The Bishop of San Joaquin Responds to Charges of Abandonment

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Feast of St. David, Bishop of Wales
March 1, 2008

The Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, and
Members of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church
815 Second Avenue
New York, N. Y. 10017

Dear Bishop Schori and Members of the House of Bishops,

Greetings in the name of our Lord and only Savior Jesus Christ! Please accept this letter as my formal response to the charge of abandonment of the communion that has been lodged against me.

On December 8, 2007, the Diocese of San Joaquin was forced to make the painful decision to leave The Episcopal Church. This action enabled the diocese to participate in the provision of the Province of the Southern Cone of South America to become a member diocese on an emergency, temporary and pastoral basis. This drastic action was necessary because The Episcopal Church failed to heed years of warnings from all quarters of Christendom to turn back from false teaching and to accept Holy Scripture as the supreme authority for life. On September 25, 2007, The Episcopal Church and, specifically its House of Bishops, vetoed a plan created by the Anglican Communion Primates, and previously agreed to by Presiding Bishop Schori while in Dar-es-Salaam, that would have offered a spiritual safe harbor to the Diocese of San Joaquin and other orthodox dioceses. This defiance of the collective will of the Anglican Communion clearly demonstrated that The Episcopal Church fully intends to remain on a path that is irreconcilable with God's word and the Anglican Faith.

The evidence in the public record reveals that the Diocese of San Joaquin was left with no choice but to separate from The Episcopal Church to preserve Biblical truth and the historic Anglican Faith and Order. It is important to note that this is separation and not schism. Separation, by definition, is the Biblical answer to unrepentant and public false teaching and immorality. The Diocese of San Joaquin consequently made the appropriate and courageous decision at its Annual Convention by an overwhelming vote in both clergy and lay orders (Pro 173 to Con 22) to realign itself with an orthodox province of the Anglican Communion made possible through the heroic action of both Archbishop Gregory Venables and the Provincial Synod of the Southern Cone of South America meeting in Valparaiso, Chile November 8, 2007.

Immediately after the Diocese of San Joaquin voted to accept the invitation of the Southern Cone, the Annual Convention was greeted by these words of Archbishop Venables: “Welcome home. And welcome back into full fellowship in the Anglican Communion.” It is my hope and prayer that one day The Episcopal Church will hear these same words. After the Diocese of San Joaquin had voted to become a member diocese of the Southern Cone, I was received into membership of the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone as the Bishop of San Joaquin. At this moment, therefore, I am a bishop in the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone, and I am the Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin. The Episcopal Church has no jurisdiction or authority to affect my status in any of these capacities. This leaves only my status as a member of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church to be determined. Rather than force the House of Bishops to a vote, I herewith tender my resignation as a member of the
House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church effective midnight EST, March 7, 2008.

The Episcopal Church and Bishop Schori will remain in my prayers and the prayers of all parishes and missions in the Diocese of San Joaquin. The door of reconciliation will always be open.

May God bless you and keep you.

Sincerely, in Christ,


The Rt. Rev. John-David M. Schofield

Bishop of San Joaquin






Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

43 Comments
Posted March 6, 2008 at 8:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Cennydd wrote:

Bye-bye TEC!

March 6, 10:06 pm | [comment link]
2. TLDillon wrote:

Thank you Kendall for putting this up! It will be interesting. Even if the HoB’s goes forward with the deposement which I am fairly sure they will, it really doesn’t matter to Bishop Schofield nor to the vast majority who have gone Anglican with him. We have moved forward and feel alot better in many ways with a clear view of living out the great commission without having to be weighted down with what TEc is doing now or worrying about what TEc will do next. Even though we mourn for the church we once had in TEc and loved, we know that God will be faithful to keep us in His path, since the battle really is His and He has already won. We will march forward trying to live in and out the Scriptures once delivered for all.

March 6, 10:16 pm | [comment link]
3. robroy wrote:

They didn’t proceed with the sham trial of Bp Cox. Such a trial would show them to be spiteful. Definitely would not put it past them.

March 6, 11:15 pm | [comment link]
4. Vintner wrote:

The Episcopal Church and Bishop Schori will remain in my prayers and the prayers of all parishes and missions in the Diocese of San Joaquin.

Schofield must have forgotten his memo to the parishes and missions of his former Episcopal diocese not to use Katharine’s name in the prayers of the people anymore….

