Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bishop Lamb Confirms Lack of Quorum to Elect Him

From the Anglican Curmudgeon -

May 27, 2009

Bishop Lamb has finally provided proof that there was not a sufficient quorum of clergy canonically resident in the Diocese of San Joaquin who were present at the "Special Diocesan Convention" which was held in Lodi a year ago March 29. Today he acknowledged that last Friday and this Tuesday, he signed certificates with the intent of deposing 61 clergy in the Diocese for having "abandoned the Communion of this Church" in leaving to follow the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield and his Diocese out of ECUSA. (H/T: VirtueOnLine.)

The full article is here

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



Dcn. Dale Matson


“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you”(Deuteronomy 5:16). This is the fifth of the Ten Commandments. St. Paul restates this commandment in Chapter 6 of Ephesians. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise:  ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’ “He also notes that it contains a promise.

What if I don’t honor my parents? What if they don’t deserve being honored? What then? These are questions many individuals would ask concerning their parents. “My parents were terrible and abusive”, some might say. Some have raised their children using their parents as reverse role models. Parents who were uninvolved also find that their children can’t find the time for them when they grow up. The late Harry Chapin wrote an excellent song (1974) about this called “Cat’s in the Cradle”. A line from the song states, “I've long since retired and my son's moved away. I called him up just the other day. I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind."He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time.

At age fifty it became evident to me that my parents would always be with me. Even after they passed on, they would still be inside my head as models for me in relating to my sons. At that time they were still living. Was I honoring them? No, I was still filled with resentment about my treatment from an emotionally distant father and angry about an alcoholic mother suffering from depression. Was it going well with me? No, many of my relationships were contaminated with the same resentment and anger I had toward my parents. My relationship with my sons was distant at best and oppositional at worst.

It was time to make peace with my parents. I knew that was what I needed to do and began writing letters and calling them on the phone. It was as if God had prepared their hearts for this reaching out on my part. Things went well and my dad actually wrote me two letters. The first one ended “Sincerely” but the second one ended “Love Dad”. Sometimes the feeling have to follow the actions. We know what we need to do before we are willing to do it. Once the will to love is there, that is what unlocks the good memories held captive for so many years. My parents are with the Lord now and inside my head and heart. We are all finally at peace and yes, things are going very well. My sons and I are closer now than ever because I’m at peace with my parents.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Swimming in Open Water

Swimming in Open Water 05-18-09

Dcn Dale Matson

Last week, the U.S. open water swimming championships were held near Fresno, CA at nearby Millerton Lake. Participants came from all over the country with ages ranging from 18-84. The course was essentially an “out and back” marked in one eighth mile increments with large orange buoys anchored to the lake bottom. My wife and I train at Millerton Lake and volunteered to help our friends the race directors. We were stationed in Kayaks near each of the buoys along with others. We were there to help the swimmers stay on course and to assist if a swimmer got into any kind of trouble while swimming the course. There were four separate starts for the swimmers grouped by increasing age. The last person in the final age group was a 79 year old lady who was swimming in open water for the first time. She was having navigation problems in the open water. If you are a pool swimmer, there are lines in the bottom of the pool for each lane and warning markers near the ends of the lanes to signal that the wall is near. Thus a pool swimmer can focus on swimming and turning. I believe it is a natural inclination of a Deacon to want to come along side someone who needs help, so I called to her to ask her name as she desperately swam in a fruitless zigzag pattern. “My name is Georgia from Texas” and I can’t see the buoys. She was beginning to panic with lots of water in front and underneath her. Most swimmers don’t consider that they could drown in a pool but there is something different about swimming in open water that can intimidate even an accomplished swimmer. I pulled alongside and offered to escort her the last three quarters of a mile with my Kayak. I told her to just keep me in sight on her breathing side and I would keep her in a straight line and on course. From time to time I needed to yell out to her to swim to her left or right to get back on course. I also yelled out encouragement that she could “do it” to bolster her sagging confidence. She made it to the finish line under the cutoff time with a renewed sense of self efficacy. She was filmed, interviewed and cheered, deserving the attention and adulation. She did not seek me out to thank me and that is fine because I was working for Christ.

