The Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) has received two bishops from the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) as honorary temporary assistant bishops.
The Rt. Rev. T.J. Johnston will serve as an assistant bishop to the Rt. Rev. Foley Beach of the Anglican Diocese of the South and the Rt. Rev. John Miller will serve as an assistant bishop to the Rt. Rev. Neil Lebahr of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese, Anglican Ink has learned.
A memorandum of understanding dated 18 April 2012 endorsed by Bishops Johnson and Miller and by Bishop Leonard Riches and Charlie Masters on behalf of the ACNA states the agreement serves to “provide a temporary jurisdictional connection” and will last for 180 days, with an interim review at the 90 day mark.
Under the agreement the two bishops will exercise delegated episcopal ministry within the ACNA over those AMiA clergy who have requested transfer from the oversight of the Province of Rwanda to the ACNA. At the end of the 180 day period the AMiA clergy, including the two bishops, may remain in the ACNA or be transferred to a jurisdiction of their choosing.
However, the agreement does not bind the parties past the 180 day period, and limits the episcopal authority of the two former AMiA bishops in the ACNA. They will not be members of the ACNA college of bishops nor will there be any actual or implied financial obligations incurred by either party.
The agreement states the two parties will remain “prayerful, hopeful and in conversation” about their on-going relationship.
In a letter to his clergy announcing the news, Bishop Beach stated that “while I have no idea where this will lead, I am hopeful that this will move us forward in having a united, Biblical Anglicanism here in North America. I have a good and long relationship with +TJ, and I am hopeful that this will create a way for AMiA either to integrate into ACNA or intentionally work together with ACNA in planting churches and leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus.”