As far as the letter of resignation is concerned, this will be interesting to watch.  A bishop’s resignation has to be voted on. However, it seems to me that if a bishop resigns or retires then that implies that he or she is still in good standing as a bishop in the Episcopal Church and could still preside over valid sacraments.  But they are charging him with abandoning the Communion which means that, if convicted, he is no longer in good standing as a bishop in the Episcopal Church and thus his sacraments are no longer valid.  So I don’t see the House accepting this letter.  I see them spending no more than 20 minutes (in a meeting whose agenda is absolutely terrible) voting and dispensing with this bishop.

March 6, 11:23 pm | [comment link]
5. TLDillon wrote:

Schofield must have forgotten his memo to the parishes and missions of his former Episcopal diocese not to use Katharine’s name in the prayers of the people anymore….

#4 Smuggs
Really???? Can you prove that. Because we pray for TEc and it’s PB KJS every Sunday morning in our Anglican Church in the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. So, please…if you are going to toss out accusations I do hope you can prove them.

March 6, 11:31 pm | [comment link]
6. Anglicanum wrote:

Why would his parishes pray for KJS in the Prayers of the People?  If the diocese is under a different primate, he’s not bound to pray for her publicly: he’s bound to pray for his own primate.

March 6, 11:34 pm | [comment link]
7. libraryjim wrote:

Surely it would come up in the ‘Anglican Cycle of Prayer’?

March 6, 11:40 pm | [comment link]
8. TLDillon wrote:

#6 Anglicanum,
We as congregants in each parish in the Anglican Dio. Of So.Cone pray for many bishops around the world and their provinces and their diocese. What’s wrong with that? Doesn’t God instruct us to pray for all and especially for our enemies? In the part of the prayers where it is written “we pray for those who have aksed for our prayers” we put TEcand the PB there. What’s wrong with that? The bishop is not the nasty guy some have painted him to be. He is a godly man who prays for many and especially those who persecute him as our Lord instructs us to do.

March 6, 11:40 pm | [comment link]
9. Bill Thompson+ wrote:

#4 Smuggs

But they are charging him with abandoning the Communion which means that, if convicted, he is no longer in good standing as a bishop in the Episcopal Church and thus his sacraments are no longer valid.

Here we go again. This decision would not mean that Bishop Schofield’s sacraments were no longer valid. The efficacy of the sacramental ministrations of a priest or bishop are indelible. Such ministrations may be ruled irregular or illegal (according to canons), but never invalid. Your view comes very close to the Donatism that many of our reasserter friends have incorrectly accused us of. Consistency would be nice.

March 6, 11:53 pm | [comment link]
10. Brian from T19 wrote:

Bill+

If he is not a bishop in the Anglican Communion and not entitled to exercise his ministry in TEC, then what validity do his sacraments have?  In our eyes they would be the same as a Roman Catholic Bishop or a Baptist minister, etc.

March 7, 1:54 am | [comment link]
11. Cennydd wrote:

I have to put my two cents’ worth in here. 
Smuggs, you obviously have got it in for Bishop Schofield…...that’s obvious.  I know you’ve heard this before, but I’m going to tell you again, and this time, I hope it sinks in:  +John-David is a faithful Anglican bishop…...and he has been one for more than twenty years, and always will be!  Once a bishop, always a bishop, as the saying goes.  A bishop in one province is a bishop of ALL of Christ’s Church.  He is a bishop of the Church wherever he goes! 

It is not necessary for your House of Bishops to depose +John-David.  He would simply ignore the deposition, and so would we.  And rightly so!  The only persons to whom that deposition would really mean anything are your Presiding Bishop, the House of Bishops, Mrs Bonnie Anderson….the President of the House of Deputies, and everyone else in power in The Episcopal Church.

March 7, 1:59 am | [comment link]
12. Cennydd wrote:

And I remind you of this:  Bishop Schofield has an international reputation as one of the most widely respected clerics in all of Christendom.  Do you really want your Church to lose any more respect among the primates of the Anglican Communion than it has already lost?  Because, if this deposition does go through, that will certainly happen!  Trust me on this!  It will only serve to make TEC look more foolish.

March 7, 2:04 am | [comment link]
13. deaconmark wrote:

“Bishop Schofield has an international reputation as one of the most widely respected clerics on all of Christendom.”  I’m missing the sarcasm here, aren’t i?  You cannot mean that.

March 7, 2:15 am | [comment link]
14. Bill Thompson+ wrote:

#10 Brian from T19

In thinking about it, perhaps we (or I) am stumbling over the word valid. If we take the word in this content to mean legal or according to the rules, you are right. However, if we use it to denote that the sacrament is efficacious, that is, because he was episcopally ordained the bread and wine still became the body and blood, then you are incorrect after leaving TEC.

