The Archbishop’s Cabinet has been working since February with the leadership of the Anglican Mission (theAM) in the Americas to clarify the Anglican Mission’s structural relationship within the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).
This consideration came as a result of a January resolution by the Rwandan House of Bishops objecting to the dual membership of Rwanda’s missionary bishops in the North American College of Bishops.
The Anglican Mission, one of the founding entities of the Anglican Church in North America, was established as a North American missionary outreach of the Province of Rwanda following the consecrations of Bishop Chuck Murphy and John Rodgers in the year 2000.
The Constitution and Canons of the ACNA were written so that theAM might be practically integrated in the structure of the ACNA as a jurisdiction, while sustaining identity as a missionary outreach of Rwanda. The jurisdictional approach has led to a number of areas of confusion for bishops and congregations of the Anglican Mission. Consequently.
It has been agreed by the Executive Committee of the ACNA (presently also the Archbishop’s Cabinet, and formerly the lead bishops of Common Cause) that the Anglican Mission will petition the June meeting of the Provincial Council for status as a Ministry Partner, a status provided for in the Constitution and Canons of the North American Province and agreeable to the Province of Rwanda.
The Ministry Partner option will clarify the existing confusions. The Primatial Vicar of the Anglican Mission, appointed by the Archbishop of Rwanda, serves as chief liaison between the Province of Rwanda and the Anglican Church in North America. Representatives of the Anglican Mission continue to sit in the Provincial Council.
The ACNA and its Ministry Partners remain fervently committed to Anglican 1000 and church-planting. Local congregations continue to work together in ministry, and are free to transfer between the Anglican Mission in the Americas and the Anglican Church in North America (or vice versa) in consultation with the bishops concerned.
Clergy of theAM remain canonically resident in the Province of Rwanda and subject to their Norms, Prescripts, and Disciplines, but Ministry Partner status does provide canonically for clergy of theAM and the ACNA to minister in both ecclesiastical entities provided they are in good standing.
The most significant change brought by Ministry Partner status is that AM Bishops would no longer be regular members of the ACNA College of Bishops. Bishop Chuck Murphy, Primatial Vicar and Bishop Chairman of theAM made the following comment concerning the future of the Anglican Mission as a Ministry Partner within the Anglican Church in North America:
“We are delighted that the Anglican Church in North America is now successfully up and running. As one of the founding members of the ACNA, we in the Anglican Mission have invested significant time and energy into its formation and we remain strongly supportive of the Province and Archbishop Duncan’s leadership of this important new work.” Archbishop Duncan noted,
“The vision of a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America remains the vision of every North American Anglican. Jurisdictional integration also remains a future hope as Rwandan canons do provide for the transfer of the Anglican Mission to the Anglican Church in North America when the time seems right.”
Update: R.W. Foster has comments on this here.