Bishop Schofield's Address This Morning
Undoubtedly you are aware that this meeting of the Diocese of San Joaquin is historic. You may have heard someone say that the diocese is seeking to secede from The Episcopal Church. If that is what you think, then you are wrong! This convention’s business does not begin something new. On the contrary, we in the Diocese of San Joaquin are meeting to state clearly that we intend to go nowhere nor introduce anything new. Instead, we are defending the doctrine, discipline, and worship as this Church has received them. Why, then, are we amending our Constitution? This amending process is the first step in the removal from our Constitution of any reference to The Episcopal Church because --in our opinion-- they have decided to walk apart from the Anglican Communion. ...
The Primates of the Global South met in Rwanda to address many and varied problems of their own but – out of concern for the Anglican Communion and believers in The Episcopal Church – they turned their attention to us and ended by setting up a Steering Committee of their leaders from around the world, among them: John Chew, Archbishop of Singapore; Drexel Gomez of the West Indies and the Caribbean; Gregory Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone, South America; and a three Archbishops from Africa, including Peter Akinola of Nigeria as Chairman. These outstanding leaders took it upon themselves to meet with 10 of us dioceses in
1) What were we prepared to give up in order to achieve unity among ourselves?
2) A single spokesman to be elected by us to speak for all the orthodox.
3) Submission to their authority and --as a demonstration of that – flexibility to allow them under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to prepare a way for us to live in a separate ecclesiastical structure which would eventually provide a way home for many Anglicans who had left The Episcopal Church for conscience sake, and many individuals and parishes that had been isolated in hostile dioceses to be part of the world-wide family of the Anglican Communion.
Working independently of this
This initial vote does not separate us from The Episcopal Church but positions us to respond positively to the Primates. It leads the way for other like-minded dioceses to become part of a structure that remains true to all that The Episcopal Church has received in the past and which, tragically, the present institution and its leadership have chosen to walk apart from.
Your vote and the action of this Convention may be seen as historic within Anglicanism but-- ultimately and spiritually– it is only doing what St. Paul did before King Agrippa – remaining obedient to the heavenly vision – that enables us to follow in his footsteps of proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus Christ and recognizing that His words are spirit and truth. By being faithful in these ways we will discover our lives coming into an ever deepening harmony with God’s revelation of Himself and eager – when we find anything that proves to be a wedge between us and Him – to repent.
How grateful I am that we are not alone! We share this vision in common with thousands in this country along with Bishop Robert Duncan, Moderator of the Network, our fellow Network bishops and dioceses, as well as Primates around the world who continually support and encourage us as we seek not only the Lordship of Christ but to remain faithful in the Anglican Communion.
The Rt. Rev. John-