Communique from the House of Bishops of the Province of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In response to the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Honourable Rowan Williams, inviting the bishops to the Lambeth Conference 2008, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda, who met in Kigali on 19 June 2007, resolved not to attend the Lambeth Conference for the following reasons:

1. Our Primates represent the bishops, clergy and laity from their Provinces. Therefore what they decide as representatives cannot be taken lightly when it engages the faith of the churches they represent. The invitations to Lambeth 2008 have been issued in complete disregard of our conscientious commitment to the apostolic faith once delivered.

2. The manner in which the invitations to the bishops of Rwanda were issued is divisive as some of our bishops were not invited. The bishops that provide oversight to the Anglican Mission (AMiA) are not “Anglican Mission bishops,” but rather bishops of the Province of Rwanda given the responsibility to lead Rwanda’s missionary outreach to North America. We are a united body and will not participate in a conference which would divide our number.
3. The invitations to Lambeth 2008 not only contravene the Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 but also the positions taken in the communiqués that have been agreed upon in previous Primates’ meetings and in the “Road To Lambeth” document prepared for and accepted by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) bishops.

The following are issues of great concern:

1. This Lambeth 1998 Resolution has not been respected by the Episcopal Church of America (TEC), the Anglican Church of Canada, and other like-minded Provinces, which are now violating the resolution as well as holy orders by making the decision to ordain and to consecrate practicing homosexuals.
2. The leadership of Canterbury has ignored and constantly taken lightly the resolutions from the Primates’ meetings and the statement in the “Road to Lambeth” document prepared for, and accepted by, CAPA which agreed that the crisis of faith in the Anglican Communion needed to be resolved before Lambeth 2008.
3. From his actions and decision to invite TEC, a province which is violating holy orders, biblical teaching and the tradition of the church, and his decision not to invite the bishops of AMiA and CANA, the Archbishop of Canterbury has shown that he has now taken sides because the Primates have asked TEC for repentance in order to be in communion with them. In several meetings and in its response to “The Road to Lambeth”, TEC has continually rebelled against the position and counsel of the Primates.
4. In a letter sent to Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini on 18 June 2007, the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote, “You should know that I have not invited the bishops of AMiA and CANA. This is not a question of asking anyone to disassociate themselves at this stage from what have been described as the missionary initiatives of your Provinces…. I appreciate that you may not be happy with these decisions, but I feel that as we approach a critical juncture of the life of the Communion, I must act in accordance to the clear guidance of the instruments of the Communion….” We would like to know if there are instruments in the Communion more important than the Primates and Provinces themselves. The Archbishop of Canterbury also refers to the consecration of the AMiA and CANA bishops as irregular. We would like to know why their consecrations are considered irregular when the actions of TEC are not considered irregular. We feel that the words of the Archbishop are tantamount to a threat, and we cannot accept this.

Therefore, in view of the above, in good conscience, the bishops of the Province of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda have resolved not to attend the Lambeth Conference 2008 unless the previously stipulated requirement of repentance on the part of the TEC and other like-minded Provinces is met, and invitations are extended to our entire House of Bishops.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Primary Source-- Statements & Letters: PrimatesLambeth 2008

Posted June 28, 2007 at 6:33 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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