Thinking Anglicans

APO: San Joaquin gets a letter

Updated Tuesday afternoon

The Presiding Bishop of ECUSA has made public a letter she has sent to the Bishop of San Joaquin. You can read it in full on Episcopal News Service.

The wording of this letter is blunt. Here is an extract:

I have seen reports of your letter to parishes in the Diocese of San Joaquin, which apparently urges delegates to your upcoming Diocesan Convention to take action to leave the Episcopal Church. I would ask you to confirm the accuracy of those reports. If true, you must be aware that such action would likely be seen as a violation of your ordination vows to “uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them.” I must strongly urge you to consider the consequences of such action, not only for yourself but especially for all of the Episcopalians under your pastoral charge and care.

I certainly understand that you personally disagree with decisions by General Conventions over the past 30 and more years. You have, however, taken vows three times over that period to uphold the “doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church.” If you now feel that you can no longer do so, the more honorable course would be to renounce your orders in this Church and seek a home elsewhere. Your public assertion that your duty is to violate those vows puts many, many people at hazard of profound spiritual violence. I urge you, as a pastor, to consider that hazard with the utmost gravity…

The letter to which Bishop Katharine refers can be read in full here. TA’s own report is here.

The letter still has not appeared on the diocesan website. Here however is a local Bakersfield Californian news report of last Friday: Area diocese plans split with church.

The Living Church has reported: Presiding Bishop Urges San Joaquin Bishop to Reverse Course.

San Joaquin: What Can We Do? contains an appeal from Remain Episcopal, a group in the San Joaquin diocese. This was issued before the Presiding Bishop’s letter was published.

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John-Julian, OJN
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John-Julian, OJN

Finally!

Kurt
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Kurt

It’s about time that we started playing hardball with the likes of John-David Schofield!

Jay
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Jay

The “Network” conservatives often go on about how they hate “Anglican fudge”. Well, it appears that ++KJS is not fond of fudge, either. I wonder if at some level the Network people have to respect that our new presiding bishop is not inclined to be lukewarm about their shenanigans.

Paul Davison
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Paul Davison

I think Bishop Schofield has a dilemma. Either he backs down from the clear text of his letter or he confirms a breach of canon law. If he believes (as he says) that the Episcopal Church is not the right place for him, he ought to have the courage of his convictions and depart–but without the Diocese, its parishes, and its assets.

Leonardo Ricardo
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Leonardo Ricardo

It has begun.

No more nonsense, no more looting, no more fanning flames of fear and encouraging hate.

++Katharine Jefferts Schori is insuring that EVERYONE will continue to have a “place to stand” at the Episcopal Church…her intentions are clear…no matter what.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

I find the wording of the Presiding Bishop’s letter to be clear, measured and dignified. Not “blunt”.

Weiwen
Guest
Weiwen

I definitely agree that +Schofield should leave. However, this man thinks that he is Right, that he has Truth. He’s not going to leave quietly.

And frankly, if I were in his position, I might not do things so differently. If I were an abolitionist in a church that blessed slavery, and wilfully refused to engage with the Bible in a manner that would open the door to repudiating slavery, I would certainly leave, and I would certainly make sure everyone knew about it. I might not try to wreck the church on the way out, of course, but who knows…

David Huff
Guest
David Huff

I agree with Göran’s assessment, but I can see how the PB’s plain-spoken wording (which is both refreshing, and typical of people from the American West) might come across as a bit “blunt” to our cousins across The Pond 😉 It is now time, as we also say in the American West, for the AAC/ACN to “fish or cut bait.” I don’t expect their leadership to have the courage of their convictions and depart w/o attempting to smuggle the family silver out under their coats – but perhaps they’ll discover some residual dignity & the strength of their beliefs and… Read more »

dave Willams
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dave Willams

It’s an interesting one isn’t it. You see I’m one of the people outside of the Anglican Church who would actually be positive towards people leaving for other reasons. But here is the difficulty. These people believe that they are legitimate members of a legitimate denomination and that denomination is structured to support different types of churchmen. They see themselves as part of a wider communion that includes England that seems still to be an interesting mixture, Sydney and Global South that they would see as on the same track. In that respect they are part of a majority. So… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
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J. C. Fisher

“Let your Yes be ‘Yes’, and your No be ‘No'”

Praise be to Christ for his faithful servant ++Katharine!

