Comments: APO: San Joaquin gets a letter

Finally!

Posted by John-Julian, OJN at Monday, 20 November 2006 at 7:23pm GMT

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

Posted by Kurt at Monday, 20 November 2006 at 7:35pm GMT

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.

Posted by Jay at Monday, 20 November 2006 at 7:35pm GMT

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.

Posted by Paul Davison at Monday, 20 November 2006 at 7:54pm GMT

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.

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Monday, 20 November 2006 at 8:04pm GMT

I find the wording of the Presiding Bishop's letter to be clear, measured and dignified. Not "blunt".

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 20 November 2006 at 8:43pm GMT

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...

Posted by Weiwen at Monday, 20 November 2006 at 8:49pm GMT

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 surprise me. (And if that sounds a bit harsh, recall that Abp. Akinola has challenged them in the past to do just that ;)

Posted by David Huff at Monday, 20 November 2006 at 9:29pm GMT

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 as far as they are concerned -rightly or wrong ECUSA is still reformable. 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.

So the more that people howl for them to be kicked out actually at the moment I’d like them to stay in! Because the PB has made her terms clear she wants war!

Posted by dave Willams at Monday, 20 November 2006 at 9:34pm GMT

"Let your Yes be 'Yes', and your No be 'No'"

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

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Monday, 20 November 2006 at 10:40pm GMT

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.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Monday, 20 November 2006 at 10:55pm GMT

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 non-straight people just how deeply dirty and awful they are, essentially, definitively. To erase the empirical facts of queer human competency, blanked out to a fine nothingness that none of us then has any power any longer to see or acknowledge - even when we dimly somehow realize at the same time that we still do know some highly ethical, competent queer man or women - in our family, at work, just down the street in a house in our own neighborhood. Thanks to this ancient inheritance, Schoenfield has a long-standing and formerly unquestioned legacy privilege as a straight religious leader to preach how dangerous queer folk are; and so he does. He also has the legacy power to inveigh against queer folks’ possibilities for living in physical safety, their possibilities of good conscience and loving intimacy, their possibilities for making the provisional best practice human uses of their bodies in commonly established ways which nobody among us would much doubt or question, if only those queer folks were straight, instead, like Schoenfield.

Thus the legacy exercise rings false in several ways, no matter how loudly we hear it lauded. Schoenfield elevates an unexpected yet discretely contained corrective shift in our changing flow of human knowledge about ourselves to the status of an all/nothing categorical belief/disbelief in our following Jesus of Nazareth.

Read back over the similar threatened and threatening historical statements ministers and bishops once made about what awful consequences would flow from the mixing of the colors/races and the abolitions of godly orders of slavery or female inferiority. You can translate those preachments, almost word for word for word, without having to lift your pen from the page.

Posted by drdanfee at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 3:13am GMT

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 is rightly defending our Church. Again I say thank God for her, and may God be with her as she stands strong against the extremists of the right.

Posted by Bob at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 5:40am GMT

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 righteous - I fear for them. +John-David Schofield is holding true and fast to his ordination vows and should be praised, supported and his attackers excoriated by all.

Posted by Ian Montgomery at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 12:38pm GMT

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?

Posted by Bob at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 1:05pm GMT

“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.

Posted by Kurt at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 2:15pm GMT

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.

Posted by David Huff at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 2:36pm GMT

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 mine.) These also were a part of his ordination commitments.

And that's the issue, really: we do not receive this faith except in and through people who come to us in specific faith traditions and institutions. The Disciples met the incarnate Jesus, and Paul the resurrected Jesus. The rest of us have this through specific traditions. The so-called Vincentian Canon ("what has always been believed by all, everywhere") wasn't true when Vincent said it, much less now.

Wherever Bishop Schofield learned the faith, he did not learn "the universal faith," but the specific Christian tradition of the people who taught him. However he heard his call, he received and exercised his orders within a particular Christian tradition and institution, and specifically, The Episcopal Church. Thus, violating the discipline of The Episcopal Church should have consequences.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 3:32pm GMT

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 Wesley) does not want a split. She wants us all to remain one church in spite of our differences because that is what a family does. As a broad church Episcopalian, I agree with her. If some are determined not to remain with us, we must do what we can to maintain order. We will uphold the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church. They are not optional. We don’t just uphold them when it suits us and overlook them when they are inconvenient.

Posted by Wade Bond at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 3:52pm GMT

"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 pain.

