Anglican Mission in the Americas
|Orientation||mostly Anglican Charismatics and other Evangelicals, but some Anglo-Catholics|
|Polity||Episcopal, Mission Society|
|Associations||National Association of Evangelicals,
Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas
|Region||United States, Canada|
|Founder||Various clergy from the above groups including Chuck Murphy as first Bishop|
|Separated from||Episcopal Church in the USA|
|Part of a series on the|
|Global Anglican Future Conference|
The Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) or The Anglican Mission (AM) is a self-governing church inheriting its doctrine and form of worship from the Episcopal Church in the United States (TEC) and Anglican Church of Canada with members and churchmen on a socially conservative mark on the liberal–fundamentalist spectrum of interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. Among its affiliates is the Anglican Church in North America since their inception on June 2009, initially as a full member, changing its status to ministry partner in 2010. In 2012, the AM sought to clarify the clear intent of its founding by officially recognizing themselves as a "Society of Mission and Apostolic Works." The AM sought oversight from other Anglican Communion provinces in a desire to expand its mission partnerships. The AM is currently in communion with many Anglican dioceses and provinces, primarily in the Global South.
It has its view an authentic, unreformed mission including belief in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church while rejecting in its view a modern papal-led hierarchy, apocryphal sacraments and post-apostolic, papal canonical law and equally the adoption of inconsistently modern doctrines in the post-16th century sects of Protestant Christianity. The Anglican Mission was officially established in July 2000 in Amsterdam, Netherlands under the primatial oversight of the primates of Rwanda and South East Asia.
AMiA, or AM, was formed in response to increased theological liberalism in the Episcopal Church in the United States (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC), the North American branches of the Anglican Communion.
The origin of the Anglican Mission was the First Promise Movement. In 1997, 30 priests, led by Chuck Murphy, released a document called The First Promise which "declared the authority of the Episcopal Church to be 'fundamentally impaired' because they no longer upheld the 'truth of the gospel'". Concerned about the crisis in faith and leadership that fostered continued controversy in the Anglican Communion, Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda and Moses Tay of South East Asia believed the time had come for Missionary Bishops to safeguard the faith in North America and consecrated Chuck Murphy and John Rodgers as bishops at St. Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore, on January 29, 2000. The Anglican Mission was officially established later that year in July in Amsterdam, Netherlands under the Primatial Oversight of the Primates of Rwanda and South East Asia. St. Andrews Church of Little Rock, Arkansas, became the first in North America to come under the oversight of the Global South provinces.
In January 2005, the Anglican Coalition in Canada came under the AMiA's oversight. The following year the Mission was restructured as the Anglican Mission in the Americas. This new structure included within it the AMiA, ACiC, and the ACiA.
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. On May 18, 2010, however, it was announced that the AM would seek "ministry partner" status with the ACNA and remain in full mission partner status with 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 seeking ministry partnerships that extended beyond the Province of Rwanda. Following this announcement, the Rwandan church decided to form a separate group in the USA that remained in affiliation with the Province of Rwanda through a new jurisdiction known as PEARUSA. Up to that point, all clergy from the AM had been ordained under the supervision of the Archbishop of Rwanda, the Archbishop of South East Asia, and other participating Anglican Primates and Rwandan bishops. Clergy in the AM were and are indigenous - they receive their ordination from primates and bishops in full communion with the Anglican Church but are from the area in which mission work is to take place and are under the authority of the Apostolic Vicar of the Anglican Mission. Many of the original bishops and priests of the AM were drawn from North America and were often former TEC or ACC priests.
The AMiA planted 268 churches during his first eleven years of existence, according to Bishop Chuck Murphy final address on 27 February 2013, but lost two thirds of them to other jurisdictions after their severe of relations with the Anglican Church of Rwanda, in December 2011. The number of remaining churches, according to him, was around 69. He expressed his belief that the AMiA should continue his work as a missionary society in North America.
The number of AMiA churches currently given is 44, in 18 American states and 3 Canadian provinces.
