Thinking Anglicans

suburban life is exciting

A suburban church in Illinois which is part of the Anglican Mission in the Americas has discovered that Rwandan secular politics affects them. See this from Christianity Today: Rwandan Politics Intrudes on American Church. (hat tip Stand Firm)

A suburban Chicago church sought leadership from Rwanda amid theological disputes with the Episcopal Church. This week, it found itself in conflict with its leaders over Rwandan politics.

All Souls Anglican Church had invited Paul Rusesabagina, whose life was featured in the 2004 movie Hotel Rwanda, to speak during Sunday morning services. The Wheaton, Illinois, church, a member of the Rwandan-led Anglican Mission in America, invited him as part of a fundraiser to build a school in Gashirabwoba, Rwanda.

On Thursday, however, Emmanuel Kolini, the Anglican archbishop of Rwanda, asked All Soul’s pastor J. Martin Johnson to rescind the invitation.

Rusesabagina has been at odds with the president of Rwanda. The archbishop feared that the event could create a strain in the relationship between the Anglican Church of Rwanda and the government.

“Truly I am horrified that we could have such a negative impact without meaning to,” Johnson told Christianity Today. “I had no idea this was a controversial issue…”

And later this month, as the All Souls’ Anglican Church website notes there will be:

The AMiA Big event
On Sunday, Sept 23rd at 10:30am, we’ll gather with other local Anglican churches for a worship service at which the Most Revd. Dr. Peter Akinola, Bishop of Abuja, and Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria will preach. We will meet in Edman Memorial Chapel on the corner of Washington and Franklin in Wheaton, IL.

26
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
26 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
15 Comment authors
Jonah Brandtdave paisleyFord ElmsJerry HannonMalcolm+ Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Counterlight
Guest
Counterlight

It looks like there will be an unofficial Episcopal welcoming party waiting for the Primate of Nigeria in Wheaton, IL:

http://akinolarepent.wordpress.com/2007/09/06/picket-akinola-sunday-sept-23-outside-chicago/

I’m sorry that I can’t be there. However, y’all are invited.

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Hm. ‘Those who sup with the devil must have a long spoon.’

Frankly the naivety of Johnson is terrifying. Looks as though the worst excesses of the Constantinian settlement are alive and well in Rwanda.

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Wish I could be there to ‘receive’ Peter A. too

Pluralist
Guest

It comes with the anti-liberal authoritarian territory. Rwandan politics has such a dreadful history.

Josh Indiana
Guest

Counterlight’s right on, but a bit too oblique: Episcopalians will picket Akinola in Wheaton. More at http://akinolarepent.wordpress.com

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Josh Indiana

Thanks for subscribing, the links were insightful

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Actually, how does this Illinois business sit with whichever amendment it is guaranteeing ‘freedom of speech’? Doesn’t this censorship agonise any US citizen?

ettu
Guest
ettu

David Rowett- Akinola is not being censored – he is free to come and express his views in whatever forum he has been invited to – there is an equal right (some would consider it a responsibility) for the opposition to peacefully picket, ask questions, give interviews to the press etc – in other words, our right to peaceful assembly and free speech cuts both ways – I fear you are confusing “free speech” with the concept “and none shall dare speak against me” – it does not work quite so lopsided as I dare say a certain non-American shall… Read more »

L Roberts@
Guest
L Roberts@

Thanks Josh indiana for the link to the website. The protest against the anti-gay rhetoric and actions of Akinola and others is very heartneing:- ‘Akinola will appear at the chapel of fundamentalist Wheaton College at 10:30 a.m. The chapel is located at the corner of Washington and Franklin Streets in Wheaton, Illinois, about 30 miles west of downtown Chicago. The demonstration will be peaceful and will not disrupt the church service. It is aimed not only at the archbishop but at his American enablers, former Episcopalians with a particular antipathy for Gay people who are splitting the Church to keep… Read more »

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

It is called ‘Alternative Primatial Oversight’ I believe. Now Mr Johnson knows just what it entails ! –Better to have stuck with TEC maybe ? ! “The bigger reality for us is having to accept the whole concept of obedience, and that is a harder cultural pill to swallow than I realized,” he said. “I’m forced to encounter my own resistance and bias.” Johnson, who was previously a priest in the Episcopal Church, has been under the Rwandan authority since 2004. “He simply said, ‘Please don’t. Your church can’t have this man speak there,’ ” Johnson said. “My initial response… Read more »

Deacon Charlie Perrin
Guest
Deacon Charlie Perrin

It would appear the the good people of All Souls Anglican are learning the meaning of: “Be careful what you wish for.” Maybe it’s time for them to consider Alternative Primatial Oversight.

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Sorry ettu – you have me wrong way round. It’s the thought that a US Church is unable to maintain the commitment to free speech, finding itself forced to silence Paul Rusesabagina (on Church property) in order to keep a foreign government quiet. And that stinks.

ettu
Guest
ettu

D Rowett – ah the light dawns – but even so, is it not true that it is the limitations of African politics/”polity” and not a failing of the US’ freedom of speech that is limiting Rusesabagina- I read your post otherwise so apologies.

dave paisley
Guest

Is this the first time we’ve seen the influence of Africa’s extremely broken political systems come into play? It will indeed be exciting when this becomes routine.

