frgavin on July 6th, 2014
By David W. Virtue

The deep animosity between the former leader of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), Chuck Murphy, and the recently retired Archbishop of the Anglican Church in America, Robert Duncan, is over.

Both men have stepped down as leaders of their respective movements and a re-engagement between the new leaders is in the air. Could the AMiA be headed for reunion with the ACNA? It’s possible.

In his farewell address, Archbishop Robert Duncan said he had called Bishop Philip Jones, the new leader of the renamed “Society of Mission and Apostolic Works”. He described the conversation as “lovely”. The Anglican Mission claims some 50 congregations. They are not counted in the Anglican Church in North America and have no official standing in the wider Anglican Communion.

Duncan told VOL that the goal is the eventual unity of all Anglicans in North America and he welcomes such overtures.

Archbishop Foley Beach has long standing friendships with Bishop Jones and AMIA Bishop T.J. Johnston as all three studied at the University of the South in Sewanee. Another bishop told VOL that if anyone can pull it off, it would be Archbishop Beach talking with his old friend. “We desperately need to be unified,” said the source.

The Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) or The Anglican Mission (AM), formerly Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), was established as a missionary outreach of the Anglican Church of the Province of Rwanda in 2000, following a growing exodus from The Episcopal Church over theological and moral innovations by that denomination. The AMiA affiliated to the Anglican Church in North America, with their inception on June 2009, initially as a full member, but later changed its status to “ministry partner” in 2010, where it remained until December 2011.

The Anglican Mission was a founding member of the Common Cause Partnership and of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). The Anglican Mission’s relationship with the Anglican Church in North America was defined by protocol between the AM, the Province of Rwanda, and the ACNA. According to the protocol, the AM was under the authority of the ACNA’s constitution and canons except where those documents conflict with the AM’s charter. On May 18, 2010, however, it was announced that the AM would seek “ministry partner” status with the ACNA and remain fully a part of the Province of Rwanda.

The Anglican Mission remained under the oversight of the Church of the Province of Rwanda, a member church of the Anglican Communion, and as a ministry partner of the ACNA through 2011. On December 5, 2011 Bishop Murphy and most of the bishops of the AM announced to the Province of Rwanda that the Anglican Mission would shortly be severing its relationship with the Rwandan Church.

In 2012, the AMiA became a “Society of Mission and Apostolic Works” and unsuccessfully sought oversight from other Anglican Communion provinces following its disaffiliation from the Province of Rwanda, after a temporary affiliation with the Anglican Church of the Congo.

Bishop Chuck Murphy led the Mission from 2000 to 2013 and stepped down on December 2013, replaced by Philip Jones.

The AMiA was formed in response to the theological liberalism of the Episcopal Church in the United States (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC), both of which are North American branches of the Anglican Communion.

In the past, Archbishop Duncan has said of the AMiA that they have not been so good about accountability and the unity of the church. “They are now former Anglicans. That’s what they have to grapple with.”

With Murphy back to being a church “planter” (and “Consultor”) in the breakup of his former parish, All Saints Pawleys Island, SC, the departure of the majority of his bishops to PEAR-USA and the ACNA, and the loss of the majority of AMIA’s parishes to the ACNA or one of its jurisdictions, the ecclesiastical landscape has changed yet again.

A new generational day has dawned for the ACNA and the AMIA with new possibilities existing for a reunion that would benefit all sides as they fight the continued radicalization and progressive mindset of The Episcopal Church and an increasingly post-Christian culture.


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