The Anglican Mission is a technically a public religious association or society in the Church. It is structured at various levels: local, regional, national and international. Each one has its own juridical standing within the Church based upon common norms of constitution, statutes and oversight.
The Anglican Mission receives and accepts oversight, accountability and patronage through episcopal authority in the structure of a College of Consultors who serve as guardians and overseers, responsible for preserving the vision and direction of the Anglican Mission in accordance with the Constitution and the Norms of the Society. The College addresses, in particular, questions relating to the general orientation of the Society and in the application of the Norms and Statutes. The College of Consultors holds pastoral and episcopal patronage and oversight over the Society, within the limits of the Constitution and Statutes. Because such apostolic works under a society must have a common purpose congruent with the mission of the Church, those who are the competent ecclesiastical authority have the obligation of oversight in matters of faith and order so as to promote the common good, protect against the infringement of rights and duties and provide a venue of adjudication when necessary. This Constitution recognizes that while the local expressions of the Society may differ somewhat among its members in liturgical expression and cultural heritage, they are all entrusted to the pastoral mandate from this College of Consultors as a collegial body, and to those to whom they delegate authority. The College of Consultors holds a membership of up to seven Consultors, with a minimum of three, as voting members. This membership consists of ex officio and elected members. The inaugural membership includes the founding Archbishops /Primates of the Anglican Mission, which was established in 2000 by the Primates of South East Asia and Rwanda. There are also members who are elected by the College who may be:
- Primates of a Provincial Church
- Deans of a Provincial Church
- Archbishops of a Particular Local Church
- Diocesan Bishops of a Local Church who have engaged in ministry through concordat whom the College believes will serve the interest of the Society
- The status that the above would enjoy would be determined by the College of Consultors as determined by the needs for governance at the time of appointment.
These elected members may come to pass based upon recommendations from:
- a) The Apostolic Vicar with the Conference of Missionary Bishops.
- b) Other Primates and Archbishops and Bishops who serve in ministry partnerships with the Society.
The College of Consultors are ordered as follows:
- A Rector will head the College. He will be selected by the College.
- A Vice-Rector, who shall assist the Rector and serve as chair in his stead when so delegated. He will be selected by the College.
- A Secretary, who will be elected from amongst their ranks and who may select an Assistant Secretary of non-Episcopal office to assist in that office.
The College of Consultors will elect an Apostolic Vicar who has authority over the members of the Society. The norms for election for the Apostolic Vicar are provided for in the Statutes of the Society.
- The Apostolic Vicar is an ex officio member of the College with seat and voice.
- The Apostolic Vicar possesses all ordinary jurisdictions and enjoys the usual rights, faculties, privileges and obligations of such an office. However, rather than exercising this governance in his own name, he does so with delegated authority in the place of the Consultors.
The College of Consultors holds meetings at least annually, and as needed.
- By request of a majority of the members of the College.
- As requested by the Apostolic Vicar to the members of the College.
As provided for in Chapter 2, Article 3, Section 7 of the Constitution of the Society, there shall be elected an Apostolic Vicar by the College of Consultors. The Apostolic Vicar must be a cleric of episcopal orders.
He shall hold office under and have privileges, powers, authority and duties as defined by Constitutions, Statutes and Pastoral Norms. The Apostolic Vicar is the presiding ecclesiastical authority of the Society on behalf of the College of Consultors. He has charge for the Society, and governs all spiritual, pastoral, and ecclesiastical matters of the Society, as provided for by law of this Society, and as the norms of the church make provision. As such he shall exercise all the rights and perform all the duties as delegated to him.
