Skip to comments.Presentment Against Bishop of San Joaquin Likely [ECUSA's +Schofield]
Posted on 07/14/2006 5:15:29 PM PDT by sionnsar
The bishops of California, Los Angeles and San Diego are preparing presentment charges which may be filed as early as next week against the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin, according to three persons who attended a diocesan meeting July 8 at St. Johns Church, Los Angeles.
The announcement was made by the Bishop of Los Angeles, the Rt. Rev. J. John Bruno, according to the three, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on behalf of the bishop.
There is a [presentment] in the works, said one of those who attended the meeting. I got the sense that it was going to happen very soon. [They said] this will cost a lot of money, but they are prepared to pay the price. Property was the main thing.
Bishop Schofield maintains a theological belief that God has not called women to ordained orders. On June 28 he and San Joaquins standing committee appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury for alternate primatial oversight. In recent years the diocesan convention in San Joaquin tightened its bylaws regarding ownership of diocesan property, and approved a change to its constitution which qualifies its submission to the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church.
In separate conversations with two San Joaquin priests, Bishop Schofield said that the bishops of California and Los Angeles had urged him on several occasions during General Convention to ask his diocesan convention to reconsider the recent changes made to the diocesan bylaws. Bishop Schofield had not returned calls prior to publication. The Bishop of San Diego, the Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes, refused comment. Bishop Bruno was not available on Friday.
In a July 11 interview with TLC the Rt. Rev. William E. Swing, Bishop of California, denied leaning on Bishop Schofield or being involved in a civil lawsuit against him, but expressed serious concerns about some of the recent decisions in San Joaquin, and added that it was generally accepted legal theory to challenge unacceptable changes to legal documents sooner rather than later. Bishop Swing is chair of the House of Bishops task force on property disputes.
An awful lot of property deals are being made all over the country, he said. When all of that begins to erupt, when all of that begins to be changed by revisionists, there has to be a lot of conversation.
In reflections on the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Columbus, Ohio, and the reactions to its decisions, released July 11, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold made no mention of the six dioceses, including San Joaquin, which have requested alternate primatial oversight. On June 29, Bishop Griswold asked the communications office at the Episcopal Church Center to distribute a media briefing packet to bishops and diocesan communication directors.
Dioceses, like congregations, do not leave the Episcopal Church, the document states. Dioceses are creatures of the General Convention and continue in place unmoved by the choices of individual persons who may choose to pursue paths other than sharing in the common mission of The Episcopal Church.
Should the need arise to declare a diocese vacant, the Presiding Bishop would be called upon to do so, and to engage a process of healing and restoration, including the eventual call for the election of a new diocesan bishop locally.
A presentment against one of the Anglican Communion Network bishops will almost certainly complicate the Archbishop of Canterburys attempts to prevent the unraveling of the Anglican Communion. New civil or ecclesiastical proceedings are discouraged under the Panel of Reference established by the Most Rev. Rowan Williams following the last primates meeting in February 2005. A spokesman for Archbishop Williams stated on July 14 that no decision had been made on the appeals by the six dioceses.
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