Sunday, January 27, 2008

The PB Looks a Gift Horse in the Mouth

... and then declines the offer.

The San Joaquin drama took another turn yesterday--one that I have to say caught me by surprise, and very little surprises me anymore.

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin (whatever that may be--we'll just leave it alone for the moment) has accomplished a noteworthy feat. Six of the eight elected members have been "de-acknowledged" by not just one, but two Primates of the Anglican Communion. How did they manage such an accomplishment?

On January 19, Bishop Schofield pronounced all four clergy members and two of the lay members of the committee unqualified to serve, since they were not able to indicate a settled mind in affirmation of either the advisability or the legality of the decision the diocesan convention took last December 8 to secede from the Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Now, exactly one week later, all eight members (including the two who were still standing when the dust settled on the 19th), have received, by overnight mail sent to their home addresses, a message from the Presiding Bishop informing them that she does not acknowledge them as the legitimate members of the San Joaquin Standing Committee. Talk about a one-two punch.

The Presiding Bishop is mistaken on several counts.

First, she bases her action on a putative "unanimous vote" of the Standing Committee in support of the path on which Bishop Schofield has led the diocese. (It "has come to my attention...") No such vote has ever taken place. They haven't voted for it. They haven't voted against it. They simply haven't voted. The question has never come up in the course of the committee ordinary performance of its duties. Neither has the Standing Committee "attempted to organize" as a committee of a diocese of the Province of the Southern Cone (the other major count in her indictment against them). Quite the contrary, I would not be surprised if it were revealed that the committee has, in fact, acted according to its obligations under the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church by consenting to an episcopal election or two, and done so after the diocesan convention vote in December. That would constitute a "fact on the ground" that would make it difficult to make a charge of breaching fiduciary duty stick. (And let me add that how any member of the committee personally voted, or did not vote, at the December convention is of no consequence. See Executive Council member Mark Harris' lucid analysis of this question here.)

Second, she has no canonical authority to unilaterally and summarily pronounce elected members of a diocese's Standing Committee excluded from office. Even if she were able to substantiate her accusations that they have breached their canonical fiduciary responsibility (which she cannot), there is still such a thing as due process, using Title IV of TEC's canons. And she does not have the canonical authority to initiate such proceedings; it would have to be done by laity and clergy within the diocese. (For the record, and once again, six of the members were elected at prior conventions. Two of them were elected in December, but the election took place before the vote to secede and re-affiliate.)

Third, the Presiding Bishop has bungled a major opportunity for advancing her narrative on the whole San Joaquin mess, which is that the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin continues in existence, with a bishop currently under inhibition and shortly to be deposed--i.e. that no corporate removal to the Southern Cone has taken place, only individual defections. It's difficult to get a lot of traction for this story when all that remain are those few who have been the (loyal, for the most part) opposition in the diocese for years and years. But then she was presented with an opportunity to woo and recover some of the most senior clergy of the diocese--long-tenured, experienced, leading substantial parishes. One would think she would have pounced on this as a veritable godsend. She could have come off as Katharine the Reconciler, the one who is truly interested in inclusion.

But no. She snubbed it.

This is a monumental gaffe on her part. Unless, that is, she isn't really interested in inclusion or reconciliation, but only ideological victory for her side, in which case a scorched earth "take no prisoners" policy is the way to go.

The rapid disintegration of due process in "this Church" should be worrisome to those of every ideological and theological stripe. More on that later.

46 comments:

Randy Muller said...

I doubt the PB of ECUSA -- or Southern Cone -- can intervene in any legal way in San Joaquin. I think that the canons, constitution and bylaws are determinative.

ruidh said...

Could there have been a vote in the Standing Committee prior to the Diocesan Convention. Perhaps one to present the issue to the convention or to recommend a particular vote?

Anonymous said...

Randy, Yes thank you..the Canons & Constitution of the Episcopal church, Diocese of San Joaquin, or Southern Cone allow the bishop or Presiding bishop to remove duly elected members of any standing Committee.

Ruidh, even 'if' there was a vote in the SC prior to convention, the requirements of following a democratic voting process would require the question to come before the convention regardless of any want/will of the Standing Committee.

To follow the PB's logic that the standing committee is guilty of the acts of convention, would make everybody who voted in the last presidential election guilty of waterboarding & torture.

