The Diocese of Washington’s website, Episcopal Cafe, has a letter now up from the Bishop of San Joaquin to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. In the letter he informs Katharine Jefferts Schori that after the Diocese of San Joaquin voted to become a member of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone (the first time an entire diocese left one Anglican province and joined another Anglican province), the Bishop of San Joaquin, John David Schofield, was received into the Province of the Southern Cone’s House of Bishops. He is both a bishop in the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone and he is the bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin.
With this in mind, he officially informs Bishop Schori that as member of the Southern Cone’s House of Bishops, he is no longer a member of the TEC House of Bishops.
“I herewith tender my resignation as a member of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church effective at midnight on March 7, 2008,” he writes.
So what is the Presiding Bishop going to do now? Challenge the Archbishop of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables, to a duel?
THURS. PM UPDATE: The Episcopal News Service reports “Neva Rae Fox, a spokesperson for Jefferts Schori, said the Presiding Bishop’s Office had not yet received the letter by the afternoon of March 6.” How odd. It showed up first at the Diocese of Washington’s sponsored website, the Episcopal Cafe, posted by John Chilton, who’s wife is on the staff of the Diocese of Virginia. But Neva Rae Fox is saying the PB’s office at 815 has not actually “received” the letter yet. Neva makes it sound like the PB’s office hasn’t received a traditional letter in the mail with the envelope and stamp and mail carrier hand-delivering it, you know, like we used to do in the 20th century. But what about e-mail? And if the PB is somewhere between England and Texas, does she carry a Blackberry? Exactly what century is 815 living in? Someone opened an e-mail and it landed on the website sponsored by the Diocese of Washington. How very odd indeed.
Well, it was a good letter.
Of course, the PB is on her way to ordering Schofield’s head on a platter while she’s in Texas. Perhaps finding out that her fellow Anglican primate, Archbishop Gregory Venables has accepted Bishop Schofield and the Diocese of San Joaquin under his jurisdiction so that Schofield is no longer in the House of Bishops has thrown a damper on the chopping block. Her primary problem no longer is Bishop Schofield who, with his diocese, voted to leave one Anglican province for another. Her personal problem is with Archbishop Venables and the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone – full blown members of the Anglican Communion. Do the Episcopal bishops get that?
And the insidious part is that while ensconced at Camp Allen, The PB has arranged for something called “faith-based reconciliation training,” followed by a delightful canonical beheading. Too bad they can’t be patient and just mark Bishop Schofield and Bishop Bena absent and pray for reconciliation like they did the last time dioceses separated. But that’s what happens when litigation drives the mission of the institution instead of truth. Knitting anyone?
FRIDAY AM: It seems apparent that if the TEC House of Bishops votes to depose the Bishop of San Joaquin, they will be making a very clear statement that the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is no longer in Communion with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. If they also vote to depose Bishop David Bena, they will be making a very clear statement that the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is no longer in Communion with the Anglican Province of Nigeria. No wonder so many Episcopal bishops are fleeing to Rome. The Episcopal Church will be making it quite clear that the Episcopal Church is a communion unto itself and it’s catholic heritage, it’s “via media” is debunked. My old friend, c’est la guerre?