Jerry Hannon
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Jerry Hannon

What a delightful breath of fresh air is our new Presiding Bishop. We are one church, with one faith, and if some bishop or priest or member of the laity feels uncomfortable with his or her own role within that church, they can depart, as an individual.

I feel better already about the health of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

The changes may seem profound, and in some ways perhaps they are. Patriarchy is perhaps fading somewhat. Male domination arrangements are somewhat being seen among us for the tattered royal largesse to which privileged males aspire when they dominate us against our better discernment. Yet actually nothing central in core pledeges of faith are affected by updating our knowledge of queer folks. That is part of what makes the high stakes loading so curious, so remarkable, so entirely derived from and about something else. What? My guess is power. Schoenfield has a straight legacy of sheer religious power to tell… Read more »

Bob
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Bob

Thank God for Bishop Jefferts Schori! She is demonstrating courage, dignity, and intelligence in dealing with those who wish to tear down the Episcopal Church. The only demand made on the Bishop of San Joaquin is that he remain in the Episcopal Church. He doesn’t have to ordain gay people, women, or anyone else he doesn’t like. He can complain all he wants without impugnity. All he has to do is to respect the Canons and Constitution of the Episcopal Church. Yet somehow asking him to jump over this low bar is too much. Bishop Katherine in her dignified way… Read more »

Ian Montgomery
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Ian Montgomery

If I remember correctly + John-David was ordained to the priesthood under the vows of 1928 as he was ordained priest in 1964. I believe that Bishop Schofield is doing precisely what he vowed to God. Will you be ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God’s Word; and to use both public and private monitions and exhortations, as well to the sick as to the whole, within your Cures, as need shall require, and occasion shall be given? God bless you John-David. Those who persecute the… Read more »

Bob
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Bob

Bishop Schofield has also pledged that congregations who do not agree with the actions of the diocese would be allowed to leave without harrassment and with their property and remain in TEC. Let TEC establish a new diocese.

Why can’t liberals in the church be as gracious?

Kurt
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Kurt

“If I remember correctly + John-David was ordained to the priesthood under the vows of 1928 as he was ordained priest in 1964. I believe that Bishop Schofield is doing precisely what he vowed to God.”– Ian Montgomery

Really, Ian? Then John-David must have forgotten this one:

Bishop. Will you maintain and set forwards, as much as lieth in you, quietness, peace, and love, among all Christian people, and especially among them that are or shall be committed to your charge?
Answer. I will so do, the Lord being my helper.

David Huff
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David Huff

Ian, It’s time to nip this little bit of misinformation in the bud. Even the 1928 Prayer Book requires Bishops to conform to the Doctrine and Discipline of TEC:

“IN the Name of God, Amen. I, N., chosen Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in N., do promise conformity and obedience to the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. So help me God, through Jesus Christ.”

http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1928/Ordinal.htm

+Schofield is clearly breaking a solemn promise he made before God – not something a self-proclaimed “orthodox Christian” should do lightly.

Marshall Scott
Guest

Noted, Ian. However, he also made this promise: “IN the Name of God, Amen. I, N., chosen Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in N., do promise conform-ity and obedience to the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. So help me God, through Jesus Christ.” He also committed to “maintain and set forward, as much as shall lie in you, quietness, love, and peace among all men; and diligently exercise such discipline as by the authority of God’s Word, *and by the order of this Church, is committed to you.*” (Emphasis… Read more »

Wade Bond
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Wade Bond

Dave Williams wrote, “Remember that Wesley didn’t want to leave the Anglican Church and Luther didn’t want to leave the Catholic Church -they were pushed out so these guys have a precedent for attempting to stay in –and they are trying to find ways that do that in a situation where they cannot work under the specific PB.” Wesley did not leave Anglicanism nor was he ever pushed out. He remained a priest in the Church of England until he died. And he was never happy about Methodism splitting from Anglicanism. He wanted them to stay together. Bishop Katherine (like… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
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Leonardo Ricardo