There is nothing in canons that gives the PB [or anyone else] the sole prerogative of declaring anyone In/out of an elected position. We used to be a church of laws & protection...now we seem to be a church under the latest "understanding" [read here whim] of the PB, without evidence, without proof, without trial, just her "understanding" & pronouncement. Wow, some of us are more equal than others...

Dan Martins said...

ruidh, there was no such vote. Of that I am confident. No...of that I am certain. The proposal to secede and re-affiliate was prepared by the Bishop and his staff. The Standing Committee--the majority of which was eager to weigh in on the side of caution--was very much out of the loop the entire time. The PB is flat out wrong in what she asserts. Frankly, she owes them an apology.

Anonymous said...

ouch, I goofed. I said "the Canons & Constitution of the Episcopal church, Diocese of San Joaquin, or Southern Cone allow the bishop or Presiding bishop to remove duly elected members of any standing Committee."

I left out the "do NOT". OK I goofed. there is no canon that allows the PB to declare, without trial and conviction, anyone as removed from elected office.

Sorry..brain faster than fingers, drops words.

Anonymous said...

I think the next-to-last paragraph in your post about sums it up. Sadly, yesterday's radicals have become today's reactionaries, eager to use power in whatever way possible to stamp out opposition and enforce an (un)orthodoxy. With power tends to come complacency about its use. Hopefully, this current age will fast-track itself, but I wonder if it can do so fast enough?!

Hursley

Non clamor sed amor psallit in aure Dei

Anonymous said...

Fr Dan, you left out the part of the PB left wide open that these members could be elected again at the convention that will take place imminently after the Bishop is deposed if he chooses not to recant. The stipulation of course, is that they will vow again to uphold their vows to TEC. Is that too much to ask? I think not. There was plenty of opportunity for reconciliation on both sides of this issue this week, Cn Bob Moore was here for pastoral care and made himself available to all. Not one of these indiviuals took him up on it. Don't you think if you were still on the fence and had concerns/issues you might want to discuss it? The issue is, that at some point these folks have to step off the curb. They are either heading South or they aren't. They are either going to be open and honest and encourage true discernment with their parishioners or not. I am continually amazed at that rhetoric on both sides and now all of a sudden everyone seems to feel competent to interpret Canonical law and Canons, when the probability of these bloggers knowing what they even were two years ago is probably nil. I for one will continue to pray for all, reach out to those who have left the church for multiple reasons, whether it theological differences or an inability to support a Bishop who doesn't act like one pastorally.

James W. said...

Anon at 9:56 - many commentators on the blogs are lawyers or legally trained. We have been trained to examine statutes and interpret them. Its our job. Sometimes statutes are ambiguous. Sometimes they are not. In this case, there is not a shred of ambiguity. There is simply no canonical authority for what the PB did.

I am increasingly of the mind that KJS knows full well that she has no canonical authority to fire the SC and that is why she worded her letter in the way she did. She is hoping that nobody will question her and that the SC will simply stand down. I suggested over on TitusOneNine that the six members of the SC who were not able to join the Province of the Southern Cone respond to the PB as follows:

"We have received your letter dated January 26 in which you state that you do not recognize us as the Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin. We find this to be very unfortunate. As you are undoubtedly well aware, however, it is the canons of TEC and the DSJ which determine the membership of the SC and not the personal opinion of the PB.

We further regret that you have not bothered to fully inform yourself of our actions surrounding the recent division within the DSJ. Of the eight original members elected, two have chosen to reaffiliate with the Province of the Southern Cone. Six of us have chosen not to. Accordingly, we remain the canonically elected SC of the DSJ and will remain so until we are removed from office according to the constitution and canons of TEC."

I further believe that the SC and perhaps some conservative legal eagles should carefully examine both KJS's and Bonnie Anderson's activities in the DSJ over the last two months with a careful eye to seeing which, if any, canons were violated with their interference. If any canonical violations were found, presentments should be prepared.

FWIW, it looks to me (with some help from Mark McCall over at T19)like KJS's plan was either of the following:

1) She promised that the Remain Episcopal crowd would "get" the new DSJ once Schofield left. When she read Dan's blog post last week, she freaked out and concocted this scheme; or

2) She is simply trying to force the rest of the conservatives out of the diocese to the Southern Cone so that she can then declare the DSJ no longer viable and fold the remnant into either El Camino Real or Northern California and so help prop up one or both of those financially failing dioceses.

