From Nairobi to Johannesburg

The new communique from GAFCON on reconciliation between AMiA and PEAR is probably the end of the road for this chapter of the saga. This latest communique does not seem to agree with many points from the earlier Nairobi communique, for instance:

  • AMiA agreed that they remain canonically under the Church of Rwanda and accept the doctrine of forgiveness.
  • AMiA agreed to continue to work with the Church of Rwanda and that other plans for restructuring will be put on hold for six [6] months to allow time for healing and for other fruitful discussions.

The latest communique says instead that “we have done the best within our human efforts to fulfill the recommendations of the Nairobi Meeting”. I haven’t seen AMiA putting their plans on hold for six months, so I interpret this to mean that Rwanda is graciously allowing them to go their way.

This again points to a problem for Anglicanism that is at least as old as Bishop Pike and his heresy trial, if not much older, and that is that there is a real failure of church discipline. Renegades can get away with pretty much whatever they want, and that is not in accord with what we see in the Scriptures. Although GAFCON is a new development, it is in for a lot of trouble if it maintains the laissez-faire approach to church discipline that it inherited from Canterbury.

It remains to be seen where theAM ends up, and I’m sure that will take more time to sort itself out.

 

Rev. Steve Breedlove on Anglican 1000

Steve Breedlove has a really excellent letter on the PEAR USA website outlining the relationship of PEAR USA churches to ACNA. It is a hopeful letter, with many salient points. One excerpt:

..many key leaders in the ACNA want us to come in as PEARUSA. The zeal for exploring our identity as an entity, for seeking to be formed as a jurisdiction, was shaped by conversations with ACNA leaders. Early on, rectors of large, mission‐minded ACNA congregations proposed: “Come in as a jurisdiction – as a unit. Bring your best to the table to help us do what we are all committed to do.” Archbishop Duncan himself spoke clearly. Sitting in a restaurant near the provincial office in Pittsburgh in early January, +Terrell Glenn asked, “How do we begin to move into a right relationship with the Anglican Church in North America?” ++Bob’s wisdom was, “Begin by being what you always thought that you were.”

Since that time, many conversations have revealed an eagerness to receive the body of churches that we currently refer to as PEARUSA into ACNA. This is not competition: it is the creative synergy that comes as like‐minded people with much in common help each other do the work of Christ. We are being invited to be a part of the big net.

Bishop Barnum on AMiA / ACNA Divisions

PEAR USA has posted a heartfelt reflection from Bishop Barnum on the history of struggle between AMiA and ACNA here. Excerpts:

Because of this alliance, we were allowed to be fully Anglican in America with no  ties to the Episcopal Church and its new gospel. And I believed this movement  would grow, a movement uniting orthodox Anglicans in North America for the  purpose of reaching our culture for the Lord Jesus Christ.

But what happened surprised me. I found, in those early days, the sharpest criticism  AMIA received wasn’t from the “revisionists” in the Episcopal Church. It was from  the orthodox. Some of the strongest evangelical bishops were dead-set against  Anglican overseas provinces crossing into North America, and worse, into their own  diocesan territories. In their mind, Anglican Mission in America was far from a godly  response to the brazen heresy of the Episcopal Church. It was a threat that could  negatively impact their own dioceses. They could lose clergy, churches, leaders,  finances and strength as a united people.

We, at AMIA, made the decision to forge ahead. Like us or not, we decided to devote  ourselves to “Mission: Nothing more, Nothing Less.” It was a choice not to be  distracted by our detractors, keep the focus on gospel mission, and trust the Lord  would bring all things together in His time and in His way.

By 2003, with the consecration of an openly gay bishop, the Episcopal Church broke  from its historic Christian mooring and set a “new gospel” course most orthodox  believers were unwilling to follow. Faced with uncertainty, the trail blazed by AMIA  – though disregarding the ancient Christian tradition of not crossing diocesan  boundaries — seemed worthy of consideration.