Those whom Bishop Schofield ordains after leaving TEC are priests whether TEC acknowledges them as such or not. Just as Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox clergy are priests even if they are not Anglicans. This is why we do not re-ordain Roman or Orthodox priests when they become Anglicans and why we do episcopally ordain Baptists pastors who become Anglicans.

It seemed to me that that what Smuggs was saying was that Bishop Schofield would cease being a bishop and his sacraments would not be efficacious. Bishop Schofield does not stop being a deacon, priest, or bishop just because he leaves and/or is inhibited by TEC. However, if I missed his intent, I apologize.

March 7, 2:18 am | [comment link]
15. jamesw wrote:

Brian:  Until JDS’s Lambeth invitation is revoked he remains a recognized Anglican bishop by the Archbishop of Canterbury.  If Rowan revokes his Lambeth invitation, then his Communion position is like that of Gene Robinson - not recognized by Canterbury as an “official” Anglican Communion bishop, but recognized as an Anglican bishop by several member Provinces of the Anglican Communion.

I wonder, Brian, what you think the validity of Gene Robinson’s sacraments are????

March 7, 2:20 am | [comment link]
16. robroy wrote:

To the best of my knowledge, the only bishops that have been invited to the tea party are diocesan bishops. Suffragan bishops, retired bishops, assistant bishops, that African bishop in London whose name is escaping me right now, etc., are all Anglican bishops but do not have an invitation.

March 7, 2:30 am | [comment link]
17. Brian from T19 wrote:

Thanks Bill+

March 7, 2:34 am | [comment link]
18. Brian from T19 wrote:

It is not necessary for your House of Bishops to depose +John-David.  He would simply ignore the deposition, and so would we.  And rightly so!  The only persons to whom that deposition would really mean anything are your Presiding Bishop, the House of Bishops, Mrs Bonnie Anderson….the President of the House of Deputies, and everyone else in power in The Episcopal Church.

Actually, it is necessary.  If you follow the logic of the Constitution:

A Bishop may not resign jurisdiction without the consent of the House of Bishops.  Constitution II.6

Now if they accept his resignation:

Each Bishop of this Church…who…has resigned a jurisdiction, shall have a seat and a vote in the House of Bishops. Constitution I.2.

So he would still have a seat and vote.  He, of course, knows this and is simply trying to play a political game.  That is why the HoB needs to depose him.

March 7, 2:38 am | [comment link]
19. Revamundo wrote:

42 of 47 congregations voted to leave TEC but now 12 of the 42 have changed their minds…is that right?

March 7, 2:43 am | [comment link]
20. remaining wrote:

Revamundo,
You’ve got 2 things not right.  Your stats. Where’d you get those?
And your description of who voted.  You understand conventions?

March 7, 3:43 am | [comment link]
21. scott+ wrote:

get a life:

Brian from T19 wrote:

It is not necessary for your House of Bishops to depose +John-David.  He would simply ignore the deposition, and so would we.  And rightly so!  The only persons to whom that deposition would really mean anything are your Presiding Bishop, the House of Bishops, Mrs Bonnie Anderson….the President of the House of Deputies, and everyone else in power in The Episcopal Church.

Actually, it is necessary.  If you follow the logic of the Constitution:

A Bishop may not resign jurisdiction without the consent of the House of Bishops. Constitution II.6

He is still the Bishop in the DSJ.  DSJ is no longer part of the episcopal church.  He did not resign his jurisdiction, only his membership in the House of Bishops.

It really is that simple.

March 7, 6:02 am | [comment link]
22. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#12 Agreed.  Many hold a candle for dio San Joaquin and the persecuted church.  Were the ABC to be seen to be supporting the persecution that would be another matter -
#15. We will see if the Church Society are correct in their assessment of him.

March 7, 6:33 am | [comment link]
23. William Witt wrote:

The door of reconciliation will always be open.

This brought a smile to my face.  The bishop has a sense of humor.

March 7, 8:22 am | [comment link]
24. Vintner wrote:

ODC, following the vote and following the welcome of the archbishop of the Southern Cone, the churches were instructed to subsitute the name of the archbishop (or whatever he is) for KJS.  I tried to go back on T19 and give you a quote, but that December link is no longer active and I can’t find an archive on SF.  Follow it up on your own.  I’m not spending any more time looking but since yours was the only voice from SJ that said it didn’t happen, I suspect that Im right.  I’m open to being proved wrong, though.

Your quote that brought a smile to my face this morning, though, was:

He is a godly man who prays for many and especially those who persecute him as our Lord instructs us to do.

    PRICELESS.

