Sunday, June 01, 2008

and the real (Anglican) Bishop of San Joaquin is ... ???

I don't yet know what to make of this, but it's interesting. From here:

Dear Friends,

I received great news three days ago from the office of the manager of the Lambeth Conference. The e-mail says "we are expecting you at the Lambeth Conference". I was wondering when the invitation would arrive or even, some days, if it would ever come to Jane and me. Well, it is here and we are making plans to attend. We attended the Conference in 1998 when I was the Bishop of Northern California.

I am pleased to be going, but I am more pleased because this a clear sign from the Anglican Communion that the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is the only Anglican Diocese in all of inland Central California. I received this invitation because I am your Bishop and, therefore, entitled to attend the Lambeth Conference as the Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

We have much work left to do in bringing this Diocese back together. But, rejoice, sisters and brothers, your faithfulness has been recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury and by the Anglican Communion.

Rejoice, again I say, rejoice.

In peace,

+Jerry A. Lamb
Bishop of San Joaquin

An email? From the "Manager of the Lambeth Conference"? (I didn't know there was such an office.) Shouldn't an actual invitation have come from Rowan himself? Color me skeptical for the moment, but willing to acknowledge the truth when it's a little clearer.

In the meantime, "mum" seems to be the word from Fresno on Bishop Schofield's travel plans post-GAFCON.

This is definitely a plot thickener. Discuss amongst yourselves.

UPDATE 6/3: The Living Church is reporting, with Bishop Schofield's Canon-to-the-Ordinary as a source, that the Bishop's invitation has not been rescinded, and that he is planning on attending Lambeth. So it appears that the Anglican Communion is on a trajectory (albeit a passive one, perhaps) toward de facto sanctioning of overlapping jurisdictions.


Cany said...

Well, clearly, Dan, as you know, Shofield is NOT TEC... so he could not have been invited under that auspices anyway. No one even argues that point.

Lamb IS the TEC Bishop for the SJD... so the invitation makes sense.

Have ANY of the invading Bishops (eh-hem, or self-titled Archbishops) been invited to Lambeth? I don't think so. So if Bish Shofield didn't get an invite, assuming Venables didn't either, no surprise there...

Not sure what there is really to talk about here...

Daniel Martins said...

Cany, get in the game. Venables announced last month, to great internet fanfare, that he IS going to Lambeth. Schofield assured the diocese months ago that he is going to Lambeth. So there very much is something to talk about here.

Perpetua said...

I think it is odd that he provided such a little snippet. What else was in the email?

sam said...

What pretentious assumptions this bishop makes about his own supposed status vis-à-vis the Communion! His claim is no more "regular" than any of the "invading" bishops, as the majority of canonical-legal evidence continues to show. To think that a very small office charged with organizing the Conference (and as far as I can tell they are very much overburdened right now and very concerned not to make political statements) should be given the weight of ecclesiastical pronouncement is yet another example of Bonnie Anderson's specious atheology of General Convention.

Anonymous said...

Just a continuing of the deception perception! An invite via e-mail from a convention manager to a retired bishop acting like a diocesan bishop whom was appointed by the Presiding Bishop not elected nor called by the body of the Remain Episcopals....His ego is bigger than California! Geesh!

The Anglican Scotist said...

Three Hypotheses:

I. If this is phony, it'll be slammed in public by Williams or some agent of his very soon. But if it isn't slammed soon, then one may take it as evidence Williams himself approved it.

II. The Cox/Schofield deal, and perhaps much else if Duncan and Iker get fiesty and 815 can't learn to get its act together, is headed to GC2009 to be dealt with by the HoB and HoD. Probably various sections of the canons will be re-written and resolutions of support, or maybe censure, passed.

III. Lambeth Palace probably forsees point-II, and feels at worst there is an irregularity that falls short of establishing invalidity.

Jon said...

It is possible that Bishop Schofield's invitation was withdrawn when he was (arguably) deposed.

Has Canterbury said whether or not he considers the depostitions valid?


Anonymous said...

Dear Dan+,

I know that Bishop Schofield's invitation to Lambeth has NOT been withdrawn. At this point, he is
planning on attending both GAFCON and Lambeth, as is our Archbishop, Gregory Venables.


Fr. Axberg Ponders the Propers said...

Here are some thoughts I have:

1) Schofield received his invitations when most (all) were sent out and while he was still bishop of SJ;

2) Bp. Lamb is an Episcopal bishop in good standing with TEC and has received his invitation (as he ought) in as timely a manner as any bureaucracy can act;

3) to "un-invite" Schofield would possibly require tools Rowan, to date, has failed to show he owns; so

4) the "un-invite" will fall through the cracks, and JDS will carouse with his southern cone buddies and Bp. Lamb will behave appropriately at every gathering as he always has.