This was it, I thought. This was the moment for a united orthodox Anglicanism in  North America to catch fire. Two archbishops had begun the work. More were  coming on board as the Episcopal Church publicly shunned discipline for their  actions. In a day of wild rebellious heresy, Anglicanism was alive in America.

Alive and together.

At least that’s what I thought was going to happen. But it didn’t. Instead, we split  into different groupings. Some went to seek the favor of the Anglican Province of  Uganda; others with Kenya; others with Nigeria; some with us in Rwanda; others to  the Southern Cone and Tanzania. How was this possible? The Episcopal Church had  separated from the gospel. Why were we separating from each other?

I remember preaching at a conference and making a strong appeal that we resist the  temptation to divide in a day of gospel reformation. A priest came up to me  afterward, patted me on the back, and told me I was arrogant to think AMIA was the  answer to unite orthodox Anglicans in America. It wasn’t, he urged, and suggested  we pray for each other as we go our different ways.

Our different ways?

But – are you kidding? — why do that?

And my heart grew colder.

I lost passion for a united orthodox Anglicanism in North America. I turned my full  attention to the daily work of gospel mission in AMIA and to deepening our  fellowship with Rwanda. By the time the “Anglican Church of North America” was  born a few years later, the divisions between us had become so real in my  experience that, for me, a new vision for unity felt strangely shallow and  disingenuous. I was grateful, on the one hand, AMIA played a strong role in the  formation of ACNA. But on the other hand, I couldn’t get past our divisions. How  could AMIA and ACNA possibly reconcile until these underlying tensions between us  were owned, confessed, and publicly dealt with? Isn’t that how biblical unity is  forged?

Let me get this straight, I quietly protested, you refused to be part of us and now you  want us to be part of you? Doesn’t that sound a little strange?

So in May 2010, when the AMIA Council of Bishops re-evaluated our relationship  with ACNA, I was quick to make the decision to move to “Ministry Partner” status with no consideration of the negative impact on ACNA. What mattered to me most  was that this decision strengthened AMIA and our ever-deepening fellowship in  Rwanda.

Fast forward to Raleigh, January 2012, and I am face-to-face with the fact that our  decision, my decision, caused hurt to my brothers and sisters in Christ in ACNA. I  didn’t know that before. But far worse, I was suddenly aware of the dark, ugly  condition of my own heart.

I had come to a place where I didn’t care.

  •       *       *

“So what are you sorry about?” a questioner asked.

On the second day of the Raleigh Assembly, we held a panel discussion with  Archbishop Rwaje, three Rwandan bishops, Terrell and me on stage. Before the  question was asked, we’d already stated that biblical reconciliation requires us to  stop blaming others. It’s imperative, we said, to examine our own hearts and confess  our own sins that led to this break in relationship. That’s when the question came.

I asked for the microphone.

Archbishop Bob Duncan was sitting in the front row of the church. I knew it was not  my place to speak on behalf of my colleagues in AMIA. But I could speak for me. I  could own – among many things to own – my complicity in the hurt I’d caused. And  this was it. The time to take first steps, baby steps.

I looked over to him. I told the congregation the story. I confessed my part in the  May 2010 decision that led to deepening and widening the chasm between AMIA  and ACNA. It was all too unrehearsed. I didn’t know how to say that there had been  too many hurts over the last fifteen years and that for me, my heart had become cold  and uncaring. For whatever reason, that didn’t come out.

I just knew to say “I am sorry for the hurt I’ve caused.” A real sorry. A real  complicity.

He said it loud. He said it clear, for everyone in the congregation to hear.

“Apology received, forgiveness granted.”

  •       *       *

An AMIA priest from the Midwest came over to me after the panel discussion. He  was kind, so gentle in his approach. He wanted me to know that the May 2010  decision didn’t just hurt Christians in ACNA.

“It hurt us too,” he told me. “There’s a huge number of us in AMIA who are still  confused and offended by your decision. It was even harder for us because we  weren’t given voice. It was simply announced.” And with that, he smiled, hugged me,  and said that today had begun the healing process. I thanked him for telling me,  looked him in the eyes, and said it again because I meant it again.

“I’m sorry for the hurt I caused.”

