Monday, November 20, 2006

Hot off the press

YEEEOWSER! Schori gets tough!

May the ultracon bishops who voted for Schori in an attempt to create dissension stay up late with heartburn tonight, after reading this, hot off the press from Episcopal News Service:

San Joaquin bishop sent letter from Presiding Bishop

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bishop John-David Schofield of the Diocese of San Joaquin

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori -- concerned by current affairs in the Fresno-based Diocese of San Joaquin, California -- has written to its bishop, the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield. The diocese, which is scheduled to meet in convention December 1-2, includes an estimated 10,000 Episcopalians in some 48 congregations. The text of Jefferts Schori's November 20 letter follows.
November 20, 2006

The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield
Diocese of San Joaquin
4159 E. Dakota Avenue
Fresno, California 93726

My dear brother:

I have seen reports of your letter to parishes in the Diocese of San Joaquin, which apparently urges delegates to your upcoming Diocesan Convention to take action to leave the Episcopal Church. I would ask you to confirm the accuracy of those reports. If true, you must be aware that such action would likely be seen as a violation of your ordination vows to "uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them." I must strongly urge you to consider the consequences of such action, not only for yourself but especially for all of the Episcopalians under your pastoral charge and care.

I certainly understand that you personally disagree with decisions by General Conventions over the past 30 and more years. You have, however, taken vows three times over that period to uphold the "doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church." If you now feel that you can no longer do so, the more honorable course would be to renounce your orders in this Church and seek a home elsewhere. Your public assertion that your duty is to violate those vows puts many, many people at hazard of profound spiritual violence. I urge you, as a pastor, to consider that hazard with the utmost gravity.

As you contemplate this action I would also remind you of the trust which you and I both hold for those who have come before and those who will come after us. None of us has received the property held by the Church today to use as we will. We have received it as stewards, for those who enjoy it today and those who will be blessed by the ministry its use will permit in the future. Our forebears did not build churches or give memorials with the intent that they be removed from the Episcopal Church. Nor did our forebears give liberally to fund endowments with the intent that they be consumed by litigation.

The Church will endure whatever decision you make in San Joaquin. The people who are its members, however, will suffer in the midst of this conflict, and probably suffer unnecessarily. Jesus calls us to take up our crosses daily, but not in the service of division and antagonism. He calls us to take up our crosses in his service of reconciling the world to God. Would that you might lead the people of San Joaquin toward decisions that build up the Body, that bring abundant life to those within and beyond our Church, that restore us to oneness.

I stand ready for conversation and reconciliation. May God bless your deliberation.

I remain

Your servant in Christ,


The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate

It's going to be an interesting one to watch. I'm betting on Schori.

Things have been very quiet in the Diocese of Central Florida. There's been talk "nothing will happen" and talk that home churches could become the wave of the future for some of the faithful Episcopal remnant.

We're still in "wait and see" mode.

I remember our bishop backed down back in '97, after the presiding bishop came down hard on those bishops who tried to form a parallel church.

Now, he has some right-wing rabble rousers pushing him on, but Schori's coming down hard. She's what we need, I believe. Compassionate and tough.

In the meantime, Episcopal Voices members are planning to make a strong showing at the diocesan convention in January, with some resolutions of our own, like acceding to the canons and constitution of the church.

More wait and see time.

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