The Apostolic Vicar may establish an Office of the Apostolic Vicar to which he may appoint clergy and laity to serve particular ministerial and administrative functions for the Society on his behalf. The primary function of the Office of the Apostolic Vicar is to be of assistance to the Apostolic Vicar in the governance, administration and canonical norms of the Society. This assistance is offered and extended to the society’s members as well. This Office may include the following:
- Provost [Chief of Staff]: The Provost is the chief assistant of the Apostolic Vicar overseeing the schedule, the appointments, and the calendar of the
Apostolic Vicar, and providing a wide variety of professional and coordinating support for his Office. Assignments are received from, carried out for, and reported to, the Apostolic Vicar as this person works in collaboration and coordination with the other members of the Office of the Apostolic Vicar.
- Rector General: The Apostolic Vicar, in consultation with the Board and the Conference of Missionary Bishops, appoints the Rector General of the Anglican Mission. The Rector General shall exercise such authority as is delegated from the Apostolic Vicar for the administration and supervision of the Anglican Mission. The Rector General is responsible for day-to-day operations, the administration of candidates for ordination and the process of church affiliation.
- The Episcopal Vicar(s): Episcopal Vicars are qualified priests or bishops appointed by the Apostolic Vicar to oversee a specific region or work of the Society. They assist the Apostolic Vicar in the exercise of his office and represent the Apostolic Vicar with delegated responsibilities given specifically to him. Episcopal Vicars serve no longer than the expiration of the appointing Apostolic Vicar’s term.
- The Canons: The Canons are appointed by the Apostolic Vicar in consultation with a jurisdictional bishop in covenant with the society. These clergy serve the Apostolic Vicar and the Society by attending to particular areas of the life and ministry of the church. These areas may include administration, pastoral planning, mission, canonical and ecclesiastical affairs, communications and worship within the life of the Society.
Within the framework of the Constitutions, Statutes, Pastoral Norms and Canons, the Apostolic Vicar with the advice and consultation of the Conference of Missionary Bishops may make decisions binding the whole Society until the next meeting of the College of Consultors, which can confirm, modify or abrogate them.
The office of the Apostolic Vicar shall become vacant when:
- He chooses to resign or retire;
- He attains the maximum age of seventy years;
- The College of Consultors, by consensus, calls for the election of a new Apostolic Vicar;
- He is found guilty of ecclesiastical charges by an ecclesiastical court and is removed from office by the College of Consultors;
- The Conference of Bishops and/or the Board makes petition to the College of Consultors showing just cause for removal, and the College acts accordingly;
- He dies.
The Apostolic Vicar convenes and chairs the Conference of Missionary Bishops, sets the agenda and presides over it. The Apostolic Vicar exercises delegated authority over the whole Society, in the cases and in the manner foreseen by canon law and the law of the Society.
The Conference of Missionary Bishops carries out its responsibility by serving the founding purpose of the Anglican Mission (Preamble, Section II). It is also responsible for applying the Constitution and Statutes of the Mission, as delegated by the Apostolic Vicar.
The members of the Conference of the Missionary Bishops have the following responsibilities based on the Ordinal and the customs of the church:
- a) To be the custodians of matters of faith and order, spiritual instructions and Church unity within the Society;
- b) To uphold the Anglican norms and traditions within the Society;
- c) To uphold and support the programs and strategies of the Society;
- d) To advise and nominate persons who meet the norms for the election of future Missionary Bishops.
The Conference of Missionary Bishops meets regularly and confers with the Apostolic Vicar on questions that concern the nature and work of the Society.
The Anglican Mission may be organized in Networks, Convocations or such other structures that will serve the founding purpose of the Anglican Mission. These structures will be defined by the Mission’s purpose and strategic opportunities to implement that purpose. These structures must be approved by the Apostolic Vicar in consultation with the Missionary Bishops.
The Society, at the initiation of the Apostolic Vicar, may have as part of its Structure, a Presbyteral Council.
The Presbyteral Council serves the following functions:
- a) Provides a forum for discussion of issues of pastoral concern in the Society to the Apostolic Vicar;
- b) Aids the Conference of Missionary Bishops, the Board (see Article 10) and the Apostolic Vicar in their responsibilities by serving as a Council of Advice, so that the pastoral welfare of the people of God committed to their care may be carried forward.