First steps.

  •       *       *

Archbishop Rwaje and his fellow bishops of Rwanda ended the Solemn Assembly  with the same kind of grace that opened our time together. He appointed a “Team”,  with Bishop Terrell Glenn as our “Team Leader”, to help serve, care, and encourage  clergy and churches still in the Anglican Province of Rwanda to find their way in  these days of crisis and division.

He also appointed a “Task Force” with two specific goals. The first, to help those  clergy and churches that wanted to go directly from his oversight straight into a  diocese of ACNA. It was essential to ++Rwaje that at some point, in a few months,  this transfer not simply be a “paper transaction.” Rather, he would hold a service of  worship with Archbishop Duncan and fellow members of the ACNA in which these  clergy and churches would be handed over with blessing from the House of Bishops  of Rwanda.

A profound demonstration of unity.

The second task is meant to serve those clergy and churches that want to remain in  Rwanda. By the good example of our brothers and sisters in CANA (who share full  inclusion in both the Anglican Church of Nigeria and ACNA), we have precedent to  both honor our relationship in Rwanda and to do everything possible to hold up the  vision for a united orthodox Anglican presence in North America.

And in that unity, to go do the work we’re called to do in mission.

But this time, a radically different kind of mission. A John 13:35 mission. The kind  that demands the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ “love one another” – as He has  loved us – for this is ground zero of mission work. This is how the world knows that  we belong to Him and that we’re ambassadors of Him. Not in our fighting against  each other, not in our divisions and schisms, but in allowing the love of God given us  in Christ Jesus our Lord to reign over us. And heal us.

We must do everything to work for reconciliation in all things. It’s hard work to do. I  don’t like it. I hate the way it demands me to examine my heart first, own my sins, and in humility confess them. But that’s what we do. It’s where it starts. In these  days, it’s where we all must start. First steps.

Baby steps.

Until the day comes that we hear the Lord say to us. Say to all of us…

“Apology received. Forgiveness granted.”

Thoughts on the PEAR Communiqué

The two options presented to the Rwandan churches are a narrowing of the three envisioned options presented at Moving Forward Together, and they make more sense. They boil down to (1) joining ACNA outright, or (2) existing in a close relationship with ACNA on the same pattern that CANA has.

The Missionary District of Rwanda allows for a relationship with Rwanda that honors PEAR for its contribution to keeping orthodox Anglicanism alive in the USA during the last decade. It also means that clergy to clergy and congregation to congregation relationships can be maintained. It also means that these Rwandan congregations in America can work hand in glove with their local ACNA counterparts. This is how CANA is functioning on the ground in Northern Virginia. Truro and the Falls Church seem to see themselves as more a part of ACNA now, with CANA being a secondary affiliation, and this is how it should be. A future Missionary Bishop or two (lets hope its not more than that) can sit in the ACNA College of Bishops and in Rwanda at the same time (cf. Bp Dobbs and Minns).

The Missionary District means that the narrative of Africa re-evangelizing America is not lost. Both Nigeria and Rwanda continue to send missionaries to us (in a sense). This important narrative was threatened to be lost with the Pawleys Island “Missionary Society” concept.

The Jerusalem Declaration is central to the Missionary District, and this is a good thing. A definitively classical Anglican position is outlined for this District. This is a move back towards what most of us thought the AMiA was about given the Solemn Declaration. The other bullet points are clear distinctions against what AMiA had become, such as:

  • Collegiality in place of a Chairman calling the shots.
  • A “passion for transparency” in place of the ongoing drama over the finances of AMiA.
  • Unity with ACNA, in place of rivalry and the pulling away that occurred in 2010. This breach began to be healed very publicly by Bishops Barnum and Duncan in Raleigh. This Communiqué uses the analogy of a marriage and becoming one over time, and that is a wonderful picture of what should happen. A decade from now, these recent struggles may be lost in the fog of the past as thousands of new parishes flourish in the United States.

The canons of Rwanda are being revised with the recognition that they currently do not reflect the faith and practice of PEAR. The travesty authored by Kevin Donlon will be undone, and this is a great thing for the future of GAFCON. A real disaster was averted.

