Read it all (two pdfs).
All I can say is I was very sorry to read this. God have mercy on us all.
Perhaps it’s time to start praying in earnest for ever greater connection between the ACNA and the AM.
Saddened by the development, yet hopeful that God will bring beauty from the ashes.
Thank you for posting this and for your shared sorrow. Graciousness is certainly a hallmark of yours.
For my own part I am VERY deeply bewildered and in pain.
That I am aware there has been absolutely Z E R O communication officially or otherwise with presbyters about this precipitate set of events!
Wondering if there will be “structural relief” for priests and deacons disaffected by this brash move. I’ve been a priest for only 18 months (deacon for 2+ years)… It was a strenuous and costly (in every way) process to get to that point. Now, we’re off in a very leaky rowboat sans paddle or rudder??
It is schism. I want no part of schism. None! None! None!
Christ have mercy!
A schismatic act, pure and simple.
[Edited by Elf – comments instructing, encouraging or suggesting leaving or joining a church howsoever phrased are against T19 comment policy]
+Tutu once said that Anglicans are lovable but messy. This messy, at a minimum.
Egos run amok.
Wow. I’m sad for all of the souls under the care of this structure. It’s times like these, when church leadership and the very human institution fails for whatever reason and in a variety of ways, that we remember Who is truly in charge and on Whom our souls truly depend. I know that doesn’t make the tangible problems go away but it does tend to offer courage and strength, which is what I wish for all affected.
Neither Terrell Glenn nor Thad Barnum were listed among the resigning bishops. Given Terrell’s recent resignation from the AMiA, the absence of his name is not surprising. Thad not being included is somewhat a surprise. He was one of the three AMiA bishops first appointed following Chuck Murphy and John Rodgers and thought to be among Chuck’s closest disciples. He is, however, very close to John Ruchyana retired bishop Shirya (sp?) too so that probably explains alot. And John Rodgers name on the letter is perplexing. John is now officially the Assisting Bishop of Pittsburgh. He renewed his ordination vows in April Before Archbishop Duncan of the ACNA in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and is active in our Diocese.
Ruchyana divided from Kolini, and it looks like Barnum from Murphy. How much further will this go?
Under Chew, SE Asia pulled away from AMiA, and now one sees Yong and Tay alligned with Kolini.
Are we to see portions of AMiA join with ACNA and others to go the course of Murphy?
RE: [Consequentially edited by Elf]
Not only is that very cold comfort to those who have lost their church — literally seen it explode in the blogosphere — but it is also not considered true for many who do not at all recognize ACNA as a “safe and reliable home.”
Again — not pastorally kind, and not accurate for many. Not to mention that it proselytizes in the coldest way to people who are hurting and grieving. Perhaps the APA, the ACA, the Ordinariate, and the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina can all trundle over here to this thread and tell the hurting that they can “jine up” with them.
It’s like saying to a shattered parent “don’t worry — there’ll be another child.”
Sarah: Realistically though, wouldn’t you think that the non-Murphyites within the AMIA are also likely to be those within the AMIA who would have been most inclined towards the ACNA in the first place? I would surmise that there must have been some disagreement when the AMIA withdrew from ACNA, and I would guess that it was the pro-Murphyites who were the most opposed to any sort of outside checks and balances. By contrast, those who choose not to follow the Church of Murphy now are probably the same people who would have favored the added checks and balances that ACNA represented.
Thus, they are certainly upset by this turn of events, but I would strongly suspect that they would much more see the ACNA as their “safe and reliable home” in a way that neither you nor I would.
RE: “Sarah: Realistically though, wouldnâ€™t you think that the non-Murphyites within the AMIA are also likely to be those within the AMIA who would have been most inclined towards the ACNA in the first place?”
I dunno. Because if they wanted to be a part of ACNA they have but to ask. They could have asked months ago. After all, the AMiA withdrew back in May of 2010. People have had plenty of time to leave the AMiA and join with ACNA if that is what they desired.
As far as percentages, I’m sure there are plenty of parishes who will be fine with joining some other Anglican entity — or not.