Overall, I think I’d much rather be governed by the US Constitution and amendments than whatever passes for such in any African country.

Ane here I was thinking that AMiA stood for Anglicans Missing in Africa. May be closer to the truth than I thought.

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Ettu: Oh, yes, I think that’s the centre of the tragedy – that dearly held US freedoms are being jettisoned by those who walk the Rwanda way, so that Rusesabagina is hamstrung even in the US by Rwandan dirty dealings – and this US Church is not able to challenge that because it is in thrall to Rwanda. Quite terrible.

ettu
Guest
ettu

D Rowett: As a final comment, I love your original post above with the “long spoon” statement– that was spoon and not Spong -right.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Ane here I was thinking that AMiA stood for Anglicans Missing in Africa.”

LOL, dave paisley!

At the same time, we must NEVER forget the faithful—and HEROIC—examples of Anglicanism in Africa: from +Tutu and +Njongonkulu, to +Mwamba, to Mac-Iyalla.

God bless the *faithful* African Anglicans, and God reform the rest—God transform us ALL!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“dearly held US freedoms are being jettisoned by those who walk the Rwanda way”

My understanding is that many (?most?) of these people are Bush Republicans, so the jettisoning of “dearly held US freedoms” is not a significant issue for them. They’ve been doing that since 9/11 in the interests of “homeland security”. I guess the hommersecksherals are just another kind of ‘teriss’ to defend one’sself against.

Viriato da Silva
Guest
Viriato da Silva

PLEASE, please, please tell me that a TEC church in Chicago, or the Diocese itself, will now step up and invite Paul Rusesabagina to speak, thereby restoring to him the platform/pulpit for his important message that he has been silenced from delivering thanks to this “Rwandan” Anglican congregation’s needing to toe the political line required by their new masters in the Church of Rwanda, and by their new masters’ masters in the Government of Rwanda.

Jonah
Guest
Jonah

Why is it so hard to believe that a church would follow the request of its primatial authority? The whole point of having a system of church government like the worldwide Anglican Communion does is to keep individual churches from doing their own things apart from the worldwide communion. While I do not think it was right to keep this man from speaking, the problem is not with Johnson or his church, but with the church in Rwanda. “The bigger reality for us is having to accept the whole concept of obedience, and that is a harder cultural pill to… Read more »

Viriato da Silva
Guest
Viriato da Silva

>> Why is it so hard to believe that a church would follow the request of its primatial authority? <<

The problem lies less in acceding to the request of a primatial authority (although, the validity of that purported primatial authority on territory foreign to it is a whole other matter) than in:

1. That primatial authority’s kowtowing and submitting to its own particular secular government’s authority, and

2. The wisdom, consequently, of having chosen that particular foreign (purported) primatial authority.

Malcolm+
Guest
Malcolm+

In most Anglican Provinces, the Primate is “primus inter pares,” the first among equals. That may or not be the case in Rwanda. That said, a request from the Primate should be taken very seriously. But it is surely ironic that our friends in the AMia are now so graceful in acceding to priatial authority. So, let me get this straight. If we are talking about a request from the Primate to silence a witness against genocide, we should submit with grace. However, if we are talking sex, where no demands are placed against you, where you are not required… Read more »

Jerry Hannon
Guest
Jerry Hannon

In reply to Jonah, “obedience” should never be allowed to stifle democratic principles or truth. Whether it is a matter of speaking Christian truth in the face of slavery, or unjust war, or the dislike of one national person by the government which is the domicile for a national church, in this case Rwanda. One wonders what Archbishop Kalini was doing or saying during the time of the Rwandan genocide, or perhaps more relevantly, the person who was then the Archbishop. Would the American rector of this American church, affiliated with Anglican Church of Rwanda, have been told to be… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

What Malcolm and Jerry said! Think of it this way: we would all agree, I think, that genocide is unChristian and opposing it is a Gospel imperative, even witnessing to it after the fact so that we may inderstand it and, through punishment of perpetrators or reconciliation, bring closure for the survivors, if nothing else. Sober reflection will show that a Church’s relationship with local government must be either totally separate, or there must be some kind of compromise. We Christians have been making the compromise for the past 1700 years. That the Church in Rwanda should feel the need… Read more »

dave paisley
Guest

“democratic principles or truth”

And these have exactly what to do with the government of Rwanda? (…and sadly all too many African governments.)

“brutal control and obfuscation” seems more the order of the day.

Jonah Brandt
Guest
Jonah Brandt

I was looking at the Christianity today blog as more information unfolded, and I found this from a member of All Souls

“Finally, please note that Mr. Rusesabagina did speak to a packed auditorium that evening. He was not denied his right to speak.”

It seems like the only thing that was stopped was this man speaking in church, but he was still able to speak his message.