This has been a difficult season, an awkward season as we have gone through a time of discernment and great challenges regarding the future of the Anglican Mission. The attendance at this year's conference is down, as many of our members and leaders have chosen to "sit this one out" while they prayerfully wait and see what is going to happen here.
I have spent the past month in prayer and fasting in preparation for this time with you, interrupted only to meet with the Archbishop of Rwanda at the gracious invitation of the Archbishop of Kenya and to meet personally with Archbishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America. Those meetings were marked by repentance for the ways in which I have abused my position of leadership and wronged my Christian brothers and fellow leaders; and I have wronged you.
God has blessed the Anglican Mission mightily in these past twelve years, and I am grateful for his leadership and guidance. I believe he has great plans for the Anglican Mission in the days ahead. At the same time I must confess, just as I confessed to my fellow bishops and archbishops, that I have been guilty of allowing my own will and desires to affect too greatly the direction of my leadership of this Mission.
In particular, I must confess to you that:
When the Anglican Mission withdrew from membership in the Anglican Church in North America to become a mission partner, I said that it was because the Church in Rwanda would not release us to become full members of the ACNA. The truth is that I feared the loss of autonomy that would come from joining the ACNA and being part of a larger church, over which I did not exercise the same degree of control.
I confess to you that now, two years later, I led in withdrawing the AMiA from the oversight of the Province of Rwanda because I resented the increased accountability and authority being exercised by the new leadership of the Church that has been our spiritual and ecclesiastical home for the past twelve years.
That new leadership does not yet fully understand and support the calling and vision that I believe we have been given in the Anglican Mission. But I recognize that these differences must be worked out in fellowship and under authority and not through schism.
At the same time, I recognize that we cannot be fully Anglican while living apart from our orthodox Anglican brothers and sisters in North America. We must work together as one body and engage in the mutual submission that is expected of all of us who are members of the Body of Christ. I have sought and received the forgiveness of my brother bishops for the ways in which I have failed them in my lack of submission and in withholding my fellowship, and I now ask for your forgiveness for the ways I have failed you in my leadership. I have pledged myself to undertake new ways to be fully open and accountable to them and to you who are the backbone of this Mission.
I have taken quite a beating on the internet lately, but I have come to recognize that not all the people saying things on the internet that are difficult for me to hear wish me ill. In fact, there are many who are praying diligently and who care deeply about what happens to me and to the AMiA. The internet can be a tool for openness and accountability and a great way of getting a speedy response as to what God's people are thinking and feeling. And I am making a new resolve to listen to what God is saying through his people.
This is a smaller group at this conference, and it affords us the opportunity to listen carefully. We want to hear God speak to us, to see how he wants to direct us. Several of us will be presenting the direction that we believe God has called us to undertake for the AM, just as we have shared it with our fellow bishops and our Archbishop in Rwanda with whom we are working toward reconciliation and with the leadership of the Anglican Church in North America. Just as I committed myself to them, I am committing to you that we will move in the direction and on the timetable that God shows us as we pray and discern together....
Okay, that's enough. You get the idea. And if you read or listened to the actual address, you will have noticed several points of departure. But I am certain that, if Bishop Murphy had said something like this in Houston, there would have been shouts of Hallelujah from Anglicans all across this nation and around the world, and a new resolve on the part of many to follow his leadership.
And so I want to say to Bishop Murphy: Chuck, you can be humble and still be a leader. In fact, it is the only way you can lead like Jesus.
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45).
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:1-11).
It is always dangerous (if not impossible) to write a confession for another person. We can only truly confess our own sins and not someone else's. And so I offer this with a prayer that it will be received as it was intended, with the earnest desire to see God's blessing on the AMiA and all faithful Anglicans.