But these people have lost their church — at least, those who wished to have oversight from Rwanda YET be a part of the AMiA. That is lost. And I’m confident that there are plenty of churches and clergy who very much loved *who the AMiA was* AND wished to be overseen by the Province of Rwanda.
That is gone now.
Just guessing, but suspect we need to know what divides Kolini from Ruchyana on these matters. Is there not a pro-Rwanda group inside of AMiA that is happy to have things stay the same as before? I read somewhere, however, that the HOB in Rwanda was happy with the ACNA option — making them somewhat like Uganda, Kenya.
So maybe there are three choices!
All very sad, especially played out in the blogosphere.
I agree with Sarah that this is not the time to invite people to the ACNA. It is the time to let our friends in AMiA know that we are praying for them in this very difficult and painful time.
AMiA and ACNA both have open borders so to speak. Any congregation is and has been free to choose one, the other, or another. Today is not the time to remind people of this. This is the time to be a friend and sorrow for their pain.
I’m terribly sorry to hurt or offend any of my AMiA friends. One of my associate priests is officially part of that body and I wouldn’t want to be thought of as smacking him down in the least. However, it is true that while one might most certainly be grievously disappointed, and even grief-stricken, think of the blessing that the Lord has given in providing other substantial orthodox Anglican jurisdictions to which people and congregations can repair.
I for one don’t appreciate the use of the term “Murphyite” nor do I find it constructive in the conversation.
Reading the letters from Archbishop Rwaje and Bishop Murphy… well things aren’t adding up, and that’s very troubling for me.
Why do I feel this is like an instance of, “You can’t fire me, I quit (and take my friends with me, to boot)”?
Speaking from the perspective of one who made the move from TEC to AMiA in 2008, taking my hard fought presbyteral candidacy and going back through hoops et cetera, then diaconal ordination in ’09 and presbyteral ordination in ’10, I must say AMiA’s shady departure from PEAR’s godly graces and oversight is utterly questionable. AMiA’s ability to communicate its intentions with its constituency is extremely suspect, and that may be putting it overly kindly. Communication with all but an apparent inner-circle is NON-EXISTENT. Mission and witness in the short term will undoubtedly suffer. Murphy’s making a totally unilateral decision without collaboration – notwithstanding the falling in line of the majority of AMiA bishops – is a demonstration of an unjust autocracy.
Is the episcopacy broken just about everywhere??
It is my hope that in a heart-felt gesture of humility, Murphy publicly ask all AMiA lay and clergy forgiveness for his errors in handling this situation. At the same time, he ought to frankly and succinctly communicate why we are where we are now and where we’re going now. Anything short of that will bring further hurt and fragmentation.
And with that, I turn to my Father in Heaven in prayer and bid the Holy Spirit’s direction for what I’m to do now, in the name of Jesus.
My God bless us all, every one!
Dear ‘alfonso’, what would lead you to make that statement that the Rwanda HOB ‘listened to’ G. Conger and company? That is patently untrue, but I suppose you heard it somewhere. +Murphy’s use of the Israel/Egypt analogy was insulting and very poor theology. I imagine he will just chalk that up to a ‘cultural misunderstanding’. As one Rwandan bishop recently said, “How is it we understood each other perfectly well, until we began asking Chuck to share proper financial details with us … ?”
I don’t think anyone familiar with the history of +Murphy and the AMiA has any trouble understanding what Chuck is doing. He has always wanted to be somehow free to follow the rather unique ‘vision’ of a ‘reformed, charismatic, evangelical, Catholic Church’. Accomplishing that required that he have ecclesiastical legitimacy through a Province, yet unfettered freedom to fulfill his ‘vision’. (Please note: I do not feel competent to either fully understand or judge his vision.) This means he had to have a compliant Archbishop in the province and a submissive (trusting) council of bishops in the States. For ten years he had his dream.
