Bishop Chuck Murphy along with the other former bishops of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) have rejected the protocol for reconciliation with the Church of Rwanda brokered by the Archbishop of Kenya at the 4 January 2012 meeting in Nairobi.
Speaking at a conference in Houston this week, Bishop Murphy reiterated his plans to form a mission society with an international focus from the remnants loyal to him within the former AMiA. The decision to repudiate ties with Rwanda severs the last link to the Anglican Communion for Bishop Murphy and his faction within the AMiA.
Bishop Phillip Jones, one of the resigned suffragan bishops told the Houston Conference, the new group no longer sought to be Anglican or to work within the confines of the Anglican tradition. The Murphy group wanted to be attached to some wider organization, but in its current form it was a non-institutional entity with a global focus, that did not need to be Anglican, Bishop Jones said according to those present at the meeting.
On 17 January 2012, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala released a letter summarizing the 4 Jan meeting in Nairobi. Present at the gathering were Bishop Murphy and Bishop John Miller from the U.S., Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje and Bishop Laurent Mbanda from Rwanda, Archbishop Ikechi Nwosu from the Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Wabukala from the Anglican Church of Kenya and four other Kenyan bishops.
Archbishop Wabukala opened the meeting by stating his hope that the parties could be reconciled. The statement noted that Bishop Murphy “began by expressing his profound regret for the broken relationship and stressed his commitment to lead AMiA as a single-minded mission agency. “
He added that he had been “deeply distressed by the public accusations” leveled against him, but remained “determined” to carry on the work he began in 2000.
Archbishop Rwaje “acknowledged his deep distress at the broken relationships” and lauded the work of the AMiA over the past 12 years. However, he was perturbed by the “continuing role” played by retired Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, the “lack of financial transparency and the recently announced plans to separate from the Church of Rwanda and function independently without adequate prayer or consultation.”
The Kenyan archbishop reported that after lengthy discussion the parties agreed that “forgiveness should come from both sides of the divide,” and that Rwanda would “stop looking at AMiA's mistakes,” wiping the slate clean. Both parties would also “start the process of forgiveness” and acknowledge the wrongs “between them.”
The agreement also called for the retired archbishops who had been supporting Bishop Murphy to work the “incumbent Archbishop of Rwanda” and for the retired archbishops to acknowledge the “ecclesiastical authority” of Archbishop Rwaje.
The Murphy faction of the AMiA “agreed that they remain canonically under the Church of Rwanda” and would put on hold for six months “plans for restructuring” the organization.
The next step would be for the two leaders to work with their bishops to “begin the work of reconciliation between both groups.”
However, while Bishop Murphy has said the work of reconciliation is continuing, the wider agreement appears ready to collapse as Bishop Murphy told those attending his Winter Conference that they would not accept the authority or directions of Rwanda, sources attending the Houston conference told Anglican Ink.