“Those who persecute the righteous – I fear for them” Ian M. Brother Ian, You need not “fear for them” or “worry for them” as it’s not about “them.” Many of our overtly self-righteous brothers and sisters who you are concerned for ARE the very ones who have been persecuting, flaming hatred, physically tormenting/sexually abusing, casting-out/refusing Communion to/from, loathing/slandering, demeaning, demoralizing and spiritually/physically raping fellow Christians. Some “righteous” are the self-deceiving “accessories” to the hate crimes and murder of LGBT Christians and heterosexual Women they help generate from the pulpit. It is “they” who quite often instigate sin and great… Read more »

dave williams
Guest
dave williams

And here we are back to a question on another thread. A Bishop offers in effect submission to Scripture and to Church. Two authorities there. So when the two are seemingly in conflict which authority does he go by. Note that we are not by any stretch of the imagination talking about Go it alone theology. He is indeed in step with a considerable proportion of the anglican communion. And I fully agree with the comment that if he is allowing Churches that disagree should the result be in his favour to remain with TEC with their property that it… Read more »

Tim
Guest

“So when the two are seemingly in conflict which authority does he go by.”

I’d be surprised if his advisors didn’t suggest trying to reconcile and understand, first and foremost.

I suspect I’m surprised.

dave williams
Guest
dave williams

Leonard said the following “Many of our overtly self-righteous brothers and sisters who you are concerned for ARE the very ones who have been persecuting, flaming hatred, physically tormenting/sexually abusing, casting- out/refusing Communion to/from, loathing/slandering, demeaning, demoralizing and spiritually/physically raping fellow Christians. Some “righteous” are the self-deceiving “accessories” to the hate crimes and murder of LGBT Christians and heterosexual Women they help generate from the pulpit. It is “they” who quite often instigate sin and great pain. “ Firstly a message to the originator of those comments. They are direct and specific allegations that imply that the church leaders and… Read more »

dave williams
Guest
dave williams

1. Wesley may have remained an ordained priest but he certainly was pushed out -there was consistant oppostion to his preaching and he was not accepted by the Anglican establishment. I doubt he’d be accepted today either!

2. Bishop Katherine is not like Wesley. She is the establishment of the Church. That’s quite a bizarre -upside down world-sort of comparison to make

David Huff
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David Huff

dave asked, “A Bishop offers in effect submission to Scripture and to Church. Two authorities there. So when the two are seemingly in conflict which authority does he go by.(?)” Easy. If the Bishop in question *sincerely* believes that the church of which he/she is a member has so fallen away from God’s Word that they can no longer abide by its doctrine & discipline – then their choice is clear. Renounce his/her vows in that church and leave. The fact that, after all the relentless clamor about how TEC is an apostate church from the AAC/ACN, their clergy *don’t*… Read more »

Preston Parsons
Guest

The argument that says that +John-David, by asking for alternative primatial oversight and aligning his diocese with another province, is not conforming to the doctrine and discipline of the Church is entirely unintelligible, simply upon the practice of the mutual recognintion of orders by other provinces within the communion. (And yes, this also makes any move by a bishop to say that their clergy has abandoned communion by becoming cononically resident outside their current geographical diocese unintelligible as well.) Anglican orders are not regional, they are catholic, or at least as catholic as an Anglican Communion can make them. I… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest
J. C. Fisher

Setting Scripture against the Church is a red-herring. *The Church* (which in this case, is clearly *GC*) defines doctrine, through its *collective interpretation* of Scripture. If +John-David—or any of his San Joaquin flock—cannot abide that doctrine, by each one’s individual conscience, then they must renounce their vows, and depart from the Church they believe collectively departed from proper Scriptural interpretation. The idea that just allowing the (apparently minority) parishes who want to remain in TEC to do so, while the rest “take the money (TEC property) and run” is a non-canonical non-starter. I don’t doubt that deals will be cut… Read more »

