Thursday, January 28, 2010

Administrateur Apostolique

Révérend Père. Steven Ayule-Milenge (B.A, B.Th, MTh-Candidate

Bukavu, le 25 January 2010


There are always serious reasons which provoke changes such as those made recently by the Église Anglicane Catholique du Congo. I want to show you some of these reasons so that you may better understand that which has led us to the ACC-OP.

Evaluation of the work done during the 5 years since the establishment of the TAC in the Congo.

When I returned from Johannesburg, South Africa, where I had been the Curate of the parish of St. Francis of Assisi, we started our church without any help or infrastructure, but with 250 members who had left the Canterbury communion following the ordination of women, and who waited for me to establish a new church, member of the TAC.
- We registered the church with the Minister of Justice, and obtained government recognition on the 30th December 2004. This approval is very difficult to obtain for a new church which lacks any infrastructure: most of the churches function with provincial approval and permission.
- We are actively engaged in evangelisation in both villages and urban centres, and now have 78 chapels divided into 13 parishes with 3,250 members, adults and children. The Vicar General is assisted by three ordained priests, 12 candidates for ordination, and 78 preaching catechists. Thanks to the support of our partners in the IAF, the ACA Diocese of the North-East, ACC Canada, and others, we have been able to purchase land for each parish and chapel in the church, with the exception of the parish of Holy Trinity in Bukavu where land prices are very high.
- We have sent 6 men to follow a 4 year programme of theology and bible training, leading to a Certificate in Theology, which ended in June 2009.
- We have also sent a further three men for advanced study: they are now in the third year of a programme leading to a Diploma in Theology, which ended in July 2009.
- We have also sent a further three men for advanced study: they have finished the second year of a programme leading to a Diploma in Theology but they were expulsed by lack of fees because father David Marriott who sponsored them was also stopped to raising money for the ACC-Congo by the Primate of TAC
- Also, last year, with the help from Milano’s family, we have been able to receive a scholarship for a student to follow a Nursing Sciences programme for a three year Diploma in Nursing. Two others are working in a secondary programme leading to a Certificate in Nursing, a four year programme: one is in the third year, and the other is in the first year of studies.
- We have opened 5 Community Health centres in both villages and urban centres. These are aimed at treatment and education especially concerning AIDs and other sexually transmitted diseases. Counselling is provided for women and girls who have been the victims of rape and sexual assault.
- We are providing assistance to widows and orphans from the war.
- We are working on a programme of evangelisation and on the organization of church administration: this from administrative, social and religious aspects.
- We have brought knowledge of the TAC to several thousands of people who were ignorant of this international Communion. This is a summary of the activity undertaken since I left Johannesburg, South Africa, and named as Vicar General to establish the TAC in Congo: a work which would have proved impossible to achieve without the support of Our Lord, partners in the endeavour, and personal and professional pastoral experience in ministry.

The serious reasons provoke changes made recently by the ACC-Congo to leave TAC for joining the ACC-OP.

In the past 5 years, we have worked to develop a church which would respond to the spiritual needs of the people in this country: the faithful whose lives have been poisoned by the warrior mentality established by the militias, and by the armed forces of various countries. This work has depended on the support received from the IAF and our friend Mr. Walter Kilian, and from certain individuals, notably the family of Fr. Alan Koller, the Milano family, and Fr. David Marriott: we are and will always be thankful for this supportive effort, financial and moral, without which our work would have failed.

Nevertheless, it was essential that we might have an Episcopal visit, or a series of such visits, to better manage the functioning of the church, and to assure us that quality of the work done reflected the pathway laid down by Our Lord. During the 5 years life of the church, with the exception of the visit by Fr. David Marriott, we have been distressed by the refusal of the Archbishop to come and see us, or to send another bishop who might offer us guidance and good counsel, and who might offer the sacraments of confirmation and the ordination of the deacons to the Lord’s work. In October 2009, Archbishop Hepworth refused to permit a visit to Congo and Cameroon, at their own expense, by Bishop Marsh, Frs. Alan Koller and David Marriott, when confirmations and diaconal ordination might have been made, aiding in the development of the church in Africa.