Matthew said...

I've made this point elsewhere, but it bears repeating.

I am an attorney (State Bar of Georgia), I have read the canons and constitution of both the Diocese of San Joaquin and the Episcopal Church. I do not believe that the the Presiding Bishop has the authority to remove the Standing Committee.

There are two points that remain. First and most importantly, I do not believe that anyone with standing will object to this. The members of the Standing Committee who are joining or who have joined the Province of the Southern Cone simply do not care. If any are remaining episcopal, their priority will be to see that their membership does not change. If any of them do object, their recourse is to petition the General Convention, and I strongly suspect that the GC will back the Presiding Bishop on this one.

Second point, the Presiding Bishop can argue that she did not dismiss the Standing Committee, she simply does not recognize them as such. It's a quibble, but there you are.

So the upshot is that the Presiding Bishop did act extra-canonically, but there really isn't a remedy for it. I find this a troubling precedent, but one I hope will not re-occur.

Paul (A.) said...

You and others refer to the constitution and canons of the Diocese of San Joaquin as being determinative on various issues. Unlike most dioceses, however, DSJ has not posted these documents on its website. Assuming you still have a copy, would you be willing to post them (or at least the pre-December version) in full?

Fr Dan Martins said...

Paul (A):
I have the pre-2007 canons, but they are on my laptop, which is in the shop at present! Plus...I lack the technological savvy to make such a long document available on the internet. However, I might be able to cull and post the relevant portions on this blog. Pray for my laptop!

To Anon @ 9:56: The PB's "open door" remark is patronizing and meaningless. The part about re-affirming loyalty is particularly insulting. She is using it as a fig leaf to cover her brazen attempt to muscle her way past the canons. Moreover, my sense is that "conservative remainers" in SJ simply do not trust Canon Moore. They need a more honest broker. Plus, none of us are fully aware of what "back channel" attempts at communication between the concerned parties have or have not been made, so we should avoid leaping to conclusions.

Anonymous said...

My apologies to any "legal experts" out there, no one had identified themselves as such.So one is led to believe that these are simply passionate indiviuals on either side of the issue.
I generally don't choose to blog, just read, however, there are instanstances that I just feel the need to at least put out a different perspective, Fr Dan, you know who I am, I was at the convention in December, a lay delegate. The issue of abstention from voting was brought up for clarification. The answer was that an abstention would be considered a "yes" vote. So if the very few members(perhaps a handful including as stated one of the SC members), they were well aware. If the SC still considered themselves to be the ecclesiastic authority in the Diocese due to the inhibition of the Bishop, why did they not step up to the plate, declare that and reach out to those of us that have felt disenfranchised for so long? This would have been their opportunity to show true leadership. It doesn't really matter what people feel the "agenda" might be of Remain Episcopal", they were the only ones there for us who wanted to work towards reconciliation. The SC could have and should have participated and perhaps the olive branch would have been extended both ways. Trust is the biggest issue at hand in the San Joaquin Valley, Listening and reading and talking with folks, most of the polarizing issues can be mananged but there is inherent distrust on both sides perhaps the main reason new leadership is needed. This Bishop has manipulated parishoners and clergy for so long we forgot that we, the lay people TOGETHER with our rectors are the body of Christ. Everyone one of us forgot our roles and responsibilities in this mess. Time to come clean and move on. If the SC members truly want to lead and take their role seriously, this is the time for them to reach out to all. I for one would be ever so grateful.

Fr Dan Martins said...

Anon at 7:11 AM: I agree that there is a lot of distrust between "remaining conservatives" and Remain Episcopal. I am glad to hear you say that you think that distrust might be overcome with some effort on both sides. I certainly hope so. I hope the "remaining" Standing Committee members will decide to politely tell the Presiding Bishop, "Thank-you for your concern, but in the polity of the Episcopal Church, we are the Ecclesiastical Authority. We will abide by canon law and oversee the recovery of the (Episcopal) Diocese of San Joaquin according to those canons."