Throughout OUR Christian history, un-holy, bigoted and feardriven men have promoted and released vile actions toward LGBT folks and heterosexual Women. For a longer time than your memory or your good conscience serves you LGBT Christians and heterosexual Women and *others* have been persecuted by "righteous" and twisted and "immoral" Scriptural authorities.

We ought now ALL pray together for the frightened and hatefilled extremists within the Body of Christ and for the naked shame/sham of their self-righteous and emotionally/spiritually disturbed conduct.

It's time to say "no more" to them and help lift them from the sickness of their zealous "ways" before *they* inflict more harm on others and on their very own "eternal" striving/demanding and restless souls.

It's time to say no to some of Gods viscious children of all ages.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 4:01pm GMT

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 is reasonable to ask the same of the TEC towards him.

Posted by dave williams at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 4:08pm GMT

"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.

Posted by Tim at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 6:19pm GMT

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 congregations in a specific area have been committing illegal acts.

I hope that you have specific evidence to back up a claim such as this.

Secondly I have on previous occassions raised the issue that posts going beyond the robust debate we can reasonably expect to a level of maliciousness and especially by laying unfounded accusations that noone can possible respond to are getting through onto this site. I would ask the site authors to revisit their commitment on this

Posted by dave williams at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 7:08pm GMT

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

Posted by dave williams at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 8:23pm GMT

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* renounce their vows and leave (for the most part) tells me there's something besides sincere belief going on.

Posted by David Huff at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 8:54pm GMT

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 wrote a little more on this at http://lifeofababypriest.blogspot.com/2006/11/doctrine-discipline-and-john-david.html.

++Katharine is barking up the wrong tree.

Posted by Preston Parsons at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 10:50pm GMT

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 (buy-outs): I hope our separating brethren find (per Bob) some "graciousness" in that.

But we Episcopalians also owe debts to both the past (the "cloud of witnesses", who built these churches---such as my Fresno grandparents of blessed memory), and the future: the faithful Episcopalians of tomorrow, cradle and convert, whom we will nurture in "the faith once delivered" ***defined, as always, by GC!*** in the shelter of those church buildings. We can do no less than show graciousness to THEM, too. :-)

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 10:56pm GMT

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 of that position. I love them, but can't agree with them.) It has not been, however, the predominant position espoused in Anglican history and tradition. Even acknowledging that Scripture was "primary," the first source among the three classic sources of authority for Anglicans, it has not been the only source. That was part of Hooker's response to the Puritans: the Church of England does not embrace a position of "sola scriptura." The Church, as the living body of Christ, always has a role in interpreting what has been written about Christ.

Bishop Schofield committed to two intergrated authorities, and not two independent authorities.
He committed to the faith "as this Church has received it," including the Anglican tradition on Scripture. To see them as separate is to have already stepped away from the Anglican tradition.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 11:29pm GMT

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 church groups that they can relate to and be accountable to rather than going it alone?

What then happens to the property associated with those churches. I guess it depends on a number of factors. Firstly there is the legal issue of ownership. But then there are moral factors such as who has been using and paying for those buildings. Then there is the issue of good will.


Posted by dave williams at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 11:44pm GMT

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 church groups that they can relate to and be accountable to rather than going it alone?

What then happens to the property associated with those churches. I guess it depends on a number of factors. Firstly there is the legal issue of ownership. But then there are moral factors such as who has been using and paying for those buildings. Then there is the issue of good will.

Posted by dave williams at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 11:45pm GMT

Tim,

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

Posted by dave williams at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 11:46pm GMT

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

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 9:47am GMT

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 found unacceptable for the episcopacy."

http://revkirkley.blogspot.com/2006/07/legal-battle-in-california.html

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 1:05pm GMT

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 a fine and charitable thing. I'd even be in favor of "sweetheart deals" for those folks, as long as the price wasn't so low that it amounted to bad stewardship on the part of the diocese. A little bit of grace and charity on *both* sides of such a deal would go a long way to making such a thing amicable.

Posted by David Huff at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 2:45pm GMT

"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.

Posted by ruidh at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 2:56pm GMT

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 up Wesley does not help your argument. Wesley did not rebel against church order. The Network bishops are.

Don’t you think there have been enough spits in Protestantism? We Protestants are famous for getting mad at each other and splitting. What kind of a witness is that? We should be staying together as a family even when we are disagreeing with each other.

Posted by Wade at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 3:32pm GMT

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 in the life of the National Church. Since I live in a Network Diocese, that simple wish is coming closer and closer to being denied. Thankfully, we have a courageous bishop in Bishop Katharine who is standing up for us, i.e. we who actually have the audacity to think that because we joined an Episcopal Church we should be allowed to be Episcopalians.

