Friday, 28 March 2008

San Joaquin: Special Convention tomorrow

Updated again Saturday midday

Earlier articles here were due process for bishops and further reports on Bishop Schofield and San Joaquin.

Since then, the following have appeared:

Living Church San Joaquin Special Convention May Violate Canon Law

Episcopal News Service San Joaquin diocese prepares for its future

titusonenine Diocese of South Carolina Protests Presiding Bishop’s Failure to Follow the Canons

Dan Martins formerly a senior priest in that diocese has written this blog article: Perfect Storm Brewing. The specifics of the San Joaquin situation are dealt with in the last part of the article. titusonenine has extracted a key segment here.

Saturday updates

The Living Church has some further details about the action of the South Carolina diocese in South Carolina Asks Presiding Bishop to Postpone San Joaquin Special Convention.

Some local press reports:

Lodi News-Sentinel Episcopals to reorganize, appoint new bishop

Sonora Union-Democrat Controversial bishop to visit Lode

Central Valley Business Times Episcopal Church to install new Central Valley bishop

Stockton Record Episcopal leader to head diocese reorganization

Episcopal News Service has a report of Friday night’s event in Stockton, San Joaquin Episcopalians place their future in context of healing. This includes a response to a question about the deposition process:

…Answering a question about reports of problems with the March 12 consent by the House of Bishops to her request for authority to depose or remove Schofield from his diocesan position, Jefferts Schori said that the vote was conducted in the same way that other such deposition requests have been done.

While the applicable canon (Canon IV.9.2) may have “varieties of interpretation,” the Presiding Bishop said that her chancellor and the House’s parliamentarian ruled that the canon called for approval by the majority of those bishops present at the meeting. She added that the canon does not allow for a poll by mail of all bishops eligible to vote, as some have suggested ought to have been done.

“We believe that we did the right thing,” she said, adding that the consent came from “a clear majority of those present…”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 28 March 2008 at 6:21pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA

Well Fr. Martins really seems to be blogging about a Perfect Storm in the tempestuous Anglican flow of changing perceptions. Oddly enough, that seems right on bullseye center with his more or less sympathetically realigned Anglican targets.

What does he still miss then?

Maybe Fr Martins would have us too readily stop believing that Anglican comprehensiveness or leeway is the distinguishing blessedness that so many of us have weighed it out to be.

Yet. I still thank God for this relative historic Anglican-Episcopalian marker, weighed and understand in its various apparent historical and cultural contexts. A key part of that which makes us Anglican-Episcopalian believers is that we feel a remarkably lessened, less than urgent need - to police or punish - whether one another, or Bishop Pike, or VGR? Or ???

Lose leeway touch with this distinctive Anglican reduced need to police and punish, and you have to that extent started to cease being Anglican-Episcopalian.

What still stirs up the mighty conservative realignment tempest – Fr Martins’ perfect storm? - is not that progressives so rigidly sought to police or punish conservative parishes or dioceses in TEC for not ordaining women or for still preaching traditionalistic religious trash talk about queer believers or queer citizens generally.

No that is not what stirred realignment campaigning up. Why Ft Worth did quite a few things that it could think of, to ignore or discourage or put up barriers to hinder a women who dared to think God might have called her to ordained ministry. But nobody in the HoB of TEC much lowered the boom on Bishop Iker for being so mean and proud of his meanness.

What stirred conservatives up then?

Was it just that, more or less, the rest of us sought to move ahead in equality or justice or empathic identification with some target group of neighbors – queer folks? Women? - whom conservative believers so dearly liked to claim in preachments as nothing but unworthy, and probably dirty, hot button outcasts?

Now there is an indelible but spin doctored perceptual outrage for you.

No matter what Fr Martins likes to claim, Bishop Pike didn't undo any conservative believer's scrupulous Anglican conscience, any more than VGR or an ordained woman priest or anybody else has. Or can.

So what is the high righteous point about policing and punishment, so valuable to being really Anglican?

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 28 March 2008 at 10:31pm GMT

My prayers are for the faithful Episcopalians in their effortd to rebuild their Diocese.

