Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bp. Schofield's Status

On December 14, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori requested clarification of the current status of John-David Schofield, the former Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin:

...I was deeply saddened to hear of the actions of the Diocesan Convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin this past weekend, particularly the declaration that you are no longer part of The Episcopal Church, but are now under the authority of the Province of the Southern Cone. I assume that this means you understand yourself to have departed the Episcopal Church and are no longer functioning as a member of the clergy in this Church.

I would like to have confirmation from you of this understanding of your status. Many interrelated matters depend on that status – for example, your membership in the House of Bishops and the acceptability of pension contributions on your behalf...
Bp. Schofield has responded to this request. The response contains a cloud of verbiage not relevant to the specific request, most likely as an attempt to obscure the one sentence that makes his status rather clear:

...I understood the Convention's actions as a request that I provide episcopal oversight of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin under the Province of the Southern Cone of South America...
As a member of the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone, he is providing episcopal oversight. He has left the Episcopal Church. The entity of which he claims oversight is identified as "the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin." This is the first time I've seen this new entity named. If the Southern Cone has actually created such a Diocese is questionable. But what is clear is that Bp. Schofield no longer has oversight over the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

Bp. Schofield continues with this unusual line:

...Accepting such an invitation to be a part of the Southern Cone's House of Bishops may not necessarily define my relationship with The Episcopal Church particularly since this may only be a temporary arrangement...
Temporary or not, becoming a member of another House of Bishops does indeed define his relationship with the Episcopal Church.

Those in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin need to understand that Bp. Schofield is no longer your ecclesiastical authority. He has chosen to leave the Episcopal Church. This has now been clarified by the Bishop's own words.


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