I have not, until this point, chosen to devote any posts to the ongoing developments with the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA). Although it is certainly a topic within the purview of this blog, I have preferred to wait until more facts are known before adopting a stance on what is happening.
That much having been said, I think it is fair to say that all Christians, everywhere, can uniformly deplore the manner in which this scenario has played out, given the Internet and its ability to spread news at the speed of light, as well as the reactions to that news. The Internet, because of its very immediacy, tends to magnify the significance of individual personalities, and at the same time, to make it thus more difficult to view the entire forest instead of the individual trees (or should I call them "personali-trees"?).
It is thus with great relief that I noted this letter addressed to all the participants in AMiA's ongoing evolution. It is written by the Rev. Alan Hawkins, Network Leader of the Apostles Mission Network, the body of churches and missions which are remaining under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of Rwanda (PEAR, to use its French-language initials). And yes, it is ironic that this body, which did not come to the forfront until just a week or so ago, could rely upon the Internet to establish its immediate purpose and presence, in order to reassure those congregations and clergy who were wondering what would happen, that there would indeed be an ongoing entity under the jurisdiction of PEAR with which they could continue their affiliation, if they so choose. As such, it is under the episcopal oversight of the Rt. Revs. Thad Barnum and Terrell Glenn -- the two bishops who have notresigned from the Rwandan House of Bishops, and who have been asked by the latter body to assume supervisorial responsibility for all of the parishes and missions who choose to remain under the Province of Rwanda's jurisdiction:
Dec. 10th, 2011
To whom it may concern:
We are deeply saddened and dismayed by the recent turn of events that have brought pain and separation between the Province of Rwanda and the Anglican Mission in the Americas. We are also deeply grieved by the subsequent "Internet" eruptions and email trails that have contributed to further damage in our witness before believers and non-believers alike.
On December 9th, 2011, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Province of Rwanda (PEAR) appointed Bishop Terrell Glenn, Jr., of Charlotte, NC and Bishop Thad Barnum of Fairfield, CT to oversee the care and shepherding of all clergy who are canonically resident in PEAR and affiliated with the Anglican Mission in the Americas. Bishops Glenn and Barnum hope to work on behalf of PEAR and with the leadership of The Anglican Mission in the Americas in assisting clergy and congregations with their present and future canonical residencies.
To that end, we are requesting an 'Advent Respite' while leaders representing those clergy and congregations concerned can honorably and honestly work through their respective issues. We respectfully ask members of the different media sites and those who 'blog' to observe this respite as well. We recognize this situation has raised numerous questions, especially those of canonical status and future affiliations. We believe these situations will be addressed and questions will be answered "in a manner worthy of the gospel" of Jesus Christ. We also know that, in God's time, there will be an opportunity to bear witness a positive and a Christ-honoring resolution to this painful situation.
In addition, we request of all clergy and congregations in PEAR, that all recruiting, posturing, and gathering for allegiance to one side or another in these matters cease immediately. In place of these, we commit to join everyone in fervent prayer to our Lord that His reconciling love would prevail in our hearts and that His grace would abound as we seek a way forward that blesses Him and brings glory to His Name.
The Rev. Alan Hawkins
Network Leader, Apostles Mission Network
I heartily join in the declared "Advent respite", and wish the many good Christians affected by these events a grace-full and Holy Spirit-led Advent, in which they can mutually, and respectfully, grant each other the space within which to discern the roles to which Our Most Merciful Saviour is calling them within the body of His one holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
To quote again my favorite prayer (now relegated, alas, to the back of the 1979 Prayer Book):
O God, the creator and preserver of all mankind, we humbly beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men; that thou wouldest be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, thy saving health unto all nations. More especially we pray for thy holy Church universal; that it may be so guided and
governed by thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in
righteousness of life. Finally, we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those who are in any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; [especially those for whom our prayers
are desired]; that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their
afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.