Marshall Scott
Guest

Brother Williams wrote: “A Bishop offers in effect submission to Scripture and to Church. Two authorities there. So when the two are seemingly in conflict which authority does he go by.” But, this is a false dichotomy. Corollary to my point above is the recognition that we only receive the Scriptures through the Church. Perhaps you believe that the Evangelists and Apostles were directed specifically in their writing (authentic cases of “automatic writing”), and that the same was true of every subsequent copyist and translator. That is a well established position on Scripture. (I have members of my extended family… Read more »

dave williams
Guest
dave williams

David, It sounds like they are leaving. What exactly do you mean by renounce their vows though? Are you simply saying that they should renounce specific vows to that denomination or do you mean that in effect they cease to be a Minister. Renounced vows sound quite heavy. Is a pastor of a church right to leave his denomination and leave those he was shepherding under the supervision of others? Isn’t it right that he explains his decision and asks his churches to come with him? Isn’t it right that those Churches should they leave with him then find alternative… Read more »

dave williams
Guest
dave williams

David, It sounds like they are leaving. What exactly do you mean by renounce their vows though? Are you simply saying that they should renounce specific vows to that denomination or do you mean that in effect they cease to be a Minister. Renounced vows sound quite heavy. Is a pastor of a church right to leave his denomination and leave those he was shepherding under the supervision of others? Isn’t it right that he explains his decision and asks his churches to come with him? Isn’t it right that those Churches should they leave with him then find alternative… Read more »

dave williams
Guest
dave williams

Tim,

What happens when you find out that it isn’t possible to reconcile the two?

NP
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NP

as usual, very helpful to the ABC……not!

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

Brothers and Sisters, “You really can’t make this stuff up.” Fr. John “This is complicated by the bishop of San Joaquin, the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, being in such poor health. Ironically, Bishop Schofield served as a priest in California under Bishop Swing’s leadership, and received strong support from +Swing when the necessary consents to +Schofield’s election as bishop appeared doubtful. Perhaps even more ironically, Bishop Schofield is a “recovering homosexual” committed to celibacy: the kind of gay bishop that Archbishop Akinola can accept. Then again, Dean Jeffrey John is also a gay man committed to celibacy, but he was… Read more »

David Huff
Guest
David Huff

dave williams, Yes, of course, I meant renounce one’s vows in TEC. I still consider +Schofield a Christian – just a horribly misguided one. And of course he, or anyone else, has the freedom to leave TEC and start their own AMiA-type denomination if they wish. We are a hierarchical church, and therefor Episcopal Church property is held in trust by the diocese for the national church. It does not “belong” to individuals in the congregation, the parish, or the diocese. Now, if the diocese wants to make a deal with a departing group to purchase the parish property, that’s… Read more »

ruidh
Guest

“Bishop Schofield has also pledged that congregations who do not agree with the actions of the diocese would be allowed to leave without harrassment and with their property and remain in TEC. Let TEC establish a new diocese.

Why can’t liberals in the church be as gracious?”

I’m of two minds on this. On one hand, I find it humorous that thieves would *allow* the church to keep the parts she can snatch back and call it graciousness.

OTOH, someone wiser than me once said — If someone takes your coat, offer him your shirt as well.

Wade
Guest
Wade

Dave Williams wrote, “Wesley may have remained an ordained priest but he certainly was pushed out -there was consistant oppostion to his preaching and he was not accepted by the Anglican establishment. I doubt he’d be accepted today either!” Saying that Wesley was “pushed out” and saying that the establishment consistently opposed his preaching are two very different things. The point is that Wesley remained a priest in the Church of England in spite of the fact that he had significant issues with the Anglican establishment. And Wesley was never happy about the Methodist movement splitting from Anglicanism. So bringing… Read more »

Bob
Guest
Bob

It’s funny how conservatives explain their radical actions because their motivations are pure and of God. Of course, Bishop Katharine is de facto presumed to have sinister motivations or presumed to be ignorant and unenlightened. Because she is trying to keep order in the Church and steer it toward the work we are commanded by Jesus Christ to perform (see Matthew 25) while not requiring conservatives to do anything at all except stay in the Church she is somehow thought of as a villain. I couldn’t care less what conservatives think or do – just allow me to participate fully… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

Preston, The issue with John-David is not his mere request for alternative oversight — that was dealt with in the rejection of the charges brought against him a while back. Rather it is his present urging a withdrawal from the Episcopal Church that brings him into conflict with that Church. He has gone beyond asking for oversight, to appeal for separation. And there is much, much more to this than simply the recognition of orders. (John-David probably doesn’t recognize ++KJS’s orders in any case, but that is beside the point at hand). Recognition of orders is an important factor in… Read more »

laurence
Guest
laurence

Many thanks for this Leonardo. I had no idea. Knowing it makes a big difference to me and for me. laurence

dave williams
Guest
dave williams

Well my understanding is that he has asked his churches to leave. In that sense the jury is out until they have decided. If they choose to stay in then he should follow his conscience and resign. However at the moment his first responsibility is pastorally to his congregations. We should honour that for the time being. Yes it may be irregular in terms of church procedures. However to say I can’t accept your oversight and as a leader that isn’t a personal issue but one affecting those under my oversight is actually moral rather than immoral and hard to… Read more »

dave williams
Guest
dave williams

As far as property goes. The sensible solution would be who can use those buildings most effectively in God’s service and specifically who can fill them with worshippers. No use an empty building and a homeless church.