Where did it all fall apart? We need to be very careful here. Please understand that no one is making any suggestion of any illegal or even necessarily unethical actions or motive yet. We just have to let the facts come to the surface. How that all falls out eventually we don’t know. As most people know the AMiA had a very clearly stated policy, and this is taken from their website: Given the Biblical principle of tithing as our standard for stewardship, all Anglican Mission congregations are expected to participate in the AM’s 10-10-10 stewardship model in which individuals give 10% to the local church; our congregations give 10% to the Anglican Mission; and the AM gives 10% to the Province of Rwanda. http://www.theamia.org/mission/practical-questions-answers/
In approximately 2009 it came to the attention of the Rwanda HOB that for several years the annual financial statements of the AMiA showed about $300,000.00 per annum being given to the Province of Rwanda under this 10-10-10 tithing arrangement. Unfortunately, the annual financial reports of the Province of Rwanda showed only $100,000.00 per year coming into the Province of Rwanda (spreadsheets available on request). Above the tithe was an additional $400,000.00 given to ‘the Province’ that never showed up in the Provincial Accounts. The total ‘missing’ monies seem to total at least 1.2 million US dollars. In Rwanda that is a LOT of money. The HOB inquired of Abp. Kolini as to what happened to this money. He refused to give any accounting to the Bishop who was the Chairman of the Finance Committee or to other senior Bishops who asked for this information. When the new Archbishop was installed (Feb. 2010) the Dean of the Province of Rwanda (most senior bishop) wrote a letter formally asking the new Abp. for an accounting since they were at the Winter Conference of the AMiA and all the people necessary to provide such an accounting were there. This letter was given to all Rwandan Bishops and all AMiA Bishops. Abp. Rwaje referred the Dean to H.Miller+, executive director of the AMiA. Incredibly H.Miller told the Dean that he, as Dean, did not have the authority to ask for that information and that only the Archbishop could ask for such an accounting. Catch-22.
Now many of the Rwandan Bishops were very inquisitive about why such information should be hid. Most of all they seemed to want to know why – if all of this money seems to have never gone into the Provincial bank account, whose bank account was it wired to? A million dollars has to go somewhere! That seems like it would be a simple question to answer. In May of last year another formal letter was written to Abp. Rwaje asking that Bishop Murphy be required to provide a full accounting at the Rwanda June HOB.
Now, Bishop Murphy is saying, and has given talking points to his sympathizers and staff, that he brought H. Miller to provide the required accounting and H. was not allowed to attend the meeting. The fact is that the Rwandan Bishops were nearly unanimous that they did not want to be lectured to by H. Miller + and K. Donlan +, rather they just wanted some straightforward answers and discussion among bishops. They did not want any â€˜non-bishopsâ€™ taking over a House of Bishops meeting.
Bishop Murphyâ€™s â€˜positionâ€™ is that he didn’t bring the books, spreadsheets, or whatever documentation on finances to the HOB in June because he needed H. there to explain it. So he just left all that, hopefully, exculpatory data in his hotel rather than to bring it along to the HOB and try to explain it to the Africans. Now, really, does anyone think that +Murphy doesn’t understand the bookkeeping of his own organization or that he and H.+ had not spent countless hours discussing how they would explain these financial anomalies to the Africans. At the very least he could have told the HOB whose account the $1,000,000.00 had been deposited into… In an effort to diffuse the situation the Rwanda HOB graciously stated that they would be willing to overlook the embarrassing missing funds if Bishop Murphy would agree to provide a better, more dependable, and more transparent means of accounting for the future. He did not agree to that except in the most general and non-committal terms. The Rwandan HOB then passed a UNANIMOUS resolution that the American Bishops should be called to a general meeting of all Bishops, Rwandan and American in September 2011 to discuss more collegial ways of working together. At this point +Murphy literally stormed out of the meeting and went back to his hotel. Later he wrote a most disrespectful letter to the HOB telling them that they had basically wasted his time and money and that he would not ask the AM bishops to go to Rwanda.
There are many, many more sad and distressing details, but we’ll stop for now.
As I said in the beginning, as we are familiar with Rev. Murphy (I mean is he actually a bishop now, having renounced his province?) and his leadership style and his dogged perseverance trying to attain his goals we cannot be surprised that he makes this move to seek to maintain his independence. What we are surprised and terribly saddened by is to see that he doesn’t seem to care that there are clergy and saints in many, many of the AMiA churches who didn’t realize that Murphy’s relationship and respect for Rwanda was always a fiction. Many of these priests and people actually have a deep affection for Rwanda and for the Rwandan Bishops and clergy that have ministered to them from time to time over the last ten years. Many of them have read +Thad Barnhamâ€™s excellent book â€œNever Silentâ€ and deeply appreciate the Rwandans for coming to their side in a desperate hour.