Also, the Missionary District asks for “conciliar episcopal oversight” from Rwanda. This is a clear difference from the language of “reverse colonialism” and Egypt used by both Bishop Murphy and former Archbishop Kolini.

Anyone who wants to simply move to ACNA, CANA or the REC can do so with Rwanda’s blessing. This isn’t a power grab. The existing, interim structure will go out of business soon and churches will be back on track to disciple the nations. God has wrought wonderful things out of a tough situation.

PEARUSA Communiqué: March 1, 2012

I’ll try to comment on this later, but for now, here is the text of the letter:

At the conclusion of the January, 2012 Sacred Assembly in Raleigh, NC, Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje established a temporary Steering Team on behalf of the Anglican Church of Rwanda to  serve in directing its ongoing missionary efforts in North America. The Steering Team was  commissioned to both respond to immediate needs and also to prepare the way for future long‐ term mission and structure. The immediate task of the team was to provide pastoral care and  oversight for clergy canonically resident in Rwanda, as well as those congregations desirous of  continuing affiliation with Rwanda, all under the auspices of an interim organization known as  PEARUSA (Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda en USA). In preparing for the future, the  team was charged to explore and develop plans for long‐term ecclesiastical structures. Toward  this end, a working group of laity, clergy and bishops met in a retreat center outside of  Washington, DC, on Feb 26‐28, 2012, to consider future possibilities. This communiqué reports  the outcomes of this working group retreat.

Two Ecclesiastical Options

After many hours of prayer and fruitful dialogue, the working group agreed to recommend two  long‐termecclesiastical options to clergy and congregations:
1. Affiliation with a nascent North American Missionary District of Rwanda, in full  communion and collaboration with the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA).
2. Direct affiliation with existing dioceses or dioceses‐in‐formation of the ACNA. Each of these options will be explained in further detail below.
1. A North American Missionary District
God willing, the Missionary District is a means for both continuity and stability. It provides  continuity as an ongoing missionary endeavor of the Anglican Church of Rwanda to North  America, and it offers stability as an Anglican jurisdiction affiliated with both the Province of  Rwanda and the ACNA. Reflecting shared convictions and practices of these two member‐jurisdictions of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), the Missionary District is  intended to be:

• Centered on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

• Missional – a church planting movement of indigenous missionaries in North America.

• Anglican in beliefs, practices, and structures.

• Vitally connected to the living biblical orthodoxy and missionary passion of the Anglican  churches of the Global South by subscription to the Jerusalem Declaration issued by GAFCON in 2008.

• Collegial and collaborative, through structures that always include a plurality of senior leaders and always encourage both voice and vote of laity and clergy.

• Intentionally relational, with a passion for transparency and reconciliation in the spirit of the East African Revival and the Church of Rwanda after the genocide.

• Flexible, allowing for subdivision into multiple missionary districts with varied administrative structures according to what best serves the needs of its constituents.

• United with biblical, mission‐driven North American Anglicans as a sub‐jurisdiction of the ACNA.

The spiritual leadership and friendship of the Anglican Church of Rwanda and ACNA’s God‐given calling to unite biblical, mission‐driven Anglicans in North America are potent sources of sustained mission and ministry in this generation and beyond. By way of analogy, this is like a marriage. In the mystery of marriage, two people who share much in common, but who are  different, and remain differentiated throughout life, at the same time become one. They are one at the point when the marriage is established; and they become one over time.

The Rwandan House of Bishops has already confirmed that the Missionary District concept is  anticipated in the existing Rwandan canons and is in keeping with their sustained vision to serve  the work of the Gospel on this continent. With this in mind, the PEARUSA Steering Team  unanimously agreed to petition the House of Bishops to formalize the existence of a Missionary  District in North America. The House will consider this petition during their next meeting on  March 29, 2012, and hopefully it will be affirmed. Once this Missionary District is established, a  task force will develop protocols to govern the Missionary District’s relationship with ACNA,  similar to documents established between the ACNA and its other sub‐jurisdictions. In the  meantime, a working group is currently developing a Charter for the Missionary District, as well  as assisting the Church of Rwanda as it pursues revision of its own canons in recognition of the  need to accurately reflect its own (PEAR’s) faith and practices and to provide proper long‐term  conciliar episcopal oversight for the Missionary District.

