Saturday, December 02, 2006

San Joaquin Votes to Secede From TEC

From the Mercury News:

...Bishop John-David Schofield, who refuses to ordain women and gays, has publicly accused the church's newly elected female leader of promoting "heresy." Under his leadership, the Fresno-based diocese has stopped sending most funds to the national church and has considered a plan to affiliate with an Anglican diocese in Argentina.

In the last week, Episcopal leaders have been putting pressure on San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield and other conservatives to ease off their threats to secede.

The proposal a majority of the 204 clergy and lay delegates approved formalizes the diocese's identity as a member of the Anglican Communion, rather than a member of the Episcopal Church, the U.S. wing of the 77 million-member Anglican family.

But that resolution was noticeably weaker than an amendment pulled from the agenda this week, which would have given delegates the choice to formally split with the U.S. denomination, which would have set off a legal battle over the diocese's millions of dollars in real estate.
Here is the original proposal:

Amend Article II of the Constitution as follows:
Acceding to the Constitution of the Episcopal Church Faith, Order and Practice of a Province of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church known as the Anglican Communion -

The Church in the Diocese of San Joaquin accedes to The Constitution the Faith, Order and Practice of a province of that branch of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church known as the Episcopal Church in the United States of America the Anglican Communion. Such accession shall be determined by the majority vote of the delegates of the Diocese of San Joaquin convened at a Special Convention called by the Bishop of San Joaquin of the General Convention of the same and until such action is taken, the Diocese intends to continue in full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury and all Anglican provinces and dioceses which uphold the Catholic Faith.
Here is the amended proposal that was passed today:

Article II
Anglican Identity
The Diocese of San Joaquin is constituted by the Faith, Order, and Practice of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church as received by the Anglican Communion. The Diocese shall be a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and in full communion with the See of Canterbury.
All mention of TEC was struck in both proposals. The canons of TEC require an "accession clause", which San Joaquin no longer has.

Is this change enough to avoid the "legal battle"? Maybe in the civil courts, but certainly not in the ecclesiastical courts, especially when the original proposal makes clear what San Joaquin's real intentions are.

So, what diocese in Argentina are they getting ready to jump to, or is this just blowing smoke to keep the focus off the plans being prepared for February's Primates Meeting?

J.

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