Sunday, 29 August 2010

African bishops conference: Rwandan bishops letter

Letter from the House of Bishops of the Province of Rwanda

We write to you with gratitude and humility as we rejoice in our time together in Entebbe, Uganda at the All African Bishops’ Conference.

Blessed is the Church in Africa to have such gifted leadership in our host, the Anglican Province of Uganda and its Primate, the Most Reverend Henry Luke Orombi. Such blessings continue in the CAPA Leadership and its Chair, the Most Reverend Ian Ernest, Primate of the Province of the Indian Ocean.

As we think of this very important gathering we recall that it was only four months ago that many in this gathering arrived in Singapore for the Fourth Global South to South Encounter. Since that gracious time shared, Anglican revisionism in the West continues and the need to “Secure our Future” as Faithful Anglicans has become even more acute.

As the chair of CAPA has articulated in his address, it is in this very moment we have a unique opportunity in the providence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to show the Communion and the world that Africa now sees fit to “unlock our potential” for a faithful witness to the Communion, fellow Christians in other traditions and the world.

Despite these blessings, we the Bishops of Rwanda have great concern about the state of the Anglican Communion and its ongoing disintegration. We ask you to prayer fully consider the contents of our Dispatch for Action for a pastoral plan that will indeed “Secure our Future”.

1. A RENEWED AFRICA OFFERS A RENEWED ANGLICAN IDENTITY

1.1 The Church since the days of our risen Lord has realized the need to express and strengthen their Koinonia by coming together in fellowship to meet contemporary challenges to the faith. The witness of the church was consistently a beacon to: a) address the numerous doctrinal and ecclesiastical controversies in a manner that forges the way forward for CAPA; b) create and foster a clear identity and unity among CAPA Provinces; and c) insure the strengthening of our structures that are conducive to witness to the Faith and fruit bearing in the Christian community.

1.2 We request that the CAPA Primates and Provinces initiate dynamic and effective structures that will strengthen our Anglican and African identity for Africa, the Communion, and the World.

2. STANDARDS FOR EXCELLENCE

2.1 The Anglican Communion has a serious problem of identity. As with most of the Christian Traditions, we face external cultural forces along with internal ecclesiological challenges that must be met and dealt with in this pluralistic society where major religions and aggressive ideologies are competing for the hearts and souls of humanity.

Who will stand for a united Anglican voice to bring the Way, Truth and Life in a hindered and divided Church?

Given the growth and the faithfulness of the Anglican witness in Africa, the time has come for CAPA Provinces to undertake the obligation from the Lord to protect and prevent the erosion of faith from these external forces. The Anglican Provinces of Africa possess a vibrant spirituality, a dynamic biblical witness, and numerous expressions of creative ministry to young and old, rich and poor, north and south.

Given such giftedness, we challenge the All African Bishops’ Conference to adhere to the Statement on the Global Anglican Future as proposed at GAFCON 2008.

3. COLLEGIAL LEADERSHIP AND FAITHFUL WITNESSS ARE OUR HERITAGE AND OUR FUTURE

3.1 Additionally, the Anglican Communion has added peculiar ecclesiological problems of its own that must be resolved. We call this today our “ecclesial deficit”. It cannot be resolved by a Covenant that requires little of those who ascribe to it and maintains no clear direction for discipline. Therefore, we propose that there be a structure based in the historic models of the church to resolve these crises.

3.2 Each provincial jurisdiction was birthed by Mother Africa. Mother Africa seeks all her children both temporally and spiritually to come together as a true Communion, united through a conciliar process rather than a separated Federation. Such a style of leadership would mean a more effective voice and a greater impact in the Communion. It would be monumental if the CAPA Primates and their bishops would make such a call and show the world that they are ecclesiastical leaders who understand this issue as the key to a real Global Anglican Future and are willing to boldly undertake the responsibility and leadership to begin this work.

