Thinking Anglicans

San Joaquin development

Updated 1 August
Episcopal News Service Committee set to review accusation against San Joaquin bishop
Living Church Bishop Swing Writes to Bishop Henderson
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The Living Church reports that Complaint Alleges Bishop of San Joaquin Has Abandoned Communion.

Four bishops with jurisdiction in the state of California have asked a disciplinary panel to approve an expedited deposition of the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin.

In a letter to the organizing chair of the Title IV [Ecclesiastical Discipline] Review Committee, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles; the Rt. Rev. Jerry M. Lamb, Bishop of Northern California; the Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes, Bishop of San Diego; and the Rt. Rev. William E. Swing, Bishop of California, are concerned that Bishop Schofield intends to “abandon the communion of this Church.” As one of the primary pieces of their evidence the four cite recent changes that qualify subordination under the diocesan canons to the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention.

At its annual meeting last October, delegates to San Joaquin’s convention approved the second reading of a change to Article II of its constitution to state that it “accedes to” the Canons and Constitution of the General Convention “to the extent that such terms and provisions” are “not inconsistent with the terms and provisions of the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of San Joaquin.” The four believe this fact alone is sufficient to remove Bishop Schofield from office without trial.

San Joaquin is in Eastern California, the see city is Fresno.
The diocese has issued this press statement.

The constitutional change made by the diocese is discussed here (PDF) by a local group named Remain Episcopal.

Title IV Canon 9.1 is reproduced below the fold (PDF original here).

A petition opposing this action can be found here.

CANON 9: Of Abandonment of the Communion of This Church by a Bishop

Sec. 1. If a Bishop abandons the communion of this Church (i) by an open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline, or Worship of this Church, or (ii) by formal admission into any religious body not in communion with the same, or (iii) by exercising episcopal acts in and for a religious body other than this Church or another Church in communion with this Church, so as to extend to such body Holy Orders as this Church holds them, or to administer on behalf of such religious body Confirmation without the express consent and commission of the proper authority in this Church; it shall be the duty of the Review Committee, by a majority vote of All the Members, to certify the fact to the Presiding Bishop and with the certificate to send a statement of the acts or declarations which show such abandonment, which certificate and statement shall be recorded by the Presiding Bishop. The Presiding Bishop, with the consent of the three senior Bishops having jurisdiction in this Church, shall then inhibit the said Bishop until such time as the House of Bishops shall investigate the matter and act thereon. During the period of Inhibition, the Bishop shall not perform any episcopal, ministerial or canonical acts, except as relate to the administration of the temporal affairs of the Diocese of which the Bishop holds jurisdiction or in which the Bishop is then serving.

Sec. 2. The Presiding Bishop, or the presiding officer, shall forthwith give notice to the Bishop of the certification and Inhibition. Unless the inhibited Bishop, within two months, makes declaration by a Verified written statement to the Presiding Bishop, that the facts alleged in the certificate are false or utilizes the provisions of Canon IV.8 or Canon III.13, as applicable, the Bishop will be liable to Deposition. If the Presiding Bishop is reasonably satisfied that the statement constitutes (i) a good faith retraction of the declarations or acts relied upon in the certification to the Presiding Bishop or (ii) a good faith denial that the Bishop made the declarations or committed the acts relied upon in the certificate, the Presiding Bishop, with the advice and consent of a majority of the three senior Bishops consenting to Inhibition, terminate the Inhibition. Otherwise, it shall be the duty of the Presiding Bishop to present the matter to the House of Bishops at the next regular or special meeting of the House. If the House, by a majority of the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote, shall give its consent, the Presiding Bishop shall depose the Bishop from the Ministry, and pronounce and record in the presence of two or more Bishops that the Bishop has been so deposed.

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Chip Chillington
Guest

Simon,

“San Joaquin is in Eastern California, the see city is Fresno.”

Californians refer to it as Central California. Fresno to Stockton is a large part of the Cental Valley.

Steven
Guest
Steven

TEC couldn’t discipline noted heretics like Spong and Pike, let’s see if they leap at the chance to jump on Schofield.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

This is a question. I looked at the diocesan web site and saw listings for churches and other entities labled ‘mission.’ In my diocese, a mission church is a church plant that is not yet fully self-sustaining. But I know the word ‘mission’ may well have different connotations in California. Enlighten me?

