Friday, June 20, 2008

Bishop Schofield's letter to Bishop Lamb

The Diocese of San Joaquin: June 16, 2008

The Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb
P.O. Box 7606
Stockton, CA 95267

Re: St. Andrew's Anglican Mission

Dear Bishop Lamb:

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

This will reply to your June 1, 2008, letter to Father Charles Threewit concerning St. Andrew's Anglican Mission in Taft, California.

Our records indicate that St. Andrew's Mission validly adopted Anglican bylaws on March 23, 2008. These bylaws cannot be amended without my consent (which was not requested and not given) and without a properly called meeting of the Bishop's Committee. Title to the Mission's real property is held by the Anglican Diocese Holding Corporation.

We do not have any first hand knowledge about the meeting you conducted where you say "an overwhelming majority vote" was recorded by those present to remain with the Episcopal Church. We do know that whatever meeting took place was not properly noticed and that a voting quorum of the Bishop's Committee was not present. Following your meeting, you apparently caused the locks on the Mission doors to be changed and you and your agents have taken physical possession of the building. These actions are all very irregular and, in my opinion, unlawful.

On top of it all, you apparently asked one of our priests who holds Anglican orders, Father Upton, to conduct services. Father Upton has asked my permission to conduct services on a temporary basis and I have granted his request to stabilize the situation for the time being. The Anglican contingent of the Mission can be ministered to by our three thriving Anglican parishes in Bakersfield until we can sort this matter out.

It is not our intention to rush back in and change the locks, as you have done, and cause further upheaval in this small mission. Our actions, however, are not to be construed as a waiver of any rights on our part. The civil courts and our ongoing investigation will ultimately settle the matter of title to the real and personal property of the Mission. To this end, it would be helpful if you would forward to us the minutes of the meeting you conducted so we can review them.

We will also permit your use of the Mission computer under the same reservation of rights and with your implicit agreement that it will remain at the Mission until a final decision is made by the courts or by our agreement. Father Threewit, the priest in charge, temporarily removed the computer because he suspected something was afoot but he did not know what it was. He thought it wise under the circumstances to remove the computer so its contents could be copied. That has been accomplished and we will make arrangements to get it back to the Mission.

While I in no way agree with or condone your actions, nevertheless, may the peace of God be with you

In Christ,

The Rt. Rev. John-David M. Schofield, SSC
Bishop of San Joaquin



Cany said...

So accepting a church back from a Bishop that stole it is wrong.

Boy, interesting interpretation.

Fr Van McCalister said...

Do you think the signers of the Declaration of Independence stole the colonies from England? It is true that the colonies were first settled under England's oversight but who was it that actually invested their lives into the land?

The idea that churches and the diocese to which they affiliate must be defined by property deeds and canonical machinations is a worldly and counter-biblical perspective. The Greek term for "church" in the NT is "ekklesia", which refers to "the called out" - the people, not the property, not the building. The Early Church clearly understood that the churches were a community of people in relationship with one another, under the pastoral care of their bishop, who was submitted to and following Christ. The idea that a godly bishop of a diocese and the will of the congregations of people who elected him should be ignored for the sake of canon law, which did not foresee nor address this scenario, is ridiculous. The diocese was formed and a bishop was elected by people who wished to serve Christ in their local communities through the oversight of apostolic succession. The people of the Missionary Diocese of San Joaquin did not seek to form a diocese for the sake of deeding it all to some national organization, which in 1911 had very little central authority. Yes, the General Convention gave approval to charter a missionary diocese but for what purpose? - to become a property management company for PECUSA? NO, for the sake of establishing congregations of people who would be fulfilling the Great Commission. This is our same goal and our same identity today. The (Anglican) Diocese of San Joaquin is still faithful to that original missionary charter.

Anonymous said...

You are so far off the mark it isn't even funny. I am so fed up with the way that ex-Bishop Schofield and his followers, you being one of them, bend and twist the truth and the canons to suit your own needs and wants. The D of SJ is an Episcopal diocese and you know it. All the votes by all the misguided people in the world won't change that.
I for one, am much more concerned about the divorced deacons and priests in your new found diocese. The Bible speaks so much more to that then the woman and gays who just want to follow Christ and be truthful about who they are and not try to hide behind scripture.

Fr Van McCalister said...

The purpose of this blog is to provide a source of news and opinion that has specific relevance to those who are interested in what is happening in the Diocese of San Joaquin, the Province of the Southern Cone and the Global South. There are a lot of blogs and news sources but we are distilling them down as best we can so that our readers can find those articles easily without having to wade through a lot of other topics. It is a shame that you feel compelled to call me a liar because you disagree with my viewpoint but that is your right and you are welcome to it. And you see that Howard+ and I graciously post offensive comments rather than deleting them, which would be counterproductive if our goal is to present lies. I don't know how you can be so adamant about canonical righteousness when the canons do not even address the issue of dioceses changing provinces. And please do not speak for me where you do not know my position. Regarding the Scripture's directions on divorce and ministry, I agree that Scripture is our authority there as well and should be followed. However, a blog is not the place to discuss specific individuals and in certain situations that I am specifically aware of no comment could be made anyway due to issues of confidentiality.

David Katzakian said...

Fr. Van:

While we have both posted comments in opposition to anonymous, we should cease doing so. There is no point in debating with someone who has to hide behind anonimity.