By Robin G. Jordan
In this article I offer my appraisal of the May 5, 2012 final draft of the PEAR/ACNA/PEARUSA PROTOCOL. This document will govern the relationship between the Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda (PEAR), the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), and PEAR’s missionary district in North America. The Protocol has twelve sections. These sections cover a range of subjects from mutual recognition to termination of the protocol. After each section a rationale for the section is offered. I have reproduced the entire text of the document below. I have added my own comments in bold italics.
Initial Protocol with attachments of Canons of the Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda (PEAR) and the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) Governing Elements of Jurisdiction concerning the Missionary District of PEAR in North America (MD).
This Protocol is entered into between the Province de L'Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda (PEAR), the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and the Missionary District, PEARUSA (MD).
PEARUSA is a continuation of PEAR’s North American mission originated before ACNA was formed. (Article II, 1 of the ACNA Constitution)
1. Restatement of declaration of full communion, per GAFCON.
PEAR and the ACNA enjoy full communion with one another through our common membership in the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and our respective Archbishops’ membership on the GAFCON Primates Council.
Rationale: This is a statement that reaffirms the full communion enjoyed by the two provinces and the mutual recognition of one another’s authentic provincial belonging in GAFCON. While the Communion status of ACNA is questioned by some of the current member provinces of the Anglican Communion, this statement is intended to demonstrate that the mutual recognition stated is mutually valued.
In this section of the protocol communion between PEAR and the ACNA is linked to their common membership in GAFCON and the membership of their respective Archbishops on the GAFCON Primates Council, not to a common set of beliefs. This is the kind of fellowship now seen in the Anglican Communion in which communion between the member provinces is based upon formal membership in an organization and its various bodies rather than a common faith.
2. Which Province's Constitution and Canons take precedence
The Constitution and Canons of the ACNA apply to the MD except in those matters addressed by the MD’s “Canonical Charter for Ministry” or by those provisions of the Constitution and Canons of PEAR that are addressed by this protocol. The MD will be a sub-jurisdiction of the ACNA.
Rationale: This statement names the priority of the ACNA Canons except in those matters addressed by the Canonical Charter for Ministry. The MD is a juridic entity of PEAR. Its clergy are ordained under the Canons of PEAR. Its congregations are members of PEAR and represented in the Provincial Synod. At the same time, there is a determined effort to see an alignment of design between the Canonical Charter for Ministry of the MD and the Canons of the ACNA.
In this section of the protocol PEARUSA trades the problematic canons of PEAR for the equally problematic canons of the ACNA.
3. Bishops and Clergy are under license and discipline of which Province
The Bishops and Clergy of the MD are under the license and discipline of PEAR. However, in light of distance and the overlapping of geographic jurisdictions, the Primate of PEAR may waive disciplinary jurisdiction over a Bishop or a member of the Clergy of the MD in favor of the Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction in the ACNA according to Title IV Canon 5 section 3 of the Constitution and Canons of ACNA.
Rationale: It is difficult to oversee and provide discipline for bishops and clergy of a Missionary District thousands of miles away from the Sponsoring Province. To this end, the Archbishop of PEAR will find it most helpful to depend on the proximity of the Archbishop of ACNA and those involved in the Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction to those bishops and clergy in the MD of PEAR should there be a need for disciplinary action.
Under the provisions of the ACNA canons, only priests and deacons may be referred by a bishop to the Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction for trial. The ACNA canons make no provision for the referral of bishops to the Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction. A separate ecclesiastical court exists for the trial of bishops. The members of the Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction are appointed by the Archbishop of the ACNA as are its legal advisor and prosecutor. There is no confirmation process involving the Provincial Council or the Provincial Assembly or even the Executive Committee or the College of Bishops. The members of the court elect their presiding officer.
In Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction proceedings the Archbishop of the ACNA can influence the verdict through his choice of members of the court, as well as the legal advisor and prosecutor. The ACNA canons do not state that the Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction is a standing court. The canons do not specify how long the members of the court serve or whether they serve at the Archbishop’s pleasure. The canons are open to the interpretation that the Archbishop appoints new members of the court for each case. The accused is not guaranteed the right to challenge the members of the court, the legal advisor or the prosecutor. The canons do not specify the reasons for which a member of the court must recuse himself or what happens in the event a member of the court does recuse himself. It is possible for the members of the court to not be impartial in their judgment of the guilt of the accused. The canons make no provision for the removal and replacement of members of the court or the filling of casual vacancies on the court. They make no provision for the removal and replacement of the legal advisor or the prosecutor. These and and other critical details are omitted in the ACNA canons.
I examine Title IV of the ACNA Canons in my article series, “Ecclesiastical Discipline in the Anglican Church in North America.” Ecclesiastical discipline is one of the most problematic areas of the ACNA Canons. I summarize my findings in “Ecclesiastical Discipline in the Anglican Church in North America: Part 6.” The article includes links to the previous articles in the series.
All other sub-jurisdictions in the ACNA have their own ecclesiastical courts for the trial of priests and deacons. These courts are appointed by the sub-jurisdiction and operate in accordance with rules and procedures adopted by the sub-jurisdiction. Their bishops fall under the jurisdiction of the Court for Trials of Bishops.
4. Process for election and consecration of Bishops
The Bishops of MD shall be elected and consecrated according to Title III, Canon 23, sections 3 and 4 of the Canons of PEAR with the General Assembly of the MD substituting for that of the Diocese. Consultation between the Primates of the Provinces as to candidates for election will take place prior to the election. The episcopal nominees selected from the General Assembly will meet with the ACNA College of Bishops who, after hearing testimony of faith and call to the office, will be given opportunity to declare their consent to the nominations. After this, the nominees will be considered by the PEAR House of Bishops for election. Duly elected MD bishops shall be seated in the ACNA College of Bishops upon consecration.
Rationale: This protocol is designed not so as to limit the authority of PEAR to select its own bishops, but rather to enhance the integrity of the partnership in the Gospel entered into by PEAR and the ACNA.
The procedure for vetting candidates for episcopal office in the PEAR missionary district described in this section of the protocol is similar to that of the Scottish Episcopal Church. All nominees for episcopal office in the Scottish Episcopal Church must first be approved by the College of Bishops. Only College of Bishops-approved nominees may be considered for election to episcopal office in that province. In practice this means that only nominees acceptable to the church party controlling the College of Bishops have any hope of becoming College of Bishops-approved nominees. In the case of the Scottish Episcopal Church the liberal wing of that province controls the College of Bishops.
Despite the claim that this procedure is designed not to limit the authority of PEAR to select its own bishops, it clearly does limit that authority. It enables whatever group that is dominant in the ACNA College of Bishops to determine whom the PEAR House of Bishops may elect as a bishop of the PEAR missionary district. It also puts the General Assembly of the PEAR missionary district in the position of only being able to make nominations acceptable to the dominant group in the ACNA College of Bishops.
The provisions of this section of the protocol also stipulate that episcopal nominees are to be selected FROM the General Assembly. They do not state how such nominees are to be selected.
5. Financial commitments
The MD will ask congregations to participate in a generous giving program and parishes will give 10% of those gifts to the MD. The MD will divide 10% of those gifts between PEAR and the ACNA 70/30 in year one, 60/40 year two and as determined by the primates thereafter.
Rationale: The disciple’s desire in giving is to bless God for His generosity. This division of the final 10% is a demonstration by the MD of its gratitude to God for His gift of the ministry of PEAR and the ACNA.
Canon I.9, while recognizing the biblical tithe as “the minimum standard of giving to support the mission of the church,” does not require congregations to give 10% of their revenues to the judicatory of which they are a part or judicatories to give of 10% of their revenues to the province. Rather it stipulates that the biblical tithe “should be taught and encouraged at every level of the church.” The PEAR missionary district’s financial commitments go well beyond these requirements.
6. Representation at Provincial Assembly
The MD will be represented in the ACNA Provincial Assembly based on the average Sunday attendance (“ASA”) of its congregations.
Rationale: This allows the MD to participate fully in the life of the ACNA and to educate its members in the ministry of the Province.
The ACNA Provincial Assembly plays an extremely circumscribed role in the governance of the province, ratifying changes to the ACNA constitution and canons and making recommendations. It may not deliberate upon changes to the ACNA governing documents submitted to it for ratification and amend them. It also may not initiate legislation of its own.
7. Representation in the Provincial Council
The MD will be represented in the Provincial Council according to the criteria as set forth in Title I, Canon 5, Section 1 of the Constitution and Canons of the ACNA with the MD General Assembly and subsequent Networks substituting for the ACNA diocese.
Rationale: This allows the MD to participate in the governance of the ACNA through the ministry of laity, clergy and bishops.
This section of the protocol limits the PEAR missionary district’s representation in the Provincial Council to one bishop, one member of the clergy and two lay persons no matter how large the PEAR missionary district grows in size through the multiplication of congregations and Networks. Note the phrase “with the MD General Assembly and subsequent Networks substituting for the ACNA diocese” It refers to the General Assembly and the Networks together as a single unit substituting for an ACNA diocese. The PEAR missionary district may grow to rival the entire ACNA in size and provide the lion’s share of the financial support for the ACNA but its representation in the Provincial Council—the ACNA equivalent of a provincial synod—will not increase with its numerical growth and financial contribution.
