"We need more missionaries", says AMIA Leader
By David W. Virtue
HYPERLINK "http://www.virtueonline.org/" \nwww.virtueonline.org
With more than 1,500 orthodox Anglicans watching, three Anglican Mission
in the Americas (AMiA) priests were consecrated by a cross section of
the Anglican Communion's bishops during an emotional three-hour worship
service in a ballroom of the Adam's Mark Hotel in Dallas.
The Rt. Rev. Terrell Glenn Jr. of Pawley's Island, SC; the Rt. Rev. John
Miller III of Melbourne, Fla.; and the Rt. Rev. Philip Jones from Little
Rock, Arkansas were consecrated using a service drawn from the new Book
of Common Prayer (1662 revised) and modern praise and worship music. The
service concluded the three-day winter conference of the Anglican
mission that brought together a bevy of evangelical motivational
Present at the consecration were two sitting African Archbishops,
Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda and the Most Revd Justice Ofei Akrofi of West
Africa. Two retired Southeast Asian Archbishops were on hand including
the Most Rev. Moses Tay and the Most Rev. Yong Ping Chung. A Canadian
bishop, the Rt. Rev. Donald Harvey, under the authority of the Province
of the Southern Cone and 18 other Anglican bishops from the US, England,
Africa and the entire House of Bishops of the Province of Rwanda
participated. A number of Common Cause bishops participated from nine
jurisdictions including Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya as well as two bishops
from the Reformed Episcopal Church. Two retired Episcopal bishops, the
Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons Allison and the Rt. Rev. Alex Dickson also
participated in the consecration as did the Bishop of Pittsburgh, the
Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan.
The conference itself drew clergy and lay people from across the United
States, Canada, Rwanda, West Africa, Southeast Asia and the UK. The
Rwandan Church's House of Bishops ratified the choice of the three new
bishops last year to accommodate the growing numbers of new converts and
establishing of new churches on this side of the Atlantic by AMiA.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has been critical of such diocesan
incursions and has spoken out directly against them.
Rowan Williams went public with a letter to Canadian Archbishop Fred
Hiltz in condemning the incursion into Canada by the Archbishop of the
Southern Cone, but he also made it clear that he was powerless to stop
conservative Canadian and U.S. congregations upset with their national
churches' positions on homosexuality from leaving and affiliating with
orthodox branches in Latin America and Africa.
It was a frank admission by Archbishop as to the limits of his power,
even though he is opposed to cross-border ecclesiastical moves.
"I have no canonical authority to prevent these things, but I would
simply repeat what was said in my advent letter (in December), to the
effect that I cannot support or sanction such actions," Williams wrote
the Canadian archbishop.
Mrs. Katharine Jefferts Schori, U.S. Presiding Bishop, has inhibited one
retired bishop, 87-year old William Cox, for ordaining and confirming in
Kansas and later confirming in Oklahoma, but he has since fled to the
Province of the Southern Cone for spiritual and ecclesiastical safety.
During his sermon, the Rt. Rev. Chuck Murphy, Bishop and AMiA Chairman,
said there was an urgent need for more missionary bishops as a Second
Reformation has begun and that bodes well for his church's efforts to
reach 130 million unchurched Americans.
"We need more missionary bishops to step into the next level of growth.
The critical factor, the God given vision of this remarkable vision,
comes from the Rwandan House of Bishops and their willingness to stand
up and be a part of us from the beginning. They broke with convention in
the early days and pioneered a way forward in mission unheard of
Anglican circles," said Murphy.
"These past 10 years have been challenging. The criticisms have been
voiced and questions about the legitimacy of our existence, but with
their God given vision they have stood up and stood apart. It could not
have happened without them."
Addressing the conferees, many of whom were formerly members of The
Episcopal Church, Murphy challenged them saying, "The world wants to
know of your witness, your boldness and pioneering vision. All you need
is a God given vision, a way forward in witness to the power of God who
moves with great authority in the world and North America."
Citing a book he had recently read on the changing face of Anglicanism,
Murphy said the AMIA was a profoundly influential movement in the
Anglican Communion, pushing the boundaries in a new vigorous way.
"God promises to give us vision, again, again and again. Where there is
no vision the people perish," he said citing Proverbs 29:18. Picking up
the thread of Joel 2:28 Murphy cried out, "I will pour out my spirit
upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your
old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions"
Murphy said the mission of AMIA was "unique" and offered a compelling
picture of a preferred future that "motivates to work, pray, and
forgive...it is a vision but then it unfolds...godly visions will flow
from the word of God.
"We must ask, is it in conformity with Scripture? Godly visions will
speak to peoples needs. We must get outside of our comfort zones. Godly
visions will ultimately unite as more and more people see and understand
what AMIA is about. Today's consecrations are yet another step in this
Murphy said the AMIA had a basis for action. "We see it, we say it and
we seize it. We cannot drift or lie in harbor. This is the challenge of
the church in this age. The trigger for this action is the call, and
that call we sense is from God.
It is also a pneumatic vision - the movement of the Holy Spirit to give
us the desire to send forth laborers into the harvest. You have got to
have an opportunity. The answer was yes. This "yes" required that
action. The good news is that God promises us the power. It fell on the
judges of the Old Testament, again at Pentecost, then St. Paul and
Timothy...it came with the Spirit of power."
Murphy acknowledged both the challenges and temptations. "There is the
challenge to burn out. Do anything you want but not everything you want.
We need margins, time for family. We should expect attacks from The Evil
One and cited the areas of sex, money and power. Satan can trip people
up in the area of relationships and attacks us in the area of self
esteem. We are made in the image of God Satan is not, but we should
never give up."
The Anglican Mission in the Americas encompasses the United States and
Canada with missions in Mexico and Bogota. Since it began in 2000, the
mission has added an average of one church every three weeks. The AMiA
now has seven missionary bishops serving more than 133 parishes with 62
more in the pipeline.
Editor's Note: The AMiA parish in central NY is St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Syracuse.