It is true that Archbishop Primate of the TAC has strongly discouraged Bishops, priests and the lay faithful in Canada to financially help the Francophone church in Africa: in removing Fr. David Marriott from the position of Primate’s chaplain to French speaking churches in Africa, because he sought to gain financial support for us at a time when the office of the primate lacked funding.

The diocesan synod of the ECAC expressed its displeasure with the Primate of the TAC with regards to the celebration of the 5th anniversary of the TAC in the RD Congo, which took place in November 2009, at which time the Christian faithful in Congo beseeched the Archbishop to be with us, or at least, to send another bishop to show his communion with us, so that the other dignitaries invited to the ceremonies might come to respect the presence of the TAC in Congo. It is as if the requests fell on deaf ears, or were never read. In the meanwhile, the Archbishop has been several times to Africa, but has limited himself to visits to Zambia and Kenya, ordaining deacons in these two Anglophone countries.

We have expressed concern several times about the decision taken by the local bishop of the Anglican Church (Canterbury) to ordain deacons who lacked theological training, with a view to the destabilization and disruption of our efforts in the parishes: we have had to find a reply to the allegations that our church is but a fiction, with no link to the TAC: if we were true members of the TAC, an Episcopal visit would have confirmed the validity of the ECAC. Due to the serious nature of this situation, the diocesan council has asked for the presence of a French speaking resident assistant or Suffragan bishop, able to visit parishes in the forest, where there are no roads, and also able to communicate in two of the 4 national languages of the country. He would thus be well equipped to perform hi Episcopal and sacramental duties: an urgent need expressed to the Primate of the TAC. We would have liked to have had our 16 candidates for ordination ordained tom the diaconate at the time of the 5th anniversary of the TAC in Congo.

It has to be noted with great regret and heartfelt sadness in the hearts of the Christians of the TAC in Congo, that during this time of armed conflict and war in the provinces of eastern Congo, there has been no message of consolation and encouragement from the Archbishop Primate of the TAC: where a simple letter from the communion might play an important part in offering comfort and care to those faithful directly affected by the conflict in which so many women and girls have been the victims of rape and sexual violence. Other churches established in Congo have responded, such as the Old Catholic church, Liberal Catholic church, Episcopal Charismatic church, Canterbury province of the Anglican Church of Congo, Protestant churches: all of whom have sent ministers, bishops and archbishops to offer solace for the pain suffered by the Christians in eastern Congo. Even the Roman Catholic Church has had a delegation of 8 bishops sent by Rome to offer comfort to their Christians in the parishes of eastern Congo. This lack of consolation towards the faithful of the TAC in Congo has led our people to consider carefully the future of the church with regards to the TAC: they have taken note of the silence experienced by the Francophone church as compared to the Anglophone church: so that, despite the work that we have undertaken to establish the TAC in Africa, there has been no written encouragement: it is as if our efforts are reduced to be null and void because we are ‘coloured’ by our language, being Francophone. This reflects the history of the establishment of the Anglican presence in Congo from the year 1896, where the Anglophone origins had no interest in the church in Congo. During the 37 years that Apolo Kivebulaya, a Ugandan missionary to the Congo from the Church Missionary Society, there was no thought about training any Congolese to succeed him. After his death, a priest stayed in Toro (Uganda) and ran his parish from a distance, coming some 120 kms to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and baptism in Congo once a year. One can note that this is similar to the current situation for the faithful in the TAC-Congo: Christians receive the Holy Eucharist 4 times a year, because of the lack of priests. A five year old child who is not known by his father in Christ, who, in turn, has no knowledge of him. How would a neighbour regard this child: orphaned, neglected, abandoned! Or deserted by his parents! Over the 5 years, progress has been achieved thanks to the joint efforts by local people, and the partners: above all, the IAF, the ACA diocese of the North-East, parish of St. Elizabeth, ACC-Canada, (Parish of St. Peter & St. Paul, Vancouver), and other faithful of the ACA. All of these partners deserve the gratitude of the ECAC for the shared sacrifices and the devotion to the cause of Holy Scripture and the development of the TAC-Congo.