March 7, 9:08 am | [comment link]
25. Anglicanum wrote:

#8: Actually, I was defending your bishop’s right to publicly pray for his own primate.  We’re on the same side.  Pray for whoever you want, all I was saying was that there’s nothing wrong with instructing the priests in the diocese to drop KJS and add someone else in the Prayers of the People.

March 7, 9:14 am | [comment link]
26. TLDillon wrote:

Smuggs,
The only reason that must have made you smile is becuase you obviously do not either read the bible or you do not ascribe to its teachings or both.

Matthew 5:44
  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,...

and this is especially true at this time we are in now:

Matthew 10:36
  And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.

March 7, 11:44 am | [comment link]
27. TLDillon wrote:

Anglicanum,
My apologies for my misreading or misunderstandng your comment. Forgiveness asked? It is at times very difficult to know just who is jabbing and whom is not especially written out where inflection is not heard and especially when those from your own neighborhood, sort-of-speak, are turning on you as stated in the above scripture…Matthew 10:36.

March 7, 11:48 am | [comment link]
28. Vintner wrote:

I can’t believe that I have to explain this.  ODC, the grammatical structure of the sentence of your post that I was referring to made it sound as if our Lord was instructing us (yourself included) to persecute Schofield.

March 7, 12:14 pm | [comment link]
29. Milton wrote:

One Day Closer (to avoid irritating acronyms! “ODC”), Smuggs is perfectly aware of the passages you quoted and likely even agrees with their spirit.  He was just having fun with the ambiguous phrasing that could be taken as the Lord instructing us to persecute +Schofield!

Of course the point being clouded in all this fuss is that since DioSJ has left TEC, +KJS is no longer their presiding bishop, therefore it is perfectly proper to, at that point in the prayers of the people, pray instead for ++Venables, their new archbishop.  Is anyone seriously suggesting that +Schofield has forbidden people to pray for +KJS as simply another lost person for whom Jesus also died?  If that’s what you really mean, come out and say so with some proof.  Otherwise, please stop getting folks riled up by clouding a non-issue.

March 7, 12:19 pm | [comment link]
30. TLDillon wrote:

Smuggs,
I can’t believe I have to tell you this! Go re-read it! And if it is possible for you to even utter the words, “Oops! Sorry, ODC, I mis read your post” that would be great. But, I fear it is not in you! Prove me wrong, I would love it!

Where in this sentence do you get your idea that I said in a grammatical way that God instructs us to persecute Bp. Schofield?

He is a godly man who prays for many and especially those who persecute him as our Lord instructs us to do.

As usual….liberalism twisting peoples words and re-writing comments, statements, articles, books, etc….to fit their own interpretation so not having to say “Oops! My bad. Sorry!”

March 7, 12:27 pm | [comment link]
31. Milton wrote:

ODC, cool off!  Smuggs is absolutely correct, the grammatical construction of the sentence is ambiguous, unlike the Scriptural passages to which it refers.  The sentence as written may have “instructs” referring either to “persecute” or to “pray”.  Though I usually find myself on the other side of the fence from Smuggs, this obviously was simply a tongue-in-cheek remark without malice.  The Sarah Hey we all know and love has made many a more barbed but facetious comment on T19 (elves tremble!) and elsewhere!  Perhaps you could pray for Smuggs at the Prayers of the People this Sunday!  wink

March 7, 12:46 pm | [comment link]
32. TLDillon wrote:

Milton,
He and a mass of others are in my daily prayers not just once a week!

March 7, 12:49 pm | [comment link]
33. Allen Lewis wrote:

Here is a question for the elves, perhaps?  I noted that on The Lead, part of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington’s (DC) “Episcopal Cafe” , there is a link to a .PDF of this same letter which has “Katherine” instead of “Katharine” and “Jefforts” instead of “Jefferts” for the spelling of the Presiding Bishop’s name. I not that in the copy posted here that the spelling “Jeffets” has been corrected but not the “Katherine” misspelling.  Was this an editorial oversight?  Why not just post it as it was written?

March 7, 1:46 pm | [comment link]
34. Choir Stall wrote:

Abandoning the Communion of this Church?
How can you abandon that which is not united? How can you abandon the individualistic agendas of 110 bishops? How can you abandon that which picks and chooses its own canons’ efficacy? How can you abandon that which does not exist?

March 7, 1:50 pm | [comment link]
35. Revamundo wrote:

remaining…how nice of you to respond. And so civil too! I got the information here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_95311_ENG_HTM.htm

March 7, 2:19 pm | [comment link]
36. libraryjim wrote:

ODC,
“He is a godly man who prays for many and especially those who persecute him as our Lord instructs us to do.”

