Rwanda to AMiA head: recant or resign

Anglican Ink reports that Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje and the House of Bishops of Rwanda have issued a rebuke to Bishop Chuck Murphy of Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) telling him to recant or resign.

According to The Rev. Dr. Canon Kendall Harmon most all the bishops have chosen option B.

Recant or Resign:

The head of the Anglican Mission in America has been threatened with ecclesiastical discipline for contumacy. Unless Bishop Chuck Murphy repents of his disobedience and apologizes for his offensive statements within seven days, the Rwanda House of Bishops will assume that he has “made a de facto choice to withdraw as primatial vicar” of the AMiA.

… 30 Nov 2011,…

“You have constantly disregarded the decisions and counsels of the House of Bishops” and have “misused the authority given to you by the Archbishop in advancing your new missionary society interests,” said the letter signed by the Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje and the Rwandan bishops.

Disagreements reached a head at a June 2011 meeting of the House of Bishops in Rwanda. Bishop Alex Bilindibagabo pressed Bishop Murphy to account for funds raised for the Rwandan church under the AMiA’s 10-10-10 program, where parishioners are asked to pledge 10 per cent of their income to the congregation, the congregation gives ten per cent of its income to the national offices in Pawleys Island, and the national office tithes ten per cent of its income to the Rwanda.

Bishop Murphy responded the AMiA has no canonical obligation to send money to Rwanda, but has contributed an average of 12 per cent of its income over the last seven years to Rwanda’s general fund. However, no public accounting of the disbursements has been made so far.

Questions were also raised at the meeting about the degree of accountability the AMiA had towards the Rwandan House of Bishops. Bishop Murphy charged the Rwandan bishops with seeking to impose a “reverse colonialism” on the AMiA. Overseeing a church half a world away had not worked during the age of colonial expansion when London missionary societies oversaw African churches and could not work today, he argued.

The meeting, which was shortened by one day due to pressing Rwandan secular issues, closed on a sour note as the House of Bishops declined to approve Bishop Murphy’s assistant bishop nominees.

Upon his return to the United States, Bishop Murphy initiated work on a reorganization plan for the AMiA. One 27 Sept 2011 Bishop Murphy informed the Rwandan bishops that a he proposed changing the AMiA into a missionary society with links to but no direct oversight from the Church of Rwanda. He told the bishops the new arrangement would provide stability and continuity by moving oversight from the office of the Archbishop of Rwanda to a self-perpetuating college of consultors, initially led by Archbishops Kolini, Yong Ping Chung and Moses Tay.

Letters from AMiA and Bishop Murphy are here and here.

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