Guest / Limited Access /

Divorce is messy, and the lessons from a failed marriage are often complicated. Such was the case with December's split of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AM) from its oversight in the Church of Rwanda. Until the 11-year-old partnership crumbled, it seemed to embody the potential for Global South church leaders to rise up and provide spiritual leadership in the developed world. Now?

"It would be unwise to draw any general conclusions for the future from a dispute that is clearly about particular human relationships," said Brian Stanley, director of the Centre for the Study of World Christianity at the University of Edinburgh.

The South Carolina-based AM (formerly AMIA) grew to more than 150 congregations. But the 2010 retirement of Rwandan archbishop Emmanuel Kolini—who had a strong connection with bishop Charles Murphy, AM's chairman—changed the relationship.

Suddenly, AM faced questions and accusations from Rwanda over the American association's finances, oversight, and long-term direction. The dispute reached a boiling point on November 30, when new Rwandan archbishop Onesphore Rwaje gave Murphy one week to submit to his authority. Murphy resigned instead.

"All the Christian churches are becoming increasingly global, and as they do, these kinds of crosscultural tensions … are likely to increase," said Douglas Jacobsen,author of The World's Christians.

AM launched more than a decade ago as an alternative to Episcopal Church infighting over biblical authority and sexual ethics.

"Americans entering into these relationships [welcomed] the rising dominance of righteous and spiritually gifted Southern Christian leaders," said Miranda Hassett, author of Anglican Communion in Crisis. "What's happening now … ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedIt Takes More Than a Swank Coffee Shop to Reach Millennials
Subscriber Access Only It Takes More Than a Swank Coffee Shop to Reach Millennials
Journalist-author Naomi Schaefer Riley sorts out what will draw young adults back to the faith.
TrendingNew Executive Orders on LGBT Discrimination Don't Exempt Religious Orgs
New Executive Orders on LGBT Discrimination Don't Exempt Religious Orgs
(UPDATED) But Obama won't withdraw memo on religious discrimination.
Editor's PickSorry 666: Churches Fear 990 More
Sorry 666: Churches Fear 990 More
How more ministries going digital could unwittingly aid atheists targeting church tax breaks.
Comments
Christianity Today
Out of Africa
hide thisFebruary February

In the Magazine

February 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.