In 2004 a man serving on our vestry decided to leave his wife after only two years of marriage. There was no adultery, no abandonment, nothing. He’d just grown tired of her and wanted to find someone new. He and I were close. I trusted him. He’d been instrumental in saving my job. When liberal members of Good Shepherd, upset over the stance I had taken with regard to Gene Robinson, called a parish meeting at another local Episcopal Church trying to gather support to have me ousted, this man rallied my supporters and showed up at the meeting with the majority of the congregation behind him.
So when he came seeking my blessing for his divorce he may have expected me, for the sake of our friendship and his past loyalty, to give it. Instead I told him that he needed to step off of the vestry. I told him that in order to remain a member in good standing he’d need to halt his divorce proceedings, go to a Christian marriage counselor, and commit to reconciliation.
Schism is, as far as I know, a technical term inappropriate here.
There’s no point rehashing the stories over again, but may it suffice to say that I have a different interpretation of the events than does Matt Kennedy. Then again, I have a clear bias in the matter.
Nonetheless, I take exception to his (mis)characterization of the press release that refuted the Anglican TV spot. The Conger/Kallsen claim may not have been altogether false, but it was nonetheless inaccurate. AMiA clergy had been told at that time that the Council of Bishops intended to alter the entire structure of the Mission. The intention was to remain in relationship to Rwanda (both financially and in canonical residency).
From anybody who was careful to pay close attention to the proceedings, it seemed clear that there was fault (and unhealthy) on both “sides” in the whole matter. The links Kennedy himself provides show as much, in my opinion. The statements that drew the most ire from the public (“reverse colonialism” and the Egypt imagery) were uttered–and perhaps originated with–Abp. Kolini, but I’ve not heard one peep uttered against him.
It’s fascinating that an assumption that the party from the West must be arrogant and in error and the Global South party must be innocent seem to pervade almost all of the commentary on the issues, but I can’t help wonder if the assumption is entirely sound.
Personnel is policy. Bp Murphy ran far to get out of the KJS/Griswold leftist Christ-free storm. Abp Kolini kindly lent him an umbrella. For years Bp Murphy and Abp Kolini saw eye to eye. They had clear understanding. A wholesome relationship existed between AMiA and PEAR. They worked well together. Then Abp Rwaje shows up, doesn’t leave well enough alone because ‘he’s the man now, dog’, and bangs on about financial transparency as if Bp Murphy and Abp Kolini were fumblefingers, chiselers or crooks. Naturally things got heated and the prior arrangements fell apart. And Rwaje was to blame. He burned up the good will. No one else. Not a ‘disrespectful’ Kolini. And not a ‘schismatic’ Murphy.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think it was Archbishop Rwaje that was banging the “financial transparency” drum.
Or at least, I don’t think he was the one behind it.