As a person whose Parish was mis-appropriated by the vestry and transferred to CANA, I say enough is enough. We were manipulated and lied to. Our debt was increased with the inane notion that the Diocese would not want the debt. Then, when we regained possession of our church, they walked and left us with the big mortgage. How ethical and moral is that? Where do they find justification for that in the canons they now are so fond of?

Our church is growing in faith and people since the split. We miss many of the people that left and while we are not yet solvent we have called a new Priest and with help from the diocese we are paying down the debt

If you do not like the Episcopal church, move on, bur leave the keys when you go. The right-wing orthodox agenda to subvert our church will not succeed. God willing.

Posted by: John on Friday, 28 March 2008 at 11:12pm GMT

I fully concur with John (3/28 at 11:12 pm).

However, I also hold the opinion that PB Jefferts Schori is required to do due diligence and follow the C&C of TEC, as she vowed to do at her consecration. Unfortunately, it is questionable whether or not she has done that by denying due canonical process to a renegade bishop who, illegally, took his diocese out of TEC and as well as to a retired bishop, who had not even been inhibited, as required by the Title IV Disciplinary Canons. Moreover, that retired bishop, loved by many across the divide in Oklahoma, is in his late 80s with a wife seriously suffering from major health issues. The pastoral thing to do for the PB would have been to reprimand the said bishop for his uncanonical actions on behalf of the border-crossing Primate of Uganda. Deposing him was a vicious act unbecoming a PB, regardless of gender.

Posted by: John Henry on Saturday, 29 March 2008 at 12:29am GMT

"the vote was conducted in the same way that other such deposition requests have been done."

Regardless of the wording of the canon, this claim does appear to be historically correct. See for example, these two reports of relatively recent events:



Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 29 March 2008 at 12:46pm GMT

Precedent is clearly on the side of carrying out the consent process in this way. It is important to note that this process (rather than trial) is intended for cases in which there is either a clear and definitive abandonment of Communion or no objection is heard from the bishop alleged to have abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church. This precedent also establishes that even if one wishes to read the canon as requiring a greater participation by more bishops (which I actually do prefer, btw) this requirement has fallen pray to desuetude, a recognizable legal concept. Objections by the Church Times or even Bishop Wantland are irrelevant, as they have no interest in this -- only an objection from Cox or Schofield himself would have any merit, and that a small one, as they had ample time to deny their earlier actions, and in Schofield's case, confirmed them, albeit in a confused way, refering to "resignation from the House of Bishops" instead of from the see of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Saturday, 29 March 2008 at 7:34pm GMT

All this fuss over the wording of the Canons.

I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me that there is the concept of "Precedence" to consider. If there is difficulty in interpreting "Canons" the legal norm is to consider how they were interpreted in the past. This is why the previous depositions are important as they determine legal precedence.

Posted by: Charles Nurse on Saturday, 29 March 2008 at 10:06pm GMT

You wrote "Church Times" but I do not think this is what you meant. Perhaps "Church of England Newspaper"?

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 29 March 2008 at 10:50pm GMT

John on Friday, 28 March 2008 at 11:12pm GMT wrote: "Our debt was increased with the inane notion that the Diocese would not want the debt. Then, when we regained possession of our church, they walked, [joined CANA,] and left us with the big mortgage."

John, many posters on the more extreme blogs have recommended that breakaways "stick it to the diocese" in this fashion. If the breakaway faction at your church did what they did deliberately, it might be actionable under the statutes governing fiduciary responsibility and fraud in your state. In any case, I find it morally reprehensible of them to have deliberately saddled your parish with debts they did not intend to pay.

Experiences like yours give the lie to claims that the Episcopal Church is "persecuting conservatives." No, they are removing persons from their midst who have proven over many years that their only purpose is to wreck the Church of which they are members.

Posted by: Charlotte on Sunday, 30 March 2008 at 2:57am BST

Thank you, Simon, for catching my misattribution. I regularly read The Church Times and rarely the "Church of England Newspaper" and so the former name comes easily to my mind and fingertips. From what I've seen of the CoEN, I sense I have little reason to pay it much heed. In the present instance, the portrayal of the matter as a trial and conviction in absentia is an egregious misrepresentation both of fact and canon -- markedly listing to one side in an article purporting to set things straight.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Sunday, 30 March 2008 at 8:33pm BST
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