8. Freedom of movement by clergy and congregations
Clergy and congregations of the MD and the ACNA are free to move from one to the other with the consent of both bishops involved.
Rationale: This protocol underscores the recognition of the full communion that exists between PEAR, the MD and the ACNA.
This section of the protocol facilitates the migration of clergy and congregations from the PEAR missionary district to the ACNA. It reduces the incentive of the ACNA to develop the church planting and evangelism leadership skills of its own clergy and to rely upon those of PEAR clergy, luring them away from the missionary district with attractive compensation packages. At the same time the other provisions of the protocol work to keep the PEAR missionary district from becoming an enclave within the ACNA for congregations and clergy committed to the maintenance of a genuinely orthodox Anglican witness to North America, grounded in the Bible, the Anglican formularies, and The Jerusalem Declaration .
9. Statement regarding not creating non-geographic PEAR Dioceses in North America
Out of respect for the ecclesial integrity of the ACNA, PEAR agrees not to create a Diocese of the Province in North America.
Rationale: While PEAR sees the need for the existence of the MD because of its ongoing relationship with clergy and congregations with whom it has had an over decade-long ministry partnership, it nonetheless respects the existence of the ACNA as the orthodox Province of the Anglican Communion in North America.
The ACNA has not achieved the status of a Province of the Anglican Communion and the recognition of the ACNA as a Province of the Communion, especially as “the orthodox Province of the Anglican Communion in North America,” is premature. There are troubling questions about the orthodoxy of the ACNA. For example, the ACNA does not fully accept the authority of the Thirty-Nine Articles. The genuineness of its subscription to The Jerusalem Declaration is open to question. The ACNA “theological lens,” approved by its College of Bishops, contains a number of statements that do not support ACNA claims to orthodoxy. It is too early for PEAR to commit itself to not taking a particular action such as erecting a diocese in North America or supporting the formation of a genuinely orthodox Anglican province as an alternative to the ACNA.
10. Working together in overlapping jurisdictions
In those places where there is geographic overlap between ACNA Diocesan churches and those in the MD, every effort will be made to maintain the highest possible level of mutual concern and cooperation in the development of missional strategies that will serve the growth of the Gospel and will clearly demonstrate mutual respect and partnership.
Rationale: Whereas different jurisdictions in the ACNA are all responding to the Great Commission, we do so in a partnership that seeks to enhance rather than undermine the development of our church communities. The mutual development of missional strategies will strengthen our effectiveness in church planting and development of congregations.
This section of the protocol fails to recognize the existence of significant theological divisions even among conservative Anglicans. It erroneously assumes that all conservative Anglicans are proclaiming the same gospel. It also mistakenly takes as true the notion that Anglican orthodoxy comes in many shades and colors and that Anglicans with very different views of revelation, salvation, and the sacraments are fulfilling the same Great Commission.
11. A timeframe for the re-examination and re-negotiation of this protocol
This protocol may be re-examined and re-negotiated annually, but will be reviewed at least every three years from the date of the initial agreement. Any Canonical change proposed by PEAR or ACNA that would affect these protocols must be communicated to the two Archbishops for their consideration.
As this section of the protocol is presently worded, it suggest that the two Archbishops have a veto over any proposed canonical change in their respective provinces affecting the protocol.
12. Termination of the protocol.
This protocol can be terminated by either Archbishop with the advice and counsel of their respective House or College of Bishops. In the event of the election of a new Archbishop in either PEAR or ACNA, these protocols will be reviewed.
This section of the protocol effectively excludes the provincial synods of PEAR and the ACNA and the General Assembly of the PEAR missionary district from making decisions that affect the protocol.
We, the task force assigned to review and develop the Protocols for ACNA -PEAR for PEARUSA, have been moved by the humility and godly leadership of our Archbishop Duncan and Archbishop Rwaje who have given us access to the unity that they have in Christ. Further we are grateful for the clear Anglican Order they have set before us in all our dealings. It is our prayer that such leadership will guide us to the fullness of God's grace available to us all in these matters.
The Rt. Rev. Terrell Glenn, PEARUSA
The Rt. Rev. Thad Barnum, PEARUSA
The Rt. Rev. Laurent Mbanda, PEAR
The Rt. Rev. William Murdoch, ACNA
The Rev. Canon Jack Lumanog, ACNA
The Rev Canon Dr. Steve Breedlove, PEARUSA
The Honorable Hugo Blankingship, ACNA
Overall the final draft of the protocol between PEAR and the ACNA is quite disappointing. While enabling PEARUSA congregations and clergy to maintain an ongoing partnership with PEAR and each other, the protocol at the same time makes it more difficult for PERUSA congregations and clergy to sustain a genuinely orthodox Anglican witness to North America, grounded in the Bible, the Anglican formularies, and The Jerusalem Declaration.