Subsequent to that meeting the Junior Warden and Treasurer each resigned, although for differing reasons. Soon thereafter, a phone call was received by the Priest in Charge (appointed there by Bishop John-David Schofield many months earlier) from Canon Hall, informing him that his position was terminated at St. Andrew’s. That priest immediately notified Bishop Schofield of that conversation. Letters written by Bishop Lamb, dated June 1, 2008, were soon delivered to the Priest’s home and the Senior Warden’s home informing each that they were no longer appointed to their prior roles, and that Bishop Lamb had appointed new Wardens and an entirely new Bishop’s Committee. He also re-appointed the Treasurer who had resigned just days before despite the fact that this individual is no longer a member of St. Andrews having transferred her membership to the Diocese of Hawaii.
On June 4th Bishop John-David Schofield, Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, a recognized member Diocese of the Province of the Southern Cone of South America, was informed that some of the members above changed the locks on the doors without any court order, thereby seizing the property and preventing Anglican members from entering freely as they had been able to before. Additionally, we were to understand that Canon Hall was to preside at services held on that Sunday, June 8th, at the direction of his Episcopal Bishop.
Bishop Schofield is grieved by the aggressive and disturbing behavior exhibited by Bishop Lamb, his agents, and the leadership of the Episcopal Church in the USA. Established protocols exist within the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin to assist churches to rightly discern the mind of their members, yet none of these seem to have been considered and Bishop Lamb appeared to follow no protocol at all as he reached out to seize this Church. It might be considered abusive behavior that many of the members of St. Andrews received no knowledge of that meeting about to take place. This was not an informed congregation nor could an informed decision be made as, apparently, two strong personalities within their body manipulated the situation so that only those who could be counted upon for affirmation were notified of the meeting and called upon to vote accordingly. No Canons or By-Laws were followed to provide the congregation proper notification of a Parish Meeting (normally 30 days notice), to confirm the qualifications of those voting, minutes of said meeting, or any other ecclesiastical standards. While this is a very small congregation averaging only 18 in attendance on a Sunday (according to 2007 parochial reports submitted), it appears that a vote of 9 to 2 is not a simple majority of those qualified to vote, but only a majority who had the select knowledge and opportunity to be present at this secret meeting of church members.
On December 8, 2007, the people of the Diocese of San Joaquin exercised their democratic right reserved to them under their Constitution to withdraw from membership in the Episcopal Church and to realign with another province of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the Province of the Southern Cone. The vote of the people of the Diocese of San Joaquin at a duly noticed and convened Annual Convention was overwhelming; nearly 90 percent were in favor of the realignment. Special provision was made for those who disagreed with the majority’s decision: each parish in the Diocese was given an indefinite period of discernment and the option of staying with the Episcopal Church, and those who did so were permitted to keep all of their real and personal property with the blessings of the Diocese and its elected bishop of nineteen years, The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield.
No decisions have been formally made concerning future actions of the Bishop, Standing Committee, or Diocesan Council regarding this matter. Many here rejoice in the graciousness of Bishop Schofield to the people and clergy who have determined to remain part of the Episcopal Church, and to those at St. Andrews Mission, noting the contrast of his behavior to the divisiveness of the appointed Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese who verbally claims to seek reconciliation while actions say otherwise. We mourn the fact that leaders within The Episcopal Church continue to behave in ways that cause damage to the Body of Christ by initiating ecclesiastical actions and litigation against Bishop Schofield and this Anglican Diocese, and proceed to further tear the fabric of the world-wide Anglican Communion.