San Joaquin Quits TEC
You may not have noticed it, but yesterday the schism began:
The Central California Diocese of San Joaquin today became the first in the nation to secede from the Episcopal Church, taking the historic, risky step as part of a years-long struggle within the church and global Anglican Communion over homosexuality and biblical authority.
Delegates to San Joaquin’s annual convention then also formally accepted an invitation to align the largely rural 14-county diocese with a conservative Anglican leader overseas, Archbishop Gregory James Venables of Argentina.
Here’s some of what Bishop Schofield had to say:
There is no question that what we are considering today will be called Schism. We will be told that unity trumps theology. We shall be told that we are doing is destructive and against history and Catholic Order. Once again, the words of J.I. Packer are most helpful. He notes: “Schism means unwarrantable and unjustifiable dividing of organized church bodies, by the separating of one group within the structure from the rest of the membership. Schism, as such, is sin, for it is a needless and indefensible breach of visible unity. But withdrawal from a unitary set-up that has become unorthodox and distorts the gospel in a major way and will not put its house in order as for instance when the English church withdrew from the Church of Rome in the sixteenth century, should be called not schism but realignment, doubly so when the withdrawal leads to links with a set-up that is faithful to the truth, as in the sixteenth century the Church of England entered into fellowship with the Lutheran and Reformed churches of Europe, and as now we propose gratefully to accept the offer of full fellowship with the Province of the Southern Cone. Any who calls such a move schism should be told they do not know what schism is.”
OK, to be fair that was Schofield quoting Packer. And now, the response from KJS:
“The Episcopal Church receives with sadness the news that some members of this church have made a decision to leave this church,” said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. “We deeply regret their unwillingness or inability to live within the historical Anglican understanding of comprehensiveness. We wish them to know of our prayers for them and their journey. The Episcopal Church will continue in the Diocese of San Joaquin, albeit with new leadership.”
Now that’s interesting. Does that mean that they’re not going to sue the diocesan leadership for the diocesan headquarters and infrastructure? If not, will that set a precedent for all other dioceses that leave?
And now the crunch question – will Rowan recognise the new bishop put in to replace Schofield? If so, why, and where does that leave Schofield (and Cavalcanti)? If not, why not and where does that leave Gene Robinson?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Lambeth needs a man in charge now. Make some decisions Rowan!!! Stand by some convictions Rowan!!