Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Presiding Bishop Asks Bp. Schofield to "Consider a More Honorable Course"

The Diocese of San Joaquin will hold their Convention this weekend. They will vote for a second and final time on a constitutional amendment which would remove all references to "The Episcopal Church." For some background on this, I refer you to a previous discussion; Bp. Schofield's Deanery Presentations.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has sent a letter to Bp. Schofield, advising him to not proceed along this path. Although it is similar in many respects to the previous letters Bp. Katharine has sent to Fort Worth and Pittsburgh, this one seems to be somewhat more personalized. Here is the last paragraph:

...While you may believe that the Diocese of San Joaquin can be welcomed into another Province of the Anglican Communion, I believe you will find that few parts of the Communion will recognize such a proposal. Such an action is without precedent, violates long-standing principles of catholic Christianity, and can only harm those faithful Episcopalians who only seek to follow Christ. I urge you to consider whether there might not be a more honorable course for you, personally, than seeking to violate your ordination vows and the Canons of this Church. Together with many in this Church, I would very much value your continued and increased presence at the table – both the table of Jesus Christ and the table of fellowship...
So, what will happen in San Joaquin next weekend? The best reflection on possible outcomes, including some explanations of what they might mean, is offered by Dan Martins, who served as a priest in San Joaquin for 13 years, and was very involved in many aspects of the life of that diocese until recently being called to a parish in Indiana.

Dan suggests that the wording of the amendment to the consititution does not necessarily offer evidence of "abandonment." Although references to "The Episcopal Church" are replaced by "The Anglican Communion," it would be possible for the diocese to continue to accept and live within the boundaries of the constitution and canons of TEC if such a resolution was passed.

Dan also points out that a resolution that attempted to place the diocese under the authority of the Southern Cone would indeed be evidence of abandonment. As of now, no such resolution has been circulated. If it is suddenly introduced at Convention, it would be most inappropriate. Such a critical vote would demand much more discussion than the setting of Convention would allow.

Pray for the members of the Diocese of San Joaquin.

Pray for the Church.

J.

No comments: