April 28, 2012
To All Confessing Anglicans in North America: Greetings in this happiest of seasons, when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and grow in the knowledge of what it means to live as people who have been “raised up with Christ.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
We have just completed a rich week of blessing and encouragement at GAFCON’s Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans’ Leadership Conference at St Mark’s Church in Battersea, London. We joined 200+ delegates from over thirty nations as we listened to God’s word, worshipped, prayed, studied, and talked. It was deeply encouraging and challenging to share with people who serve Christ faithfully with great sacrifice in the face of revisionist opposition or outright persecution from the unbelieving world. We thank the Lord Jesus for his faithfulness and for the Gospel by which people are being saved and his Church is growing.
While in London, we had the opportunity to talk at length together about the continuing turbulence from the separation of the Anglican Mission in America from its founding church, the Anglican Church of Rwanda. The House of Bishops of Rwanda has recently declared the establishment of a Missionary District in North America (PEARUSA) as its only continuing work on this continent and has offered a deadline of August 31 for clergy and churches to determine their future jurisdiction. There are three options available: remain with Rwanda through PEARUSA, transfer to another Anglican jurisdiction through letters dimissory, or follow the Anglican Mission into its new venture. Provision and procedure for each of these options is available or is being developed as rapidly as possible. (These materials will be available through the www.pearusa.org website as they are developed.)
At the same time, there has been a great deal of confusion recently around the issue of the resigned bishops of the AMiA, their relationship with Rwanda, and their possible relationship with ACNA. We write this communiqué together primarily to address that confusion.
1. Archbishop Rwaje and the House of Bishops of Rwanda have established April 29 as the deadline for the resigned AMiA bishops to declare their intention for future jurisdiction. Having declared their intention, he is willing to work with those bishops seeking letters dimissory to another jurisdiction in the weeks and months ahead. (April 29 is simply a deadline for declaring intention and direction.)
2. The Anglican Mission is seeking canonical residency in the Church of the Congo, and those bishops and clergy that have applied for letters dimissory to the Congo are being processed according to standard Anglican procedure.
3. Several AMiA bishops have approached the ACNA, through diocesan bishops or directly with Archbishop Duncan, concerning transfer into ACNA. Archbishop Duncan has established a clear path for this process:
• Following normal transfer process, any bishop seeking transfer must initiate the request with Archbishop Rwaje. He will respond individually to each bishop appropriate to his situation.
• An AMiA bishop received into ACNA will be received in the following manner:
o Graciously and willingly, as the Lord has received all of us, and with the understanding and expectation that God’s love constantly transforms and renews us into the image of Christ
o Into a diocese or diocese in formation, that is, through proper ecclesiastical interaction between Rwanda and the diocesan bishop
o As an assisting bishop, which does not automatically seat one in the ACNA College of Bishops
o Able to give episcopal care to former AMiA churches and clergy that follow them into that diocese, under the blessing of the diocesan bishop
o Prepared to engage a process of full reconciliation with all parties wounded through the actions of recent months
In these matters, we are united in heart, soul, mind, and action.
This has been a painful and difficult time for many. Nevertheless, we are confident that the Lord, in his sovereignty, is building his church, and that the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. We are confident that this will ultimately redound to the Glory of God, in this life and the next. We rejoice at the growing closeness and partnership within the GAFCON provinces and particularly between our respective provinces. We rejoice at our growing joint missionary effort through PEARUSA. We can honestly say that we pray for our brothers and sisters in the AMiA, asking God’s grace to be fully poured out on them and the Gospel to be proclaimed faithfully through them. We pray for further reconciliation and friendship, as the Lord gives grace.
Finally, brothers and sisters, be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might. Continue to serve the Lord in faith and humility. Pray for us, as we pray for you.
In the love and truth of Christ,
Archbishop Robert Duncan
Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje