Church of the Redeemer is Changing our Anglican Affiliation
This is a letter I am sending to my church. Some folks will find it interesting or helpful, other won't. But here it is.
Dear Church of the Redeemer,
What a wonderful Holy Week and Easter Sunday we enjoyed! It was a great pleasure to worship our suffering and risen Lord together.
I am writing to let you know about our status regarding our affiliation within the Anglican Communion. As you are probably aware, Redeemer has been part of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) since our founding in 2004. The AMiA was a ministry of the Anglican Province of Rwanda (called PEAR, an acronym based on the French title of the province). In late 2011, most of the bishops of the AMiA suddenly withdrew from PEAR. This left us in the odd position of being part of the AMiA, but also still a congregation within PEAR since neither I nor our Elders made a decision to leave the leadership of the Rwandan bishops. The AMiA has since announced that they intend to become a church planting society.
Backing up a bit, in 2009 the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) was formed. It was brought into being by the coming together of several Anglican groups, including the AMiA. The idea was that the ACNA would be the unified Anglican province for this continent. The ACNA has been in full swing ever since. However, in 2010 the AMiA leadership made the decision to remain independent of the ACNA.
So, to make sure we have all our initials in order:
AMiA: A church planting society, formerly part of the Anglican province of Rwanda.
ACNA: An emerging Anglican province for North America.
PEAR: The Anglican province of Rwanda.
After months of prayer, research and discussion your Elders believe that our future lies in an orthodox, unified Anglican province on this continent. Therefore, we have decided to bring our association with the AMiA to a close. We want to express our gratitude for the leadership and oversight that the AMiA provided as we formed Church of the Redeemer, and in particular our bishops – T.J. Johnston and Todd Hunter.
We are sad to lose some of the connections we had in the AMiA. However, we look forward to the day in which AMiA congregations are all part of one larger Anglican Church again. I have personally spoken to our former bishop, Todd Hunter. He has blessed us and our decision. I am also doing everything in my power to maintain relationships with other AMiA leaders. It may be helpful for you to know that most of the AMiA churches in Tennessee will likely be leaving the AMiA over the coming few months.
As of now, we are still part of PEAR. I am a priest of the Province of Rwanda and our bishop is Archbishop Rwaje of Rwanda. PEAR has asked that all of its clergy and congregations decide to either remain as part of PEAR or join another Anglican province, with their blessing, by August 28th. PEAR has offered to continue to oversee North American churches, and to share this oversight with the ACNA, for a time.
It has long been my hope that there would be a united Anglican province in North America. While I am deeply grateful to our African, Asian, and Latin American brothers and sisters who have provided oversight to North American Anglican churches over the past decade or so, I believe it is time for North American Anglicans to take responsibility for their own governance. While we will always maintain international connections, leadership should be as local as possible.
It has also been my hope that there would be an Anglican Diocese of Tennessee. In the midst of this transition, it seems that the Holy Spirit is bringing this about. There is movement among many of our fellow congregations in this direction.
The Elders of Church of the Redeemer have decided to begin the transition into the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). We have also decided to begin the work of helping to form the Anglican Diocese of Tennessee. The exact details of how this will take place are still being worked out. However, we believe we will have a fairly clear picture by Redeemer’s Annual Meeting in August of 2012. I believe that our congregation will officially associate with the ACNA before PEAR’s deadline of August 28th. Until that happens, Bishop Terrell Glenn serves us pastorally on Archbishop Rwaje’s behalf. Bishop Glenn also fully supports our decisions.
We are not moving forward alone. We are already working with a variety of bishops, canons, and other church leaders. We see that the Spirit of God is at work to glorify Christ and make his Gospel known.
I am not just hopeful, I am excited.
If you have questions or would like to have further conversation, please feel free to contact any of the Elders or Pastors. I am always available to the members of our church. Please pray for your Elders, for your Pastors, and for your church as we listen to God’s leading in this time.
Continue to have a blessed Easter Season.
The Reverend Thomas McKenzie
Pastor, Church of the Redeemer