But conservatives just don't get it. I think Bishop Katharine would do well to tell those in the Network the old saying we have in Texas: "I can explain it to you but I can't understand it for you".

Posted by Bob at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 4:39pm GMT

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 communion -- but it is clear, at least on the part of some in the Global South, that while they recognize the orders of those Episcopal clergy with whom they agree, they do not recognize the orders of those with whom they disagree, and are, consequently, no longer in communion with the Episcopal Church as a whole. So when Bishop John-David seeks to place himself in a relationship with, say, the Bishop of the Southern Cone -- not simply as a guest primate, but as a _replacement_ primate -- and further urges his diocese to remove any and all reference to The Episcopal Church, hasn't he finally taken the step that constitutes abandonment of the communion of _this_ Church, that is, The Episcopal Church, governed by the General Convention since 1789?

I would say rather that the Bishop's claim to have and eat his cake is what is unintelligible. Either he is part of the Episcopal Church, with all the rights and resposibilities that entails -- including the ability to dissent while remaining obedient -- or he is not part of it. No one is forcing him to leave -- and in fact Bishop Katharine is asking him to stay.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 7:29pm GMT

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


Posted by laurence at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 7:57pm GMT

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 describe as a breach of discipline unless TEC have very twisted laws that put kissing the feet of the PB before pastoral care of the flock.

My understanding is that the PB is adressing him in his role as Pastor and her question is "What is best for those pastored by him?" In which case surely she realises that the answer will be "For them to be placed within an accountable communion where I am confident in the oversight they will get."

If the rules don't for allow for a situation where a whole host of churches no longer have confidence in their leader then the problem is with the rules

Posted by dave williams at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 11:54pm GMT

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

Posted by dave williams at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 11:56pm GMT

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

Posted by NP at Thursday, 23 November 2006 at 7:29am GMT

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.

Posted by Merseymike at Thursday, 23 November 2006 at 10:00am GMT

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, no nastiness....but the TEC leadership is clearly too scared to let this happen

Ed Note: I think NP means "leave if they do NOT like TEC"

Posted by NP at Thursday, 23 November 2006 at 3:25pm GMT

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

Posted by NP at Thursday, 23 November 2006 at 5:20pm GMT

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 an obligation to depart and either join some other Christian denomination, or begin one of their own.

That is the history of the Christian Church, and men and women of good will have followed their individual consciences, left wherever they were, and gotten on with their lives.

Let Bishop Schofield, and whomever wants to join him, depart and (hopefully) grow elsewhere, and let the rest of the Episcopal Church focus upon what really matters in following Christ.

I left my former Church, in which I had been raised since infancy, at the age of thirty-two, a bit more than thirty years ago, and joined the Episcopal Church. My decision was based upon a combination of what I felt was flawed theology in the Roman Catholic Church, plus finding much greater inspiration through the Episcopal Church.

Hundreds of thousands have acted similarly, while other cradle-to-grave Episcopalians (and other Anglicans) have departed; hopefully we are each better for our choices, and the Church Universal stronger for our decisions of faith.

I am grateful that the Presiding Bishop is helping everyone to focus upon getting the issues dealt with, rather than swept under the rug.

Make decisions, now, and let's all get on with our Christian lives, but those decisions must be individual ones.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Thursday, 23 November 2006 at 5:39pm GMT

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 each nation, whether we like it or not.

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.

As to whether it is likely that other national churches of the Anglican Communion will wish to remain with Canterbury, or go off with Abuja, that is merely speculation. You can find parts of most national churches that will not agree with their national church leadership, whether in the US or in England or even in those parts of the "Global South" who can express their beliefs without fear, so it is hardly a matter of a singular approach.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Thursday, 23 November 2006 at 7:10pm GMT

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 source of embarrassment and concern, and efforts are in hand to minimize or grandfather them; it is hardly likely a new one will be started up in North America.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Thursday, 23 November 2006 at 9:41pm GMT


"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?

Posted by dave williams at Thursday, 23 November 2006 at 9:44pm GMT

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 way with other churches.

That's what they are trying to do.

What they cannot do is simply leave their congregations in the charge of the very same people they disagree with

Posted by dave williams at Friday, 24 November 2006 at 12:27am GMT

NP, you miss another point. The position of TEC is that if we can keep talking, respecting one another in and through our disagreements, we can stay in communion. TEC has never lost respect for the Anglican Communion, not even for those provinces that in their independence don't respect us. We do not consider leaving the Anglican Communion, because we still respect those with whom we are in relationship, and we believe that we can maintain and grow in those relationships, even if we can't agree. Some provinces have declared that they can't respect TEC. We regret that, but if they should choose to walk away from us, there's little we can do but pray for them and work to hospitable in the future.

