Joint Communiqué from Archbishop Rwaje of P.E.A.R. and Archbishop Duncan of the Anglican Church

To All Confessing Anglicans in North America: Greetings in this happiest of seasons, when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and grow in the knowledge of what it means to live as people who have been “raised up with Christ.” (Colossians 3:1-4)

We have just completed a rich week of blessing and encouragement at GAFCON’s Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans’ Leadership Conference at St Mark’s Church in Battersea, London. We joined 200+ delegates from over thirty nations as we listened to God’s word, worshipped, prayed, studied, and talked. It was deeply encouraging and challenging to share with people who serve Christ faithfully with great sacrifice in the face of revisionist opposition or outright persecution from the unbelieving world. We thank the Lord Jesus for his faithfulness and for the Gospel by which people are being saved and his Church is growing.

While in London, we had the opportunity to talk at length together about the continuing turbulence from the separation of the Anglican Mission in America from its founding church, the Anglican Church of Rwanda. The House of Bishops of Rwanda has recently declared the establishment of a Missionary District in North America (PEARUSA) as its only continuing work on this continent and has offered a deadline of August 31 for clergy and churches to determine their future jurisdiction. There are three options available: remain with Rwanda through PEARUSA, transfer to another Anglican jurisdiction through letters dimissory, or follow the Anglican Mission into its new venture. Provision and procedure for each of these options is available or is being developed as rapidly as possible. (These materials will be available through the www.pearusa.org website as they are developed.)

At the same time, there has been a great deal of confusion recently around the issue of the resigned bishops of the AMiA, their relationship with Rwanda, and their possible relationship with ACNA. We write this communiqué together primarily to address that confusion.

1. Archbishop Rwaje and the House of Bishops of Rwanda have established April 29 as the deadline for the resigned AMiA bishops to declare their intention for future jurisdiction. Having declared their intention, he is willing to work with those bishops seeking letters dimissory to another jurisdiction in the weeks and months ahead.  (April 29 is simply a deadline for declaring intention and direction.)

2. The Anglican Mission is seeking canonical residency in the Church of the Congo, and those bishops and clergy that have applied for letters dimissory to the Congo are being processed according to standard Anglican procedure.

3. Several AMiA bishops have approached the ACNA, through diocesan bishops or directly with Archbishop Duncan, concerning transfer into ACNA. Archbishop Duncan has established a clear path for this process:

    • Following normal transfer process, any bishop seeking transfer must initiate the request with Archbishop Rwaje. He will respond individually to each bishop appropriate to his situation.

    • An AMiA bishop received into ACNA will be received in the following manner:

    o   Graciously and willingly, as the Lord has received all of us, and with the understanding and expectation that God’s love constantly transforms and renews us into the image of Christ

    o   Into a diocese or diocese in formation, that is, through proper ecclesiastical interaction between Rwanda and the diocesan bishop

    o   As an assisting bishop, which does not automatically seat one in the ACNA College of Bishops

    o   Able to give episcopal care to former AMiA churches and clergy that follow them into that diocese, under the blessing of the diocesan bishop

    o   Prepared to engage a process of full reconciliation with all parties wounded through the actions of recent months

In these matters, we are united in heart, soul, mind, and action.

This has been a painful and difficult time for many.  Nevertheless, we are confident that the Lord, in his sovereignty, is building his church, and that the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. We are confident that this will ultimately redound to the Glory of God, in this life and the next. We rejoice at the growing closeness and partnership within the GAFCON provinces and particularly between our respective provinces. We rejoice at our growing joint missionary effort through PEARUSA. We can honestly say that we pray for our brothers and sisters in the AMiA, asking God’s grace to be fully poured out on them and the Gospel to be proclaimed faithfully through them. We pray for further reconciliation and friendship, as the Lord gives grace.

Finally, brothers and sisters, be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might.  Continue to serve the Lord in faith and humility. Pray for us, as we pray for you.

In the love and truth of Christ,

Archbishop Robert Duncan
Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje

‘The Movement Begins its Mission’

Over a dozen leaders and delegates from the Anglican Church in North America attended the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) at St Mark’s Battersea Rise in London starting April 23, 2012, for five days of prayer, planning and plenary sessions.

The following media release was originally published by the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).

April 27, 2012
Media Release
Leaders Conference, London
23 to 27 April 2012

The movement begins its mission

GAFCON 2008 declared it was ‘not just a moment in time but a movement of the spirit’. Now, at a conference in London, 200 Anglican leaders committed to mission and mutual support.

The Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem established a Primates Council representing the majority of the world’s Anglicans and set up a global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans as a movement within the Communion.

The leaders met at St Mark’s Battersea Rise in London for five days of prayer, planning and plenary sessions.

Seminars ranged over key topics such as evangelism, family, economic empowerment, the Gospel, church and spiritual leadership under pressure.

Opening the event, GAFCON/ FCA Chairman Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya, told the delegates they were called to “a great prophetic purpose at this critical point in the life of our communion.” The Archbishop outlined the extent of unbiblical teaching in the communion and declared “The heart of the crisis we face is not only institutional, but spiritual.”

“After some 450 years it is becoming clear that what some have called the ‘Anglican experiment’ is not ending in failure, but is on the verge of a new and truly global future in which the original vision of the Reformers can be realized as never before” the Archbishop said.

In a plenary address, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali concluded that the Anglican “Instruments of Unity” have failed dramatically and that the FCA is called to model an alternative way for the churches of the Anglican Communion to gather and relate to one another in such a way
as to carry out the Great Commission in the coming decades.