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Yes Chip, I daresay they do. I was writing for Noo Yawkers 🙂

Marshall Scott
Guest

Cynthia: I think the parish/mission distinction you’re making is in fact part of the national Canons, and so I would expect those churches designated “missions” are receiving some sort of diocesan support. That may be much, or it may be little; but it suggests that without some sort of support those congregations can’t pay their bills. I’ve heard many, including bishops, in TEC saying that TEC has waited too long to exercise some discipline against wayward bishops. However, while the cases are different, I would also be interested to see whether the full House of Bishops would support deposition, at… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

“TEC couldn’t discipline noted heretics like Spong and Pike, let’s see if they leap at the chance to jump on Schofield.” Steven I was a young/wild college man in San Francisco when Bishop Pike presented such a positive image for the “lost soul” in me that I renewed my connection with God again at Grace Cathedral. Bishop Spong convinced me as a “middle aged” man that it was GOOD and HEALTHY to question some fear/confusion I had about across-the-board acceptance of some radical/ignorant Scriptural “messages” I didn’t believe and therefore ignored…Bishop Spong encouraged me to become a fuller and truer… Read more »

FrairJohn
Guest
FrairJohn

Steven: When the time came to try Spong the conservatives instead tried Walter Righter. You can chant “Spong, Spong, Spong” all you want, but Spong being wrong doesn’t make Schofield right. In fact, I think it points to the weakness of Schofield’s position that the defense is to summon forth the specter of the Great Boogie Man of Newark. You will get no argument from me that Spong should have faced the music; however I’m also aware that this is an apples and oranges moment. Theologically, Spong’s an atheist and Schofield’s a Donatist. Spong, while an irritant, was honest. Schofiled’s… Read more »

MB Brown
Guest
MB Brown

Cynthia, to the best of my knowledge, the meaning of “mission” is the same in San Joaquin as in other dioceses: Mission = not financially self-sustaining congregation.

Chip Chillington
Guest

Cynthia,

In the American Church a mission may either be a new congregation or a congregation that cannot support itself without assistance from the diocese (my first cure was an 80+ year old mission). In both cases the diocese has decided for reasons of mission that the church needs to be present in that community, even if it means financial and other support.

Richard Zevnik
Guest
Richard Zevnik

Cynthia: a mission is as you understand, a congregation that is not yet self sustaining and not yet entitled to incorporation as a parish.

Dave
Guest
Dave

As folk were predicting before GC2006! Dissent, even by way of wanting to remain with mainline Anglican theology and conduct, and after appeal to the ABofC’s panel, will NOT be tolerated. I wonder whether this sort of development was discussed at the recent liberal primates’ [strategy?] meeting in Coventry..

But why +San Joaquin, rather than going straight for +Pittsburgh.. or all the NACDAP bishops at once ?

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

I have to say, that I find the use of the term ‘heretic’ here, gratuitously offensive. Especially from one who insists on remaining anonymous. I sign in my own name again.

I request the moderation and removal of such deliberately offensive langauge.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

Thanks to all. The distinction on the diocesan website is parish [c.26] and mission [c 19]. That’s a lot of missions in proportion to parishes. Does anyone know if this represents an aggressive policy of church plantings or a plethora of missions that are struggling to hold their own or a mix. I ask because we in the Diocese of Virginia have been doing some fairly vigorous church planting over the past several years, with the hope that new church plants will transition to mission and then church status in an orderly way. There are small churches in the diocese… Read more »

Steven
Guest
Steven

Laurence:

(1) “Steven” is my real name.
(2) Spong and Pike weren’t heretics? Sorry, I must’ve made a mistake somewhere. Please feel free to discuss why they weren’t heretics in order to clear the record. Your explanations of some of their more controversial statements and positions would be very helpful to me.

Steven

Johhn Robison
Guest

Laurence: I apologize if my post offended you. I simply entered my normal nickname as a matter of habit. I do not, however, apologize for my use of the term “heretic,” especially since it was used in the post to which I was referring. I didn’t see it as inflammatory, or as an insult per se. Rather I simply used it since it was already out in the conversation and to point out that the accusation could cut either way. Looked at plainly, either man can be accused of (at least one) heresy, hence the term is appropriate. It may… Read more »

Alan Harrison
Guest
Alan Harrison

Laurence wrote: “I have to say, that I find the use of the term ‘heretic’ here, gratuitously offensive.” If Friar John is correct, it may not be accurate in Bishop Spong’s case, if he is indeed an atheist. It may certainly be rather rude, as when applied by Archbishop Carey to those of us who opposed his innovation of ordaining the ladies. (Realising that this might remove the photo ops when getting on a variety of aircraft to attend meetings with the Pope and Ecumenical Patriarch, His Grace later softened the accusation to one of “grave theolological error”, which sounds… Read more »

MB Brown
Guest
MB Brown

“But why +San Joaquin, rather than going straight for +Pittsburgh.. or all the NACDAP bishops at once ?”