What is the purpose of this story? How does it apply to your life? Is God calling you to come alongside someone else? If we are willing to be used by our Lord and use Him as our navigational reference point, He will give us the opportunity to come alongside others who struggle as they unexpectedly find they are swimming in the “open water” of real life. We can be the encouraging voice helping others that have lost their way. We can also help others by conducting our lives in a gracious way. By keeping our lives on course, others can be guided by our actions. Sometimes listening helps another speak a solution to their own problems. Sometimes when others simply know we are available to help them, they are able to remain independent and empowered.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Superior Court Denies Episcopal Diocese's Motion for Attorneys' Fees




SANTA ANA, Calif. – May 15, 2009 – Orange County Superior Court Judge Thierry P. Colaw today denied a motion by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles which would have forced St. James Church and its volunteer board of directors to pay the Diocese’s attorneys’ fees in this ongoing property dispute.

The case began when St. James Church disaffiliated from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the Episcopal Church over theological differences in August 2004. The Diocese then sued St. James Church, All Saints Church in Long Beach, and St. David’s Church in North Hollywood, and each of their volunteer board members in September 2004. Subsequently, the national Episcopal Church intervened in the lawsuit with its own claims. The three local churches brought special motions to strike the Diocese’s suit under a unique California statute providing for early evaluation of cases involving free speech rights.

The Superior Court initially granted St. James Church’s motion, but the case made its way to the California Supreme Court, which reversed and reinstated the Diocese’s suit. St. James Church recently announced that it will file a petition for writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court to seek further appellate review. Even as St. James Church prepares its bid to the United States Supreme Court, the case continues to proceed in the Superior Court.

Today’s motion was a heavy-handed attempt by the Diocese, which has engaged in “scorched earth” litigation tactics against St. James Church for years, to recoup its attorneys’ fees. The Diocese claimed that St. James Church’s earlier special motion to strike was “frivolous” and warranted the sanction of a fees award.

The Superior Court considered briefs filed by both sides and heard oral argument. While the special motion procedure had never before been used in a church property dispute, the Court ruled that it was not frivolous, and had been brought in good faith by experienced and well-qualified defense counsel. As a result, the Court denied the Diocese’s motion for attorneys’ fees and set the case for a further status conference in September.

St. James Church continues to hold services and to operate in its property at 3209 Via Lido in Newport Beach, and remains committed to spreading the Gospel and the traditional Faith.

For more information about the court case:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

On Grieving the Loss of a Pet

Dcn Dale Matson 05-11-09

On Grieving the Loss of a Pet

Our thirteen year old Airedale died a few weeks ago and the grieving and remembering continue. It is so hard to let go of such a wonderful dog. We have owned other dogs and two other Airedales have preceded him. Airedales are Terriers and Terriers are….well, they just are. You never really own one. You are merely a consultant. He graduated from puppy class but was remedial in more advanced classes since he tended to be willful about things. Brown never really mastered the obedience thing but that is an Airedale trait too. He, like Sharon was into gardening and watered the plants, dug holes and ate some of the vegetation. He was also a great cheese catcher when Sharon threw some his way. He was really her dog and followed her around the yard as she did her gardening. There will never be another like him and we will never forget him.

It was not easy then and it is even more difficult now. I think grief is cumulative. I have lost friends, mentors relatives and parents and the grief while seemingly resolved, comes back with a passion and such a vengeance that it startles me. Pets become a part of the family. They even take on some of the idiosyncratic aspects of the families in which they reside. They relate to us unconditionally. I have seen patients in hospitals and nursing homes smile at a therapy dog when unresponsive to humans. Pets know when we are sick and offer comfort as best they can. They are really so much more than pets. They are our companions.

I was disappointed that there is no prayer of comfort for those who have lost a pet in our Book of Common Prayer. (There are a number of wonderful prayers in the “Prayers and Thanksgivings” section page 810-841.) I offer this prayer for those who grieve the loss of a pet.

Prayers for Family and Personal Life

For the loss of a pet

Merciful God, Father of all creation you have bestowed upon us the gift our pets as family members and companions. They have shared and enriched our lives, worked and played with us and have protected us. They have guided the blind, rescued the lost and comforted the sick, aged and lonely. They have been steadfast in their devotion to us and allowed us to exercise loving stewardship of your creation. Take pity on those who grieve and comfort them in their time of sorrow. Amen

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Comfort Ye My People

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. - Isaiah 40:1

Dcn Dale Matson 05-07-09

As I reflected on a portion of the Gospel lesson from Luke (Chapter 6) for the Daily office for Wednesday May 6th, it also occurred to me again that we are in the midst of a serious legal struggle in our Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin against The Episcopal Church (TEC). It is easy to be anxious and fearful about the possible outcome. It is also possible to adopt a self righteous anger too. However, our Gospel lesson is quite a contrast to what would be an expected human response. “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” This is a portion of Luke’s “Sermon on the Plain” which is a kind of parallel to Mathew’s Sermon on the Mount.

There is a property dispute of course but hopefully both sides would say that ultimately, God owns the property not a Parish, Diocese or a Denomination. It also occurred to me that while property provides a place to gather for worship and fellowship, it can also be an occasion to misunderstand and be misdirected as to what is meant when we talk about the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God has never been about bricks, stones, mortar, wood and steel.

I believe the Jews of the Old Testament confused God’s presence among them with the Temple in Jerusalem. Much of their pride and identity was centered on the temple rather than God Himself. Seeing the Dome of the Rock sitting on the very ruins of the Temple should be evidence enough that God has left an historical reminder that the Temple and the land of Israel are not as important as the God who gave both to Israel. While it is what they are fighting each other about, who owns the land and the buildings is really not the central issue for the Arabs and Israelis nor should it be the central issue for us either. “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” (John 4:20, 23).

With each crisis in our personal lives and in the life of our faith community, we are faced with understandable initial human responses of anxiety, fear, anger or self righteousness. I am reminded of the man who put his faith in his possessions. "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (Luke 12:20) My brothers and sisters, we are the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The property and the buildings belong to God and Him alone. Amen

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Diocese of San Joaquin: It's not a done deal -- Court arguments made

By Mary Ann Mueller
VirtueOnline Special Correspondent

FRESNO, CA--- Time is ticking away, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second until the courtroom showdown starts today (May 5). The attorneys are closeted, double and triple checking their notes, references and arguments. The interested parties are in prayer, barnstorming the gates of heaven and trusting the Lord to make His will manifest and followed. The media is observing with baited breath to see what happens. Everyone is on pins and needles, watching and waiting for the courtroom drama to play itself out.

A hint as to the result of that drama may have been released Monday (May 4) by the California Superior Court - Fresno County -- when a tentative ruling basically struck down all of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin's arguments. Basically, the tentative ruling says that both the defendant (Bishop John-David Schofield of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin) and the plaintiff (the TEC Diocese San Joaquin represented by Bishop Jerry Lamb) see eye to eye and agree on the facts of the case. A tentative ruling will not necessarily be chiseled into stone by the judge this afternoon.

The Honorable Adolfo M. Corona signed the tentative ruling on May 4, scheduling a hearing for the next day in his Department 97A courtroom.

So far, the judge in the case has supported all of the arguments presented by TEC and its battery of lawyers. His tentative ruling says that Bishop Lamb is the legitimate church authority for the Diocese of San Joaquin. That determination was tentatively made because the judge believes that TEC is a hierarchical body and therefore, the ecclesial authority comes from the top down with the top being TEC headquarters in New York.

"A hierarchical church is one in which individual churches are organized as a body with other churches having similar faith and doctrine, and with a common ruling convocation or ecclesiastical head vested with ultimate ecclesiastical authority over the individual congregations and members of the entire organized church," Judge Corona writes in his tentative ruling. "In a hierarchical church, an individual local congregation that affiliates with the national church body becomes a member of a much larger and more important religious organization, under its government and control, and bound by its orders and judgments."

However there is no agreement to the presumed facts of the case, as the judge seems to see them, so the litigants will argue their separate positions before Judge Corona their separate positions. The attorneys for the defendants, lead by Russell G. Van Rosenboom of Wild, Carter and Tipton, a Fresno law firm, intend on demonstrating that the judge is mistaken in his tentative judgment. Van Rosenboom is also chancellor for the Diocese of San Joaquin.

"It's not a done deal," The Rev. Canon Bill Gandenberger told VOL this morning. "Whichever way the judge rules, the other side is going to appeal."

"The 'Tentative Ruling' in the San Joaquin case is nothing more than that, 'tentative'," explained Texas attorney William Fisher who has been keeping an eye on the various TEC lawsuits around the country. "This ruling is on a Motion to Adjudicate, or, as is commonly known a Motion for Summary Judgment. Such a motion is often made by one of the parties in a law suit when they believe there are no contested matters of fact for a jury to decide."

A summery judgment approved by a judge, and in this case Judge Corona, declares that both sides agree to the basic details of the case. If both sides agree, a summery judgment is issued.

"The purpose of a tentative ruling is to let the parties know the way the judge is inclined to analyze the arguments and the evidence that has been offered thus far by each side. In that way, the parties know what points they need to address specifically at the hearing.,." explains attorney A.S. Haley on his blog 'The Anglican Curmudgeon'. "The judge will not issue a final ruling until after he has heard the oral argument by counsel, and he can either affirm or modify his tentative ruling, or revise it completely."

The article continues here.

St James Church Legal Battle Moving to United States Supreme Court


NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – May 5, 2009 – St. James Anglican Church, at the centerpiece of a nationally publicized church property dispute with the Episcopal Church, announced today that it will file a petition for writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court to resolve an important issue of religious freedom: Does the United States Constitution, which both prohibits the establishment of religion and protects the free exercise of religion, allow certain religious denominations to disregard the normal rules of property ownership that apply to everyone else?

Under longstanding law, no one can unilaterally impose a trust over someone else’s property without their permission. Yet, in the St. James case before the California Supreme Court, named Episcopal Church Cases, the Court created a special perquisite for certain churches claiming to be “hierarchical,” with a “superior religious body,” which may allow them to unilaterally appropriate for themselves property purchased and maintained by spiritually affiliated but separately incorporated local churches. St. James will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court that this preferential treatment for certain kinds of religion violates the U.S. Constitution.

The constitutional issues St. James will raise before the U.S. Supreme Court go far beyond St. James or even the Episcopal Church. Every local church, temple, synagogue, parish, spiritual center, congregation or religious group which owns its property, and has some affiliation with a larger religious group, is possibly at risk of losing its property upon a change of religious affiliation. As a result, religious freedom is suppressed, as those who have sacrificed to build their local religious communities are now at risk of having their properties taken based on some past, current or future spiritual affiliation. A United States Supreme Court decision in favor of St. James would benefit local churches and religious groups throughout the country because it would allow congregations the ability to freely exercise their religion without having to forfeit their property to a larger religious body or denomination with which they are affiliated in the event of a dispute over religious doctrine.

The article continues here.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Camp H2O Celebrates Tenth Anniversary


Camp H2O meets July 19-25, 2009 at ECCO in Oakhurst.  The cost per camper is $325. 

Camp H2O is designed for high school students and its main focus is to make disciples for Jesus Christ.  It is there for students who want to explore their faith, deepen their faith, or even find it for the first time.  This is done through various workshops and teachings.  Students are taught and mentored by leaders with years of ministry experience who will cultivate their faith in ways that they may not have thought of or encountered. 

Through worship and teaching, Camp H2O hopes to bring many young people to follow the living Lord, Jesus Christ.

Some young people find it difficult to come up with the camp tuition. If you would like to make a contribution to provide a scholarship for one of these campers, please call Daniel Marker at 559-244-4828 or send you contribution to The Diocese of San Joaquin, 4159 E. Dakota Ave, Fresno CA, 93726 - Attention "Camp H2O"

National Day of Prayer - May 7th

Numerous cities are taking advantage of the annual Day of Prayer next Thursday, May 7th.

Locally, people are meeting at Fresno City Hall at 7:PM and Clovis City Hall at 12:Noon.  The Very Rev Carlos Raines is the M.C. at the Fresno event.


Started in 1775 with the first National Call to Fasting & Prayer by the Continental Congress; 1863 - Pres. Lincoln declared a National Day of Prayer & Fasting; 1988 - Pres. Reagan signs into law the designation of the First Thursday in May as the annual observance for the National Day of Prayer.

"It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God."  - Pres. George Washington, 1789.  for more information