My vacation ends tonight, so I may as well wade back into the "conversation."
A week ago yesterday, on August 5th, a deadline passed—a deadline that, so far as I can tell, escaped the notice of the Anglican blogsphere.
On July 10th, the Right Revd Jerry Lamb, putative bishop of the putative "Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin", wrote this letter to the clergy of the diocese as it was constituted prior to December 8, 2007. It gave August 5th as the deadline for receiving responses from said clergy as to their intentions with respect to their future relationship to the Episcopal Church. Apparently it was not a precision operation. I know of at least two female deacons who were addressed as "Dear Father N." I also know of two presbyters who never received the letter.
In any case, I am given to understand that the Standing Committee of the (rogue and illicit) Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is set to meet this Friday. One might reasonably presume that their agenda includes taking notice of responses received and not received by last week's deadline. One might further presume that a goodly number of letters will be in the mail shortly informing their recipients that they have been deposed from the ordained ministry as the Episcopal Church understands ordained ministry.
What I gather from my sources in the San Joaquin Valley is that the July 10th letter—a bit of a slipshod effort by any account—is the only attempt that Bishop Lamb has made to contact the majority of the clergy in what he considers to be the continuing Diocese of San Joaquin—that is, the one spun off as a Missionary District from the Diocese of California in 1911 and received into union with General Convention as a diocese in 1960. Ah, yes, these would be the same clergy who failed to appear at what Bishop Lamb and others believe was a convention of the diocese held last March in Lodi, thus creating a prima facie case that a quorum of canonically-resident clergy in good standing of the diocese was not present, and thus rendering the acts of said convention—including the election of Bishop Lamb and the Standing Committee that meets this Friday—of no account according the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, which Bishop Lamb, as he so helpfully points out in his letter, is bound to uphold.
But we've been over all this before. It's old news. Forgive my self-indulgent ways.
Like I said … the July 10th letter is it. No emails. No phone calls. No drop-in visits (that is, except to change the locks at St Andrew's, Taft). So, when the depositions are announced, along with assurances that "every effort" (or some such) was made to contact these clergy and reconcile them to the Episcopal Church (a handful of which, I suspect, may actually have been receptive to that concept), we'll know what "every effort" (or some such) actually amounts to: A single mass-mailed form letter whose sender didn't know the recipients as anything other than abstract names on a list.
Why am I exercised about this? That's probably a complex list a reasons that would require years of Jungian analysis to ferret out. But here's one good one that just pops right up: I'm an Episcopalian, and the welfare of my church deserves a much higher quality of pastoral care, administrative oversight, and canonical fidelity than is being exercised in the central third of California.