in the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

A tentative tally of the voting bishops by their position on women’s ordination yields 32 against and 17 for. These numbers may not account for some factors; for example, I do not know if Archbishop Duncan voted or not, and I am guessing about a few bishops based on their affiliation (i.e. PEAR USA bishops as “against”). The bloc of votes against women’s ordination should be enough to put any candidate over the top, but if unanimity is required, this means the winner cannot be strident in wanting to reverse course on the issue.

The selection of Archbishop Beach produced a wave of unanimity in the bishops who have spoken. Bishop Atwood tells us that:

On Sunday afternoon the bishops’ shout of acclamation rose from the crypt under the Basilica and was heard by those nearby as they reached their decision.

Bishop Murdoch said:

The hard work of this process was one of the deepest places of the work of God by his Holy Spirit that I have had the privilege to go. To do this along with the 51 other bishops present during the conclave was truly extraordinary. The acclamation and thrill of the final vote for our new Archbishop, Foley Beach, is a moment I will carry in my heart forever.

Marcia Lebhar said, “They made a unanimous decision and Neil says he is “thrilled” that Foley Beach is to be our new archbishop.” Bishop Ruch also emphasized the spirit of unity:

we truly bonded as a college, we went from being a group of men with different concerns representing different constituencies to a collegial band of apostolic leaders who are called to do the work the Gospel in our generation. By the end of that time it became unanimously clear that God had selected Bishop, now Archbishop Foley Beach to lead us for the next five years in his five-year term as a leader.

The process was described as exhausting by most of the bishops who commented publicly. Bishop Lyons said that by the end of the Conclave, “We were all fried.”

Reactions to Archbishop Beach

The public reactions were (of course) unanimously positive, ranging from GAFCON to the American Anglican Council, and from Bishop Lebhar to the leaders of Forward in Faith. Marsha Lebhar said, “Foley and Neil are also good friends and often confer on ACNA matters. Neil says of Foley that “he seeks counsel.” We have real confidence in his wisdom and leadership.”

Bishop Ruch sees God’s favor ahead for ACNA:

When I walked out, a day after the election to the Basilica which is the main worship space, and building at the Arch Abbey, to my amazement, I saw the most beautiful, richly colored, expansive rainbow I have ever seen. It literally stretched from one side of the mountain ridge the surrounds Latrobe Pennsylvania to the side over the Basilica. When I looked twice, I saw that actually there was a double rainbow underneath, so that there were two rainbows there. I think that was a supernatural gift from God shown to us there for all of us in the Anglican Church of North America to remind us of God’s promise the days of difficulty and destruction have in so many ways passed as God proved after the Flood, and that days of promise are ahead.

2024

Will ACNA use this same process to select the next Archbishop? I expect that they will. Given the public praise that the bishops have heaped on this process, it makes sense that they will repeat it when the next generation of bishops picks a third Archbishop. Perhaps other bishops have reservations about how this all occurred, but if so, we haven’t heard from them yet.

Notes

  • 1
    Dr. Waisner had been involved since at least 2013 in facilitating group unity amongst the College of Bishops. “Their meeting in Orlando this January was of great significance. Cynthia Waisner of Catalyst Consulting had a big role in preparing for and facilitating their time together…Bishop Eric Menees shared about the covenant the bishops made for their relationships with one another: 1) Honesty, avoiding triangulation, discuss matters directly and not indirectly. 2) Avoid pressuring one another and politicizing things. 3) Focus on the things that unite us and not the things that divide us. 4) Do not threaten to leave if we don’t get our way. 5) Give each other the benefit of the doubt and not try to read in motives or agendas. 6) Speak for ourselves and not for unnamed others. 7) All of this would be undergirded with regular prayer for one another. Bishop John and The Rev. Meg Guernsey established a prayer chain for the college of bishops. 8) Think about others and recognize that our actions affect other people in other jurisdictions. 9) Spend special time getting to know one another, especially those close to us geographically. 10) Practice humility – it’s not about building up individual dioceses but about building the Kingdom of God and the ACNA.”
  • 2
  • 3
    From Bishop Atwood’s comments can be found here.
  • 4
    Murdoch’s comments can be found here.
  • 5
    Former Archbishop Duncan’s comment is from here.
  • 6
    The letter is located here.

