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Rwandan archbishop backs away from offer

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    CALLED OUT From a c c w e b n e w s, The Anglican Church of Canada, http://anglican.ca/news Rwandan archbishop backs away from offer to conservative
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4 5:29 PM
      CALLED OUT

      From a c c w e b n e w s, The Anglican Church of Canada,
      http://anglican.ca/news

      Rwandan archbishop backs away from offer to conservative clergy
      Calls original message 'a word of encouragement'
      Leanne Larmondin
      Web Manager


      KIGALI, RWANDA
      The Rwandan archbishop who wrote to 12 conservative New Westminster
      clergy last week with an offer of "ecclesiastical protection" now
      says the offer was a misunderstanding.

      Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, primate of the Episcopal (Anglican)
      Church of Rwanda and diocesan bishop of Kigali, said in an interview
      that he has sent the clergy a follow-up letter to clarify that while
      he supports them and will continue to examine the matter, he was not
      offering to become their bishop.

      One of those clergy, Rev. Ed Hird, however, said the letter of
      clarification only complained about a headline added to his message
      which suggested he had promised ecclesiastical protection. Mr. Hird
      said the archbishop clarified that he was only offering the
      possibility of ecclesiastical protection, a responsibility which he
      would share with others.

      "He doesn't want to act alone, and we understand that," said Mr. Hird
      whose group of eight parishes and 12 clergy, now calling itself the
      Anglican Communion in New Westminster, was asking even before the
      diocesan synod for the appointment of another bishop to minister to
      them. Such an appointment is called alternative episcopal oversight.

      Neither Archbishop Kolini nor Mr. Hird would provide a copy of the
      archbishop's second letter, an unusual refusal for the conservative
      clergy, who have made public an enormous amount of correspondence
      regarding their standing in the diocese.

      In his original message, posted June 27 on the Prayer Book Society of

      Canada's Web site, Archbishop Kolini extended "the welcoming hand of
      Christian fellowship, shared concern, ready support and tangible
      assistance" to the eight New Westminster parishes which walked out of
      the June 15 diocesan synod after the vote in favour of same-sex
      blessings.

      "We deeply regret the threats toward you and numerous others
      concerning your clerical licences," the letter read. "Please know
      that we will not recognize any such efforts.


      "We are also willing to share with others the possibility of
      ecclesiastical protection."


      At the time, New Westminster bishop Michael Ingham declared the offer

      "meaningless" since the archbishop has no jurisdiction in Canada.

      The Rwandan archbishop now says the offer of ecclesiastical
      protection was taken out of context.


      "I wrote it as a word of encouragement, not as an offer of episcopal
      oversight," said Archbishop Kolini. "That doesn't mean we keep
      quiet."


      The archbishop said he would continue to "look into the matter" and
      discuss with other primates (heads of Anglican provinces) "any
      counsel we can give."


      While he has not yet spoken with any other primates about the matter,

      Archbishop Kolini said he expected it was being widely discussed at
      the meeting of the Future of Anglicanism, taking place in Oxford,
      England June 30 through July 5.

      Archbishop Kolini and the church in Rwanda have long had ties with
      the Anglican Church of Canada, with the latter providing funding for

      development and relief to the country. The national church's
      partnerships department has traditionally provided $15,000 to the
      Rwandan church and the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund,
      which shares its offices with the national church, supports
      development projects there, including a food security project and an
      orphanage.


      Rob Shropshire, PWRDF's development team co-ordinator, knows
      Archbishop Kolini as well as anybody in the Canadian church. His
      history with the archbishop dates back to 1991, when he was hired by
      the primate's fund to staff its Africa desk and Archbishop Kolini
      was a new bishop in the diocese of Shaba, in the Anglican Church of
      Zaire (now known as Congo).


      "I met him as part of the Anglican Church of Canada's response to a
      call from the Anglican Communion to establish closer contacts with
      French-speaking Anglicans," said Mr. Shropshire.

      The two men have met about a dozen times over the years, including
      once in 2000 after Archbishop Kolini and Archbishop Moses Tay of
      Singapore ordained two U.S. priests as missionary bishops to
      minister to conservatives in the United States. Those consecrations
      were widely condemned as "irregular" in the Anglican Communion and
      the Canadian primate, Archbishop Michael Peers, was quoted as saying
      "Bishops are not intercontinental ballistic missiles,
      manufactured on one continent and fired into another as an act of
      aggression."


      The following year, Archbishop Kolini and Archbishop Datuk Yong Ping
      Chung of South East Asia consecrated four more U.S. bishops. They
      are part of the breakaway Anglican Mission in America.

      In the fall of 2000, Mr. Shropshire personally delivered a message to

      Archbishop Kolini from PWRDF asking him to clarify press statements
      that the Rwandan church did not consider itself in communion with
      those churches which did not endorse a 1997 statement about sexual
      sin (including homosexual practices between men or women).

      While the Rwandan church did not respond directly to the request for
      clarification, Archbishop Kolini told Mr. Shropshire that Rwandan
      Anglicans would not accept church leaders questioning the authority
      of the Bible.


      "He also said that, as part of the Anglican Communion, he must listen
      to others and take care of those who are concerned when the authority
      of Scripture is called into question."


      Mr. Shropshire, who describes the archbishop as a good communicator
      who "seems to be a compassionate man", said he questioned Archbishop
      Kolini's priorities.

      Speaking a day before he was scheduled to travel to Rwanda and
      Burundi, Mr. Shropshire said he is surprised the Rwandan archbishop
      is involved in the affairs of the Anglican church in Canada and the
      U.S. when his own church has so many problems of its own.

      Archbishop Kolini was studying in the United States in 1994 when an
      estimated 800,000 people died in Rwanda in a genocide. Several church

      leaders, including bishops, were implicated in the genocide and many
      fled the country in exile, including the then-archbishop.

      "Those problems should be priority issues," said Mr. Shropshire. "I
      wonder, where is the call from the church in Rwanda to the Anglican
      Communion to work with them on peace, justice and reconciliation
      issues? Why aren't we hearing that call instead of a call around
      issues of gays and lesbians in the church in the United States and
      Canada?"

      _______________


      Links:

      Rwandan archbishop supports New Westminster dissidents
      Ingham describes offer as "meaningless"
      June 28, 2002 anglican.ca news story
      http://www.anglican.ca/news/online/news.html?newsItem=2002-06-28_ll.news


      The Province of Rwanda
      -- from the Anglican Mission in America Web site
      http://www.anglicanmissioninamerica.org/meetamia/rwanda.html


      Short biography of Archbishop Emmanuel Mbona Kolini
      -- from the Anglican Mission in America Web site
      http://www.anglicanmissioninamerica.org/meetamia/bios.html#kolini


      Future of Anglicanism conference - June 30 - July 5, 2002
      http://www.wycliffe.ox.ac.uk/anglicans2002/welcome-js.html


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