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
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?