The Presbyteral Council consists of:
- a) Two ordained representatives from Networks, Convocations or such other structures that that will serve the founding purpose of the Anglican Mission;
- b) Two representative members of the Conference of Bishops;
- c) At large members appointed by the Apostolic Vicar, not to exceed one per time zone in each country;
- d) Ex officio members from the Office of the Apostolic Vicar.
The General Assembly is the normative elected and consultative body that brings matters related to the order of the Society to the College of Consultors. On the appointed day, the College of Consultors with the Apostolic Vicar, convene the Society in the General Assembly to exercise the powers to legislate by Constitution. This is done to ensure by their authority, the rights and privileges of the Society.
Once the Inaugural Assembly has convened, it shall be the charge of the Society to meet in Convocation known as the General Assembly. Every six years, the Society shall convene a General Assembly to reexamine the aims, characteristics and means of the Society with a view to affirm, renew or redirect its energies.
At the time of the General Assembly, the incumbent Apostolic Vicar and those in collegial ministry with him shall report and administer the routine affairs of the Society.
At least one year in advance, the Apostolic Vicar in consultation with the College of Consultors, Conference of Missionary Bishops, Board and other Members of the Society shall announce the date and place of the next General Assembly, inviting the membership to submit suggestions for the agenda.
The General Assembly shall consist of both ex officio members and delegates:
- a) Ex officio members shall be the Apostolic Vicar, Provost, the Rector General, Conference of Bishops, Episcopal Vicar(s), Canon(s) and Leaders of Networks, Convocations or such other structures. They have voice, seat and vote according to both the norms of the Constitutions.
- b) Election of delegates belongs only to active members who are engaged in apostolic works within the regions and particular ministries of the society. In the case of elected delegates to the Assembly, the numerical ratio shall be one clergy delegate (and an alternate) and one lay delegate (and alternate) per Corporate Member. Corporate Members whose average Sunday attendance exceeds 200 may add one additional clergy delegate (and an alternate) and one additional lay delegate (and an alternate) for every additional full 200 in average Sunday attendance.
- c) The General Assembly may invite to the Assembly individuals who may be either members of the Society or persons who do not belong to the Society but are knowledgeable in matters under consideration. They are present only in a consultative capacity and cannot be present in the Assembly when matters are treated that concern the internal life of the Society.
- d) Other groupings of members of the Society (such as Associate Members) are invited by the Apostolic Vicar and his Council according to the norms and needs of the Society.
Decisions of the General Assembly shall be taken according to the vote of the majority of the members of the General Assembly who have the right to vote and are present. The binding force of the decisions shall be determined by the General Assembly with endorsement from the College of Consultors.
The incumbent Apostolic Vicar, or in his absence the Rector General of the Society, shall furnish to each member of the General Assembly a report in writing of the spiritual, numerical and financial state of the Society, signed by the Apostolic Vicar and the Rector General.
There shall be established by the Apostolic Vicar in consultation with the Conference of Bishops a commission charged with the adoption and the implementation of the rules of procedure and the order of business. The rules of procedure and the order of business shall be endorsed and approved at the opening of the General Assembly.
Departments, Offices and Programs to support the Society may be established as required by the needs of the Society in carrying out its missionary purpose and work.
The membership of the Society shall be both individual and corporate composed of clerics and laity.
Clergy Members are those who:
- a) have discerned and affirmed a vocation to live out their ordained life as members of a Mission Society, who give voluntary submission to its Constitution and Statutes and seek to be licensed for ministry through a covenant with an ecclesiastical jurisdiction who seeks to engage in a collaborative ministry with the Society;
- b) by the solemn declaration annually, promise to live, abide and uphold the Constitution, Statutes, Norms, Visions and Values of the Society;
- c) have the right to attend deliberations on Society matters and participate fully in the General Assembly;
- d) give their lives, according to their state, to the mission of the Society through parochial or specialized ministries of the Society;
- e) seek to gift themselves to the work and apostolic life of the Society while submitting to authority both constitutionally and canonically.