Hirohito’s Religion

David Bergamini writes:

The dream of the ancestors to rule theocratically and keep Japan sacred for the sun goddess remained unfulfilled. Hirohito had reservations about the dream. It was too insular, too mystical and unscientific. Because of his training in geography and economics, Hirohito could not think of Japan in isolation but only as a part – the leading part – of Asia. Because of his scientific training he could not accept the legend of the sun goddess at face value. He was a devout Shinto priest and believed in the ghosts of his ancestors, but not in a simple superstitious way like most of his countrymen. He would eventually rationalize his creed by grafting onto it the semi-scientific spiritualism of such Western thinkers as the astrophysicist Sir James Jeans and the physiologist J.S. Haldane. Hirohito believed that the spirits were always present and even available for consultation, but only as psychic wave forms permeating the ether. He doubted that they could provide physical assistance to men in battle, as many Japanese believed.

The Intercession of Icons

Icon of St. Glykeria
Icon of St. Glykeria

In her book The Formation of Christendom, Judith Herrin writes:

It was in their role as intercessors between man and God that the icons commanded particular devotion. Numerous legends of women, whose inability to conceive a child (or sometimes, more particularly, a son) was removed by prayers directed to icons, reflect an anxiety common to many medieval societies. St. Glykeria, the patron of Herakleia, promised a child to the parents of St. Elizabeth through the medium of her icon; Elizabeth was in due course dedicated to here in front of the same image. Similarly, a childless couple was blessed by the Virgin’s icon at Sozopolis, and the mother of St. Stephen had her longing for a son satisfied at the Blachernae shrine in Constantinople. For the cure of disease rather than infertility, the medical saints, Cosmas and Damian, Artemios, Gebronia, and others, were frequently invoked and their icons consulted. Incubation for one or more nights in their shrines—the pagan custom of sleeping close to the god—was rewarded by nocturnal visits of the saints (again, recognisable in features familiar from their images) and finally by cures. The oil burning in lamps suspended in front of icons also had curative power, as did the miraculous effluents that emerged from the Sozopolis icon or the relics of St. Euphemia in Chalcedon. Icons were also appreciated for their power to move: in the early seventh century, Patriarch Sophronios wrote down the ancient legend of St. Mary the Egyptian, who was allegedly converted by a picture of the Virgin preserved at Jerusalem in his time.

Icons and Paganism

Thomas F. Mathews says that Christian icons “…grew out of a strong tradition of pagan panel paintings of the ancient gods…” (p. 179) Mathews points to some glaring examples of this transfer from paganism to eastern Christianity.

…a fresco painted directly on a house wall in Karanis to serve as a permanent icon shows the enthroned Isis nursing Harpocrates. The enthroned Mother of God with the Christ Child in her lap is one of the most popular of all Christian icon types, and three early examples are known. The Sinai icon transforms the wood throne of Isis into a massive golden throne with a high cushion, and it copies the engaging gaze of both mother and child. Out of modesty, however, it refrains from showing the naked breasts of the goddess. (p. 182)

The Icon of Isis and
The Icon of Isis and Harpocrates
WP_20140719_15_34_01_Pro
Icon of Mary and Jesus from St. Catherine’s, 7th Century

The second example cited by Mathews is that of Jesus, which has influenced our image of him down to the present day.

Icons of Christ himself also offer a remarkable demonstration of the authority of pagan sacred images. Among the sixth-century icons at Sinai, three very different types of Christ’s face can be observed: a young-man type with a rather triangular head, short hair reaching only to the ears and a short beard; an old-man type with long white hair and pointed beard; and the Blessing Christ, commonly called the Pantocrator type, first witnessed in the famous Sinai icon. It is this last type, adapted in coinage and monumental mosaics, that eventually came to predominate, determining our notion of the savior down to modern times. Here a Christ with broad forehead and heavy neck wears a great mass of dark hair and a full but fairly short beard. The potency of this type had nothing to do with its portrait accuracy; it was more potent because of its divine pagan associations with the father of the gods.