This might be a good time for me to add that I am aware that I am perceived by some as having demonized Remain Episcopal. I apologize for my part in creating that perception. We're all walking a lot of fine lines these days, and it's easy to slip one way or the other. I know many people in R.E. and like to think of some of them as friends. My ultimate intent in all I have written is to make crystal clear that the landscape in SJ is more complex than two parties: the "Coneheads" who have always been in favor of secession and Remain Episcopal, which, as a formal organization, includes those who have been at odds with Bishop Schofield practically since he was consecrated in 1988. I've been trying to help outsiders "see" those who have been largely invisible--i.e. those who have been generally supportive of the Bishop's positions, but who cannot in good conscience follow him south. In doing so, I have felt it necessary to draw my distinctions with exaggerated sharpness, and that has come off as hostility toward Remain Episcopal at a level well beyond my actual feelings.

Anonymous said...

RE: "There was plenty of opportunity for reconciliation on both sides of this issue this week, Cn Bob Moore was here for pastoral care and made himself available to all. Not one of these indiviuals took him up on it."

LOL. The PB-Appointed revisionist priest was available for "pastoral care" and "reconciliation"???

I'm just shocked, shocked, shocked that the traditionalists who have "remained Episcopal" didn't take him up on it. ; > )

Sarah

Josh Indiana said...

Matthew is right; the Presiding Bishop didn't remove anyone, didn't violate any canons or the Constitution. She said, "I do not recognize you."

She then added generous words about how this confusion might be resolved, with a reaffirmation of loyalty to the Episcopal Church.

The rebellion doesn't seem to be going too well right now.

Anonymous said...

dear Anonymous of 7:11
I too was at the convention and heard it clearly stated [as is the case at General Convention] that anything that is not a YES vote becomes a No vote. Not the other way round. If there are 100 delegates, you need 51 to say yes for it to pass. It doesn't matter what the other 49 say.

In addition at what point are the individuals who participate in the legislative process personally libel for the corporate acts of convention? Taking your position, one could apply that to the last presidential election and find millions of voters guilty of waterboarding & torture. And that just doesn't make any sense...there or here.

All Fr. Dan is saying is the PB blew an opportunity at reconciliation probably out of fear & in counsel with her lawyer. It shows she does not want to work with conservatives in the Diocese of San Joaquin and fears the duly elected Standing Committee. It is unfortunate.

Anonymous said...

This move by the PB perhaps happened too quickly, but you are correct that the level of trust is now at an all time low. Any the SC, especially the clergy, could have met with Canon Moore or come to meetings including Hanford, to declare their willingness to also be actors for reconciliation and healing, but did not. This SC problem would have hung over the Diocese as the latest problem to try to understand; instead, it is done and she DID leave open the door for them to serve again, which we hope they will prayerfully consider.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that the 2006 SJ Convention mandated:

“The Bishop, Council and Standing Committee to assess the means of our affiliation with a recognized Ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion and bring to the 48th Convention of this diocese a detailed plan for the preservation of our relationship with the Anglican Communion”

The SC, along with the bishop and Diocesan Council, appointed a sub-committee to do just that in preparation for the 2007 convention. Did any of the SC object or resign over the blatant organising of a plan to 'remove' the diocese of SJ from TEC? If they aided this process either by active agreement or by silence then they can be said to have failed in their fiduciary duty to uphold the Canons and Constitution of the Episcopal Church.

Fr Dan Martins said...

Anon at 9:36--You are correct about the 2006 resolution and you are correct about the appointment of a sub-committee, with members of SC and Council selected to meet along with the Bishop and develop a plan. Please note, however, the language of the resolution: It was to develop a plan to ensure the diocese's relationship to the See of Canterbury. It was not a foregone conclusion--at least among those who developed the resolution (I was one of them)--that the plan would involve secession from TEC. But that is really moot, because the sub-committee was not formed until June (and at that time we were still looking at an October convention). It was the Standing Committee (I was a member then) that exerted the energy to move forward with the committee's formation. It was, however, too little too late. But in any case, the eventual plan to go the southern route was developed not by the convention-mandated subcommittee (and therefore even less so by the Standing Committee), but solely by the Bishop and his staff (including the chancellors). Without revealing details that may still be considered confidential, I can say that members of the Standing Committee voiced considerable misgivings on numerous occasions about how it was all playing out.

Anonymous said...