Bishop Schofield has also said he has no respect for TEC; but his relationship is specifically with TEC within which he was ordained, and only through TEC with the larger Communion. Like the other provinces, if he declares independence and walks away, there is little we can do but pray. If on the other hand he claims to be within TEC and acts to violate the terms of his very different relationship with TEC (and continuing as a bishop in a diocese of TEC while actively working to disassociate congregations, clergy, and parishioners of TEc is precisely that sort of violation of discipline), there are consequences, and it is to be expected that they should occur.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Friday, 24 November 2006 at 3:49am GMT

Dave Williams wrote "What they cannot do is simply leave their congregations in the charge of the very same people they disagree with"

If that is truly their concern, then whichever individual members of their congregations, or whichever individual priests, wish to follow Bishop Schofield in joining another Christian denomination, or in creating one of their own, can similarly depart as individuals.

They simply can't take with them that which belongs to the Episcopal Church.

Of course, that's not what Dave, or others like him, want to hear, but the choice is plain and straightforward, and the Presiding Bishop has now affirmed that.

Either they are part of the Episcopal Church, and will conform to uphold the “doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church,” or they can individually depart (even if that is a collective group of 100 or 1,000 individuals).

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Friday, 24 November 2006 at 9:06pm GMT

If +John-David wished to resign his office (not renounce his orders) and transfer to the Church of the Southern Cone, he could do so. That is not the scenario on the table -- though in his power to place it there.

++KJS' letter offers him three options: 1) pull back from your apparent rejection of the discipline of this church this and remain part of the “loyal opposition; 2) face presentment, trial and deposition; or 3) renounce your orders. She doesn't mention the fourth possibility: to resign his See and transfer to another Anglican Province. This possible "out" for him is not what he has so far indicated he wants -- that is, he wants the diocese to go with him; which is not canonically possible.

Why not? Individuals (lay and ordained) are free to sever their membership or transfer their membership -- but the institutions of which they are members (be it parish, diocese, or national church) perdure as entitites regardless of the coming and going of particular members.

As Richard Hooker once observed, "The Church is always a visible society of men; not an assembly, but a Society... Assemblies are properly rather things that belong to a Church. Men are assembled for performance of public actions; which actions being ended, the assembly dissolveth itself and is no longer in being, whereas the Church which was assembled doth no less continue afterwards than before." (Laws III.I.14) That is, the society endures even as different individuals take part in the assembly of that society from time to time. Congress is still congress, regardless of the change in party majorities. And the Diocese of San Joaquin, as an institution, existed before Bishop Schofield came along, and will be there after he is gone. It is a constituent part of the Episcopal Church -- a national church (in keeping with the Anglican understanding of such things). One could argue that the day of the "national church" has passed -- but that argument has yet to be made; and as rejects communion-in-diversity for a kind of patchwork of special-interest chapters-in-affinity, it seems not to be a starter... at least as far as Canterbury is concerned.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Friday, 24 November 2006 at 9:13pm GMT

No Jerry,

Either they are pastors responsible for their congregations or they are not. A Pastor's responsibility is to his congregation. They have a responsibility not to leave their church in the hands of those they regard as false shepherds.

Your understanding of Christianity may be more concerned with the niceties of hierarchy but other forms of Christianity are very much entrenched in the importance of the local congregation.

One thing that I hope they will leave behind for TEC to enjoy is that lovely beaurocracy :o)

Posted by dave williams at Saturday, 25 November 2006 at 12:37am GMT

"One thing that I hope they will leave behind for TEC to enjoy is that lovely beaurocracy". Dave

Oh Dave, does that "beaurocracy" include the "Shepards" you think "know best" or simply our Presiding Bishop and "mission staff" and the 80% majority members of TEC that you snear at daily and accuse of "making war?"

Does "righteous believing" drive you or just plain "selective thinking" and good, old fashioned "pot shots" against OUR understanding of basic discipline at The Body of Christ?

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Saturday, 25 November 2006 at 2:58pm GMT

Leonardo,

I have not been "snearing" at anyone daily. Please would you stop making malicious, smears against people you disagree with.

