News Around the Mission
May 18, 2010
Special Report: Anglican Mission’s Structural Relationship within the ACNA
A Special Communiqué from the Anglican Mission in the Americas
“The Anglican Mission’s Relationship with the Anglican Church in North America”
May 18, 2010
For the past year Bishop Chuck Murphy and Archbishop Bob Duncan have been seeking to clarify the Anglican Mission’s structural relationship within the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). This clarification, as required by our original protocol, is necessary as we approach the ACNA Provincial Council to be held June 8 – 9.
By way of background, the Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church in North America were drafted such that various groups might be integrated into the provincial structure of the ACNA as jurisdictions. In addition, the Canons made provision for another level of association designated as “Ministry Partners”. The Ministry Partner membership status as defined in the Constitution and Canons of the ACNA actually outlines very succinctly the appropriate relationship between the Anglican Mission and the ACNA as they seek to work together in church planting across North America. This status allows for entities such as ministry organizations, dioceses, seminaries and even monastic orders “to support each other in ministry to extend the Kingdom of God”, and the Anglican Mission is happy to join with other groups who have or seek this Ministry Partner status.
As a founding member of the ACNA, the Anglican Mission has invested significant time and energy into its formation and has been strongly supportive of the Province and Archbishop Duncan’s leadership. In light of this support, the Anglican Mission initially chose the jurisdictional option for membership in the ACNA while maintaining its identity as a missionary outreach of Rwanda. This “dual citizenship” approach, however, has resulted in significant confusion within the Anglican Mission and the ACNA regarding membership in two provinces, and more importantly, is inconsistent with the Constitution and Canons of the Province of the Anglican Church in Rwanda. Practically speaking, this jurisdictional/membership status became untenable and non-sustainable.
Given these circumstances, both the Anglican Mission’s Council of Bishops and the Rwanda House of Bishops has unanimously agreed that the Anglican Mission will apply for Ministry Partner status at next month’s ACNA Council meeting. This revised status, if approved in Boston, will allow the Anglican Mission to maintain a level of connection to the North American Province, even though the missionary movement will remain under the spiritual and canonical authority of Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini and the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. It also allows for the Anglican Mission to continue to function as a missionary movement committed to church planting as we have for the last decade. Finally, this decision will serve to overcome the inherent confusion that has arisen, and we view a transition to Ministry Partner status as a positive development for all concerned.
Archbishop Duncan is distributing a communiqué to his ordained and lay leadership even as we are now communicating to our members the reality of what this new status means for the Anglican Mission. The following points outline some of the specific clarifications regarding our structural relationship as a Ministry Partner of the ACNA:
- The Anglican Mission’s identity as a missionary outreach of Rwanda remains unchanged and consistent, as it has been for 10 years.
- The Anglican Mission remains committed to church planting as expressed through the life of the Anglican Mission since 2000 while supporting such efforts as the newly created Anglican 1000 initiative launched last year by the ACNA.
- Over the years, Anglican Mission congregations have worked from time to time with a variety of other local congregations and Christian ministries, engaging in collaborative Kingdom work. Such efforts will continue in the future as our churches and leaders work with a broad spectrum of those passionate about evangelism and church planting, including but not limited to the ACNA congregations.
- Anglican Mission churches have always had the freedom to transfer to another jurisdiction or to become an independent congregation. While a small number of churches have made this decision in our history, the vast majority of our congregations express a strong and passionate commitment to our mission and ministry as a missionary outreach of Rwanda, and we encourage them to remain part of this missionary movement as they continue to share our vision.
- While the Canons of the Province of Rwanda allow for the Anglican Mission to transfer to another jurisdiction, we remain fully committed to our overseeing Province and to serving Rwanda in North America for the foreseeable future, a position unanimously supported by our Council of Bishops through a resolution during a retreat in Denver on May 11-13, 2010.
The Anglican Mission Council of Bishops during their
Spring Retreat in Denver May 11-13, 2010.
Finally, Anglican Mission leadership is looking forward to our potential new status as a Ministry Partner.
Title 1, Canon 7 [Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church in North America]
Of Ministry Partners
Section 1 - Concerning Partnership
Ministry Partners and the Church work together, supporting each other in ministry to extend the Kingdom of God.
Section 2 - Concerning Admittance
An entity such as a seminary, monastic order or ministry organization, or a Diocese, congregation or other entity that is not a member of the Church, may apply in writing to the Council to become associated with the Church as a Ministry Partner. A Ministry Partner may belong to another denomination of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, or be independent, so long as it subscribes without reservation to the Fundamental Declarations of the Church stated in Article I of the Constitution. The Council may admit such applicant to Ministry Partner status upon terms deemed appropriate.
Section 3 - Concerning Fellowship
Ministry Partners may have representatives attend functions or gatherings of the Church upon invitation of the Archbishop, and may attend functions and gatherings of any constituent jurisdiction of the Church upon the invitation of the Bishop with jurisdiction. Representatives of Ministry Partners may have seat and voice as determined by the Archbishop or Bishop with jurisdiction. Ministry Partners may withdraw from affiliation or have their affiliation ended with or without cause.
Posted By: Cynthia P. Brust
Categories: Recent News