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Schofield is an Anglican: CEN 7.18.08 p 6. July 24, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, Lambeth 2008, San Joaquin.

The Bishop of San Joaquin, the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield remains a bishop of the Anglican Communion, though his exact status must be clarified, the Archbishop of Canterbury has declared.

The long awaited decision by Dr. Williams as to whether Bishop Schofield is or is not an Anglican, avoids a confrontation at this week’s Lambeth Conference between two bishops of San Joaquin, and allows Bishop Schofield to withdraw from the conference due to his declining ill health, without conceding his right to attend the gathering.

Writing to the Presiding Bishop of the Province of the Southern Cone, Bishop Gregory Venables of Argentina, on July 12, Dr. Williams rejected assertions made by the Episcopal Church that Bishop Schofield and his diocese were no longer Anglicans.

“I understand that Bishop John-David Schofield has been accepted as a full member of the episcopal fellowship of the Province of the Southern Cone within the Anglican Communion and as such cannot be regarded as having withdrawn from the Anglican Communion,” Dr. Williams declared.

“However, it is acknowledged that his exact status (especially given the complications surrounding the congregations associated with him) remains unclear on the basis of the general norms of Anglican Canon Law, and this constitutes one of the issues on which we hope for assistance from the Windsor Continuation Group,” he said.

Bishop Schofield had decided not to attend the Lambeth Conference, Dr. Williams said, “although that decision does not signal any withdrawal from the Communion. I hope there may be further careful reflection to clarify the terms on which he will exercise his ministry.”

Speaking to The Church of England Newspaper during the Jerusalem Gafcon conference last month, Bishop Schofield had said no decision had been made as to whether he would attend Lambeth, though he added that the invitation extended by Dr. Williams had not been rescinded.

However Bishop Schofield, who was confined to a motorized wheelchair for much of the Gafcon meeting, had expressed concerns about attending Lambeth due to his poor health.

Writing to the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, Bishop Venables said Dr. Williams’ words were quite “clear.” While the secession by the bishop and majority of clergy and communicants of the Diocese of San Joaquin from the Episcopal Church to the Southern Cone had placed them in “somewhat new territory; you remain within the Anglican Communion.”

Bishop Venables said he supported Bishop Schofield’s decision not to attend Lambeth due to his health difficulties and applauded his sensitivity to Dr. Williams’ concerns. However, he had sharp words for the bishop of the newly reconstituted Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, the Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb.

Last week Bishop Lamb wrote to all San Joaquin clergy demanding they declare their conformity to the Episcopal Church. These “statements and demands” missed “the mark of Christian leadership” and were vulgar. He encouraged the “clergy and lay members of the diocese to ignore” them, while the Communion wrestled with the issue.


1. Tom Woodward - July 25, 2008

Bishop Lamb’s request that his clergy reaffirm their ordination vows “missed “the mark of Christian leadership” and were vulgar. He [Venables] encouraged the “clergy and lay members of the diocese to ignore” them, while the Communion wrestled with the issue.

George, our ordination vows are at the basis of our ability to function as priests and bishops in any church. These clergy would not have been ordained unless they had made these vows TO THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. Abp Venables is way, way off base here.

I believe there is a deep question about Schofield’s position in the Anglican Communion. His ordination and consecration vows were to THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH — not some reinvented facsimile of it. When he encouraged or permitted the deletion of the accession clause from the C&C of his diocese, he effectively renounced his vows. That leaves him outside the bounds of his authorization to function as a bishop in the church of God.

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