We looked for comfort and healing from you our parents: the Christians from French speaking Africa had this right also, as they too are children of God despite the problems of language. Our country, Congo, is the very heart which beats at the centre of Africa: the strategic launch pad for the growth and development of the TAC in the black world, when we take account of the human and economic potential which is here. The massive participation of local people in their desire to hear the Word of the Lord is one encouraging point, because this is the very mission of the church as we read in Matthew 28.19-20. What was needed was an investment in the French speaking countries where the TAC is already established means to provide them with the necessary means for the development of the church in all aspects (economic, social and infrastructure).

In the Congo, the Anglican Catholic Church (TAC) is vibrant and dynamic, despite material poverty and the lack of servants (clergy and a resident Bishop) – although there are men available who are qualified and trained to take up their Ministry who await their authorization from the Archbishop and Primate of the TAC, things were negligent. Our faithful continue to receive the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist 4 times a year in the 9 parishes of the thirteen which make up our church – which is to say 80% of the Christians in Congo. There has been no Sacrament of Confirmation in the past 5 years due to the lack of a Bishop.

We live in a country where military threat exists still: but when, in July 2009, the militias attacked me and left me grievously wounded, I received no message, no note of encouragement from Archbishop Hepworth: just some messages from my personal friends, and an e-mail message from Archbishop Haverland, of whom I am aware as I have known for many years his vicar in South Africa, Fr. Alan Kenyon, who also brought me in touch with Bishop Rhodes to admit me into the TAC.

It is noted that the ECAC has been removed from the list of churches who are members of then TAC as, since December 2007, we have received not one circular letter from the primate’s office, despite the fact that several reports have been made to him.

You will understand that our choices are limited when confronted by this attitude both negative and dismissive towards the ECAC. There are only two churches of the ‘continuum’ which have offshoots, operations in Africa: these are the TAC and the ACC-OP. We decided that it behoved us to make some research about this original continuum church. And one result of this is that an Episcopal visit is already being planned of shortly after Easter.

This has led the Congolese’ church and I to conclude that, following the words of the Gospel in St. John 10.12-13, that the responsible person of the TAC is a mercenary who is not a shepherd, and to whom the sheep do not belong, as the wolf comes, he abandons his flock and flees, and wolf ravages the flock and scatters them. The mercenary flees because he is an employee, and will not stay and suffer the pain with his flock.

We have listened to the word of God which has inspired Archbishop Haverland with both pity and a deep enthusiasm in his thoughts that there are other sheep which are not of this flock, but those, it is necessary that I lead them, they hear my voice, and there is one flock, one shepherd in the heart of the ‘continuum’, as he was ordained to do with the proclamation of the Affirmation of St. Louis in Missouri in 1977. A good shepherd brings out all his own sheep he walks before them and the sheep follow, because they know his voice.

It grieves us that we must change our way, but I assure you that you are always in our prayers, and the help we have already received from you will be for always recognised in the annals of the church here in Congo. May God be fully recognisant of all the work, of all of your efforts to support us during these formative growing years of the ACC- Congo. We can’t forget Frs Alan Koller, David Marriott’s family and Milano family for the help of the growing of the ACC-Congo.

With grateful thanks,

For the Église Catholique Anglicane du Congo,

+Father Steven AYULE-MILENGE


Deacon Down Under said...

What a blessing to read of such missionary endeavor in the Congo by the local Anglican Christians who remained faithful to the Gospel and to the Church, forgoing the innovations of the Canterbury liberals.

I hope and pray that ordinations of French speaking priests and the consecration of a French speaking Bishop will occur soon under the ACC and I am sure that the Metropolitan's visit will be received with incredible joy.

4 eucharists a year, a ban on missionary priests visiting the Congo and no support from the TAC's +John Hepworth is an indictment on his role as TAC Primate. He has imposed needless suffering on the Congolese Church, who have grown and even prospered despite the lack of pastoral love and leadership from the Primate of the TAC.

Vive le ACC du Congo! May the Lord and His Blessed Mother make it an instrument for spreading the Catholic and Apostolic Faith throughout central Africa.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the ACC never ceases to amaze me in its rapid but modest expansions around the world.

Our Lord Jesus is doing an wonderful thing in our midst. Thanks for posting this.

St. Worm

Anonymous said...

Not pleasant reading, but we need the facts about TAC-ACA. These dear people can be certain they will have genuine Apostolic oversight and pastoral care from the bishops of ACC-OP.

Anonymous said...