Here is a proposed timeline for implementation of the Missionary District concept (subject to  the guidance and blessing of the Anglican Church of Rwanda and the ACNA):

• March 2012. Submission of the Petition and Charter to the Rwandan House of Bishops

• March 29, 2012. Consideration and Response of the Rwandan House of Bishops.

• March 30, 2012. Declaration and naming of the formal existence of the Missionary District.

• March‐June 2012. Development and completion of protocols for sub‐jurisdictional relationship with ACNA.

• April 2012. Initiation of formal affiliation processes for clergy and congregations.

• Late April 2012. Assembly to introduce the Missionary District plan, and for prayer, worship, vision, information, and broader collaboration.

• May 2012. Informational teleconferences to introduce the Missionary District plan to those unable to attend the April Assembly.

• May‐August 2012. Collaborative preparation for Inaugural Synod, via proposals and nominations for administrative structures, possible subdivisions, leaders, etc.

• Late August 2012. Inaugural Synod.

2. Direct Affiliation with ACNA

Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje has blessed clergy and churches canonically resident in Rwanda  who are finding their way directly into the ACNA. Clergy and congregations may affiliate with  ACNA, either through existing or nascent geographical dioceses, or through other sub‐ jurisdictions such as CANA, Forward in Faith, and the Reformed Episcopal Church. While each  ACNA diocese or sub‐jurisdiction will provide guidelines for such transitions on a case‐by‐case  basis, the PEARUSA Steering Team remains eager to assist affiliated clergy and congregations  who choose this alternative. In addition, the Steering Team is working with the House of Bishops  of PEAR to provide formal and liturgical resources to facilitate, support, and celebrate those who  choose direct affiliation with ACNA.

We anticipate the possibility of a liturgical celebration at the ACNA Provincial Assembly in June  2012 to thank God for the collaboration between PEAR and ACNA on behalf of these clergy and  churches. The Mission and Ministry of PEARUSA The PEARUSA Steering Team will continue to provide pastoral care and support for clergy and congregations through the summer of 2012. Assuming the establishment of the North American Missionary District by March 30, 2012, clergy and congregations will be encouraged to make their affiliation decisions by Pentecost Sunday, May 27, 2012. With the Inaugural Synod of the  Missionary District in August, 2012, the mission and ministry of PEARUSA will be completed, and  the temporary Steering Team will be disbanded.

PETITION TO THE HOUSE OF BISHOPS PROVINCE DE L’EGLISE ANGLICANE AU RWANDA

Greetings in the Name of the Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord and Savior: Praise the Lord! We are grateful to God for his grace in the leadership of the Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda in its indigenous missionary effort in North America. We are committed to participating  in this effort and have a renewed sense of call to that end. It has become necessary to clarify the  identity of this effort. Therefore, we petition the House of Bishops to formally recognize this  missionary effort as a Missionary District of the Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda in North America.

Attached to this request is a proposed charter that clarifies the anticipated identity, structure  and function of this Missionary District.

The Steering Team and Working Group

Bishop Thad Barnum
Rev Dr Steven Breedlove
Rev Paul Briggs
Rev David Bryan
Rev Aaron Burt
Rev Dan Claire
Rev Chuck Colson
Rev Chip Edgar
Bishop Terrell Glenn
Rev Greg Goebel
Rev Arthur Going
Dr Todd Granger
Rev Alan Hawkins
Rev Clark Lowenfield
Bishop Laurent Mbanda
Rev Thomas McKenzie
Dr Bill Roper
Rev Ken Ross
Mr Dhrubo Sircar

PEAR USA FAQs and Finances

PEAR USA has begun to cobble together a website. Also, the first financial report is up for all the world to see, here. What follows are a report and the FAQs from the new website:

A Visit with the PEARUSA Steering Team, February 10, 2012

May God give grace and peace as you read this report from your brothers serving Christ in the United States and Canada!