In their final conference ‘Commitment’, the leaders resolved to work together in an ever-strengthening partnership, to stand by each other and to engage in a battle of ideas on behalf of the Biblical Gospel.

The next Global Anglican Future Conference was also announced. The event, with invitees including clergy and lay people, as well as bishops, is scheduled for May 2013.

“One delegate came up to me and said ‘Now I know that I am not alone’. Though they are the majority, the orthodox often feel isolated.” said FCA general secretary Archbishop Peter Jensen. “There are people everywhere who believe the same gospel, preach the same thing and stand for the same truths. That is the dynamic of this conference. People who felt powerless have now been given confidence.”

The Conference commitment can be downloaded here.

Statement on Developing Relationships with The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod

The Anglican Church in North America and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod released a joint statement addressing areas of theological agreement, unique challenges faced by both churches today, and ways in which the churches may work together in the future.

View the statement here: LCMS-ACNA_Joint_Statement.pdf.

Joint press release:

Missouri Synod Lutherans, North American Anglicans conclude first round of theological discussions
Release report summarizing joint discussions


ST. LOUIS, May 25, 2012—After four meetings over the past 18 months, the Anglican Church in North America and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) rejoice in affirming core teachings of the Christian faith they share. The two church bodies, together with the Lutheran Church—Canada, are jointly releasing a report today summarizing the areas of agreement.

Leaders from the two church bodies began meeting in the fall of 2010 to discuss theological and ecumenical issues for the purpose of increasing the level of mutual understanding and affirmations between them, and identifying potential areas of cooperative work. Because the Anglican Church in North America includes congregations in Canada as well as in the United States, a representative from Lutheran Church—Canada, an LCMS partner church, also participated in the discussions.

“In a time when there is a widespread failure to recognize the biblical teaching regarding the creation of man and woman and their biblical roles, life-issues, and other grave challenges that society faces, it is a joy to find a group of Christians within the Anglican Church in North America who affirm this biblical teaching, and who desire to cooperate in externals with the Missouri Synod in upholding the biblical natural law in society,” said the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President of the LCMS. “Our churches share much in common in the confession of the ecumenical creeds, but we also have differences in doctrinal belief. Hermann Sasse noted that churches who can honestly discuss where they have disagreements in doctrine are in fact closer to each other than churches who cannot discuss such matters. With the Anglican Church in North America, the Missouri Synod can discuss both where we need to seek more agreement and where we have sufficient agreement to cooperate in externals. May Christ bless His church and work unity in both doctrine and practice.”

The themes of the discussions included:
• The Background and Identity of Our Churches
• Authority in the Church
• Theological and Societal Challenges Facing the Church
• The Practice of Ministry: Worship and Catechesis

The report on the discussions includes a statement of the beliefs the church bodies have in common. These include a shared belief in the Triune God as confessed in the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian creeds; justification by grace through faith; the centrality of the Sacraments for the Christian faith; and the infallibility of Scripture.

The report also outlines areas about which the church bodies plan to engage in further study and discussion. These include the value of authoritative theological confessions, matters of ecclesiology and the office(s) of ministry, the understanding of Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Supper and differing views on the usage of the western liturgy.

“It is a great blessing to be walking alongside The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. We share an unwavering commitment to the authority of Scripture and have been able to support each other as we take a bold stand for the historic faith. It has been a particular joy for me to come to know President Matthew Harrison. We look forward to continuing our work together for the Gospel through prayers, evangelism, dialogue, encouragement of one another, and joint efforts to help those in need,” said the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America.

The Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, president of the Lutheran Church—Canada, added, “Because the Anglican Church in North America includes congregations and pastors in our country as well as the U.S., Lutheran Church—Canada is deeply grateful for the opportunity to send a representative and to be involved in these discussions.  Despite the decay in foundational Christian teaching among mainline churches in North America, the Lord is opening doors for us to encourage each other to root our work in the apostolic Gospel of Christ and in the Scriptures as God’s infallible Word.  Our people in Canada will continue to follow this story with interest ... and with their prayers.”

The full text of the report is available at http://www.lcms.org/page.aspx?pid=703.

About Anglican Church in North America
The Anglican Church in North America unites some 100,000 Anglicans in nearly 1,000 congregations across the United States and Canada. It is a Province-in-formation in the global Anglican Communion. The Most Rev. Robert Duncan is the archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America and bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. To learn more, visit www.anglicanchurch.net.

About Lutheran Church—Canada
Lutheran Church–Canada comprises congregations, pastors and deacons committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Founded in 1988, the church’s confessions and practices are based on the foundation of God’s Word and the belief that God’s gift of salvation is found only through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. In more than 325 congregations, from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, this message is proclaimed in Word and deed. To learn more, visit www.lutheranchurch.ca.

About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. Founded in 1847, the LCMS has about 2.3 million baptized members in more than 6,000 congregations and more than 9,000 pastors. Two seminaries and 10 colleges and universities operate under the auspices of the LCMS, and its congregations operate the largest Protestant parochial school system in America. The church broadcasts the saving message of Jesus Christ over KFUO Radio, and it has relationships and active mission work in 89 countries around the world. In the last five years, the LCMS has awarded more than $35 million through more than 900 domestic and international grants for emergency response and disaster relief. Today, the LCMS is in full doctrinal fellowship with 33 other confessional Lutheran church bodies worldwide and is a founding partner of Lutheran Services in America, a social ministry organization serving one in every 50 Americans. For more information, visit www.lcms.org.