Wednesday, May 27, 2009


May 27, 2009

It is with a mixture of sadness and joy that we received today a letter from Bishop Lamb wherein he purports to depose 36 priests and 16 deacons as of May 22, 2009. It is heartbreaking that The Episcopal Church chooses to take such a punitive action and condemn 52 active clergy with “Abandonment of the Communion” when all of these men and women are recognized around the world as priests and deacons in good standing within the Anglican Communion. Clearly, the traditional understanding of what it means to be a member of this historic Communion has been tragically altered by this action; and thereby The Episcopal Church needlessly isolates itself from their brothers and sisters around the world.

The Diocese of San Joaquin continues to reach out to the central third of California in active ministry. It will become one of 23 founding Dioceses, along with 5 more in formation, within the new Province of the Anglican Church in North America at its first Provincial Assembly in Bedford, Texas, June 22-25. Despite The Episcopal Church’s disregard for valid Anglican Orders and ongoing legal actions against us, the bold vision to bring all to an ever expanding knowledge and joy of the Lord Jesus Christ remains unchanged within the diocese. We rejoice over the growing number of ministries seeking to join themselves with us in the mission field God has put before us.

We are, however, grieved that the leadership of The Episcopal Church feels compelled to create this unprecedented division between the ministries of The Episcopal Church and their brothers and sisters throughout the rest of the Anglican Communion. For our part, we continue to recognize the orders of those who are properly ordained according to the Book of Common Prayer and who have chosen to continue to serve Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior within The Episcopal Church. May God bless all of us who share a common vision of ministry.

+John-David Schofield, Bishop
The Diocese of San Joaquin


Anonymous said...

Fr Van, not trying at all to be antagonistic, but why didn't the clergy just resign their ordination vows?
I realize that the Anglican Diocese will join others in June, but it is a way off before this "new" Province is recognized by the Communion, so where does that leave clergy who have been deposed, no longer under the Southern Cone? More to the point, where does this leave lay people who want to share in the Sacraments and feel that this isn't correct that somehow there is a missing link in apostolic succession so to speak?
This just seems very sad, many of these clergy are really good guys(too bad all "guys") but never the less if for reasons of belief etc, they feel they can't play on the same playground, why go through all this when they could have resigned? Just wondering, a very sad day. Prayers to you and Fr Rob at St Matthias, I am sure very difficult no matter how strong your faith and conviction is.

Fr Van McCalister said...


Thank you for your question. Please accept my answer in the same terms as your question. I am not trying to be antagonistic either but blunt simply due to the limits of time.

It might be helpful to look at the terms of "Abandonment" according to the canons of The Episcopal Church: The canons define abandonment as an "open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline, or Worship of this Church, or by a formal admission into any religious body not in communion with this Church . . ." [Cn IV.10.1]. We are guilty of none of those. We have not openly renunciated the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Church. To the contrary: we stated that we must hold fast to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Church. And, we have made public the fact that TEC has "openly renunciated the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of this Church" and has stubbornly refused to follow her own canons and has rejected discipline from others in the Anglican Communion. We were admitted into a province that is in communion with TEC and the Anglican Communion. For the past four decades, the leadership of TEC has turned a blind eye to bishops and priests who have taught false doctrine and ignored the canons of the Church, and now they are disciplining clergy who have faithfully followed the doctrine and canons of the Church. Correspondingly, TEC and Bp Lamb have not followed their canons properly in this process, either.

We did not resign our orders because we were not ordained exclusively into TEC. Our clergy were ordained into the worldwide Anglican Church through the Episcopal Church and our orders continue to be recognized by the Anglican Communion. Apostolic Succession is not limited to geographical boundaries. If someone is properly ordained, then he/she is ordained to the whole Church. And, since we are still serving under a recognized bishop and archbishop within the Anglican Communion, we are licensed to serve sacramentally.