Tuesday, June 17, 2008

St. Andrew's in Taft, CA Reaffirms Their Membership in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin

The members of a small mission in San Joaquin have decided to reaffirm that they remain faithful members of the Episcopal Church. It appears this has the deposed Bishop of that Diocese, John-David Schofield, quite upset:

...we are informed that some eleven members of St. Andrew’s Mission, Taft, held an unpublicized meeting in late May with The Rev. Canon Mark Hall, Canon to the Ordinary for Bishop Jerry Lamb, wherein a majority apparently illegally voted to join the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin...

...On June 4th Bishop John-David Schofield, Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, a recognized member Diocese of the Province of the Southern Cone of South America, was informed that some of the members above changed the locks on the doors without any court order, thereby seizing the property and preventing Anglican members from entering freely as they had been able to before. Additionally, we were to understand that Canon Hall was to preside at services held on that Sunday, June 8th, at the direction of his Episcopal Bishop.

Bishop Schofield is grieved by the aggressive and disturbing behavior exhibited by Bishop Lamb, his agents, and the leadership of the Episcopal Church in the USA...
We'll get to the numerous inaccuracies in "Soundings" report of these events in a moment. But first, there's a couple of other matters to touch on.

So, according to Schofield, the folks in Taft ...illegally voted to join the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.... That accusation is rich, considering the source.

Schofield abandoned TEC, and led his Diocesan Convention in what some might describe as an "illegal" vote to join the Southern Cone, a Province whose Constitution and Canons does not allow the establishment of a Diocese in North America. Regardless of the vote, there is no "Southern Cone Diocese of San Joaquin."

Even though he has been deposed, John-David Schofield may still be a Bishop, depending on your understanding of the sacramental nature of holy orders. However, according to the Provincial Directory of the Anglican Communion, he is a Bishop without a jurisdiction.

There is little doubt that Schofield has left TEC. What is appalling is that he is attempting to take as many assets as he can grab on his way out the door. The congregations in San Joaquin belong to TEC, regardless of any votes, according to Canon I.7.4. All the congregations in San Joaquin remain a part of the Episcopal Church. No process or protocol is required when a congregation desires to affirm a reality that already exists.

The Living Church was quick to report Schofield's version of the events at St. Andrew's:

The Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin claims Bishop Jerry Lamb of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin “appeared to follow no protocol at all” in appointing new leadership after a hastily called parish meeting recently voted 9-2 to lock out the priest-in-charge and wardens and affiliate with The Episcopal Church...
First of all, as I explained above, there is no "Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin." It is a figment of Schofield's imagination. Second of all, if The Living Church expects to be considered a reputable news source, they may want to start seeking out the other side of the story before embarrassing themselves by reporting such flawed facts.

Oh yes, there is another side of the story. And it is quite different from that being told by Schofield, and repeated by The Living Church. It is provided for us by The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin:

In April, members of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Taft, California, contacted the Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, the Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb, to clarify their desire to remain within the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Lamb assured members that they are welcomed in the Episcopal Church, and reminded them that although individuals may choose to leave the Episcopal Church, a congregation or a diocese cannot by canon law leave the Episcopal Church which created it. The former vicar has publicly aligned himself with John-David Schofield, the deposed bishop of San Joaquin.

After receiving a statement from St. Andrew's signed by 25 pledging members (more than the average Sunday attendance of 18) that they wished to remain under his authority, Bishop Lamb confirmed the active status of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church as a Mission within the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. At their request Bishop Lamb appointed a new Bishop's Committee and is assigning Episcopalian supply clergy to the Mission.

In response to statements from the former vicar of his intention to rent the building to another congregation, members of the congregation changed the locks on the building and secured church property on June 2nd.
Welcome home, St. Andrew's, Taft.

To the rest of the congregations in San Joaquin who might be starting to have misgivings about following a renegade Bishop, the door remains wide open. Come home.


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