January 18, 2012
On January 16-18, 2012, over 300 laity and clergy, representing 109 churches that have been a part of the Anglican Mission in the Americas, gathered at the Church of the Apostles, Raleigh, NC, for a sacred assembly. The assembly was hosted by Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje and the House of Bishops of the Anglican Province of Rwanda (PEAR), who sent three other bishops (Alexis Bilindabagabo, Laurent Mbanda, Louis Muvunyi) as delegates, and were joined by US bishops Thad Barnum and Terrell Glenn. Archbishop Robert Duncan and Bishop Julian Dobbs of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) joined the assembly as honored guests.
The assembly was a rich time of worship, prayer, and communion with God. In the traditions of classical Anglicanism and the East African revival, the assembly featured both form and flexibility, which fostered dialogue, reconciliation, healing, and—most importantly—listening to the Lord. A way forward was unclear at the outset of the assembly, but by its conclusion the next steps for moving forward together were evident.
Emphasizing collaborative leadership as an Anglican distinctive, Archbishop Rwaje and the House of Bishops asked Bishops Terrell Glenn and Thad Barnum to create a short-term team to give oversight and care for all clergy and churches that have been a part of the AMiA’s and desire to remain resident in Rwanda. This team is to be characterized by a spirit of openness, collaborating freely with clergy and laity throughout its constituent churches. Its structures are to be temporary and easily dismantled once its task is completed. It will be a team actively connected to the House of Bishops of Rwanda.
This team is charged with:
Care, healing, encouragement and guidance for churches and clergy in all ongoing efforts of mission and ministry, in all things personal, corporate, ecclesial and structural;
Ongoing mobilization and distribution of financial support and guidance for church plants and church planting;
Continuing support for those in process of ordination and those whom God might raise up to join in the work of planting churches and carrying out the work of Christ’s church;
Developing temporary structures necessary to support and accomplish these tasks.
For this task, Bishop Glenn was asked and has agreed to serve as the team’s leader. He will recruit and recommend to Archbishop Rwaje temporary canons and regional leaders who will serve those churches and clergy moving forward together in regional groupings throughout North America. Additionally, as a result of the generous offer of Archbishop Bob Duncan, this team will work freely and collaboratively with partner churches and bishops in ACNA for the support and care of churches and clergy as needed.
Bishop Glenn has appointed the following clergy to serve in this temporary process: the Rev’s Steve Breedlove, David Bryan, Dan Claire, Chip Edgar, Alan Hawkins, Clark Lowenfield and Ken Ross. Others may be added in the weeks ahead as needed structures come into focus.
For the duration of its service, this team will communicate its progress and its finances on a monthly basis to constituent and interested congregations and clergy. Feedback will be welcomed.
Archbishop Rwaje charged the team to create a task force to work collaboratively with representatives of the ACNA and PEAR to explore and develop plans for long-term structures that will serve the following needs of our congregations:
Those who desire full participation in an existing diocese of ACNA
Those who desire to remain affiliated with PEAR while also forming a subjurisdiction of ACNA
Those churches who desire to remain affiliated with PEAR by establishing a missionary jurisdiction in North America
It is anticipated that these long-term, permanent structures will be established within the next 6-12 months. As congregations and clergy transition into them, the work of the interim team will be completed.
We invite all churches and clergy that have been a part of the Anglican Mission in the Americas to be part of this process: we need your voice so that we can move forward together. Please contact Bishops Glenn or Barnum, or any member of the temporary team, to signify your interest in moving forward together. Starting on or before January 23, contact information can be found at http://www.pearusa.com.
We are deeply thankful for all those who joined together in Raleigh during this gracious time of fellowship and we are thankful for our bishops who have given us a way forward for these next days ahead. Please pray continually and fervently for all those who are seeking to serve the work of our Lord Jesus Christ and his Church in the days and months ahead, and please communicate freely and frequently your thoughts, ideas, questions and concerns with this team.
On behalf of all who attended the Sacred Assembly,
The Most Rev. Onesphore Rwaje, January 18, 2012