4. SECURING OUR FUTURE

4.1 Based on the faith once delivered to the saints, the leadership structures as mentioned above; as well as a clear understanding of our own identity and dignity, we are now able to confidently unlock our potential and creatively address our issues of social, theological, and economic concerns with one voice. In so doing we will be able to develop sustainable programs by developing strategic alliances and partnerships for the future

5 CONCLUSION

We submit this dispatch in humility and boldness of faith requesting a direct response from CAPA Primates and Bishops. Nonetheless, we ask how many more statements will Anglican leaders give without due action? How long shall the Lord’s people be in the bondage of inactivity?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 29 August 2010 at 2:36pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion
Comments

"Mother Africa?"
I'm sorry. I just don't get this.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Sunday, 29 August 2010 at 7:05pm BST

They're totally deranged. How very sad for all the innocents that will suffer at the hand of the church.

Posted by: anon on Sunday, 29 August 2010 at 9:01pm BST

Thought we were followers of Jesus Christ, not followers of a nation that seemingly seeks to become an imperial Force!

Posted by: Fr. Jon on Sunday, 29 August 2010 at 10:41pm BST

If the Rwandans (!) are proposing a "Mother African Communion", I would actually welcome that. They can start their own sec... brand, and leave the Anglican Communion to continue the Gospel mission as understood through Scripture, Tradition and Reason.

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 29 August 2010 at 10:59pm BST

Cynthia, I'm aware of the use of the phrase "Mother Africa," but the way it's use here almost sounds idolatrous. It reminds me of the cult of Mother India:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bharat_Mata

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Sunday, 29 August 2010 at 11:18pm BST

"3.1 Additionally, the Anglican Communion has added peculiar ecclesiological problems of its own that must be resolved. We call this today our “ecclesial deficit”. It cannot be resolved by a Covenant that requires little of those who ascribe to it and maintains no clear direction for discipline. Therefore, we propose that there be a structure based in the historic models of the church to resolve these crises."

- Rwandan Bishops' Letter -

Why not just form a new Church - but don't call it by the title 'Anglican', that would involve a complete misinterpretation of what classical Anglicanism stands for.

Maybe call it *Confessional African Protestant Biblical Church* This title may better befit the new Global South Conglomerate. Then the rest of us Anglicans, who believe in Justice for ALL People, may carry on the work and ministry of the Gospel of OLJC, without prejudice.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 30 August 2010 at 1:39am BST

Ruanda is a Culture of Violence: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11122650

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 30 August 2010 at 7:33am BST

Yes being lectured by Rwandans is a peculiar experience.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Monday, 30 August 2010 at 1:41pm BST

What struck me about this statement was the language, very polished, North American English, with plenty of academic jargon. It's surprising, coming from a church where English is not one of the languages is use. Contrast it with the syntax and language on the provincial web site.

Statements coming from Nigeria or Uganda (unless written by Martyn Minns) are written in an African idiom, which often sounds strange or awkward to North American ears. This does not.

To what extent was this really written by the Rwandan bishops, or is it simply a creation of their North American handlers?

Posted by: Jim Pratt on Monday, 30 August 2010 at 4:03pm BST

"Therefore, we propose that there be a structure based in the historic models of the church to resolve these crises."

Well, the model of the Church we were using WAS the historic model for the Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Monday, 30 August 2010 at 4:59pm BST

Wow!

They really need to up the thorazine, there!

Makes me think of a skinny half-starved lunatic yelling, "Hulk smash! Hulk is strongest there is!"

At least give their brand of "christianity" some morphine to ease the death throes.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 5:22am BST

Actually I too was struck by the idiom. There are Africans in my parish and though we're both speaking English (as native speakers of the 'language') usage is very different and sometimes causes problems. I think you can see when you read proposed leigislation from some African countries that it isn't like that we'd use so it's very odd.

Maybe it was written and then later on 'polished up' by some Americans/British etc to make it more readable to an international audience.

But it does look a bit obvious.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 4:13pm BST
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