Anglican Rwanda Flexes its Muscles

Anglican Rwanda Flex its Muscles:

Twelve years ago the Rwandan Genocide tore the whole of that society, including the Anglican Province and its dioceses, apart. In the wake of that immense upheaval many groups in and outside Rwanda have had to consider their complicity and fault both in the events and in the response to the events. These included the United States, the United Nations, the government of Rwanda itself, and the churches. The Episcopal Church of Rwanda was no exception.

Following the Genocide Anglican several bishops fled their posts and the Anglican Consultative Council declared the sees vacant (1996.) New bishops were elected. Archbishop Kolini now heads the Church.

Following that the Episcopal Church of Rwanda began to recover. (See an interesting article on the current state of affairs in Rwanda by Episcopal Relief and Development.) That recovery continues under very difficult conditions.

However, the Episcopal Church of Rwanda has not been slow to flex its muscles in the wider Communion. Archbishop Kolini, and the Episcopal Church of Rwanda have been deliberate interventionists in Episcopal Church concerns. Archbishop Kolini took part in the consecration of Anglican Mission in America bishops, against the strong advice of the then Archbishop of Canterbury. The AMiA parishes are all part of a missionary outreach of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda (see Thinking Anglicans on this.)

Archbishop Kolini and the Episcopal Church of Rwanda will host the meeting of Primates of the Global South. He recently stated on ChristianToday that the fact that they were coming, “had been inspired by the prevailing peace in the country, according to All Africa news agency.He also told that the delegation of archbishops wanted to learn more about the strategies used to bring about reconstruction, peace, unity and reconciliation in Rwanda, which have attracted attention worldwide.Archbishop Kolini said, ‘I would like to tell you that Rwanda is loved and blessed, so that's why the world puts its attention here.’”

There is no critique of the current government of Rwanda, but a fair bit of patriotic fervor. Nothing is said in the article about the church’s own continued healing. There was some triumphalism, however, “Pastor Emmanuel Gatera, the Provincial Secretary for the Anglican Church of Rwanda reported: ‘Rwanda has become a model of peace, good governance and evangelisation. The global church intends to borrow a leaf from Rwanda.’”

The global church will primarily learn from the meeting of Global South Primates, that they will press for interference in the affairs of the Episcopal Church, something that involves the further intention to “borrow a life from Rwanda.”

And two bishops of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda have produced a PETITION TO THE THIRD GLOBAL ANGLICAN SOUTH TO SOUTH LEADERSHIP TEAM AND PRIMATES ADVISORY GROUP. The Rt. Rev. John K. Rucyahana is bishop of Shyira diocese, signs off on the Petition and The Rt Rev John H. Rodgers,Jr, retired AMiA bishop, whose organization, The Society for the Propagation of Reformed Evangelical Anglican Doctrine, sends out the petition under its name.

The upshot of this long petition / essay is this: “The only safe way to the “peace and communion” posited by Akinola in his letter (Id.), and taking the millions of persons under their care out of harm’s way, is for the members of the Anglican group to become completely separated from the revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist churches and groups.”

This paper is going to the Global South meeting in Kigali, and whatever else the Archbishop of Rwanda thinks is the agenda, this petition, combined with the essay by Dr. Poon, “Daybreak at Kigali” gives us a better overview.

The Episcopal Church of Rwanda, together with its “missionary presence” in the US, via AMiA, will be pushing for an immediate establishment of a conter-force to the Anglican Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury as its “focus of unity.” This new communion will be guided by leadership of the Global South, notably the Archbishop of Nigeria.

But in all this the Episcopal Church of Rwanda seems to be feeling its oats. Never mind that Rwanda is still in recovery, the church still recovering. Never mind that the Episcopal Church of Rwanda has been interventionist for some time and is continuing the practice.

The Global South Primates will not have much time to celebrate. They will be too busy working a coup.


  1. You know, not long ago, on one or the other Anglican discussion board, one of the "orthodox" knowingly said that September would bring a new event that would make all of our previous discussions irrelevant.

    This is probably what he was talking about.

    It's hard to know where to start in discussing this most un-Anglican document. Even George Carey is not pure enough for these people? Even after all his strenuous sucking up and his best Jerry Falwell impersonation, Rowan Williams is still a heretic "revisionist"? Akinola represents genuine Anglicanism?

    The sheer presumption of it all is impressive, in a way, much like Akinola's threat to expel the CofE from the Anglican Communion. You can't help but admire that kind of brass.

    If this means that the fundamentalists have decided to "walk apart," then it is probably a good thing. As much as we like the ideal of unity, I do not think it is possible to have it with those whose vision of the church has more in common with that of the most extreme 17th century Calvinists than with historical Anglicanism.

    A separation might be good for everyone: the Africans will no longer have to lie awake nights wondering if any of their funding is coming from someone who once met a homosexual, and the western churches can go on with their work free of the need to cater to such bizarre obsessions.

  2. David Huff6/9/06 9:30 AM

    Anon. wrote, "Rowan Williams is still a heretic "revisionist"? Akinola represents genuine Anglicanism?"

    Yeah, it's so absurd that it'd be laughable, if it wasn't so personal and "in your face" for Episcopalians/Anglicans.

    News flash: "Anglican" means "in communion with the See of Caterbury." ++Akinola and that lot may define themselves as faithful Christians (of a rather bizarre, "way out there" sort, IMHO), but they don't get to define "Anglican" - that's already taken.

    I also strongly agree with your last paragraph. I just wish the AAC/ACN types would buy into that...

  3. David Huff6/9/06 9:31 AM

    "Canterbury" - sorry, haven't had enough coffee to spell correctly yet...

  4. David Wilson6/9/06 10:03 AM

    Mark Harris writes, "The Anglican Consultive Council declared the Sees vacant and new bishops were elected."

    It is my understanding the the ABC George Carey declared the Sees vacant and he appointed new bishops.

  5. My understanding at the time was that the R'wandan church still was chartered as a part of the CoE's missionary work. As such, then Archbishop Carey, petitioned by the church, declared some diocese vacant and called for the church to raise up new bishops whom he eventually consecrated and installed. The ACC had and has no such authority and was not an actor.


  6. About the matter of how the Rwanda bishops question was settled, here is a report from someone who was a member of ACC: http://ast.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/3/1/95.pdf#search=%22rwanda%20bishops%20fled%22
    "I remember well when the tenth meeting of the Anglican Consultative
    Council (ACC) met in Panama in 1996. I was the ‘new boy’ on the block,
    having become Secretary General the year before that Council Meeting
    took place. Archbishop George Carey had invited me to join him in 1995
    on his pastoral visit to Rwanda following the terrible genocide there the
    year before. During his visit it became obvious that this new Province in
    the Anglican Communion did not have a constitution and they were not
    able to cope with one of the major problems they faced, which was
    electing new bishops to replace those who had fled the country after the genocide.
    After months of working with the Synod of the Church of Rwanda,
    they asked the ACC to support their request to elect new bishops. I will
    never forget the discussion which took place during that evening session at ACC-10 when ACC members and Primates discussed whether the
    ACC could support such a request from a member church. After an
    intense discussion the resolution was passed, but I remember well how
    one angry Primate left the meeting that night saying ‘tonight Rwanda—
    when will the Communion interfere in my Province when they do not
    like something we are doing?’The writer is John Peterson.

    So...the ABC may have acted, but he did so on ACC approval, or at least that is how I read it.

  7. ... those who had fled the country after the genocide.

    Some fled because they were actively involved in the genocide.


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