Yesterday our Steering Team had its third extended conference call since the Sacred Assembly. We are grateful for the support of our friends at Knox Seminary in providing the technology to enable us to talk across the miles.

The main substance of our conference was hearing from regional leaders who shared reports from their conversations with dozens of PEARUSA clergy over the past week. These conversations were a follow-up to an email blitz that began January 30: this linked message was sent on or shortly after January 30 to all PEARUSA clergy (all clergy whose orders are held in Rwanda) on behalf of Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje.

Although a few clergy that we called feel fully cared for in their current relationships and await further guidance through an AM bishop, most were grateful for the contact and conversation. The FAQs produced in previous weeks were helpful for some questions that arose, but many more questions about the future remain unanswered. It is clear that the biggest issue on everyone’s mind is, “What next?” In particular, “What is next for our relationship with the Anglican Church of Rwanda; and what is next in our relationship with the Anglican Church of North America?” Our urgent work lies in unraveling the answers to those questions.

Thankfully, the ball is rolling. Conversations with ACNA Archbishop Duncan and other ACNA bishops and canons are happening daily. The process for direct affiliation within existing and emerging ACNA dioceses is coming into focus, and Archbishop Rwaje has pledged full support to PEARUSA clergy and churches that choose that path. Rev Clark Lowenfield and his team are hard at work assembling the details, knowing that the steps will vary from situation to situation, from diocese to diocese. Nevertheless, a model for moving directly into ACNA is emerging and should come into focus within the next few weeks. Keep checking pearusa.org, or call Clark+.

1. What is PEARUSA?

a. PEARUSA is not a new entity: PEAR is the acronym for the Anglican Church of Rwanda. PEARUSA is simply a way to talk about and identify the US clergy who are seated in Rwanda and the churches they serve. Therefore, we are clergy and churches that seek to remain in active participation in mission and ministry under the oversight and care of the House of Bishops of Rwanda and Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje. In order to clear up confusion, we are using the name PEARUSA in an effort to reclaim and identify what we have always been. Continue reading “PEAR USA FAQs and Finances”

PEAR and ACNA – Options

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

1. Full participation in an existing diocese of ACNA

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

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

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

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

Takeaways from Moving Forward Together

One sign of an effective conference is that it challenges you to re-examine closely held assumptions. Moving Forward Together caused me to re-examine myself on several fronts. First, on the configuration of Anglicanism in North America. Bishop Julian Dobbs challenged the gathering not to duplicate the monolithic structures of the past, encouraging us to maintain our connections with Africa. He said in part:

Our risk, even at this very early stage of our development, is that as we establish this new expression of biblical missionary Anglicanism it becomes so much an expression of the former structures that it is very difficult to observe the difference between the past and the present.  Hierarchical structures, infighting, power struggles, committees, attorneys, insecurities, leaders who say one thing and do another while some take care to secure their own positions at the expense of others.

[…]

I want to prayerfully and carefully caution our new Anglican movement, let us not be complacent and reinvent the less effective structures of the past.  We must be constantly vigilant against an all-too-human temptation to feel that ‘the past was good enough;’ to live in the continual ‘afterglow’ of the great acts of God in past decades.  The constant, forward movement of God the Holy Spirit is ever dynamic. Relationships are new and different and this is to be celebrated.

I am humbled as a native born New Zealander and now a new American to serve as a bishop in the Church of Nigeria, [Anglican Communion] while serving as a bishop of the Anglican Church in North America by right of my standing as a Bishop in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America; a Suffragan to our Missionary Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns. These are unusual relationships, but they are kinship that strengthen our shared mission as Anglican Christians in the world who believe that Jesus still says ‘go and recognize our necessary and shared dependence upon Almighty God and the global Anglican family.’