In Antiquity, the Jupiter facial type was adopted by a number of the most potent male gods, including Neptune, Asclepius, Serapis, and Suchos. The Getty Museum panel of Serapis illustrates this borrowing. Especially cultivated in Alexandria, where his Serapeum was one of the greatest shrines of the ancient world, Serapis united in himself the underworld powers of Osiris with the healing powers of Asclepius. His head is given the broad bow and copious hair of Jupiter; he wears a wreath of laurel and balances a modius or grain measure, on his head. […]

Similarly, Christians were conscious of the connection of some of their images of Christ with Jupiter, and they saw this as a danger. In the time of Bishop Gennadius of Constantinople (458—71) “a painter who dared to paint the Savior in the likeness of Zeus” found his hand withered. The bishop healed him and instructed him that “the other form of Christ, that is the one with short, frizzy hair, is the more authentic.” Historically, Gennadius was probably closer to the truth as far as first century hair styles were concerned, but the Jupiter type came to win out because it was the more forceful. Christ stole the look of the gods with whom he was in competition (pages 183—186).

serapis
Serapis, from the J. Paul Getty Museum, circa A.D. 100
pantocrator
Christ Pantocrator icon, St. Catherines Monastery, Sinai

Bishop Ruch Describes Tension and Unity at ACNA Conclave

Bishop R
Bishop Stewart Ruch

In a new video to his Diocese, Bishop Stewart Ruch describes his excitement at the bonding experienced last week in the ACNA Conclave:

Brothers and Sisters of the Upper Midwest, I want to give you a brief report on what I just experienced at our Provincial Assembly and Convocation over the course of the last two weeks. When we gathered as bishops to make the election of our new Archbishop, we made a pledge to each other the we would be confidential about all that occurred in what we called the Conclave, this time for electing a new Archbishop. I’m glad we made that pledge, it was important to keep secrecy, but it’s also killing me because I am dying to tell you the story of what happened in those three days as we gather at the Arch Abbey of St. Vincent in Latrobe Pennsylvania.

It is truly one of the great stories of the last 25 years of the new work God is doing in North American Anglicanism and in American Anglicanism. Suffice to say, what occurred in that time was real conversation, real tensions real joys, deep prayer, times of spontaneous worship, sharing our hearts one with another. Every one of the 51 bishops who are active and able to make the election for a new Archbishop shared about their heart, their passion for the next five years of the Anglican Church in North America; we truly bonded as a college, we went from being a group of men with different concerns representing different constituencies to a collegial band of apostolic leaders who are called to do the work the Gospel in our generation. By the end of that time it became unanimously clear that God had selected Bishop, now Archbishop Foley Beach to lead us for the next five years in his five-year term as a leader.

I have great confidence in Archbishop Foley. I’ve had a chance to build a personal friendship with him and prayer relationship with him over the last year, and so I know his evangelical heart, I know that he’s a deep churchman that loves Mother Church. He’s a man who moves and works and lives in the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit. But while I have confidence in Archbishop Foley, I have a greater confidence in the way in which he was chosen, which is truly an unmanaged, carefully allowed freeing spiritual process in which we heard, I believe, from the Holy Spirit, who is the man to lead the Anglican Church of North America.

This conference, this Conclave was the most important moment for us in the ACNA, even more important than our founding five years ago in Bedford Texas in 2009, because it was a precarious moment where one generation of leaders, if you will the Moses generation, handed off to the next generation of leaders, Foley Beach has been called our Joshua generation leader. Succession is always a vulnerable time in the life of an organization and a time for incredible opportunity and growth. We in the ACNA by God’s grace have captured this moment as a positive, profound moment, to continue to grow. Succession has occurred, and it’s occurred with great blessing from Archbishop Duncan into the hands of Archbishop Foley.

CANA

When I walked out, a day after the election to the Basilica which is the main worship space, and building at the Arch Abbey, to my amazement, I saw the most beautiful, richly colored, expansive rainbow I have ever seen. It literally stretched from one side of the mountain ridge the surrounds Latrobe Pennsylvania to the side over the Basilica. When I looked twice, I saw that actually there was a double rainbow underneath, so that there were two rainbows there. I think that was a supernatural gift from God shown to us there for all of us in the Anglican Church of North America to remind us of God’s promise the the days of difficulty and destruction have in so many ways passed as God proved after the Flood, and that days of promise are ahead. There will be challenging days for us in the ACNA, we will do the hard work of the Gospel in which our main purpose is to reach the lost and love and ennoble the poor, but we will do it in the presence and the power of God.

Rainbow

In my 20-plus years of being a part of American Anglicanism, I have never been so encouraged I just had to send you this video, to share with you this encouragement.