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CONGO: Archbishop Isingoma blasts attempted "illegal consecrations" of AMIA bishops in his Province

CONGO: Archbishop Isingoma blasts attempted "illegal consecrations" of AMIA bishops in his Province
Congolese leader together with GAFCON Chairman Eliud Wabukala call for stop to consecrations

By David W. Virtue DD
April 29, 2015

The Anglican Archbishop of the Congo, Henri Isingoma has written a letter to the Anglican Primates and Partners in Mission of the Province of the Anglican Church of Congo (PACC) condemning what he calls "illegal consecrations" in his province. He has also called on AMIA Bishop Philip Jones to withdraw them.

"I am writing to you to share with you the great concern of the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Congo about the voluntarily involvement of our three bishops, namely Bishop Bahemuka William of Boga diocese, Bishop Bahati Bali-Busane Sylvestre of Bukavu diocese and Bishop Masimango Katanda Zacharie of Kindu diocese in carrying out a joint missionary work in their respective dioceses with the new bishops who will very soon be consecrated (in May 2015) by Bishop Philip Jones, the 'Apostolic Vicar' from Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) currently called 'Anglican Society for Mission and Apostolic Works' (ASMAW) and sent out to their respective dioceses."

The Congolese Archbishop accused Bishop Jones and his canon lawyer, Kevin Donlon, of using money to support these dioceses in exchange for the consecrations, which he described as an attempt to "infiltrate" his province. "We do not recognize them as legitimate bishops nor do we know their intentions/objectives in their mission among us," wrote the archbishop.

Isingoma also accused retired Archbishop of Rwanda, the Most Rev. Emmanuel Mbona Kolini, of involvement in the scheme. He said that Jones and the ASMAW have targeted three bishops of the 11 dioceses in his province for its mission in the Anglican Communion.

"The Province of the Anglican Church of Congo is among those Provinces that did not distance themselves from the Anglican Communion during the ethic and doctrinal crisis that shook and continues to shake it since The Episcopal Church of USA deliberately consecrated a homosexual bishop leading to a huge blow among the evangelical and orthodox Anglican bishops.

"Every time we meet as a House of Bishops or a Provincial Assembly or diocesan synods, we continue to affirm our traditional and evangelical position based on Holy Scriptures as well as our link with the Anglican Communion hoping that it will recover through committed dialogue and unconditional reconciliation through prayers and repentance for the glory of God."

Isingoma said that Kolini and then AMIA leader Bishop Chuck Murphy were offered a "temporary welcome" to the AMIA churches when they were in conflict with the Province of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda. "We expected them to use that time to reconcile with the Episcopal Church of Rwanda for the sake of the love for the Communion or to join the non-liberal churches in America, but all this didn't yield any fruit until we abandoned them in less than a year time. Since then, we made several resolutions to part ways with AMiA during our Provincial Assembly and during the House of Bishops' meeting as well."

Isingoma blasted ASMAW (formerly the AMIA) for not using "proper channels" saying he deplored the AMiA's behavior to try and weaken the structure of his Province in order to achieve its goals that greatly contribute to disobedience among the bishops and to the divisions in his church.

"We are saddened to note that our three bishops are unfairly listed on the official sittings of ASMAW with the help of the retired Archbishop of Rwanda. Incredibly, there is no single bishop from Rwanda where the retired archbishop worked from! (www.theamia.org/leadership)"

Isingoma said he was not prohibiting bishops looking around for partners to support their dioceses in financial hardship, but this should be done with utmost care and wisdom so as to keep the identity of the Province intact while uplifting their own reputation and dignity.

Isingoma cited three concerns:

1. How will our three bishops manage the parallelism of the Episcopal ministry in their respective dioceses and how will they work out the vision, mission and the structure of ASMAW with those of the Province of the Anglican Church of Congo? Will this not appear as a province within another province?

2. How will they relate with our Province that is a member of the Anglican Communion and of the evangelical movement of Anglicans in Africa (GAFCON)?

3. Are the Christians from the dioceses in this new partnership aware of the unavoidable consequences of this new mission institutionally?

The Congolese archbishop believes the actions of Jones would lead them to joining a new provincial-like ministry or another Episcopalian organization in the world, "and this is contrary to the constitution of the Province of the Anglican Church of Congo."

Isingoma perceives that the action by ASMAW "imports conflicts" and has advised Kolini to find an honorable way to enjoy his retirement without disturbing other church leaders in the Anglican Communion, and mostly not to destabilize a sister-province of the Anglican Church of Congo that for years mentored him for the sake of mutual respect and the glory of God.

Isingoma said the ASMAW should "harmonize its mission" with that of other churches and/or missionary societies within America such as the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in order to avoid exporting a conflict in the name of the Gospel.

Bishop Jones wrote to Isingoma (in French) trying to fix the problem. In a personal letter to Bishop Jones, which VOL obtained, the archbishop told Jones that his ideas were the same ones he used to hear from Archbishop Kolini Emmanuel and Bishop William Mugenyi.

"I wrote to him a letter and reserved a copy to you. We ended our partnership with AMIA since 06 April 2012. Since then I am no longer associated to your mission organization business. I have recently urged our bishops to join our efforts in establishing fruitful partnership for their dioceses, but they should be wise and loyal to our provincial regulations in term of mission partnership; they have to do that according to our common vision and our common mission, not just looking after any financial support."

During the recent meeting of the Primates of GAFCON held in Woking/UK, Isingoma shared the situation with his fellow Primates; together they resolved that this wasn't the way to go in ministry. The Primates then requested its chairman, the Most Reverend Eliud Wabukala, to officially write to Jones to stop him from going ahead with the consecration.

Isingoma told Jones his province would not recognize the consecrations as valid. "An evangelical mission needs to reflect our Lord's image of love and peace to reinforce the unity and harmony among his people; and not to transpose a conflict situation from one continent to another, from church to church."

The Congo Archbishop said he was saddened by the fact that the three bishops in partnership with Jones never officially told him, his House of Bishops, or their respective diocesan synods about their intention to join ASMAW.

Isingoma concluded his letter saying he advised Jones not to go ahead with the illegal consecration in the name of the Province of the Anglican Church of Congo nor in the name of the three dioceses.


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