Lord Palmerston's guardian angel will appear to be in charge.

Anonymous said...

The more I think of this, the more I lean towards thinking that Lamb has misunderstood this email message. As an email message from a bureacrat nobody has heard of, it clearly was not an official Lambeth invitation. Further there is apparently no language in the message that even suggests it is an official invitation. And it is highly unlikely that Rowan will have disinvited Schofield at this time. Remember that Rowan appointed an advisory committee to consider the various invitations and what should be done about them. I would think that it would be extremely unlikely that Rowan would act until that committee made its recommendations. What’s more, if Rowan disinvited Schofield now, he would be implicitly turning his back on his Anglican Communion Institute allies (who have been willing to host on their website several very damning indictments of TEC’s abuse of the canons as they applied to Schofield). I really doubt that Rowan would make such a move now before his committee has advised him.

Anglican Scotist - if this is simply just a friendly "hello and hope to see you" email from a mid-level pro-TEC bureaucrat which Lamb has misunderstood, then I doubt Lambeth Palace will correct it (at least publically). That would be tantamount to making Jerry Lamb look like an idiot. Better to just let the story die out.

I will guess that we will need to wait for the Committee to report before we know what will happen with Schofield.

Unknown said...

The Anglican Communion Office lists the Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb, and no one else, as the Bishop of San Joaquin:

That should settle the question

Unknown said...

And there is no Diocese of San Joaquin in the Province of the Southern Cone:

Anonymous said...

"And there is no Diocese of San Joaquin in the Province of the Southern Cone:"
Funny! That's only according to the ACO/Canon Kearnon..... I rest my case! Those two do not make up the WWAC.

Tom Sramek, Jr. said...

I'm a little confused. Correct me if I am wrong:

1) John-David Schofield does not wish to be a part of the The Episcopal Church.

2) He was validly deposed from The Episcopal Church with the consent of the House of Bishops and has not contested that deposition, believing he had already departed (i.e. "you can't fire me, I quit!"

3) Jerry Lamb is listed on the Anglican Communion website as the Bishop of the (Episcopal) Diocese of San Joaquin. That would seem, then, to be the official position of the Archbishop of Canterbury, or at least the Anglican Communion office.

4) If JDS doesn't want to be in TEC, and TEC doesn't want him, one would think that this would end the discussion. Now, someone in the Province of the Southern Cone has a legitimate grievance regarding the fact that adding an extra-geographical diocese violates the Southern Cone constitution, but that's their problem.

Moving on....

Anonymous said...

Tom: You say "He was validly deposed from The Episcopal Church"....except that he wasn't validly deposed, as many sound arguments which are easy to locate point out.

The Anglican Communion website, as you know, is controlled by bureaucrats friendly to TEC's ruling heirarchy and don't necessarily represent the ABC.

In any case, I think that the importance of who is recognized by the ACO and ABC is declining by the day.

What has been known up to now as the "Anglican Communion" has been all but effectively transformed into being an Anglican Federation. Pretending it is a Communion might make you feel good, but it is not reality.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has badly fumbled the ball, and has lost his moral authority in the Federation (he is now a mere historical figurehead, still of value, but of very little continuing moral significance). The ball is currently being fumbled around by various players of the Global South. We can only hope that a new Communion-within-the-Federation emerges, and as the Liberal North dies out, this new Southern-based Communion can gradually reforge the Anglican Communion once again.

Fr. Christopher Cantrell SSC said...

Perhaps the reality that there are now two Anglican Dioceses operating in non-coastal California is sinking in.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Christopher Cantrell,
One correction to your post. There is only one Anglican Diocese in Central California and then there is the suedo Episcopal Diocese of Central California. If you talk and ask most Episcopalians they will not recognize themselves as Anglican and will be adament that they are Episcopalian. So to sya that there are two Anglican Diocese in Central California is simply a mis-statement. Fr. Dan is correct that there are overlapping jurisdictions.

Jon said...

James W., your comment @ 2:40am highlights one of the more distressing aspects of this situation. Far to many conservatives act in this matter as if they had the authority to stand in judgement over the church rather than in obedience to the church. What do I mean? You reject the validity of the deposition even though the PB has ruled it to be valid and the HoB hasn't had a chance to reconsider the matter. While I recognize that the arguments against the validity of the depositions is very plausible, one's superior's misbehavior doesn't absolve one of the need to obey. I don't mean that one cannot question one's superior's actions, but questioning and accountability must always follow proper proceedure recognizing that those in authority actually do have sufficient authority to decide against one. In this case, since the PB has already ruled on the validity of the depositions, it would be appropriate to speak with one's bishop (or friends who are bishops) and ask that s/he bring the issue up at the next meeting of the HoB. If the HoB agrees with the PB or declines to disagree with the PB then one should probably accept the judgement as final (not right, necessarily, but final), although it wouldn't be out of the question to try to bring up the issue at GC'09 (just remember that the HoB will still have the ability to veto anything with which a majority disagrees).

