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Two San Joaquin Bishops for Lambeth?: CEN 6.06.08 p 7. June 7, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, House of Bishops, Lambeth 2008, Property Litigation, San Joaquin.

Two bishops of San Joaquin have been invited to next month’s Lambeth Conference.

The former Bishop of Northern California, the Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb, announced last week that on May 27 he had received an invitation from the conference organizers to attend Lambeth 2008 as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

“This a clear sign from the Anglican Communion that the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is the only Anglican diocese in all of inland Central California,” Bishop Lamb said on his diocesan website. “I received this invitation because I am your bishop and, therefore, entitled to attend the Lambeth Conference as the Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

However, Bishop John-David Schofield of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin has also been invited to Lambeth. “Bishop Schofield received and accepted his invitation to Lambeth shortly after the invitations were first issued,” Canon William Gandenberger told The Living Church magazine. The invitation has not been withdrawn, he noted.

A spokesman for the Conference confirmed to The Church of England Newspaper that Bishop Lamb had been invited to Lambeth. However the presence of two bishops of San Joaquin, may present problems of protocol and ecclesiology for Archbishop Rowan Williams.

Last October, Dr. Williams wrote Central Florida Bishop John W. Howe reaffirming the traditional view that the diocese, not the national church or province, was the primary ecclesial entity within the Anglican Communion.

“The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such,” Dr. Williams said. “The Bishop and the Diocese” were the “primary locus of ecclesial identity rather than the abstract reality of the ‘national church’,” he noted.

While US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori nominated Bishop Lamb to be interim bishop of the Episcopal diocese, and called a special convention to ratify his nomination, a growing number of US dioceses have issued formal protests against her actions, and do not recognize the appointment.

Bishop Schofield’s actions have further complicated matters. While he resigned his membership in the Episcopal House of Bishops, he did not resign his see—transferring it and the diocese to the Province of the Southern Cone. Bishop Schori declined to recognize this transfer and sought to depose Bishop Schofield at a meeting of the House of Bishops this spring. The legality of this action is likely to be tested in the California courts.

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