Geography, I should think – all the dioceses involved in this instance are “daughters” of the “mother” Diocese of California, split off at various points since the founding of the diocese in 1849.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

I’ve just been having a laugh at myself ! My goat was got.

From my last post (on heresy) it is clear that, in fact, without my quite appreciating it, I did / do feel that somethings shouldn’t be said, or some folks should be silenced. What is that, if not a fear of heresy ?!

So I recant herewith. (And no-one has leaned on me!).

This unpleasant bit of self-knowledge is rather discouraging. I expect someone will suggest a suitable penance…

J. C. Fisher
Guest
J. C. Fisher

I’m a native of Northern California, w/ many family links to the Diocese of San Joaquin (celebrated Easter in the Fresno cathedral a number of times as a child). I’m filled w/ ambivalence about this. On the one hand, I trust the 4 bishops named: none of them are wild-eyed radicals. +Schofield, in my humble opinion, has been a train-wreck just *waiting* to happen (came into his episcopal office w/ a “TEC is becoming apostate!” ‘tude, and has he has only gotten more vituperative, as successive GC democratic-majorities failed to sign onto his POV). …on the other hand, this feels… Read more »

marc
Guest
marc

Dave, Our Church most certainly not only tolerates dissent, but often encourages it because it can (though not always) help get to a fuller understanding of whatever aspect of God you are exploring better than a narrow proclamation and claim of finally knowing the mind of God so well that anyone who disagrees with you is branded a “heretic” or worse. I would agree with you if simple dissent were all that the Network/GS were engaging in, but that is minimizing their tactics to the point of delusion. To my (life-long) understanding of Anglicanism, I do not recognize subversion, manipulation,… Read more »

Marshall Scott
Guest

Dave: With the announcement today of a covenanting document for the Anglican Communion Network (reported at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_76899_ENG_HTM.htm) the grounds may change. I have read the document in question (one can link through from the ENS news item), and it definitely takes a different direction than the understanding of the faith under which I was ordained 25 years ago. Moreover, in insisting on (among other things) the ordinal of the prayerbooks of 1549 through 1662 (and, therefore, no prayer book of the American church), it will create a deviation from the discipline of the Episcopal Church today established in the Book… Read more »

Dan Palmer
Guest
Dan Palmer

Dear Friends, I find this discussion both interesting and missing the point. As I read the canon with which +John David is accused, then it would appear that an offense has not been comitted. The argument as I understand it, is that because the Diocesan Convention made a change to its Constitution, +Bp J-D is to be held accountable. This could be viewed that a local convention could be reduced to not than more than a rubber stamp. If the Bishop has violated the National Canons then why did not the Gang of Four make a more formal presentment. This… Read more »

Andrewdb
Guest
Andrewdb

My family has been in California for about 85 years (that may not impress people in the CoE, but in California it is almost like arriving with William the Conquerer – well, maybe Henry II). Being an Episcopalian, context is important. So… San Joaquin is in some of the most conservative (politically) area of the state. California, if laid on end, would stretch from Munich to Birmingham, if that helps with the geography. In the main, the Central Valley is also much less wealthy then the coastal areas. It has a very large hispanic population, which generally trends Roman Catholic.… Read more »

Dan Palmer
Guest
Dan Palmer

Marc,

I am curious. You state that PECUSA encourages dissent. One bishop encourages dirversity so much he forbade any parish priest their right to associate with the Network. This was done using a pastoral direction, the disobedience being grounds for abandonment of their ministry.

I guess we are all for inclusion so long I do not speak but send my money in to support their ministries.

Nersen
Guest
Nersen

Good to see not all ECUSA churches are dead:
http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/884/

New Here
Guest
New Here

Nersen, did you read the comment by the author of that study, objecting to the misleading presentation of her findings?

Dan, why would any sane bishop allow his/her clergy to join a group that is openly dedicated to destroying the church? (Have you ever read the Chapman Memo?) Frankly, I gained a lot of respect for Parsley when he kept the Duncanites out of his diocese.