In the past I have felt that CANA and the AMiA should end and fold into ACNA. Having observed the catastrophe of the last few months however, I now see the value in Bishop Dobbs’ admonition. We have made a mess of things in a few short years. So while I believe we can and must become an integral part of ACNA, I now think we should maintain these African connections for another decade or so. Bishop Dobbs is right: we don’t need a linear and defined structure at this moment of chaos.

Second, I was directly challenged about evangelism. To quote Bishop Julian again:

A determined dedication to evangelism is not an occasional chat about Christ with your buddy in local golf club or the brief mention of church with the local walking group.  We must be committed to a revolutionary dissemination and proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ across North America and, in fact across the globe. The Lausanne Covenant, a declaration agreed upon by more than 2300 evangelicals said evangelism is…“the proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ, as savior and Lord with a view to persuading people to come to him personally, and so to be reconciled to God.”…It is indivisibly linked with Christian discipleship and it is one of the primary reasons why the church exists at all, and yet, and yet, the fact is the vast segments of the Church (perhaps even some of you here today) appear to be less than enthusiastic about regularly and faithfully declaring the Gospel which has been entrusted to us!  [When do you last share the Gospel message with someone at the grocery store, or your non church relatives and friends?]

Someone else asked me why we want to be linked with Rwanda? In my mind it has been because we need a connection to the Communion and we need to learn about suffering from them. But, this individual asked me, what about the East African Revivial? What about a passion for evangelism and expanding the Kingdom? Combining the old time religion message of Bishop Dobbs with the questions from this brother, I was clearly convicted that my “passion” for evangelism has been weighed and found wanting. The call to die to self and proclaim Christ has been missing in my life for some time and I thank God that the Assembly revived the call to take up the cross and follow.

Thirdly, I was confronted with the need to again examine myself in regards to potential call to the ministry. Bishop Dobbs said, “Each one of us must ask: What gift have we received?  Each one of us has received a gift, serve, serve like good stewards using those gifts and we must consider church planting as one of our highest priorities.”

He challenged us to ask ourselves if we are called to ministry and to church planting. I like to avoid this question and think about other things, but this short life is passing me by and will soon by over. Why not give yourself to something that will so clearly expand the Kingdom and fulfill the Great Commission? I along with all of us should reconsider the question of what God is calling us to do.

Moving Forward Together – Day 3, Notes and Asides

We celebrated Eucharist this morning and Bishop Thad Barnum spoke to us. He was impassioned as usual and very emotional. He discussed how even if our anger with others is justifiable, we need to confess it in order for God’s love to flow through us and avoid a root of bitterness.

Thad said that we did not come to Raleigh to start a new movement but to submit to our elders. He said that we are under authority, that is a part of being Anglican. Yes, it is the Quadrilateral, the sacraments and the episcopacy, but it is also submission to authority. He told a moving story of the bishop that he was ordained under, a liberal who tried to discourage him by assigning him a difficult chaplaincy. He wanted to lead an insurgency against this bishop, but his rector told him rather to submit to his authority. He did submit, and God used it to lead him to a place of humility. God worked through this horrible bishop to bring about a good result in Thad’s life. Thad’s emphasis was that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.

He said that we (the bishops) did not come to Raleigh with a plan to give to the Rwandans, but rather to be subject to them and to listen. In this, he pointed out one of the key themes of this conference: collegiality. There was clearly grief on Terrell and Thad’s part, and there was also great honor for our Rwandan bishops who have been so mistreated and dishonored.

When Bishop Rwaje closed the Assembly and issued the statement, he asked the new transitional leaders to come onstage. He then asked Daniel Adkinson from Anglican 1000 to pray for us. This was just another example of the spirit of cooperation at the Assembly, and a fitting end to our time there. The future is yet to take shape, but key values driving the months ahead are transparency, getting feedback from all involved parties, honoring each other and rebooting a humble, Biblical and missionary Anglicanism in North America.

Asides

It was good to meet the famous Robin Jordan at the Assembly! I was also able to say hello to Kevin Kallsen, the Tom Brokaw of Anglicanism.

Wendell Kimbrough led worship and did a first rate job. Congratulations to him and all the guys.