Dr. Cantrell Again

Dr. Phillip Cantrell commented on my post on RPF massacres below, and I thought it was worth elevating his comment to a post of its own given the seriousness of these issues for ACNA and GAFCON, so here is what he said:

Hello again Joel, and any readers. This is in response to this and your two previous posts from/abt Ryentjens. As a historian of Rwanda and the region, I would say Ryentjens is a major voice in Rwandan studies. For the record, he is more of a political scientist than a historian. He is also, or at least last time I checked, a jurist in Belgium; that is, our equivalent of a Belgian senator. As such, he used to have high-level, credible access to information in Rwanda. He still does, but he has been banned from Rwanda now b/c of his criticisms of Kagame and the RPF (obvious enough perhaps from your posts). He knows he would probably be detained and deported if he tried to enter the country now, which is true of other prominent historians, critics and observers of the country. I have read many of his writings and used them in my own publications. He is regarded by the community of Rwanda scholars as spot-on, accurate and fair; fair that is in his approach to the Hutu/Tutsi question and the issue of culpability in regards to the genocide and RPF attrocities since.

Tying into his comments abt Kagame and the allegations about RPF atrocities and killings since the genocide, these are really no longer in question, however much it may disturb some of the readers of this blog who, like many, including myself once, desperately wanted to believe in the “new Rwanda.” Kagame and the RPF, whatever their intentions may have been when they invaded from Uganda in 1991, did in fact play a role in bringing on the genocide, even as they fought to end it when no one else in the international community, including the U.S./U.N., did not. And they have run an increasingly despotic regime since.

It’s tragically ironic that I write these comments on the very day that the activist politician Victorie Ingabire was sentenced to 8 years in prison in Rwanda for alleged crimes of “speech” after a decidedly unfair trial by any Western standards, and even that assumes that its fair and just to imprison someone for non-violent political opposition. To the readers of this post: what would we say if George W. Bush had imprisoned Al Gore for 8 years for “vocal opposition” or if President Obama had imprisoned Newt Gingrich? Get the picture?

The only remaining, valid question it seems for the readers of this post, and the former AMiA, is to what extent is the Anglican Church in Rwanda complicit in all this, either thru its support or willing silence in Kagame and the RPF’s actions? Does it not behoove us and the Christian community to find out? Is it a just use of our “aid dollars” to inadvertently support such a state in Rwanda? At a time when the evidence is mounting of Rwanda’s support for the M23 rebels? The chickens are coming home to roost for Rwanda and the RPF. The “you owe us your silence b/c of your genocidal guilt” mantra is wearing out. The truth will come out. But even worse, the retribution will flow one day, and retribution in Africa usually, sadly, flows red.

Its not an easy position to be in and I do not envy the decision-makers in the former AMiA. Its not natural for us. As Ryentjens said once its hard for Americans to comprehend African conflicts b/c everything in American history is cast as the “good guys versus the bad guys” so find the bad guys and call the rangers. But, Ryentjans said, in African conflicts its always the “bad guys versus the bad guys” and that makes decision-making difficult. Lastly, I will say this, Ryentjens is a Belgian politician and the Belgians carry alot of guilt. I note that he suggested, from your posts, the problems began in 1959/60. Not really. The problems began even earlier when the country became racialized into Hutus and Tutsis. And the Belgians bear much responsibility for that, but not all of it. Some of it lies at the foot of the Rwandans. But they are not as willing as the Belgians, Ryentjens not withstanding, to admit it. I’m Phil Cantrell (cantrellpa@longwood.edu) and, unlike the RPF, I welcome comments, criticisms and dialogue.

Playing an Away Game

Ties to the African Anglican churches have by and large been positive for American Anglicans. Their orthodoxy, fervency for Jesus, and love of Scripture have been a glass of water in a thirsty land of apostasy.

With that in mind, it seems to me that we are aligning ourselves with political situations we have little to no idea about. We are playing an away game and we don’t know many of the players on our team or the opposing team. George Conger’s recent article on the possible involvement of Emmanuel Kolini with M23 in the Congo is one example. The UN report that Conger mentions says:

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 (sic – should read Kolini), 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.

I would by lying if I said I knew anything about “M23” before reading this. However, a Google search turns up some interesting things about the group, including pictures like this:

 

Then there is an article by Stephen W. Smith called Rwanda in Six Scenes. It was published in a leftist magazine, but that doesn’t necessarily detract from its essential veracity. It should be read by all with an interest in the subject, and it says in part:

Rwanda, as a recent document has it,

is a one-party authoritarian state, controlled by President Kagame through a small clique of Tutsi military officers and civilian cadres of the RPF from behind the scenes. The majority Hutu community remains excluded from a meaningful share of political power. State institutions are as effective as they are repressive. The government relies on severe repression to maintain its hold on power … Rwanda is less free today than it was prior to the genocide. There is less room for political participation than there was in 1994. Civil society is less free and effective. The media is less free. The Rwanda government is more repressive than the one that it overthrew.