I am sure they will be saddened to know that in order to pursue his own agenda Chuck Murphy is willing to rip asunder all of these noble people’s illusions and relationships and let them see that it was always just about politics. I know for a fact the Rwandans are shocked that after risking, and for many losing, very much to support the AMiA that Murphy and most of the other Bishops are willing to throw them under the bus rather than simply provide an honest accounting of funds. I think we should all take a moment, especially AMiA bishops and clergy and ask this questionâ€¦ Why did Chuck Murphy feel compelled to rush out and resign so precipitously? Some might suspect that itâ€™s like the guy who says, â€œYou canâ€™t fire me, I already quit.â€ It could be that he wanted a fait accompli, to get as many people as possible committed to this course before they had the opportunity to be exposed to â€˜the rest of the storyâ€™.
In my next post I may reveal the real reason that I suspect Chuck can’t tell what was done with the money. That is unless he makes that unnecessary by stepping up to the plate and providing us all with the long overdue answers.
In saying that, again, please understand that no one is suggesting at this point that +Murphy has profited personally by any funny bookkeeping. I suppose it was always for the â€˜visionâ€™.
We Christians sure can do schism, can’t we. When we get it down to one church per person, perhaps then we can start to build something that God would smile on. To show how naive I am, as recently as 15 years ago I thought we were moving centripetally, not centrifugally.
Did I post here? I thought it was at StandFirm. Anyways, I appreciate Theophorus delineating the money problem. It is the first I heard of it in a rational way. I agree it sounds suspicious. Yet I am also troubled by the bias I see in Conger’s writings, and from my superficial view, I have come to think he is in much more need of repentance (regarding his promoting leaked documents and, I think, fanning dissension–and not “just reporting the news”) than +Murphy. But what do I know?
Here is a reliable version of the story, written by George Conger+:
AMiA bishops break with Rwanda
George Conger is doing an admirable job, but he wasn’t there and is still not getting the full story. REPEAT… kudos to AnglicanTV.
Suggest you look at AnglicansAblaze.com. Robin Jordan has a very good grasp of the situation.
Theophorus: what part of the story is missing?
wycliff: please see my post/comment here:
Theophorus: thanks, but that looks like a copy of the comment you posted here. What I’m asking is what part of the story is missing that you referred to above?
It’s like watching the Republican presidential candidates 😉
#10 Sarah: Itâ€™s like saying to a shattered parent â€œdonâ€™t worryâ€”thereâ€™ll be another child.â€
Maybe more like telling a shattered kindergardner, “don’t worry – Daddy can get married again” at the visitation.
WYCLIF: Sorry, answered your comment without looking closely as to where it came from. Ok, are you asking me what is particularly missing from George Conger’s article or from Bishop Murphy’s letters? If you are asking me to critique George’s articles I can’t do that. He is a much better journalist than I. I have complete confidence in his ethics, wisdom, and ability. In my post I think I have already given you a bit of ‘missing’ information. There’s more.
If you have specific questions I’d be happy to try to respond. There is and has been a concerted and fairly successful effort to keep the AMiA clergy and people either ill informed, uninformed, or misinformed as to what is really going on between +Murphy and Rwanda. Note, I said what is going on between +Murphy and Rwanda not the AMiA and Rwanda. This problem is entirely of Chuck Murphy’s creation. Now he’s trying to move on quickly before anyone notices. I have been watching this for a long time. It needs to stop. Have you looked at Robin Jordan’s recent comments on this whole issue? As I said, he seems to have a better grasp than most. Blessings. T+
Theophorus: yes, that’s what I meant. I wasn’t requesting a critique so much as a clarification, which I see that you’ve supplied. I appreciate your comments.