"I can say that members of the Standing Committee voiced considerable misgivings on numerous occasions about how it was all playing out."

Publicly? Prior to the 2007 Convention? At any point during the 2007 Convention? To have had respected senior members of the Standing Committee publicly dissociate themselves from what they saw evolving, and to advise against it, prior to and during the convention might have a profound effect on what played out. The impression being given now is one of cold feet after the event.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Sorry Dan, I respect you and all that you have disclosed---thank you! But to those of us in the pews, reading the Star, etc. this has always been seen as an action of the Diocese and the Standing Committee and Bishop leading the way. In was only from individuals and some parishes that there was questioning---lever from the Standing Committee publicly. If they were 'afraid' to voice their concerns, then this, again was an 'unhealty' situation. Perhaps they were acting out of fear, rather than acting in the best interest of the diocese and it's members. We now want a situation WITHOUT the fear, to act as truly elected officials who will act accordingly, not silently on the sidelines, in fear from above.

Anonymous said...

Serious question, given the history of San Joachin regarding WO, does the remnant standing committee recognize the PB as a legitimate priest, bishop & PB?

Anonymous said...

If, as Fr Dan asserts, neither the Convention-mandated Sub-Committee nor the Standing Committee played any part in devising the Southern Cone plan (and indeed certain members even expressed misgivings) then surely +Schofield can, at the very least, be accused of seriously misleading the diocese in his Pastoral Letter read in all churches on Nov. 25th 2007 -
http://tinyurl.com/2uy5ev

Referring to the 2006 Covention mandate:

“The Bishop, Council and Standing Committee to assess the means of our affiliation with a recognized Ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion and bring to the 48th Convention of this diocese a detailed plan for the preservation of our relationship with the Anglican Communion”

+Schofield wrote:

"The members of both Standing Committee and Diocesan Council appointed a sub-committee to accomplish this task which they have done. The Diocese’s place in the Anglican Communion and full communion with the See of Canterbury has been assured through an invitation extended by the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone which is offering the Diocese membership..."

This clearly implies that the Southern Cone plan was a product of the Sub-Committee, and that they (and by implication the Standing Committee) were in full agreement with it. It appears this may not have been the case.

Paul K said...

Fr. Dan..

While you're looking at the Canons, another question I have is the status of the Corporation Sole. In the canons of our diocese it is spelled out that it's name shall be the "Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in ____."

Was a change made in the canons and/or in the name filed with the Secretary of State?

This could be another source of messiness.

Anonymous said...

Dan,

Your assertion that the bishop and staff worked without the Standing Committee at all on this, and violated the mandate from the previous convention directly contradicts the testimony from the committee rep. himself who testified at convention. I know that rep. personally, who was on the SC at the time, and while some of your friends voted against the plan when presented to the SC, it was approved. I do not appreciate the insinuation that our bishop and staff are a bunch of liars.

Further, once the convention took its vote, the entire diocese ceased to be part of TEC, including all governing boards. If the SC presumed to act as a TEC SC after the separation from TEC took place, that would support the claim TEC asserts that the diocese never really left, making their claims on our property, bishop and ministries valid. Thank God this did not happen.

I really hope you might let go of all this second guessing because it only serves to divide the faithful in our diocese at a time when we need to stick together as the assault from Remain Episcopal and TEC ensues.

Blessings,
Fr. Wes

Anonymous said...

Dan,
On a more conciliar note, I commend you on your insight that KJS shot herself in the foot by declaring not to recognize any longer our SC. That helps our case, and yes, she once again assumes authority not established in TEC C&C, much like her presumed "fiduciary responsibility" she invokes when suing for our properties. Hopefully the courts will recognize that this is abusive when the time comes.

P.S. I hope you are still enjoying the snow! :)

Your brother in ministry,
Wes

Anonymous said...

Fr Wes.. "suing for OUR properties"?? Just exactly the arrogance expected of those that flew South. I suppose you don't understand that all gifts are given in the name of the Lord and for the Glory of God? What makes you think they belong to you or The Bishop? The gifts of property and such were given by faithful Episcopalians for the glory of God and future Episcopal generations in San Joaquin. I can assure you, the intent was not to bequeath them to a particular person or to a province in South America! Not sure how long you have been in this Diocese and if you are the Fr Wes who spoke at Convention, you have not been here long. I would never go so far as to call the Bishop a liar, nor the SC members. I will say I think the vote was in haste, I said it at covention and I will say it now. Due diligence was not achieved in many aspects, including clergy pensions and multiple other questions and consistently we were told it would be worked out. Blind faith maybe?? The truth is it never was worked out, and Diocesan officials, Gandenberg, Schofield et al, were less than honest, just as they have been for many many years. You just haven't been here long enough to experience all the damage this bishop has caused.

