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.