I am under the impression that Archbishop Hepworth travels to Africa regularly!

If not here where has he been?

Jeremy T.

Veri: Pribulu

Canon Tallis said...

Oh, is this ever going to enrage those on that other blog, the once Anglicans. But it makes my heart sing. It really does.

Bishop Mead said...

One of the things that made a huge impression on me at the ACC Provincial Synod in Richmond, Va last October was Archbishop Haverland's suggestion that, in addition to English, prayers were said in the ACC's different languages. It was a useful reminder of just how widespread we are becoming.
Praise God !

John A. Hollister said...

Many years ago, PECUSA printed a translation of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer into French. Presumably this was for use in Haiti and elsewhere that French is used. Like all other versions of the 1928 BCP, the PECUSA establishment is probably very uninterested in having this reprinted, too.

It occurs to me that anyone who runs across one of these BCPs, in a used book store or garage sale, would be well advised to grab it. I'm sure our new brothers and sisters in the Congo might find them of use and it's very probable that some virtually irreplaceable Prayer Books could have been destroyed in Port-au-Prince, as well.

John A. Hollister+

Sean W. Reed said...

Canon Tallis wrote:

"...Oh, is this ever going to enrage those on that other blog, the once Anglicans. But it makes my heart sing. It really does..."

Just curious, is that phrase "once Anglicans" intended to somehow make those of us who welcome Anglicanorum Coetibus angry? If so, it does not work with me.

Nor does "former" Anglican or to use the word "conversion."

I think you guys could be much more effective in demonstrating your commitment to the faith, and providing what you see as a positive alternative to the direction many of us are heading, if the snide, smart-assed comments were omitted, and you simply focused upon your message of presenting the Catholic Faith in the Anglican Tradition, as you feel it best provided through your jurisdiction.

The snide comments, to me, only weaken and diminish your message, and certainly do not seem to advance the faith.

Sean W. Reed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Peter:

I will publish your comment if you really want me to, but I must point out to you and to

Sean Reed,

that the comment you have each found offensive was made by a reader who is NOT part of the ACC-OP. Furthermore, I interpret the line: "But it makes my heart sing. It really does..." to refer to the health and growth of the mission. It is unfortunate that the story must combine facts both pleasant and unpleasant; but do not assume the worst about the meaning of the reader who added his comment.

An anonymous Anonymous wrote to tell us that the letter is a great big lie, and that the Congo Church was never part of the TAC. If so, why did the TAC list it as a member church and why did their Primate boast of numbers greater than the reality? It most certainly was part of the TAC; and I was already aware that a certain someone had prepared a wild story to discredit these brave African Christians. That does not surprise me. Furthermore, the letter thanks people in the ACA and in the Canadian TAC for sending money. No one denied the good that came from TAC members who were acting out of charity.

Canon Tallis said...

They are offended? Really, why? Because someone - in this case, me - was delighted that a group of Christians was going to have a bishop, indeed, by everything I have heard, a damn fine bishop - go out to them, attempt to access their needs and then try to find a way to begin to meet them.

Sorry, boys, I may not yet be a member of the ACC due to distance and a few smaller matters, but it has come a very long way from its problems of the past and is clearly setting itself to be caring and servant center of the Anglican Continuum now and in the near future.

On the other hand the exposure of the TAC's neglect of these Christians in the Congo is an embarrassment to us all, to ALL who call or think themselves Anglicans in classical terms. We, even as mere Christians, are not supposed to be like this. But some of us simply didn't know and had no way of knowing.

I am a great fan of Roland Allen's works, especially the spontaneous Expansion of the Church and Missionary Methods: St Paul's and Ours. This situation is, again, to me proof positive of the work of the Holy Spirit in a place where the Church, His Church and ours, is desperately needed. And now, thanks to the ACC and Archbishop Haverland, steps, real substantial steps are going to be taken to meet those terrible, but wonderful needs.

These poor people need deacons and priests of their own, a bishop of their own who will care for them with everything that he has. In their case even bad priests and a bad bishop would be better than no priests and no bishop, but now a superb bishop is going out to see what they need and I have every confidence in the world that the ACC will do anything and everything to see that everything which they can not of themselves supply will be made available to them.

