Sunday, January 20, 2008

Update...

...on the immediate previous post.

I realize it was a bit of a bombshell. There have been suggestions that the veracity of my report may be questionable. I quite understand. Were I not the one in personal contact with those who have firsthand knowledge of what transpired yesterday in Fresno, I might be equally skeptical.

Because of the sensitivity of this whole situation, I have refrained from supplying names to go with my information. However, I have now received permission to do so from a couple of the involved individuals, and am working on obtaining more such consents.

I've already quoted from the Revd James Snell, Standing Committee president (not of the Southern Cone San Joaquin Standing Committee, but of the canonically-elected TEC San Joaquin Standing Committee). Father Snell is the Rector of the parish of St Columba, Fresno. (BTW, as I understand the policy of the Province of the Southern Cone, its primate is styled a Presiding Bishop, not an Archbishop. I stand ready to be corrected if I am wrong.) Neither the message from Fr Snell nor that from Bishop Schofield has been edited or abridged by me.

I can also now share this from the Revd Michael McClenaghan, Rector of St Paul's in Modesto, and one of the other clerical members of the Standing Committee:

Just a quick clarification regarding the changes that took place with the Standing Committee this morning.

Bishop Schofield informed the Standing Committee that members must be composed of clergy and lay members who have openly declared that they are members of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. His letter following the meeting states: "The Standing Committee, which is my council of advice, must be composed of clergy members who are Anglican priests of the Southern Cone. This is required by Diocesan Canons and the Archbishop of the Southern Cone of South America."

We were told that this standard for serving on the Standing Committee applied to both clergy and lay members, not just clergy, and the clear message was that any members of the Standing Committee who were in discernment regarding their affiliation with the Province of the Southern Cone or The Episcopal Church, or anyone who had made a decison to remain in The Episcopal Church was disqualified from serving on the Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin. No resignations were made by any members of the Standing Committee, either verbally or in writing. Rather, the majority of the Standing Committee members were removed by the Bishop, including all four of the elected clergy members, one lay member, and possibly another lay member who was not able to attend the meeting. There was no misunderstanding about the process of removal during the meeting and the action of the Bishop was recorded in the minutes of the meeting by the Secretary, Ted Yumoto.

I bear no malice toward Bishop Schofield. We have enjoyed Christian fellowship through the years and I expect that will continue in the future. Had he requested a resignation from me I would have offered it to him. That is not, however, what transpired this morning, and I thought it was appropriate to set the record straight.

14 comments:

Ann said...

Can you clarify this - they voted to go to the Southern Cone at convention but now want out of that deal? or are they still deciding - it seems like their vote speaks of where they stand re: TEC.

Dan Martins said...

Ann, there is no public record of how anyone voted, and no one who was not at the convention can know for sure unless they recognized somebody on Anglican TV. I did see one lay member of the Standing Committee in the Aye line--he is one of the two whom the Bishop did not discharge. I know of one abstention--this from the person himself. Beyond that, I don't even know anything second-hand. Also, it is important to bear in mind that there are two votes involved here, and they don't mean the same thing. One (the one about which I have partial knowledge as to who voted how) was on the second reading of the constitutional change. As I pointed out in an upstream post ("San Joaquin On Deck"), this alone is not a "smoking gun." The second vote was on affiliation with the Province of the Southern Cone. I don't know this to be a fact, but it could plausibly be that someone voted Aye on the first question and Nay (or abstained) on the second.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Ann, the removal of these people is that they are in a period of discernment [freely offered by the Bishop]. some of that discernment is the constitutionality of the conventions decision in December. In other words can convention do what they said they did and is it legal. It has nothing to do with who voted which way, but rather the effect of the vote.

From Dan's description it appears these 6 people are firmly conservative, even poster boys for the cause. It doesn't appear they have rejected the Bishop in any way, but rather are looking at a wider and legitimate question of 'where is the Diocese'? Currently in the Anglican world..there are two distinct camps; the diocese is in the southern Cone OR the diocese is in TEC. Not both. It seems if one is trying to determine [discern] the legality of the convention's vote, one is unqualified to serve in leadership according to the Bishop.

Anonymous said...

A bishop can not, on his/her own, dismiss a member of a diocesan synod-elected committee.

The standing committee happens to be one of those.

Schofield freaked out and decided to push the engines, but now he's gone way, way too far. And the engines are breaking down.

Note to ultra-cons: all of this, coming from a puppet to the -british- presiding bishop of the southern cone. Wait until the global south most vocal and irrational voices start coming up with ideas similar to this one, with whichever of their many franchises among the ultracons in either Canada or the US they may choose to gamble with.

Should be fun to watch.

Emily said...

I did recall that there +Schofield’s letter of November that he required to be read from the pulpit on two successive Sundays did have 2 very relevant statements: 1 regarding the diocese’s relationship to the see of Canterbury after joining Southern Cone and 2. A statement about the diocese would maintain its canons. Here is the link and relevant quotation. Quite possibly +Schofield was either ill-informed, especially as regarding #2 or misleading. Clearly, the independence that +Schofeld implies is not the case and +Venables expects San Joaquin to be fully compliant with its polity? http://www.remainepiscopal.org/files/Documents/PastoralLetter18Nov2007.pdf
"Should the second reading of the Constitutional changes receive the necessary
two thirds of each order voting affirmatively next month, this will mean that the Diocese
is free to accept the invitation of the Province of the Southern Cone. This enables us:
1) to receive the protection contemplated by the Primates in Dar Es Salaam that was
originally agreed to by the Presiding bishop, but later rejected by the House of Bishops of
The Episcopal Church; 2) to remain a diocese with full membership within the Anglican
communion where the orders of our clergy are recognized; and, 3) to assure that we
remain within the Anglican Communion through a Province in full communion with the
See of Canterbury. According to well-informed sources, the Archbishop of Canterbury
has been fully informed of the invitation of the Province of the Southern Cone and
described it as a “sensible way forward.”
Indeed, it is the sensible way forward and a
decision by the Diocese to move in this direction is by no means irrevocable as was seen
during the 1860’s when the Dioceses of the Southern States left the Episcopal Church
and at the conclusion of the Civil War returned to the Episcopal Church without punitive
action. As the Southern Cone invitation makes clear, the Diocese may return to full
communion with the Episcopal Church when circumstances change and the Episcopal
Church repents and adheres to the theological, moral and pastoral norms of the Anglican
Communion, and when effective and acceptable alternative primatial oversight becomes
available.
Membership in the Southern Cone will not adversely or significantly impact our rules of governance. Similar to the Dioceses of Argentina, Northern Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, and Bolivia who each maintain their own Constitutions and Diocesan Canon Laws in separate nations, our Canon Law and the requirements we have that are unique to being citizens of the United States of America will be fully honored."
Emily H

Josh Indiana said...

I watched a bit of the Anglican TV coverage. It made me very sad. Bishop Schofield addressed all his favored clergy as "Father" and the clergy he doesn't like as "Mister."

And every floor speech began, "Right Reverend Sir," as if a diocesan convention in its entirety consists of the bishop as an individual.

This is clericalism at its worst. It is mean, vile, vindictive, destructive of everyone in its path. The laypeople of San Joaquin need to stop deferring to the man in the $6 plastic collar and start reclaiming their own power, because they collectively are the "instruments of unity."

When you deify a priest, San Joaquin is what you get: a church destroyed.

I'll be watching to see this doesn't happen in Northern Indiana.

Anonymous said...

Josh,
It may seem to the uninformed that addressing comments from the floor of convention smacks of clericalism but according to Roberts Rules, all comments in a meeting governed by those rules are addressed to the Chair of convention. The Bishop in most dioceses IS the chair [doesn't have to be..but usually is]. So what you saw happening on TV was a respectful application of the generally accepted practice of Robert's Rules and not just a local process to promote clericalism.

Dan Martins said...

Josh, one small point re speakers at convention beginning their remarks "Right Reverend sir": This is simply proper parliamentary etiquette, not clericalism. If you look at Robert's Rules, it says that speakers in debate address the chair, not the house. Watch Congress or the Senate on C-Span; they do the same thing.

Jim said...

I have met the bishop of Northern Indiana and several of the clergy there. I doubt the same sort of ego-manic behavior we see in California is possible there.

As to "right reverend sir" we use it in liberal Chicago. As others note, the rule governing is that all remarks are addressed to the chair. De jure in our canon and I suspect most diocese' the bishop is or delegates the chair. Of course, the speakers are free to address the chair simply as "bishop" and many do.

When as an alternate acting as a delegate (my parish considers me way to liberal to make me a delegate) I have spoken, I have favored "Right Reverend Sir." I really do not know why -- I simply like it. I have in no way considered Bp. Purcell a part of the deity -- he would smack anyone who did 'up side the head' as they say down South.

FWIW
jimB

David Austin Allen said...

From the Episcopal Cafe, it seems that His Grace, the ABC, has finally waded into the discussion and has spoken against Provincial interference;

ABC condemns interventions in other churches

Anonymous said...

As a newcomer to this situation, I really do not pretend to understand all of this.
If Schofield is identifying himself as a Southern Cone Bishop, mustn't he have a Southern Cone Standing Committee that is elected by Southern Cone parishioners? How could the former San Joaquin diocesan standing committee serve as his council? He just seems to be allying himself more and more closely with Southern Cone. Seems to me that his alliance is based quite solidly on the December diosecan vote. He and the Archbishop of the Southern Cone need to work out election procedures, one including only actual members of Southern Cone. Too bad that Saturday's meeting was not his announcing Southern Cone election procedures rather than merely inquiring who was still with him. The "unappointed" members need to be prodding him for clarification of that election procedure, not complaining about what has happened in the past couple of months. Go forward. Begin your electioneering for Southern Cone Standing Committee now. Identifying your constituency might be a good place to start. You need to know who you now are representing. That was only what Schofield did--identify his constituency before he proceeded. Who is still there? Would Southern Cone parishioners vote for you?
Works for me.

Josh Indiana said...

Then address the chairman of Convention as "Mr. Chairman." I believe that's how they do it on C-SPAN.

Not as "Mr. Right Reverend Worshipful Suckupness."

That collar costs $6, you can get it by mail order, and when you deify a priest, San Joaquin is the result: a church destroyed.

Because the Right Reverend Worshipful Suckupness cannot handle being deified; no one can. But it sure does appeal to his worshipfulness, so he can't help but encourage it—just like the Bishop of Northern Indiana.

unklephil said...

Anonymous at 9:02am:

None of this is fun to watch...

Anonymous said...

It is sad when people who live outside of San Joaquin speak such hateful things. They have not lived in our shoes. I also am saddened when they write lies, and seem to believe them. They should educate themselves on what really took place before they speak.