Reads as two clauses, due to the lack of punctuation:
1: He is a godly man who prays for many
and 2: and especially those who persecute him as our Lord instructs us to do.

Thus the second clause can be interpreted to read:
“...as our Lord instructs us to persecute him.”

A grammatical re-writing of the sentence would perhaps be:

“He is a godly man who prays for many and especially those who persecute him, as our Lord instructs us to do.” (Note the placement of the comma.)

or,
“He is a godly man who prays for many and especially, as our Lord instructs us to, for those who persecute him.”

Do you see the difference? It’s sixth grade grammar, if that late.

Peace!
Jim Elliott
Who often gets grammar wrong, as well.

March 7, 3:18 pm | [comment link]
37. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “The Sarah Hey we all know and love has made many a more barbed but facetious comment on T19 (elves tremble!) and elsewhere!”

Hah hah—the elves do not “tremble”—the elves look forward to my comments as they sharpen their scimitars on their teeth.

March 7, 4:34 pm | [comment link]
38. miserable sinner wrote:

To me it seems to depend on whether one views the See of San Joaquin as vacant/vacated.  It further seems that the majority of the HoB views it as such or will soon.  Of course the FedCons couldn’t disagree more.

I’m personally for consideration of the Civil War precedent to declare this diocese as “absent” by the TEC hierarchy until a more charitable accord can be accomplished amongst the warring parties.  Unlikely I know.

Lenten blessing to all,

March 7, 5:59 pm | [comment link]
39. TLDillon wrote:

Libraryjim,
Thank you! I admit to ignorance on grammar as I am not an english professor or teacher, nor a writer, nor a linguist. I am just a plain ol’ person who writes what is on her heart and will most likely mis-spell a word or two and never intentionaly! do not nit pick people for grammar when there are bigger issues at stake. But, I do appreciate the lesson.

March 7, 8:17 pm | [comment link]
40. Anglicanum wrote:

ODC: Hey, don’t worry about it.  Glad we got it cleared up.

March 7, 9:45 pm | [comment link]
41. libraryjim wrote:

Yeah, well, with me it comes with the job (Reference Librarian—hence the nickname).  So, no charge. grin

Actually, in forums I tend to allow much leeway in terms of spelling and grammar errors, as I know how it is to get typing on a theme, and have the fingers out-pace the mind.

Sometimes, though the error is just too much fun to ignore. wink
Just roll with the flow.

Peace!
Jim Elliott <><

March 7, 11:16 pm | [comment link]
42. Ladytenor wrote:

There is a logic to this procedure, from the Episcopal Church’s point of view.  (Which of course, most of you would not agree with, but the logic is there nonetheless.)

1.  A diocese cannot leave.
2.  Bishop Schofield is behaving as San Joaquin has done so.
3.  Bishop Schofield has resigned his seat in the House of Bishops, but not his seat as Bishop of San Joaquin
4.  The diocese of San Joaquin is still part of the Episcopal Church (see #1).
5.  Therefore, Bishop Schofield must be deposed so that a process can be put into place to elect a new Bishop of San Joaquin.

Now I realize that #1 is in contention and that everything else falls without #1.  But from TEC’s point-of-view, there needs to be a diocesan structure to serve the parishes that remain, and to eventually plant new parishes to serve Episcopalians in other communities.  And if TEC doesn’t depose Bishop Schofield first, they would be acknowledging that the diocese has indeed left, which would be acknowledging that it had the right to do so. 

So, for goodness sake, what’s the problem?  Let the deposition go forward, so the Episcopal remnant can pick up the pieces and move forward.  If the deposition has no efficacy in your eyes, then ignore it—as I’m sure Bishop Schofield intends to do.

March 8, 7:33 am | [comment link]
43. remaining wrote:

revamundo,
You sound a little sarcastic, but kinder than you have (in no. 35).  I re-read mine, and it sounds a little rough.  Sorry if it did.
I see where you got that info.  Thanks.  Here’s what I was asking you about.
I’ve been to some conventions.  I’ve never heard anyone say before a vote, “How do the congregations vote on this?”  Its clergy and delegates, clergy and delegates, how does the CONVENTION vote?
(Someone showed me I was wrong on delegates instead of deputies).  Whatever, you don’t vote by congregations!  I guess clegy and delegates could vote on smoething because thats how their congregation wants them to,  but they don’t have to!
So that quote is wrong!  Every congregation shouldve voted AFTER convention about what they were gonna do.  That’s your real count.
(That’s what I meant about “You undersatnd conventions?”  Sorry.)

March 11, 4:17 pm | [comment link]
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