Posted by dave williams at Saturday, 25 November 2006 at 3:20pm GMT

Dave:

Clearly, you don't have a grasp of specifically Anglican ecclesiology. First and foremost, of course, the pastor has a responsibility to God (and I'm sure you agree and thought this went without saying). After that, in Anglican theology, the priest is accountable to the Church, made specific in the diocese. We are not presbyterian in polity, so that the relationship is between minister and congregation. The congregation is not simply the local assembly, but is the local expression of the whole church made specific in the diocese. So, the minister is accountable to the whole church made specific in the diocese for his or her care of the congregation.

That isn't to say that the minister shouldn't be responsible in her or his care of the congregation; but the minister is responsible for the congregation and accountable to the diocese, as the diocese is responsible to the larger church, and in this case as made specific in The Episcopal Church. Yes, clergy can be irresponsible; and in our polity it is the bishop and the diocese that holds clergy accountable, and not the congregation.

There have been many examples, both in the current troubles and in previous controversies, when individual ministers, including bishops, have led groups of individuals out of The Episcopal Church. Each of those ministers felt his (I'm not aware of any, at least in previous controversies, that were women) theological principles required his departure, and those who agreed with him on the principles agreed with him in leaving. However, none of them, after leaving, claimed to be The Episcopal Church. By and large, once they felt the need to reject the institution of The Episcopal Church, they also felt the need to reject the name of The Episcopal Church. Bishop Duncan's assertion of "two churches" and efforts to take whole dioceses out of The Episcopal Church is the exception here, and not the rule.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Saturday, 25 November 2006 at 3:54pm GMT

Dave
Ugliness is often in the eye of the beholder. You've already had a dozen comments in this thread alone, all of which have been highly critical in tone. This tends to dull the effectiveness of your witness.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 25 November 2006 at 5:45pm GMT

Simon,

I have written a number of comments and if you look at them you will see that I have stated strong views. But I have not made malicious accusations such as I have drawn your attention to.

I have asked questions, stuck up for the San Joaquin crowd made points. That cannot in any shape or form be described as "critical" even should there be anything wrong with being critical from time to time. I'm disappointed that you cannot see the difference between that and abuse such as accusing someone of "snearing" -that is personal and abusive or accusing congregations of the following

"Physically tormenting" "sexually abusing" "raping" these are deeply offensive comments aimed at silencing Evangelicals from this discussion.

Posted by dave williams at Saturday, 25 November 2006 at 7:09pm GMT

There are vast amounts of clear evidence of ABUSE toward Women, Children and LGBT membership at Evangelical Congregations/Churches (less than a handful of first 10 links out of over 327,000 links/evidence just at Yahoo Search)

http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/2104.htm

http://www.advocateweb.org/hope/articles_clergy.asp

http://www.godswordtowomen.org/healing/abusearticles/shei.htm

http://www.covchurch.org/cov/news/item2175.html

http://www.ctlibrary.com/ct/2002/marchweb-only/3-18-31.0.html

I think there is plenty for us to consider in terms of who are victims and who are the ABUSERS at Evangelical Congregations/Churches so let's not get all excited about anything other than trying to "keep our eye" on being RESPONSIBLE and accountable during OUR own Anglican Communion Human Rights/Selective Scriptural interpretation and conflict.

I've not found any examples of malicious LGBT people victimizing or abusing Evangelicals but perhaps there will be a ugly "war" and backlash soon if there is continued exclusion and more imprisonment laws and/or Human Rights VIOLATIONS of LGBT folks plus the ongoing abusing/eploitation of women in places like Evangelically proud/noisy Nigeria and Uganda.

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Sunday, 26 November 2006 at 12:13am GMT

Leonardo,

Thanks for getting round to responding. There is a significant difference though between listing articles about cases of sexual abuse and saying that specific people in a specific parish are tarred with the brush of being the abusers as your post implied.

I would be happy for you to clarify that that was not your intention, that you are not accusing the leaders at San Joaquin of being abusers, that you are not saying that Evangelicals are sexual abusers, rapists etc.

Within Evangelical Churches (and I presume, churches of other backgrounds) there are a wide range of people who have all sinned and will continue to struggle with sin. Some are genuinely seeking to follow Christ, others are using the church as an easy target to sin. How that sin emerges will depend on the person and will mean that in the church there will be adulterers, people guilty of violence, racists and homophobes.

The responsibility of churches then is to deal with those issues in terms of discipline, pastoral response, protection of the vulnerable and through the police if criminal activity is involved.

Having a useful discussion about those issues would be great. Just slandering the good name of people without evidence is different. I'm sure that you will be happy to clarify that point.

Posted by dave williams at Sunday, 26 November 2006 at 1:25pm GMT
Post a comment









Remember personal info?






Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.