A letter to the members of All Saints Church: May 11, 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Turmoil and change have become too routine over the past six months as a result of decisions made by the leadership within the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA). The resignation of the majority of the AMiA’s bishops, excluding Bishops Terrell Glenn and Thad Barnum, from the Rwandan House of Bishops in December of 2011 was a major disruption and distraction as well as a significant disappointment. We have seen much change, plenty of difficult circumstances, and had many hard and honest conversations since, but God has not left us as orphans; the Holy Spirit has been at work granting us the peace of Christ and leading us in wisdom, discernment, and truth. Praise be to God that he does not abandon us in the messes we make! God is working despite confusion and changes within the AMiA as well as within Anglicanism in North America, and he is actively purifying, pruning, and shaping his church.

At All Saints, we have been prayerfully wrestling with how we ought to be connected to the worldwide Anglican Communion in light of these recent events. The Vestry is now unanimous in the belief that the best way forward is for us to join PEARUSA, and thereby to be a fully active part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). In the coming days, the Vestry will propose a formal amendment to the church bylaws reflecting this decision. At a congregational meeting on Sunday, May 20 at 9:30 a.m., church members will be asked to vote to approve or not approve these bylaw changes. In preparation for this meeting, the clergy and staff want to share as much information as we can about what PEARUSA is and what its relationship with the ACNA and the worldwide Anglican Communion will be.

To that end, following you will find 1) a glossary of terms and acronyms, 2) an explanation of PEARUSA, 3) a brief explanation of relationships within and structure of PEARUSA and the ACNA, and 4) links to the charter and protocols of PEARUSA.

Please take some time to read over this important information and let us know if you have any questions in the coming days. Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting on May 20, but only church members may vote. If you are unclear about your membership status, please contact the church office or consult the membership binder in the narthex. Please be in prayer for our church as we desire to walk in the Spirit in the midst of this decision. And finally, although this is an important decision and one that will have implications for our church, please do not allow yourself to be distracted from All Saints’s mission to become and make disciples of Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you,

All Saints Church Clergy, Vestry, and Staff 

Glossary of Terms

PEAR: The Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda

PEARUSA: The North American Missionary District of the Anglican Church of Rwanda

ACNA: The Anglican Church of North America

GAFCON: The proper name for the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans when it gathers in conference. The acronym is Global Anglican Futures Conference.

Missionary District: This is what the Rwandan House of Bishops chose to establish in North America. Further, they have determined that this is the only body that will be canonically present in Rwanda within the North American context. PEARUSA is the continuation of PEAR’s original work in North America.

Sub-jurisdiction: This is the proper term to describe PEARUSA’s relationship with the ACNA. It will be a full part of the ACNA but will also be linked to Rwanda. Like many of the other sub-jurisdictions of the ACNA, the churches of PEARUSA will bring to the ACNA a certain set of theological distinctives.

What is PEARUSA?

PEARUSA is a Missionary District and church planting movement of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. The acronym PEAR stands for Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda (Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda): PEARUSA is a sub-jurisdiction of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). It is a movement of clergy and churches that was birthed in Rwanda, was planted in North America, and is bearing fruit in our communities. Please see the Charter and Protocols (links below) to understand how a sub-jurisdiction functions within the ACNA.

Birthed in Rwanda

PEARUSA’s relationship with Rwanda does not exist as a matter of utility. Rather, it is our Rwandan brothers’ and sisters’ pursuit of reconciliation; that church’s legacy of conciliar decision-making and governance; their commitment to prayer, transparency, and Gospel-driven mission that God first gave as hallmarks of the East African Revival; and their submission to Biblical truth that binds their church to our own. PEARUSA is, in fact, being shaped by Rwanda in an ongoing relationship of friendship, collaboration, and discipleship as we move through life together with Christ Himself and as brothers and sisters in the Gospel. Through Rwanda, PEARUSA is also shaped by the Global South and through a growing coalition of confessional Anglicans gathering under the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON). GAFCON’s common faith is clarified in the Jerusalem Declaration.

Planted in America

The people and churches who make up PEARUSA share a zeal for communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ by word and deed. It is united in its strategy of growth through planting churches. It is actively committed and involved on multiple levels with the growth of united, biblical, mission-driven Anglicanism in North America as a sub-jurisdiction of the ACNA.

Bearing Fruit in our Communities

PEARUSA seeks to create and sustain life through

• proper episcopal and clerical order that proclaims the Gospel, serves   sacrificially, builds teams, and equips and empowers others for ministry,
• a pervasive culture of healthy relationships, collaborative work, and Christian vitality,
• being transformed by the Gospel and by communicating that same Gospel through word and deed,
• training life-long missional leaders and church planters, and
• planting churches for the work of Christ and the glory of God.

How is PEARUSA related to the ACNA?

PEARUSA stands committed to the vision articulated by the ACNA for united, Biblical, mission-driven Anglicanism throughout our continent. PEARUSA enjoys full communion with the ACNA as its sub-jurisdiction. This is best demonstrated by its financial commitments to the ACNA, its representation at the ACNA Provincial Assembly, its representation in the Provincial Council and the ACNA House of Bishops, and the freedom of both clergy and congregations to move between the Missionary District and the ACNA. Above all else, PEARUSA seeks to offer its gifts, such as they are, to the ACNA.

Explanation of  Relationships

The three major entities involved in this partnership enjoy full communion. PEAR, the ACNA, and PEARUSA are all members of the Confessing Anglican Movement, and thus enjoy full communion through their fellow participation in GAFCON. PEARUSA will be the only body that is directly aligned with PEAR functioning in North America. However, PEAR recognizes that ACNA is the orthodox Anglican province in North America, and thus wishes for its Missionary District PEARUSA to be a sub-jurisdiction within the ACNA.

This relationship means that PEARUSA will enjoy full membership in the ACNA. The clergy and employees of PEARUSA and its churches will be eligible for the ACNA package of benefits, and the Bishops of PEARUSA that will be selected in the next few months will be seated in the ACNA House of Bishops. Likewise, clergy and churches of both the ACNA and PEARUSA are free to move between the two parties without a formal request of jurisdictional change. (Please see the links to the PEARUSA Charter and Protocols to see the specific ways PEARUSA will function as a sub-jurisdiction within the ACNA.)

Brief Outline of the structure of PEARUSA

At the upcoming Celebration Assembly in Raleigh, the clergy and lay leaders of those churches that are interested in PEARUSA will lay out the initial structure of a series of regional networks. Each of these networks will be made up of at least 12 churches and will be led by a Bishop. After this meeting, the new networks-in-formation will select two candidates for Bishop and these names will be sent to Rwanda for review and selection. Once the new Bishops have been selected and consecrated, they will appear before the ACNA Bishops so that they may be received into the College of Bishops of the ACNA. PEARUSA is and will be marked by its commitment to collegial leadership between clergy and laity, as well as the spirit of reconciliation that is the heartbeat of Rwanda. To this end, PEARUSA seeks to plant biblical, missional, and reformational Anglican churches. (Please see the links to the PEARUSA Charter and Protocols to see the specific ways PEARUSA will function as a sub-jurisdiction within the ACNA.)

PEARUSA Proposed Charter 

To read the proposed PEARUSA charter click here or go to the following address:

http://www.pearusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/PEARUSA-Proposed-Charter.pdf

PEARUSA / ACNA Protocols 

To read the proposed PEARUSA and ACNA protocols click here or go to the following address:

http://www.pearusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/ACNA-PEARUSA_Protocols_FINAL-Draft.pdf

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