I wish all sides and all persons in this mess humility, zeal for the Gospel and love for their brothers and sisters. I must say AMiA has made me a titch uneasy since our church was visited by one of their bishops when we were ‘in Uganda’ and he suggested we come over to AMiA (though his visit was a blessing to us, nevertheless) – and further when they pulled back from ACNA – and further still when they began consecrating bishops left and right in regions where ACNA bishops were resident. Nevertheless, they have been a strong force for the Gospel and I pray they remain so – with that as their focus.
It’s not like if I go to an AMiA and don’t like what’s going on, I can drive ten miles to the next town to go to an ACNA congregation. So, most likely this will be a bitter pill for a lot of heads of household to swallow.
On the other end of the spectrum, it seems a bit Metropolititan-esque-but-not-really-because-it’s-a-bunch-of-equals-standing-behind-their-first. Um, almost like the Episcopal Church.
I have asked elsewhere and ask here again.
Are AMiA parishes asked to make a full disclosure of their finances/assets and send their audited accounts to “head office”?
Is the link between AMiA parishes and their “head office” similar in nature to that between Chuck and Rwanda?
Prayers. I don’t condone any RC misconduct that is either going on or was given a pass, but one has to grant that the RC Church, both doctrinally and ecclesially, tends to give the appearance of being able to agree on the color of cow chips; sadly often a Protestant challenge. We need to find a way to hang together, or we’ll all hang separately. I don’t think this is what God and Christ have in mind for “Church unity”.
Sometimes I tell my kids, when trying to figure out a story, to just look at the facts, without any spin. That is — no “I expected” “he wanted” “she promised” etc. Just what are the actual facts on the ground, so to speak.
Looking at it this way, the whole way the AMiA was put together, at least as explained in these various posts and elsewhere, seems extremely strange.
Can anyone cite any historical example of a “mission” of one church (any church) in one country to another country where 1) the opening move was to create a bunch of native bishops who would run the misssion (or be the “chairman” of the mission) rather than have the “missionary” church sent over its own bishop or priests to run the mission, (at least at first) 2) the “mission” organization re-wrote any of the canons of the “missionary” church and 3) (this is a big one) the “missionary” church *made money* (or was supposed to) from the “mission” church? It seems to me that when I was a kid we were always *raising* money to send to the missionaries and the mission churches, not the other way around!
Correct me if I am wrong, but the deal here was that the AMiA got:
1) legitimacy as having a connection to the “Anglican Communion” via Rwanda
2) legitimacy to ordain a mess of bishops
3) permission to re-write the canons of their host province to suit their various theological and structural needs and desires.
The Rwandans got:
1) a promise of a continuing revenue stream that could potentially amount to a lot of money
2) paid airfare/expenses to an annual trip to the U.S.
This deal was made with a particular Rwandan Primate (the one who “knew Joseph” as it were).
The revenue stream, however, did not appear to arrive safely. And the Primate who “knew Joseph” departed.
The Rwandans then 1) wanted to know where the money was and 2) felt that they had the right, as the “missionary” church, to control the “mission” although, in fact, from Day One things were not set up in any such manner.
This does not sound to me like a “Protestant schism” at all. This sounds like a business deal gone sour.
Am I missing something? Other than the extreme hard work and honest good will of many many of the people involved at the lower levels (some of whom I know) ??
I meant “consecrate” a bunch of bishops. I do know the difference. 🙂
Dear Catholic Mom… yes you have it very wrong and very right at the same time. I will explain later. Off to a meeting.
RE: “Sometimes I tell my kids, when trying to figure out a story, to just look at the facts, without any spin. . . . This does not sound to me like a â€œProtestant schismâ€ at all. This sounds like a business deal gone sour.”
Interesting analysis, Catholic Mom — and actually quite generous as a member of The Other! ; > )
One of the good things about this is that there are plenty of source documents floating about that people can read for themselves from both parties, so to speak, not to mention people who have spent time or are within the AMiA who can speak both positively and negatively. So that allows those on the outside to ignore commentary if they so choose and just try to navigate the “workings” of the actual events and the perspectives of the players.
