The clergy of the Anglican Mission in North America (AMiA) that have decided to remain under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of Rwanda, whose official title is "L'Eglise Episcopal au Rwanda" have written a well thought out paper on their concerns and understandings of church order. While (of course) there is little agreement with some of what they say, I admire their clarity and in particular their sense of what synodical governance by bishops is about.
The whole thing is worth the read, and you can find it HERE. The group calls itself "Apostles in Mission (presumably in North America) this being able to use the AMiA sign on). The link to the paper on their site seems not to work.
I was particularly interested in what they had to say about episcopal governance:
"Spiritual Authority: The Church of Jesus Christ is his Bride and he Body, of which he is the head. That translates into the necessary presence of an operational system of spiritual authority. Three fundamental definitions are essential to understand spiritual authority within the Church.
1. All spiritual authority is derived from God's gracious delegation of his authority (Romans 13:1--‐2) and is by very nature contingent on proper stewardship of that authority (Acts 1:15--‐26).
2. Spiritual authority is conveyed via the call of the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:1--‐19) and the outward call of the Church (Galatians 2:2--‐10).
3. Spiritual authority is confirmed by the gifts, graces, and fruit consistent with the call to exercise such authority.
Therefore, these implications follow:
Spiritual authority must be embodied within the structures and operations throughout the ministry in an actual, visible system.
In Anglican polity, that includes the healthy tension of being under another person who is designated as one’s overseer as well as functioning within a collegial team.
Therefore, oversight at the “top” involves functional conciliar (or collegial) oversight rather than unilateral leadership. AMN Q&A, p. 5
In the context of Anglican polity, the presence of bishops who embody and exercise spiritual authority and servant leadership is a non--‐negotiable.
Spiritual authority flows through leaders who embrace the principle of mutuality between all parts of the body of Christ.
Together these translate: leaders who exercise spiritual authority do not seek pre--‐eminence but seek to honor, empower and depend upon a broad range of fellow leaders and members within the Body of Christ.) "
Now putting aside all rancor and dim remembrance of distances brought on by our divisions, I ask, "What is right and wrong about this statement of concerns about the authority of bishops?
Frankly, I find their description quite helpful and broadly congruent with that of The Episcopal Church.