So if TEC continuing congregations need a building and theres a building where only 3 members meet that’s part of the break away then you know the answer

NP
Guest
NP

those who say +Schofield et al should comply with TEC… why do you not also say TEC should comply with the AC?

Remember +Schofield et al are not divisive rebels in the Global AC context – they are very normal Anglicans

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Because TEC is an independent body – don’t you understand that. NP? There is no reason why it should ‘comply’ because there is no obligation to do so.

However, Schofield and his renegades are part of TEC: they should simply leave, set up a new denomination, and then apply for recognition. The diocese is part of TEC whether it happens to include Schofield and Co.or not.

NP
Guest
NP

Yes but Merseymike – people above say Schofield et al should leave if they do like TEC – but they do not say that TEC should leave the AC if they find themselves there in a minority….I know you have a different (coherent) view but some want TEC to stay in the AC and carry on subverting it from the inside……….but like you, I am for realignment so would like all everywhere to be given a free choice and their property etc and to split amicably – some Brits to join TEC, some Americans to stay in the AC…..no courts,… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

….so, I agree – +Schofield et al should set up a new denomination for the Anglican Communion in the USA.

Jerry Hannon
Guest
Jerry Hannon

Merseymike wrote back to NP, “However, Schofield and his renegades are part of TEC: they should simply leave, set up a new denomination, and then apply for recognition. The diocese is part of TEC whether it happens to include Schofield and Co.or not.” To that I say, Amen. That is precisely the point about any bishop, or priest, or member of the laity, of the Episcopal Church. They have every right to leave TEC, as individuals, and if their conscience — though I may believe their judgment fundamentally flawed — no longer allows them to support TEC, they even have… Read more »

Jerry Hannon
Guest
Jerry Hannon

Np writes “….so, I agree – +Schofield et al should set up a new denomination for the Anglican Communion in the USA.” No, they should form a new denomination, whether like the Methodists or some evangelical sect, or simply join some other denomination more attuned to their beliefs. Moreover, there will not be a CofE Anglican denomination in Nigeria, nor a TEC Anglican denomination in Rwanda, nor a Church of Scotland Anglican denomination in Singapore, and there will similarly not be a Church of Nigeria Anglican denomination in the United States. There is one part of the Anglican Communion in… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

The concept of the national church is deeply engrained in Anglicanism: even the 39 Articles speak of foreign bishops (even supposed Vicars of Christ) not having jurisdiction in the realm of England. The same point was made when the Episcopal Church found it _necessary_ to establish itself as a body separate from the Church of England upon the final political separation: “When in the course of Divine Providnece, these American States became independent with respet to civil government, their ecclesiastical independence was necessarily included…” (Preface to the BCP, enacted in Philadelphia 1789) The existence of overlapping jurisdictons has been a… Read more »

dave williams
Guest
dave williams

“If Bishop Schofield and others choose not to uphold the denomination, then they must go, without the buildings and accoutrements and treasury, which are not their playthings, and follow their consciences elsewhere.”

I don’t think anyone sees them as their play things. But buildings matter not to individual bishops but to congregations.

Are there huge homeless TEC congregations desperate to get in and use these buildings?

dave williams
Guest
dave williams

Jerry Hannon writes “They have every right to leave TEC, as individuals” To which I would respond that they have every responsibility not to leave as individuals. They are not having a crisis of faith, they are not having a crisis about their role as church leaders. They are disagreeing with thr TEC hierarchy over doctrinal issues. Therefore their first and foremost responsibility is as elders/overseers/shepherds to care for their congregations. If they believe that this means removing them from TEC then so be it. They also have the right and responsibility to find ways of associating in an accountable… Read more »