I’m pretty loathe to attribute the original motivation of the Province of Rwanda back in 1999/2000 to just a “business deal.” When you look back on it, there were a number of Primates — 4-5 — who discussed the awfulness of TEC and what to do about it and also floated the idea of just what Rwanda and SE Asia did. That idea was generally dissed by other good and honorable Primates as well, so that in the end it was a tiny group. But I still think that the growing alarm from Primates and Provinces [now having reached a predictable size here in 2011] back in 1999 was not pushed by a “business deal.” If it were *just* one Primate who’d expressed concern back in 1999, it’d be different. But several got together to meet and discuss the issues and the possible solutions. And then others urged a “no” and then one group went off and did the consecrations/etc. and one thing led to another.
As far as the “revenue stream” — I could see some of its having gone to various dioceses, bishops, and projects within the Province, without going through the central provincial accounting office.
Technically speaking, I’m guessing that the AMiA did not promise to run all donations through the central office. So I don’t see that as corruption or financial wrongdoing, unless it went to line a bishop’s pockets or something like that.
I knew that comparing it to a “business deal” might be considered offensive and I certainly didn’t mean it in the sense that either party didn’t have spiritual motives. I just meant it seemed very much like a business deal in that it appears to have been pretty much “quid pro quo” with one side having obtained the “quo” and the other side complaining that they never got the “quid.” Both the “quid” and the “quo” were intended for good purposes, but there was obviously supposed to be an exchange of benefits and now both sides are not happy with how things are turning out. After this follows a struggle about who is in charge, followed by one side resigning. I don’t see any “schism” here. I have been close to the break-up of several business partnerships, though, and this is pretty much just how they happen. This is why God made lawyers. (I’m assuming it was God, but I could be wrong about this too. 🙂 )
It now seems that the plot is a bit more complicated than I thought — with the Rwandas themselves divided into two factions: those that were part of the original deal (or support the arrangement) and those were not and are critical of how it is working.
Money aside, however, I would still like somebody to explain to me how a “mission’ church manages to re-write the canons of its parent church (and then bring in its own canon lawyer to explain it to them) or how it sets itself up to that it can spin itself off with the stroke of a resignation signature and still keep all its episcopal titles and privileges, etc.
I’m thinking of proposing a similar arrangement with the Bishop of Rome. I’ve even thought of a title for myself: Vicar of Christ in Central New Jersey.
“But I still think that the growing alarm from Primates and Provinces [now having reached a predictable size here in 2011] back in 1999 was not pushed by a â€œbusiness deal.â€ If it were *just* one Primate whoâ€™d expressed concern back in 1999, itâ€™d be different. But several got together to meet and discuss the issues and the possible solutions”.
Now I believe(and I think you would agree) that it’s a lot more than “several” primates at this point, but it seems they are loathe to either act, buck the AB of C and his “leadership”; “call it out” or all three. Hence what is, in my view, an idiotic Anglican stalemate with no solution on the horizon.
This is all pointless water under the bridge, but my problem(not only the ecclesial one) with AMiA’s founding was that I believed it about 4 years too early. That, plus the fact that ACNA and AMiA don’t appear to agree on much except being “ministry partners” makes for excess and possibly insurmountable turbulence in North American Anglicanism. So I hang out in my Communion Partner diocese(blessedly), do the Work and wait for the possible need for “the last boat”. We shall see…prayers again and always…
I am very sorry for the grief this is causing for good people. I hate the further fracturing of the Anglican Communion and pray that one day true unity can be acheived.
I am so sick and tired of splits that I’m no longer interested in the why’s and wherefore’s. Vanity of vanities… I sometimes wonder if it would be better to disband the enterprise of “the church” and pack it in. Forget “church” altogether. I certainly don’t have home in TEC. Non-liturgical churches are too quick to follow the latest “spiritual” fad or do worship as entertainment. Sigh…what a bunch of rubes we all appear to be.
Leighton, in some ways it’s hard to disagree with you and I’m sorry. Sometimes I say to my spouse, “You know, the solitary monks in the desert or in cells with a Bible had the right idea”. :-/
I think Catholic Mom in #32 has made a substantial taxonomic contribution.
When a bunch of sheep get together, you have a “flock”
When a bunch of fish get together, you have a “school”
When a bunch of wolves get together, you have a “pack”
When a bunch of bishops get together, you have a “mess”
Either a “mess” or a “nuthouse”… 🙂