Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Letter from Bishops Thaddeus Barnum and Terrell Glenn to All AMiA Congregations and Clergy

December 16, 2011 Ember Friday

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Greetings in the Name of Jesus who was and is and is to come. We are writing in order to send letters to you from the entire House of Bishops in the Anglican Province of Rwanda (PEAR). As you will see, these letters were actually sent a week ago. We had hoped to have the proper mechanism to send them to every member of the clergy in the AMiA but have been unable to have access to this, despite our efforts. As a result, we are sending them to any possible email address list that we can assemble in hopes that you, in turn, will pass it along to those you know in the AMiA. The letters attached to this email were sent to all congregations and clergy from Archbishop Rwaje and a unanimous Rwandan House of Bishops (HoB) on Friday, December 9, in response to the resignations of most of the Anglican Mission in America bishops from the Rwandan HoB.

We also have delayed sending these letters because we needed to clarify with the Rwandan HoB the second bullet point in the letter to clergy and churches. While AMiA affiliated congregations are under the pastoral oversight of Archbishop Rwaje, they are also affiliated with the U.S. non-profit corporation, The Anglican Mission in the Americas. As a result, churches have had a type of "dual citizenship" with Rwanda and the AMiA. Unfortunately, while many of us had been led to think differently, the churches in the AMiA have never been canonically resident in the Anglican Province of Rwanda or anywhere else in the Anglican Communion. We are currently working with the Rwandan HoB to discern ways to rectify this for those congregations that desire a true membership in the Anglican Communion. At the same time, the canonical status of the clergy is clear. If you are clergy in the AMiA, (other than the 8 active bishops who resigned*) you are canonically resident in PEAR.

In addition to the letter to you from the Rwandan HoB, you will find a copy of a letter sent to the two of us appointing us "to work as a team to provide Episcopal oversight for those North American clergy and congregations affiliated to the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda." We have accepted this appointment.

We are all recovering from the shock of the resignations on December 5. Please resist the temptation to "create camps". It is easy when we are hurt, wounded and confused to fall into that, as it makes our decisions seem easier. However, it doesn't honor what is true. All involved are seeking to serve Jesus and follow him. We are brothers and sisters in Christ and we are in crisis. Please do not give way to conjecture and please do not assign motives to anyone. There have been too many damaging things written about our brothers who resigned and about our brothers in Rwanda -- and many of them are merely conjecture and speculation. Only the Lord knows the heart. We need to speak words of blessing to and in reference to one another.

In a situation in which there has been bad behavior on every side, we all have sufficient work to do to clear out our logs so that we might actually see clearly enough to be useful to the Lord as instruments of healing with one another. Our call now is to prayer, repentance and reconciliation. Clarity will come. Our Lord has promised that His Spirit will lead us to truth. But that comes as we seek Him and His kingdom. We know that many of you have questions about the moment in which we find ourselves. We will send another communication to you next week in which we hope to be able to identify individuals who can assist you in determining the most faithful direction for you and your churches as we all go forward. Please pray for our Archbishop, the House of Bishops, the leadership of the AMiA and one another. You remain the focus of our prayers.

Humbly in Christ,

Bishop Terrell L. Glenn, Jr. Bishop Thaddeus R. Barnum

*Bishop "TJ" Johnston was a presbyter of Shyira Diocese in Rwanda before being consecrated as bishop and therefore currently has a presbyteral status in that diocese.

To view a file of this letter, click here.

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