This is not the preamble to a new Hutu manifesto but an excerpt from the ‘Rwanda Briefing’ published last year by four senior figures in the Kagame regime who’ve now fled abroad: the former secretary general of the RPF Theogene Rudasingwa; his brother Gerald Gahima, one-time prosecutor general and vice-president of the Rwandan Supreme Court; the erstwhile chief of external security services Colonel Patrick Karegeya; and General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, the ex-chief of staff of the Rwandan army. Nyamwasa survived an attempt on his life last June, when a commando opened fire on him in Johannesburg, where he now lives in exile. The South African authorities laid the blame with the government in Kigali.

Conger’s article goes on to say:

Direct assistance in the creation of M23 through the transport of weapons and soldiers through Rwandan territory; Recruitment of Rwandan youth and demobilized ex-combatants as well as Congolese refugees for M23; Provision of weapons and ammunition to M23; Mobilization and lobbying of Congolese political and financial leaders for the benefit of M23; Direct Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) interventions into Congolese territory to reinforce M23; Support to several other armed groups as well as Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC) mutinies in the eastern Congo; Violation of the assets freeze and travel ban through supporting sanctioned individuals.”

The Group of Experts stated two Anglican bishops had convened a meeting organized by the Rwandan Defence Forces for leaders of the CNDP – the Congrès national pour la défense du peuple, CNDP  is a political armed militia established by Laurent Nkunda in the Kivu region in 2006 that under the terms of the recent peace accord is to be integrated into the Congolese army.  The Group of Experts further identified the two bishops as “senior members” of Rwanda’s ruling government party.

Conger also contacted Archbishop Rwaje, who said:

Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje said: “We were not aware of the UN report or any involvement of our retired Bishops as contained in the report. PEAR is in the Proclamation of the Gospel and not in politics between two countries or simply put in politics. We are not able to comment on the report or the names therein.”

Finally, there is a document written by Phillip Cantrell called “The Anglican Church of Rwanda : domestic agendas and international linkages.” It was written in 2007, and it gives a good accounting of the AMiA / PEAR (called PEER in this document) relationship to that point. I can’t do justice to the entire thing, you should read it, but it says in conclusion:

As to Rwanda’s church leaders, specifically PEER, their close association with and support of the RPF, dating back to their own origins in Uganda, have made them a politicised church along the same lines as the Catholic and Protestant Churches under both Kayibanda and Habyarimana. They support the post-genocide narrative offered by the RPF, and have been enlisted in the campaign to re-write Rwanda’s history. While their efforts to promote reconciliation have brought many resources and much attention to the country, and while they may be utterly genuine in their own efforts, they have become complicit in presenting the RPF’s version of Rwanda’s history and politics. As a result, to paraphrase Pottier (2002), AMIA has joined the ranks of numerous groups in the ‘aid industry’ that prefer to accept the authorities’ easy reading of a highly complex situation, and have actively reproduced and spread, wittingly or unwittingly, a vision of Rwanda that bears the RPF’s seal of approval. Forgotten is Lemarchand’s (1998) warning that ‘there can be no reconciliation without justice and no justice without truth’.

Many of these sources point to former Archbishop Kolini’s connections, which I believe came to fruition with the AMiA – Congo tie up this year. If the UN report is correct, Kolini is multitasking while in the Congo and is keeping very busy. It would be interesting to map the territory of the “4 dioceses…committed to being partners through Concordat” mentioned by Kevin Donlon, and presumably in the Congo, with Kolini’s activity.

But the bottom line here is: we don’t know. I don’t know anything about M23, the CNDP or anything else in the Congo or Rwanda, and I bet you don’t either. Most of you anyway. But when we ally ourselves with these churches, we risk being drawn into a whole web of connections that we are unaware of. I don’t know what the answer is to the questions posed by these connections, but I think we should start thinking through them.

HONA merges with ADGL

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

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

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

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

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

PEARUSA Celebration Assembly

Reports are emerging from the PEARUSA Assembly in Raleigh. The Rev. Don Schulze writes:

In a brief ceremony Archbishop Rwaje, Bishop Laurent Mbanda, and Bishop Gasatura formally installed Rev. Steve Breedlove as the "Presider Pro-Tem" of the new Missionary District. A "Missionary Council Pro-Tem" will replace the "steering committee" that has served so well for the last five months. They were also "sworn in" by the Rwandan Bishops.
The Rev. Clark Lowenfield and Rev. Alan Hawkins who played critical roles in getting PEARUSA to this point will not be serving on the provisional missionary council. Lowenfield will take up duties as Vicar of the new Diocese of the Gulf West Coast for ACNA and will be an ACNA clergyman. The Rev. Alan Hawkins will remain as a PEARUSA clergy and rector of his church in Greensboro, NC but will take on additional responsibilities as Vicar of the Anglican 1000 church planting initiative.
It was formally announced that Bishop Terrell Glenn would remain a Bishop in Rwanda. He will not serve in an active role for some time as he takes a much-deserved sabbatical and seeks God’s direction for the future.
Bishop Thad Barnum will not serve on the Missionary Council Pro-Tem in an active role. He was appointed by Rwaje to serve as counselor, advisor, and pastor to Rev. Steve Breedlove as he leads that working group until October.
Another major PEARUSA gathering, an Inaugural Assembly, will be held in October at a place and date to be announced. At that time the Provisional Missionary Council will have done their work of finalizing structures, documents, offices, and regional responsibilities and relationships for the new organization. At that meeting the official episcopal structure of the new PEARUSA Missionary District will be announced. This will entail consecrating new bishops and formally establishing regional oversight.

Read the rest here.

Icons and Anglicanism

In light of the recent appearance of Metropolitan Jonah at the ACNA Assembly, it may be worth re-posting this paper, "Images in the Church of England." One of the primary ideas recovered during the Reformation was to reject idolatry, something that is often ignored today. The paper quotes John Donne, who wrote:

God, we see, was the first that made images, and he was the first that forbade them. He made them for imitation; He forbade in danger of adoration. For – qualis dementiae est id colere, quod melius est – what a drowsiness, what a laziness, what a cowardliness of the soul is it, to worship that which does but represent a better thing than itself. Worship belongs to the best. Know thou thy distance and thy period, how far to go and where to stop. Dishonor not God by an image in worshiping it, and yet benefit thyself in following it. There is no more danger out of a picture than out of a history, if thou intend no more in either than example.

Further, Archbishop Wake wrote:

Were the benefits of images never so great, yet you know this is neither that which we dispute with you, nor for which they are set up in your churches. Your Trent Synod expressly defines that due veneration is to be paid to them. Your catechism says that they are to be had not only for instruction but for worship. And this is the point in controversy betwixt us. We retain pictures, and sometimes even images too in our churches for ornament, and (if there be such uses to be made of them) for all the other benefits you have now been mentioning. Only we deny that any service is to be paid to them; or any solemn prayers to be made at their consecration, for any divine virtues, or indeed for any virtues at all, to proceed from them.

This is the historic position of the Anglican Communion: images are good, but they are not to be "venerated" or prayed to / through. In light of I John 5.21, the leadership of ACNA should reconsider rushing into dialog with the Orthodox. We can be co-belligerents on issues of morality in our nation, but we must not unite with them in areas where the Reformation reclaimed Scriptural truths.

ACNA and the LCMS

Today, ACNA released a document called “Anglican Church in North America and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Dialogue—Report on the Discussions (2010-2012).” It is encouraging to see that the LCMS is holding ACNA’s feet to the fire on women’s ordination:

Disagreement exists among Anglicans about the propriety of ordaining women to the pastoral (presbyteral) office, while the LCMS opposes this practice.

LCMS/LCC representatives have discerned agreement with the majority in ACNA in regards to this issue. Although presbyteral ordination for women occurs in ACNA, a majority of ACNA bishops reserve presbyteral ordination only for men.

This “majority” position needs to become the only position within ACNA.

Rwaje, Muvunyi and Kolini Speak Against Abortion

Articles here and here describe how the bishops and retired Archbishop spoke out against any legalization of abortion in Rwanda. Excerpts:

Article 165 of the draft Penal Code, which was approved last week by the Chamber of Deputies and promptly forwarded to the Senate for further scrutiny, criminalises abortion but outlines four exceptional cases under which it may be permitted by a court of law.

The article stipulates that there is no criminal liability for a woman who causes her own abortion and a medical doctor who helps a woman to abort provided that any of the following conditions are met. They are; in case of pregnancy as a result of incest, rape, forced marriage, and/or when the continuation of a pregnancy seriously jeopardises the health of the unborn baby or the pregnant woman.

But Rwaje insisted that, rather than accepting abortion under those conditions, measures should be taken to address the four highlighted causes “since they are the problem and not abortion”.

He argued that some people were also born as a result of terrible circumstances, like rape, forced marriages or incest, among others, but have gone on to become useful citizens to the nation.

Retired Anglican Archbishop, Most Reverend Emmanuel Kolini, said abortion was wrong, adding that pouring innocent blood brings terrible conditions on a nation.

He, however, couldn’t commit himself regarding clause four of Article 165, which permits abortion to save a life.

Asked his position in case a woman who has been advised by medical personnel to abort due to the fact that the health of mother/baby was at great risk if they continued with the pregnancy, Kolini said the decision should be between the two parents.

“The decision should be made by the two parents of the child and a medical doctor. If they are uncertain about the decision, they should ask for God’s help,” he said.

Asked the same question, Archbishop Rwaje couldn’t also commit himself on whether he would advise a woman in that situation to terminate the pregnancy or not, only insisting that abortion is wrong.

Bishop Mbonyitege, however, stuck to his guns, saying “abortion is killing and therefore wrong”.

Archbishop Rwaje warned that secularism was knocking at the door of the country, so Rwandans should be very careful not to let it in.

Anglican bishop, Louis Muvunyi, of Kigali Diocese, Rwanda is down the same lane the US took when it started legalising abortion “bit-by-bit.”

PEAR USA Inaugural General Assembly and Other News

The Rwandan House of Bishops just issued another letter. The upshot of it is:

  • AMiA clergy have more time than AMiA bishops to make a decision about where they are headed. The bishops must decide within weeks (meaning April), while the clergy have until August to decide.
  • An Inaugural General Assembly for PEAR USA clergy and laity will occur in August, at which time the charter for the Missionary District will be ratified.
  • PEAR is working with ACNA to establish how the new Missionary District will function within ACNA.

Here is the text:

April 10, 2012

Kigali, Rwanda

To the Clergy of Rwanda serving the work of the Gospel in North America: Greetings in the Name of the Lord Jesus, the Risen Christ and the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

We write to clarify some important questions that remain after our March 29 Resolution and April 2 Communiqué.

As a result of our March 29 Resolution, a Missionary District of PEAR in North America has been established. We are currently working with members of the PEAR‐USA Steering Team to create a temporary Charter for Ministry which will define the mission and structure of the Missionary District. Once we have approved the recommended Charter we will make it available to you. This Charter will be ratified through a proper process at an Inaugural General Assembly (of laity, clergy, and bishops) for the Missionary District which we hope to host in early August.

Members of the PEAR House of Bishops are also working with leaders from ACNA that Archbishop Robert Duncan has appointed and members of the PEAR‐USA Steering Team in the hope of establishing protocols that will govern the Missionary District as a sub‐ jurisdiction of the ACNA.

It is our clear intention that the Missionary District will be the only option for clergy and churches in North America wishing stay canonically resident in PEAR. As the details of the Charter for Ministry and the sub‐jurisdictional protocols become clear, we hope that all North American clergy resident in PEAR, along with their churches, will eventually join the Missionary District. A process of formal affiliation with the Missionary District will be described in the Charter. Until the Charter is approved, any North American clergy resident in PEAR can affiliate with the Missionary District by a simple declaration of desire and intent. (This declaration should be communicated in writing to the PEARUSA office. They will pass on further instruction for affiliation and participation for both clergy and churches.)

However, we understand that some clergy currently resident and in good standing in PEAR have chosen, with their churches, to begin the process of transferring to dioceses within the ACNA or other Anglican jurisdictions. Bishop Terrell Glenn is coordinating these requests for letters dimissory on my behalf. This process should continue as needed, and we are fully supportive of those moving directly into the ACNA and other Anglican jurisdictions.

We also understand that some clergy and churches may choose to remain affiliated with the Anglican Mission in the Americas. They are free to do so. Again, we will supply those clergy with letters dimissory to another Anglican jurisdiction upon request.

As per our April 2 communiqué, the bishops of the Anglican Mission who resigned in December have been asked to declare the ecclesiastical jurisdiction to which they wish to be translated within the next few weeks. However, we understand that clergy and churches require additional time to make this decision. Therefore, all PEAR clergy in North America must make a clear decision about either affiliating with the Missionary District or transferring directly to the ACNA or another Anglican jurisdiction by August

31, 2012.

In summary, as you come to understand God’s direction for you, please send all requests in writing:

• For those who desire letters dimissory to be sent to a diocese in the ACNA or any other Anglican jurisdiction, to Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, c/o Bishop Terrell____

• For affiliation with the PEAR Missionary District, to Archbishop Onesphore

Rwaje, c/o the PEARUSA ___

It is important that you are aware of one additional deadline: We anticipate the Inaugural General Assembly for the Missionary District to take place in early August. The proposed deadline for submitting lay and clergy delegates, which will be explained in the Charter, will be no later than thirty days prior to the General Assembly. Clergy and churches that have not decided to affiliate with the Missionary District at least thirty days prior to the General Assembly will be welcome to attend, but they will not have voice and vote.

We trust that this answers important questions and clarifies the possible directions that lie ahead for you.

You are beloved in the Lord! You remain the focus of our prayers. May God grant you his

Spirit in full measure as you continue to proclaim the Gospel of the Risen Lord! Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje and the House of Bishops of PEAR