We recently discussed some conflicting reports of what happened in Taft, California which led to that mission church breaking their ties with the deposed Bishop of San Joaquin, John-David Schofield, and reaffirming their commitment to the Episcopal Church. I now have a report from one of the members of St. Andrew's, which follows:
At our Easter Sunday Services, Fr. Threewit announced that there would be a Bishop's Committee Meeting following the service. It was not called to order and not everyone was present to hear instructions from him. The members were told that they had to sign the new by-laws and he would not allow them to take time to read what they were signing. One member voted 'NO' because she did not want to sign a document without knowing what it said. They were told by Fr. Threewit that they had no choice, the by-laws had to be signed. The secretary was not present and was later told what to write up as minutes by Fr. Threewit.
At the monthly Bishop's Committee meeting on May 3, 2008, Fr. Threewit stated that he had been to Fresno and met with Fr. Gandenberger and he (Bill) had said that if the majority of our members wanted to stay Episcopal, they would be free to do so and have the property and the money held in the Diocesan Trust returned to us. We would have to have a meeting with John David to assure him that this was what the majority wanted. Fr. Charles now denies saying any such thing. The Bishop's Committee voted to have this meeting set up by Fr. Charles.
Since the Southern Cone would not discuss anything with our members, and Fr. Threewit refused to have any discussion on the subject, even though being asked several times before and after the December vote, and learning via the Dio Net that John David planned to be at St. Andrew's July 20th, and not being blind sheep, we asked Canon Hall if he would be willing to meet and discuss what was happening.
On May 19th we assembled for an informational meeting with Canon Hall. This was not a called meeting, but an informal gathering. All members who are in our Mission Directory and living in the area were to be notified of the informational gathering. The Bishop's Warden declined to attend as he had a previous appointment. When everyone had arrived, the absence of the Jr Warden was noted. Apparently the two persons that had done all the calling had each thought that the other had called him. When this was discovered, I immediately called him and was informed by his spouse that he was not available. We did ask her to attend, which she did.
We had an enjoyable social gathering after which Canon Hall asked if we had any questions. Our members then did ask several questions which were openly and honestly answered by Canon Hall. We thanked him for his clear and open answered and parted
There was no vote, no discussion, or anything further as this gathering was for information only and could have been held anywhere. Having never before been required to ask permission to use our facilities for the benefit of our members we decided to have this gathering without asking the Vicar. The Jr Warden submitted his resignation on Tuesday, May 20th...
...On the 1st of June, some of our members of the Bishop's Committee were not at church due to family gatherings... Fr Threewit stated from the pulpit that we were all protesting his presence. On my return to Taft, I was informed that Fr. Threewit called a secluded secret meeting with the two members of the Bishop's Committee and informed them that John David was going to lock up the church and give it over to St. Luke's, Bakersfield to be used as a Spanish Satellite Mission (Brown Act?). He then took the secretary's computer and attempted to gain access to the checkbook and church records for removal from St. Andrew's. Afterward, he further polled via e-mail and telephone in order to discover the location of the keys to the fireproof filing cabinet containing the church record books and also the combination to the safe where the checkbook is stored.
With this blatant attack on the faithful members of St. Andrew's Church we had no option but to deny access to Fr. Threewit and the other members of the "Southern Cone"...
...We do have a petition signed by 27 members of St. Andrew's, 3 members did not sign because they adhere to the Southern Cone and 4 were out of town and unavailable.