Lay Members are those who:
- a) have discerned and affirmed a call to membership in the society through participation in a parochial or specialized ministry of the society;
- b) have pledged themselves annually to the Stewardship Principles of the Society according to ability (renewable for another one year);
- c) by the pledge, promise to live, abide and uphold the Statutes and ideals of the Society in their regional and local context;
- d) who have the right to attend deliberations of the General and Local Convocations of the Society and vote on decisions when so delegated.
Corporate Members are those:
- a) ecclesiastical communities who by discernment, discourse and vote have desired membership and affiliation as prescribed;
- b) ecclesiastical entities who expressly contribute the focus of their ministry and resources to the work of the Society;
- c) ecclesiastical entities who in their community implement the mission, vision, charism and spirituality of the Society;
- d) who delegate members to attend the Society’s Assemblies and Convocations as full participants;
- e) who maintain their affiliation as Anglicans through the vocational model while supporting where possible the jurisdictional ecclesial model.
Associate Members are those:
- a) who offer prayer for the works of the Society;
- b) who assist in the mission of the Society through pastoral, spiritual, educational or financial ministries to and with the Society;
- c) who have a principal ministry in other ecclesiastical settings but seek to be attached to the vision and values of the Society.
The clergy and laity do not take vows but instead express "the bond of charity" by making an "Act of Commitment." The "bond of charity" is best described as the expression of a voluntary desire on the part of the member of the Society to be a member of the Society.
- a) For clergy this Act of Commitment is expressed in the Annual renewal of Ordination vows and the Solemn Declarations done at regional or national convocations.
- b) For laity, this Act of Commitment takes place on the parochial level at the annual gathering of the faith community when commitments for the coming year are given and celebrated.
The idea of the Mission Society is that members strive, for missional service in and for Christ’s Church, lived in a spirit of humility and prayer, where obedience is offered to the Society and the local church out of fraternal love rather than through any external compulsion. A member of the Society "chooses" to live and serve his life in the fellowship that is based upon the vocation for mission.
Members of the Society seek to live in life-giving reciprocal communion with all the members of the Anglican Family. They shall endeavor to promote common initiatives or participate in them through local collaboration, ministry partnerships and concordats with other Anglican ecclesiastical entities that acknowledge and affirm the vocational missional model to spread the Gospel through evangelism, church planting and serving the cause of ecclesiastical unity.
The Members of the Society should fulfill with dedication the Mission duties to which they are called, always mindful of their relations to the local Church. They should lend their help to activities of their apostolic industries as well as to the activities existing in the jurisdictions to which they are related. In the spirit of service, they should make themselves present as a fellowship within the life of the local church where invited. They should be ready to collaborate with other ecclesiastical groups in those places and participate in the common life where possible.
The Fellowship of Sts. Columba and Augustine: Those of episcopal rank who wish individually and personally to associate with the Mission Society may do so through an Associate Membership sponsored by the College of Consultors called the Fellowship of Sts. Columba and Augustine. In this fellowship they may share in associate membership status and be called upon to share in various Episcopal ministries when circumstances allow. This fellowship is coordinated by the Vice Rector of the College of Consultors.
Since the Church of Christ has often been distressed by separations and schisms among Christians, so that the unity for which our Lord prayed is impaired and the witness to His gospel is grievously hindered, it is the duty of clergy and people of this society to do their utmost not only to avoid occasions of strife, but also to seek in penitence and brotherly charity healing of such divisions.
As a living expression of the people of God and conforming themselves to the faith and order of Christ’s Church, the Society, "living in full communion with the bishops of the Church catholic seeks to engage in mutual ministry with a number of ecclesiastical jurisdictions with whom they share a common vision for the Gospel.
Upon delivery of the request, these covenants shall be given review for consent by the Apostolic Vicar and the College of Consultors within the Society as well as by the local ecclesiastical authority in the jurisdiction disposed toward this collaboration. The Rector of the College of Consultors or the Apostolic Vicar shall serve as the signatory for the Society.
This is accomplished through ecclesiastical documents now known as concordats and covenants intended to design, detail and order ministry collaboration in the initiatives promoted by the Society and the local church.
The local church that shares the vision for mission may choose to offer canonical residence to the ordained clergy who seek it. Such a clergy petition would request canonical license and residence while being appointed and released to the Society.
The clergy when licensed are bound by the Constitution and Statutes of the Society as well as giving voluntary submission to the canonical norms of the local church unless a dispensation has been otherwise granted by the ecclesiastical authority granting the license. These norms would govern the liturgical and sacramental practices on the part of the clergy so licensed.
The Society recognizes that as a general norm, a parish or congregation as an ecclesiastical entity is understood to be territorial, that is, it is to embrace the work of Christ within a particular geographical territory usually being a diocese. Yet, it has been ascertained that in the tradition of the church there have been personal or specialized parishes or ecclesiastical entities established because it has been determined that because of a unique charism (Pauline spiritual gift), liturgical rite, language or nationality, the faithful in a certain location may belong to a parish not immediately attached to the local diocesan or provincial territory.
Parishes who with their clergy seek entrance as full members of the Society may petition for direct affiliation as prescribed by the Office of the Rector General. a) These parishes and clergy are under the direction of the Office of the Apostolic Vicar who may delegate oversight to a Missionary Bishop of the Society. b) The parish follows the canonical norms and customs of the Missionary Bishop who is canonically licensed by a particular jurisdiction and has enacted a mutual ministry concordat with the Bishop, the clergy and Parish with the consent of the Apostolic Vicar. c) These parishes share fully in the common life of the regional Networks in the mission initiatives established for that region. d) These parishes as part of its concordat or covenant may share in the common life of the canonical jurisdiction with which it is in relationship through mutual ministry partnerships agreed upon by the ecclesiastical authorities of the parish, the Society and the Jurisdiction.
Status with regard to the Anglican Communion
At the time of its formation, the AM's claim that it remained part of the worldwide Anglican Communion through the Province of Rwanda was recognized by many Anglican primates, including George Carey, who was Archbishop of Canterbury (head of the Anglican Communion). The former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams followed a similar path to try to preserve unity between mostly Western and Global South Anglicans. However, the AM is not formally in communion with the current Archbishop of Canterbury due to the attempts of the Archbishop to retain unity with the Episcopal Church USA.
Current Bishops Consecrated in the Anglican Mission
- Alexander Maury (Sandy) Greene (active)
- Silas Tak Yin Ng (active)
- Charles H Murphy, III (active)
- Thomas William (TJ) Johnston, Jr. (inactive)
- John Hewitt Rodgers, Jr. (retired)
Current College of Consultors
- Emmanuel Kolini
- Yong Ping Chung
- Moses Tay
CONSULTORS: Charles H Murphy, III; Sospeter T Ndenza;
- William B Mugenyi
- Mike Murphy
- Anglican Mission in the Americas Leadership, AMiA website
- The Anglican Mission: Current Leaders. Accessed March 13, 2010.
- Bishop Philip Jones to be Next Apostolic Vicar, March 2013
- The Anglican Mission: Highlights of the First 10 Years. Accessed 16 March 2010.
- "The Anglican Mission: It Began with a Promise..." Accessed March 16, 2010
- "St. Andrew's - Our Story". Accessed March 16, 2010.
- Protocol Governing the Relationship between The Anglican Mission in the Americas and the Anglican Church in North America. Accessed March 13, 2010.
- The Anglican Mission’s Relationship with the Anglican Church in North America, May 18, 2010. Accessed May 21, 2010.
- GREENSBORO, NC: AMIA Leader Notes Losses, Sees Hope in Formation of New Society, VirtueOnline, 27 February 2013
- Anglican Mission in the Americas List of Churches, AMiA Website
- Never Silent by Thad Barnum - Publication details at Amazon