Cajetan said...

Did I miss something? Have the six orphaned Standing Committee members said that they are remaining in TEC, as some of the above comments state or imply?

Anonymous said...

Fr Wes: "Your assertion that the bishop and staff worked without the Standing Committee at all on this, and violated the mandate from the previous convention directly contradicts the testimony from the committee rep. himself who testified at convention...and while some of your friends voted against the plan when presented to the SC, it was approved."

The mandate from the 2006 Convention was to the bishop AND the Diocesan Council AND the Standing Committee - i.e. any 'detailed plan' brought to the 2007 Convention was to have been approved by all three. The work was entrusted by them to a Sub-Committee. One might ask:

- Were minutes of the Sub-Committee meetings kept?
- Where is the final report of the Sub-Committee? Is there one?
- Was this final report submitted for approval to both Diocesan Council and Standing Committee?
- If so, was it approved by both? If one was not submitted, why not?
- If there was no final report, what was submitted to Diocesan Council and Standing Committee, and on whose behalf? Was it approved?
- What do the minutes of both Diocesan Council and Standing Committee show in regards to the submission, approval and adoption of the Southern Cone plan?
- did the Sub-Committee have any input into the Southern Cone plan?
- had what was brought to the 2007 Convention received the approval (in all details) of Diocesan Council and Standing Committee, in addition to the bishop; and was it brought in the name of all three - as mandated by the 2006 Convention?

Paul (A.) said...

Fr. Dan, once you have your laptop back (prayers for its recovery) if you email the documents to me as attachments I will see about getting them posted somewhere accessible.

Anonymous said...

I have a couple of questions, one of fact, one of opinion.

There is uncertainty as to whether the Standing Committee's individual members gave tacit or active assent to the actions of 1. +Schofield attempting to secede from TEC and 2. Joining of San Joaquin to Southern Cone

A. Did an abstemtion from voting count as a "yes" vote? I audited the convention and I thought I heard a ruling from the chair that it did. Was there such a ruling? If so, did +JDS have the right to make it and was it audible to all present?
I realize taking
this apart might mean whose rules of order were in effect and at what point?

B. By refusing to acknowledge the Standing Committee, does +KJS put it, and everyone else, on notice that TEC will not accept liability for any of its members acts, especially financial acts. As +Schofield has removed the committee, should they act in any way that incurred a liability, they would not be protected or indemnified by +Schofield? Has +Schori warned tbem that that is also the case with TEC? EmilyH

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

While you might refrain from using the term "liar" your rhetoric speaks for itself.

As to the plan, to my knowledge it was presented and approved by all three bodies, which is irrelevant given the overwhelming support for the plan manifest at the convention. I smell sour grapes because it wasn't YOUR plan.

Just because certain friends were not the architects of the plan does not mean "due diligence" was not followed. That these friends assert as much does not make it true.

The "damage" done by our bishop is manifest in the overwhelming unity demonstrated when the vote was taken in December.

As to timing on the vote, waiting even one year could derail the work for multiple dioceses considering the same action, giving time for TEC to make such action clearly illegal. Time is on TEC's side.

As to minutes, etc., I believe you know who was on the subcommittee, but your lack of contact with any of those friends, let alone a visit with Bill or Van betrays your bias.

I am sorry for your assumption that Diocesan Council and others in leadership could care less about these who may lose some pension benefits. There remains a way and the will to help these friends if necessary. For my part, I don't want TEC matching funds any more than I want money from the Church of Scientology, bleah! It may be a significant sacrifice, but the cost of staying in TEC is too high to get such money if that proves necessary. On the other hand, money our churches contributed on our behalf is protected by law.

My concern around all this second guessing stands. Perhaps someday I may achieve the profound humility you possess. In the meantime I remain,

Your ignorant, uninformed, inexperienced and arrogant friend,
Wes

JamesW. said...