Frankly, Sean and Father Peter, it is to your credit that you were embarrassed at my remarks. It shows that somewhere you knew the situation was not such as it should be and should have been. That speaks very well of you personally. Perhaps, now you will help to see the situation rectified if only by offering your prayers and intentions for the care of these poor Christians and would be Anglicans who need and want what we have of the Catholic faith and Apostolic order.

Veriword: ancusing - Le mot bon?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Canon Tallis:

They both misunderstood you. They thought your heart was rejoicing because others would be infuriated, people at another blog. I knew that was not at all your meaning. Sadly, others will be angry, but you rejoice at the good. I got it; they did not. I trust that now they do.

Canon Tallis said...

I did a quick search of abebooks for copies of "Le Livre de la Priere Commune" and found but a single copy with the exception of one printed in 1616 of the 1603 BCP of James I. I ordered it and as soon as it arrives will dispatch same to the Archbishop.

That is my first step. But there will be others. I think my tiny parish may have a chalice and paten we can spare. Think what you or your parish or mission can do.

BCPAnglican said...

Au sujet des livres de prières- On the subject of prayer books, there have been several in French.

There is the 1928 American online at

There is also the 1962 Canadian online at

There is also at least one French version of 1662. So it might be useful to know if the Congolese Anglicans have already been using a particular version. Then perhaps someone could begin to coordinate acquiring copies. This would be a way that others could contribute and show solidarity.

Sean W. Reed said...

I did not misunderstand the rejoicing portion of the comment. I saw that conncection, I was referencing, specifically to:

"...that other blog, the once Anglicans..."

and the constant snide remarks, referring to that blog by other than its name, and at other times making a huge point of the phrase "former anglicans" etc ad nauseam. They don't make me angry - I just find it juvenile.

This blog was very helpful when our parish left TEC and went to the ACA (well aware of the process in motion of the Holy See responding to dialogue them and the TAC) in helping a friend of mine who was inclined to the ACC over the ACA, to change his mind.

I think the old adage if you don't have something nice to say, keep your mouth shut could help the message of this blog be more effective.

Most here do a great job of beating the drum for your camp's thoughts. You should not hesitate to speak against that which you think is contrary to the Catholic faith - these are objective points.

What should not be done, in my opinion, is offer the snide comments and unkind remarks, which do not contribute effectively to the debate, and dirty and stain the soul.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the axiom of Mark Twain, "The report of my death is premature," is particularly apt here re: the TAC/ACA.

Let us remember that this body is a communion of many Anglicans, deserving of our respect, with many who steadfastly hold to the same beliefs as other Continuing jurisdictions. There are large numbers of good and godly people there, who are equally (if not more) appalled and embarrased by these(and other) actions. To presume this mis-direction, of a few, fortell the demise of an otherwise active work for Christ, is also "premature."

Of course, all will be accomplished in God's time. Let us be patient and pray for our brothers to survive this abberation in leadership, preserve their flocks and rebuild the TAC/ACA into a less contentious and pastorally supportive entity.

Fr. Frank +

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Sean Reed:

Right now I see the "former Anglican" title as more accurate than "The Anglo-Catholic." You may see that as snide, but I see that the shoe fits, and that is a considered point of view with which you are free to disagree and to debate. They advocate conversion to the RCC, and therefore, principles that Anglo-Catholics have always held do not appear to be part of their thinking. The real Anglo-Catholic position is that we should resume serious discussion, not convert as things are; In defense of that the whole body of significant writings can be produced.

Fr. Frank:

The above letter from the Congo praises the kindness of ACA people and parishes. I see the TAC/ACA as two separate realities:

1) Those who want to embrace Anglicanorum Coetibus and trust the RCC to take over the reins.

2) Those who want to live out the principles of the Affirmation of St. Louis.

The fact is, we are not the ones forcing individuals and parishes to decide between Anglicanism and extended "Anglican" Use (so-called) Roman Catholicism. My position is that I want to be supportive of those whose convictions lead them to remain Anglican.

John A. Hollister said...

Sean's objection to the term "former Anglican" overlooks one salient fact. Unless my memory grievously fails me, this term was coined and put into use by the Roman authorities as *their* description of choice for such self-described Anglicans as have determined to place themselves under the Ombrellino.

