Friday, December 01, 2006

As the Episcopal World Turns

Yes, it is all getting about as surreal as a soap opera, I'm afraid. Let's see if I can bring you up to date with the story as it has unfolded over the last few days.

Regarding the Diocese of San Joaquin, the most recent installment of this particular drama began with the release of a letter from Bishop John-David Schofield to his diocese making clear his intention to leave the Episcopal Church. This was followed by a letter from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Shori asking Bp. Schofield to reconsider his plans.

The latest development is Bp. Schofield's response to Bp. Katharine's letter. He commends Bp. Katharine for not issuing an ultimatum, and then immediately follows this with an ultimatum of his own. If the first reading of the proposed constitutional changes are approved at this weekend's Convention, the second reading, after which they officially become effective, will be scheduled for October 2007. If Bp. Katharine does not proceed with bringing charges against Bp. Schofield for allowing all references to TEC to be removed from the diocesan constitution, he will not move up the date for the second reading.

Keep in mind that this is to Bp. Schofield's advantage, and actually plays right into his plans. He is betting all his chips that at the February Primates' Meeting authorization for the development of a 39th Province will be granted. Until this happens, the diocese of San Joaquin has no place to go. He does not want TEC to take any action against him without some place for him to jump. Even so, it is interesting to note the way the secular press is reporting this development; "...a California diocese quietly backed down from its threat of a swift break with the denomination..."

Meanwhile, a followup to the September New York meeting was held. Staying true to their arrogant reputation, the Network bishops boycotted the meeting. It proceeded as scheduled without them. The fruit of that gathering was the recommendation to offer a "Primatial Vicar" to those dioceses requesting AlPO.

Of course, some of those same bishops who boycotted the meeting responded within hours with howls of outrage. Those who have followed the colorful antics of this group were not surprised by this reaction. That does not mean it was a wasted effort. This gracious offer goes as far as our constitution and canons will allow to give the Network that which they claim to want. All we can do is offer. Bishop Katharine can now honestly state that she has done everything within her power to bring about reconciliation.

I think that pretty much brings us up to date. San Joaquin's Convention will be held this weekend. For background on this event, take a look at our discussion of Bp. Schofield's Deanery talks.

In other news, Tobias offers what appears to me to be an accurate diagnosis of the current malaise that troubles some of our members; "Apostate Disease":

...Lifestyle choices may play a role in the etiology of the illness, and Anglican Bishops appear to be especially at risk. Additional symptoms include

  • frequent urge to fulmination

  • having to get out of bed more than once in the night to check on some passage in Aquinas or Cranmer

  • unsteady, weak, interrupted or wandering stream of argument

  • hearing loss

  • being a frequent pain in the lower back or neck

  • difficulty in maintaining a seat in mixed assemblies...
  • And finally, as today is December 1, let us remember those who suffer from the tragedy of AIDS. From our Presiding Bishop:

    ...My purpose in writing on World AIDS Day, then, is not simply to add more words to a debate that is already long on rhetoric but short on action. Rather, I hope my words will remind Episcopalians that our voices –- if united as ONE –- can make a critical difference in the fight to rid the world of a pandemic that claims the lives of 8,000 of God's people each day, destabilizes entire regions, and keeps hundreds of millions of people living in extreme poverty.
    On this World AIDS Day, I urge all Episcopalians to join the ONE Episcopalian campaign, a unique partnership between the Episcopal Church and ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History. By becoming a ONE Episcopalian, you can unite your voice with more than 2.4 million Americans who are working, ONE by ONE, to create a world free of AIDS and deadly poverty. You can sign up online at, and it takes less than ONE minute...

    ...On Sunday, Christians around the world will enter into Advent, the season of preparation for the great feast of the Incarnation. Our belief that, in order to redeem the world, God put aside all heavenly glory to make his dwelling in our midst –- challenges us to carry our worship of God out of our churches and homes and into the world around us. May the Child of Bethlehem, the tiny and vulnerable One in whom all the fullness of God is pleased to dwell, inspire us anew to worship him in the world by working to end HIV/AIDS and build a creation that truly shows forth the glory of God.
    Support World AIDS Day


    UPDATE: Here is Canterbury's initial response to the Primatial Vicar proposal.

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