Whoever it was who made the comments that people built and gave to their parishes to continue an "Episcopal" presence is one of the reasons I have stopped giving a dime to my local TEC parish. I do not give to prop up a bunch of left-wing readicals in New York, and since that is what the TEC authorities claim I do if I give to my local TEC parish, I have ceased giving.

This attempt at reverse crystal-ball gazing is ridiculous. People in the past gave to the Episcopal Church with the belief that TEC would be responsible fiduciary guardians of the Christian faith.

TEC has not been a responsible guardian of that faith. So, if you really come down to it, that money should be returned to whoever's estate it came out of and passed down the line. That isn't possible, so the next best result is to divide the money according to neutral principles of law - which is to say, look at the legal title. Don't make the courts enforce non-legal church law or doctrine, but look to see whose name is on the title.

One Day Closer said...

Anonymous of 9:06
RE: "If there are 100 delegates, you need 51 to say yes for it to pass. It doesn't matter what the other 49 say."

This comment of yours would apply to National, State & Local voting as well! I didn't want PB Schori in the office of PB, I didn't want Bill Clinton as Pres. along with thousands of others. So what of my voice and vote and all he others that agree with me that are less than the majority....what about us?
Your comment really bares no merit! If the shoe wa on the other foot the comment would be the same....please!

Anonymous said...

And there it is.. money and property. This thread began with dialogue surrounding the SC and there current predicament, however one perceives it and out comes the real issue at hand. Instead of looking at ways to reconcile, it comes down to who's gonna get the prize. How sad. Interesting when I spoke to "damage" I was referring to spiritual damage,not fiscal. but if you want to go down that road, here are my thoughts on that.
1. DSJ has not paid any "asking" to TEC in at least 3 years, but still have a voice if they so choose to participate, unlike parishes within the Diocese, if they don't have the assesments they have no voice at all.
2. I often think why DSJ first instead of Pittsburgh or Ft Worth? Perhaps Duncan and Iker didn't want to go first so they could see how this mess was going to be played out before they got deeper into it. Would the Southern Cone want a "mission Diocese" if they had to support it financially? Will they still "Welcome Home" after nothing is left after the lawyer fees are paid?
And lastly to James W.:
I know first hand of a parish that was behind in assesments, were threatened with closure if they didn't come up with the money for the Diocese, parishioners did, including going into their 401K's, second mortgages on their homes, and one week later the doors were locked. Everything was taken out,processional crosses,vestments all given to the glory of God in the name of families, but the worst is the ashes of loved ones in the columbarium, that the folks are told are in storage somewhere. That is spiritual abuse in the most concrete sense. And yes, they can be returned to the parishioners not their estates, albeit they may be in their late 80's or 90's. God help us all.Shame on all of us for allowing this to occur. The time has come for folks to come together and work this out, by the grace of God we have been given the opportunity to praise whats most important I sometimes wonder it isn't so much WWJD, but can't even imagine what he's thinking. We call ourselves Christians, actually I think it should be a verb instead of a noun, we need to behave and act like Christians.

Marshall said...

Canon 1.17.8 of the Episcopal Church states with the heading of "Fiduciary responsibility:"

Sec. 8. Any person accepting any office in this Church shall well and faithfully perform the duties of that office in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of this Church and of the Diocese in which the office is being exercised.

Now, I'm not an attorney. At the same time, this suggests to me that the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin has comparable accountability for compliance with and maintaining the integrity of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church as does the bishop they advise or, as Ecclesiastical Authority, represent. So, for the elected Standing Committee to have continued, and for elected members to have continued on the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin an affirmative statement would seem appropriate. Since she chairs the Executive Council, the representatives of General Convention between meetings, she might arguably be the person to make that point, and to hear the affirmations.

Dan Martins said...

Has anyone noticed that Canon I.17, which the PB cited in her letter, is titled "Of Regulations Respecting the Laity"? Not that the clerical members of the Standing Committee don't have a generic fiduciary obligation, but this is the wrong canon to cite in their case.

