But why now? And is Bishop Lamb possibly hoisting himself on his own petard here? Word has it that he is planning a "diocesan convention," to be held in Hanford in October—conveniently the same weekend that the Southern Conites are planning theirs in Fresno (45 miles away). We're back to the "you can't have it both ways" situation that I outlined here. If Bishop Lamb wants to maintain the fiction that his "diocese" is indeed the rightful manifestation of the entity that existed as the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin prior to December 8 of last year, then every member of the clergy whom he does not depose is presently "in good standing," and entitled to seat, voice, and vote at any convention of the diocese. The total of those so eligible is in the neighborhood of 110. According to the constitution of the diocese (as it read prior to December 8), a quorum of clergy for the transaction of business would be 37, give or take. He doesn't have that many, but he could be within striking distance if he can cull the total in order to reduce the number needed for a quorum. So there's some incentive to "downsize."
Of course, there is also a quorum requirement in the lay order. In San Joaquin, this requires the registered presence of at least one elected delegate from one-third of the congregations that are in union with the diocese. Since the story that they're sticking to is that dioceses can't leave TEC, and therefore ADSJ hasn't, then that means none of the parishes have either. (See the cyber-version of the Episcopal Church Annual—aka the Red Book. The page for the Diocese of San Joaquin lists nearly all the congregations that were part of the pre-12/8/07 entity, including a direct link to the website of my former parish, which, when one clicks on it, reveals a congregation that is very much gone from the Episcopal Church! The irony is mind-boggling.) So there would need to be at least one delegate from some 15 congregations in order to have a valid convention. This is a harder nut to crack, since a bishop cannot just "depose" a congregation. It takes an act of convention. But if there's no quorum, there's no convention. To top it all off, there is some question whether all the congregations Bishop Lamb claims are part of his diocese have even been informed officially of the upcoming convention, such notice being required by diocesan canons. And this is to say nothing of the congregations (four, as I count them) that were "planted" by the EDSJ after the split; this only raises the threshold for a canonical quorum. Want some Dramamine?
Read it all.
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