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“Theologically, Spong’s an atheist and Schofield’s a Donatist. Spong, while an irritant, was honest. Schofiled’s trying to commit theft, all the while waving the banner of his ‘purity.’”—FriarJohn

I don’t know if I would agree with that, Friar. Bishop Spong has always struck me as a deist, rather than an atheist. And deism had a great run in Anglicanism in the 18th century

David Huff
Guest
David Huff

Thank you, Kurt. I get *really* tired of people trotting out the Great Demon of Newark everytime they want to make some sort of a point (and these points are often made quite poorly). It’s almost as bad as using a Nazi reference to shutdown an argument (“I don’t care what you say! How about SPONG ?!?”)

Bp. Spong may very well be described as a deist. I also pick up on a bit of Panentheism from reading his works. He certainly *doesn’t* fall for the anthropomorphic “God as Magic Sky Genie” model so popular in certain cirlces…

Steven
Guest
Steven

People seem to bandy the term “donatist” around quite a bit on this board. Does this mean that Luther and the reformers, continental and Anglican, were donatists? Does thinking the other side is wrong in a theological/Biblical dispute automatically makes one a Donatist? I can’t believe that anything traditionalists are doing now evidences more (or qualititatively different) disgust and dismay regarding the opposition than either side in the Great Schism or the Reformation aimed at each other. Do we regard them as Donatists? It is also strange that those that would dispute whether Spong and Pike were heretics are so… Read more »

Dan Palmer
Guest
Dan Palmer

New Here,

The issue is not the Chapman memo. The issue is the right of association. If one group insists that membership in an organization is not permitted, then should not membership in all organizatons be resticted. On its face, this type of discrimination is institutionalized and amounts to the bullying of clergy and communicants alike.

Marc
Guest
Marc

Nope, Dan. The point is the same as I made above. Bsp Parsley didn’t discourage *diversity* (much like the Network is not about simple dissent, as I said above.) He discouraged divisiveness, etc. New Here made the point for me. Diversity (as is dissent) is encouraged. But those hell-bent on subversion, manipulation, coersion, intentional misrepresentation (e.g. the “requirements” of the WR), smug self-righteousness, theft of Church property, willful violation of ordination vows, (and in Akinola’s case) unmitigated support for state-sponsored human rights abuses, on and on, are hardly representative of a healthy diversity (or dissent). They are two vastly different… Read more »

Nersen
Guest
Nersen

“New Here” (your real name in the new TA protocol??)

Yes – I read the comments and wanted all to see them because stats must always be treated with caution – the general point is made.

Fact still remains, “inclusive ECUSA” is including 35,000+ fewer people per year – it will diappear in the next 50 yrs at this rate

New Here
Guest
New Here

No, Dan, the issue is very much the Chapman Memo.

The very purpose of the Network is to mount a hostile takeover of the Episcopal Church. That’s their whole reason for existing. Not all organizations are alike, so it’s just silly to argue that if people can freely join one group they should be able to join any group at all. Does the fact that I can join the local garden club mean that I should also be able to join the Mafia?

J. C. Fisher
Guest
J. C. Fisher

“The issue is the right of association. If one group insists that membership in an organization is not permitted, then should not membership in all organizatons be resticted.” Say wha??? You’re saying a bishop should make it *equally* verboten, for a priest to join the NAACP [Nat. Assoc. for Advancement of Colored People: noted U.S. civil rights organization] or the KKK [Ku Klux Klan: noted U.S. racist *terrorist* organization]? Back on-topic: isn’t there anybody here interested in just following the process? Even IF this charge arose from “stereotypical California liberalism”, it will nevertheless be the canonical disciplinary panel of TEC… Read more »

David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)
Guest
David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)

Steven observed: It is also strange that those that would dispute whether Spong and Pike were heretics are so eager to paste another type of “heretic” label on those they disagree with. Overall, it has a bit of the childish taunt about it–“nyaah, nyaah, you’re a Donatist, you’re a Donatist”. If I remember my Church History correctly, Donatism was not a heresy, but a schismatic movement: looking at some of its features I can understand why some might want to draw parallels with contemporary events. “Donatism… had been formed from a coalition of dissnters angry at the promotion of a… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

“The very purpose of the Network is to mount a hostile takeover of the Episcopal Church”

Hhmmm, that must mean that Network Bishops are try presentments against liberal Bishops…

Oooh Noooo! It’s the other way round… The very purpose of ECUSA’s liberals must be to mount a hostile takeover of the Episcopal Church !

Oriscus
Guest
Oriscus

Iirc, +Pike *was tried for heresy. The attempt did not succeed, any more than did the later presentment against +Righter.