One Day Closer said...

anonymous or 10:40
Just curious? Why did the laity wait until the 12th hour to get the funds to pay their assesments? It seems to me that if a congregation wanted to stay inside their building and be functional they would have pulld out all the stops way before the last minute. Every church in every diocese has to pay assesments and they know this. They also know when they are behind and most congregations get savvy as to how to get the funds to pay the assesments and if they can't they know the cost of not getting them paid. It's kinda like your home, if you don't make your payments it gets repossesed no matter how much money you have put into it for improvements and up keep.
The key is giving, growth, evangelizing and paying the assesments.

Anonymous said...

Dear One Day Closer,
Unfortunately, many laity do not take it upon themselves to look at Vestry minutes (if even published)don't understand they have the right to ask questions whether it be budget or anything else. They trusted the Rector,Vestry and Diocesan Officials. Yes indeed, a very big mistake. So the parishioners were notifed at the 12th hour, hence the last minute to pull it out. What they did not expect was that the Diocese had gone back on its word as far as closure. But I have to admit, for the building to be locked up and sold in that short amount of time, one would have to assume, it was already in escrow. Many lessons learned here, first be involved and know whats going on, question, question and question again.Is there any wonder why trust is at an all time low in the DSJ?

One Day Closer said...

Anonymous 5:13
I was there and involved for both days from very beginning to the very end! What you are saying is completely untrue. I beleive that Fr. Wes has stated it perfectly up the thread of comments. I encourage you to read it and understand.

Anonymous said...

One Day Closer, I too, was there for two days, as well as the Deanery meetings leading up to convention.I stand by what I say.We will leave it at that.

Randy Muller said...

Regarding voting, abstentions and majorities:

I'm not a parliamentarian, I'm not from San Joaquin, and I wasn't at the convention, but I did review some of the relevant sections of Robert's Rules of Order, because I thought the idea that an abstention is a "no" vote was quite interesting and quite wrong.

In a body following Robert's Rules of Order, there are two principles which are followed, unless the rules are changed:

1. A majority vote, that is a majority of the votes cast, ignoring blanks, is sufficient for the adoption of any motion that is in order (except for motions which require 2/3rds or some other specified majority by some rule change).

2. Abstention is a vote FOR the prevailing side (yes or no).

So, if the convention was following RRO and the rules were not changed, it is not true that an abstention is a "No" vote.

For example, unless the rules are changed, if there are 100 delegates present, and 55 don't vote on a particular question, and 25 vote yes and 20 vote no, the motion will carry, simply because more people voted yes than voted no.

In my opinion, an abstention is an unprincipled vote. It is a "vote" to agree with the majority, whatever it is. An abstention is not a protest, and it is not a "no" vote.

If someone disagrees with a motion, they should vote "no".

Jon said...

One Day Closer, that's not how being behind in one's assessment works in my diocese. In my diocese not paying assessment only means that the parish isn't given a vote at diocesan convention unless the convention chooses to give them that vote. It would probably be different if the congregation was behind on the mortgage payments on their building or something like that, but if the only problem is that the diocese isn't making any money off the parish it seems like it would make more sense to either have them as some sort of aided congregation or, if the diocese can't afford to give that sort of support, to leave them to get by as best they can on their own and perhaps give them no vote in dioceesan matters, especially on financial matters.

On the SC: If a member of a SC leaves the diocese and neglects to formally resign their post who declares the seat empty and starts the process of getting a replacement, and by what authority would they be acting? How would the scenario change if the entire SC left the diocese at around the same time by some unlucky coincidence? Would having a bishop at the time make a difference? With a little imagination I think one ought to be able to see why these questions could be significant in the case of the Diocese of San Joaquin.

Jon

Paul (A.) said...

Responding to Randy Muller, an abstention is not a vote for or against anything. It may have the effect of "voting along with the prevailing vote" but it is not in itself a vote. And it is proper when asked to vote on a matter in which one may have a personal interest, where it would be unethical to vote in favor of your own interest and contrary to your interest to vote against.

In short, it is indeed a non-vote that lets other people decide the issue. And by abstaining you have thus acquiesced in the result, whether the matter in question is voted in or voted down.

Dan Martins said...

Paul (A): Please send me your email address and I will send you a copy of DSJ canons.

Anonymous said...

Oh my:
http://sanjoaquin.wordpress.com/2008/02/01/from-the-standing-committee-of-the-diocese-of-san-joaquin/

They're not dead yet!!!

Peace,
-miserable sinner