Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Primate of Rwanda Crosses Diocesan Boundaries

The following letter from The Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray, III, Bishop of Mississippi, recently appeared in The Mississippi Episcopalian. It is dated January 11, 2006:

Dear Friends,

On Sunday, January 8, the Right Reverend Emmanuel Kolini, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Rwanda visited Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Jackson to perform Episcopal duties for this small congregation established by the Anglican Mission in America. This visitation took place without my knowledge or approval. Sadly, the first I knew of Archbishop Kolini’s visit was when a reporter asked me for comments on the following Thursday.

I have been committed to the terms of the Windsor Report as the means by which the Anglican Communion, fragile and precious as it is, can continue to be a vital worldwide community of faith. This visit, as well as the visit by Bishop Githiga of Kenya in the summer of 2005 to another congregation in Mississippi, clearly violates one of the foundational propositions in the Windsor Report that provides for the integrity of diocesan boundaries. It becomes increasingly difficult to ask one part of the Anglican Communion to observe the Windsor recommendations in their totality while another segment feels free to pick and choose which they will accept and which they will disobey. Such unilateral action only hardens the division now present.

If our communion does rupture, certainly the actions of General Convention can be pointed to as one cause of the break. However, I am increasingly impatient with the “Lone Ranger” mentality of all segments of the Communion that seems to say in words and actions, “I have no need of you.”

I am writing to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Rowan Williams to register my strong protest of this action.

When asked by the reporter why he had chosen not to communicate with me prior to his visitation, the Archbishop replied that he would only speak to those bishops who were part of the Anglican network in this country. It is just such behavior that has deepened my opposition to a diocesan affiliation with the network.

After this communication to you and the registering of my protest to Archbishop Williams, I plan to waste no more energy on this event. We, all of us, have far greater work to do for the Lord of our lives than to expend precious energy fueling the internal wars that have consumed us for a generation. I will continue to preach and seek to live into our vision of One Church in Mission: Inviting, Transforming, Reconciling. I will, as God gives me strength, guard the faith, unity and discipline of this church, and I will continue to call us to an ever deepening sense of what it means to be a missionary church.

I ask for your prayers, and commitment to our common life.

The Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray, III


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