The term has the great virtues of identifying, with precision, the people it is intended to distinguish and further to underline their distinctive common feature. In this case, that common feature is their decision to leave Anglicanism for Romanism.

From this perspective, it is difficult to see why this Roman-devised label is any more pejorative than is, for example, "Eastern Catholic" for those former Orthodox who have already made the trek the Former Anglicans now propose to set out on.

So, if anyone finds that term is offensive, he shouldn't look askance at anyone here; he should complain to the Curia that drafted the news releases and documents in which the term first appeared. It has gained currency simply because it happily combines features that are at once memorable and accurate.

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Hollister:

Quite right. Soon I may consider it necessary to refute something that Abp. Hepworth is now putting out in a public statement (once I know I have read his comments in full). For now, thismuch can be answered easily:
He said, "The Apostolic Constitution 'speaks of Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church. There at the outset are the three critical factors: Anglicans, full com­munion and Catholic Church.'”

Yes, but the same document afterward calls them "former Anglicans." He makes a liar out of Rome and out of Continuing Anglicans who properly interpret Anglicanorum Coetibus.

Anonymous said...

Concerning the term "Former Anglican," I believe I am the very man who put this term into use as the nickname for a certain blog. So let Sean's rebukes fall on my unworthy head.

But I must modestly confess that I did not coin the term myself. It is, as Fr H. has pointed out, lifted directly from the language of Anglicanorum coetibus itself. In his objections, Sean demonstrates how superficially he has read that document and how woefully ignorant he is (I speak in love) of the issues at stake.

To date no one has picked up on the meaning of the term "coetibus." This is the ablative (maybe dative) plural of the 4th declension noun coetus, translated "meeting, assemblage." The Vatican authorities could not bring themselves to describe TAC/ACA as a "church" or even as an "ecclesial community" (the term popular after Vatican II. Just an assemblage, a mob.
So Hepworth not only acknowledges his Orders as invalid, but he calls his jurisdiction a mob-like assemblage. So the ACA is really the AAA. So it is not a branch of the Universal Church, just a religious meeting, like the Society of Friends. Truly sad.

We all know that TAC/ACA is compeised predominately of wonderful people who share our Faith, worship and heritage. Too bad they are being so poorly led. Too bad they allow themselves to be describes as an "assemblage." Oh, the pity of it, the pity of it!

John A. Hollister said...

So, Fr. Wells, "AAA" stands for "Anglican Assemblage in America"?

John A. Hollister+

Anonymous said...

Don't forget it is plural. "Anglican Assemblies of America." That's what the Roman document calls them.

El Capitan said...

Wow, Pope Mark I (yes, know that there was a pope Mark of Rome but he was never pope of the "original province") and the ACC have sunk to a new low. While your attacks on the Apostolic Constitution have failed you resort to personally attacking Abp Hepworth for supposedly cutting off funding to Africa... What proof do you have of this. This sound like more poaching by the ACC. Lets see what sort of priest and funding Congo receives from the Holy and venerable see of Athens (GA).

Fr. Robert Hart said...

El Capitan:

We have said nothing, but have merely read how the priest in the Congo has testified about his experiences. Abp. Haverland had nothing to do with this, and I found out after publishing that he thought my decision to publish might not have been a good idea, but said it was my judgment call to make. Frankly, I may have jumped the gun. I was provoked because of certain outrageous accusations made behind the scenes, too ugly and too false to repeat. But if I remove this now, people will think it was all unreliable. So, it remains.

Know this, Abp. Haverland has never used his position in my church and diocese to exercise influence on this blog. He lets me decide things without interference, and so too for the others.

Jackie said...

El Capitan-poaching? Hardly. It sounds to me like their requests for bare-minimum episcopal care fell on deaf ears for an unreasonable length of time. They did not say that they had not been able to work out a schedule with Bp. Hepworth, they said they never even received a reply from the man. That, to me, is unacceptable.

Oh, and as to "Pope Mark"-would that all Metropolitans were as learned and even handed as he.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

Earlier I said: "I was provoked because of certain outrageous accusations made behind the scenes, too ugly and too false to repeat."

To avoid misunderstanding, I will clarify this much: I was treated to barbaric accusations against these Congolese Anglicans, accusations only a mad man would think up (or one trying to justify the inexcusable).