The habit of obedience is important partially because it increases the stability of human society, but it also builds up in us the habits we need in order to be properly obedient to our Lord. After all, if we find it impossible to obey those whose decisions we have relativly direct access to, how can we hope to obedient to The Lord, whose ways are not our ways and whose thoughts are not our thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Jon: The problem with your post is that the PB does not have the authority to "rule" on whether the deposition is valid or not. The PB has, in fact, no more canonical or constitutional authority to rule on an interpretation of a canon then I do. The way TEC is structured, there is no competent judicial authority to interpret the canons, including the PB. Accordingly, even were I the most loyal and obedient follower of TEC, I would still not owe a duty of obedience to the PB's opinion on whether Schofield was validly deposed or not.

Anonymous said...

"+JDS does not want to be part of the TEC and he was deposed. Matter settled."

Well if I admit to being a serial murderer. There still has to be a valid trial before they can string me up.

I am with JamesW. The whole business of an email from a ACO bureaucrat is fishy. Since when do provisional bishops go to Lambeth anyway? Maybe he will go to Lambeth and commiserate with Gene on the outside. They can bewail their manifold grievances.

The Anglican Scotist said...

Wait--the current situation is intolerable:

A. Lamb is acknowledged as Bishop of DSJ;
B. Schofield retains his invitation;
C. Schofield is not listed as Bishop of anything by the Southern Cone.

What an extraordinary circumstance!

The Southern Cone should really acknowledge Schofield as Bishop of something--if even only to save face for various parties.
Why? C would seem to imply B is a mistake, given A.

Or maybe not. Maybe Williams, like Schori, is caught here having to Improvise in the face of teh unprecedented.

Anonymous said...

Anglican Scotist:

Wait just a sec, there.

A. Lamb is acknowledged as Bishop of DSJ - by the Anglican Communion Office (on their website) which is bureaucratic organization very friendly with TEC's current ruling heirachy and which does not always accurately represent Rowan Williams' point of view;
B. Schofield retains his invitation - from Rowan Williams, who is the official Inviter of Bishops (as opposed to ACO bureaucrats);
C. Schofield is not listed as Bishop of anything by the Southern Cone - what list would that be, Anglican Scotist? Surely not the list that is maintained by the ACO, as that is run by pro-TEC bureaucrats. Clearly, the Primate of the Southern Cone acknowledges Schofield and his diocese, so that would be good enough for me.

What this suggests to me, Anglican Scotist, is that there are some bureaucrats in the ACO who would like to create some "facts on the ground" in advance of Rowan Williams' final decisions on Lambeth invitations. Pretty much what I would expect from the politically motivated bureaucrats in the service of TEC. I don't think that, so far, Rowan Williams has anything to explain concerning his continued recognition of Schofield as Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin.

Malcolm+ said...

'You say "He was validly deposed from The Episcopal Church"....except that he wasn't validly deposed, as many sound arguments which are easy to locate point out.'

You misrepresent the facts, James.

John-David Schofield was deposed as Bishop of San Joaquin followig a process consistent with what had been doe previously without objection. Many people - including our host - have introduced arguments against the validity of the depositions. Those arguments constitute a primae facie case which should be answered.

However, those arguments do not constitute any sort of legal proof that the depositions were not valid. Since there is no "Anglican Supreme Court" with authority to decide the rights of it, the most likely authoritative body will be the next general convention.

In the meantime, it is all very well to assert a belief that the depositions were not validly done. It is dishonest to present this as an undeniable fact.

Jon said...

James W. if there is no juridical authority to review the matter, then it follows that there is no possibility of appeal, leaving Bishop Schofield deposed and without any way to appeal that decision. This assumes that it is possible for an organization to exist without the authority to review its decisions, which is profoundly unlikely, since power exists even when it is explicitly denied. The authority exists even if it hasn't been given to a body like a supreme court. For example, when a place is governed by a warlord or an absolute monarch the authority is ultimately wielded by the monarch, even if that was the same person who arguably broke the laws in the first place. The PB isn't an absolute monarch, of course, but there isn't any higher authority among the bishops than the HoB. Even GC can't exactly overrule the HoB (although GC does speak with more authority than the HoB alone) since the HoB has half the vote on what GC says. Any apparent overruling is more accurately described as the HoB changing its mind.