This latest attempt to reign in a wayward Bishop may not even make it to a trial. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

H P Burkett
Austin, TX

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

No, James Pike was never formally tried. Philip Turner summarised it thus: The Presiding Bishop of ECUSA, despite pressures to the contrary, wished to avoid a heresy trial and so managed to have the matter referred to an ad hoc committee rather than to a panel of judges. The committee concluded that a heresy trial would be widely viewed as a “throwback” to a previous century in which both church and state sought to penalize “unacceptable opinion.” A trial would thus give ECUSA an “oppressive image.” The members of the committee did say, however, that they rejected “the tone and… Read more »

Steven
Guest
Steven

Here’s what Wikipedia says:

“The Donatists (founded by the Berber Christian Donatus Magnus) were followers of a belief considered a heresy by the broader Catholic community. They lived in the Roman Africa Province, and flourished in the fourth and fifth centuries.”

I’ve never heard Donatism not called a heresy, but I’ve probably lived a sheltered life.

Steven

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Simon, I wonder whether the presiding bishop(s) will have such tender scrupples about presentments against a bishop who is “too orthodox” (rather than too non-orthodox)… despite most of the Communion agreeing with +Schofield!

John robison
Guest

Steven: The Reformation arguments were theological disagreements, not simply a fight over purity. That is true for the Great Schism. Schofield and the other “traditionalists” are holding out the argument that the, perceived, immorality of a partnered gay man makes him unable to hold Episcopal office. When one adds in the apparent “cooties” affect where in all that voted for the consecration are also now unable to be properly respected. Steven, you mentioned “disgust,” a visceral reaction which I would point out is tied to the heresy. And don’t try to hide behind some weak argument about repentance, that is… Read more »

John robison
Guest

Steven:

On a side note, I do believe that I said that +Spong should have faced the music for his statements. Instead the brave, brave “traditionalists” tried Bishop Righter. I also noted that I find it odd that +Schofield and the rest are to be allowed to violate their ordenation vows since no one went after +Spong and +Pike.

(BTW – Pike was so far before my time that I only know about him through anecdote. I would be more willing to look into it if I weren’t convinced that summoning his shade was a Clupea pallasii rufus.)

Byron
Guest
Byron

I note that Nersen trots out the “liberal churches are losing members” big lie in his post here. I want to point out that ECUSA actually grew last year. A bit off-topic but our “mostly” liberal faith holds a strong lure for the well educated unchurched unable to relate to the offerings of the evangelical ayatollahs. Thanks be to God.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

More to the point, why do those who accuse “liberals” of seeking the approval of the world take such glee in pointing out the relative size of their congregations compared to liberal ones? Surely the popularity of the congregation is somehow linked to the world’s approval, no? Oh, and here’s one “liberal” who is no fan of Spong, sorry to complicate things, but the world ain’t all black and white.

marc
Guest
marc

Maybe, maybe not, Dave, but just remember: If they are presented it will not be because they are orthodox; it will be because they committed a presentable offense(s) (which is unorthodox.)

David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)
Guest
David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)

Clupea pallasii rufus

wonderful! Can I borrow that??

David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)
Guest
David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)

Don’t know who wrote the Wikipedia article, but Donatism doesn’t fit the bill as a heresy — the ancient and revered JND Kelly ‘Early Christian Doctrines’says: “The donatists took the line of rigorism; the validity of the sacramnents, they taught, depended on the worthiness of the minister and the church ceased to be holy and forfeited its claim to be Christ’s body when it tolerated unworthy bishops… in its ranks. In this case the resulting (sc. from Felix of Aptunga) contamination infected not only Caecilian and his successors but everyone in Africa and throughout the whole world who maintained communion… Read more »

Nersen
Guest
Nersen

Byron – show us your proof “liberal” ECUSA churches are growing please?

Steven
Guest
Steven

John: (1) How is this not a theological argument? I look forward to your explanation of how a dispute that is founded on the interpretation and weight to be given Scripture and the role of Church tradition can not be theological. (2) You need to clarify what point you are trying to make with your statements about “repentence” in this context. I’m not attempting to be argumentative, I’m just not sure what your argument is, which makes me unable to respond. (3) Article 26 deals with the sacraments. The sacraments defined in the 39 Articles are baptism and Communion. I… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

I agree with Steven that Donatism has generally been regarded as a heresy. It appears to be adhered to as the primary element of the faith by the members of the Network and is condemned in Article XXVI.