[i]Remain Episcopal is the Via Media chapter in the Diocese of San Joaquin and opposes the San Joaquin vote. Here is their statement on today’s vote:[/i]
San Joaquin Diocese Will Continue With or Without Bishop Schofield
FRESNO, CA — There’s no such thing as squatter’s rights in the Episcopal Church.
That’s the lesson Bishop John David Schofield will learn if he follows through with his threat to quit the Episcopal Church and take as many members of the San Joaquin Diocese with him as he can, according to national church officials. Schofield claims that he will still be the diocesan bishop after the Dec. 7-8 convention in Fresno in which a majority of delegates are expected to vote to leave the church with him. But national church officials point out that, ecclesiastically speaking, he will be a bishop without a diocese. He can go, but the diocese remains.
The national church’s Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, has publicly notified Schofield, along with the handful of other bishops who are actively seeking to withdraw their dioceses from the Episcopal Church (TEC), of the theological, canonical and legal issues involved, as well as the ramifications of voting to leave the church. [Full text of this warning from TEC can be found at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_91480_ENG_HTM.htm]
If Bishop Schofield does quit the church, the 14-county Episcopal diocese in central California will continue. It will have the support of the national church, surrounding dioceses and those individuals, parishes and groups that remain with the church. Many of the latter are members of Remain Episcopal, a group of clergy and lay people formed in 2003 for the sole purpose of assuring that the Episcopal Church remains alive and
well in this diocese. Speaking on behalf of the Remain Episcopal Board, President Cindy Smith said:
[blockquote]We in Remain Episcopal choose to continue the long-established relationship and affiliation we have with the Episcopal Church in the United States.
We are deeply troubled that Bishop John-David Schofield is aggressively pursuing leaving the church. Remain Episcopal admits that it does not know what his exact plans are, whether to set up his own denomination, affiliate with one or more American splinter groups, or even align with a group in Africa or South America. Even more troubling is his desire to take as many Episcopalians with him as he can.
If Bishop Schofield and the majority of the delegates do vote in December to leave, the Episcopal Church will still be alive and well in San Joaquin, although somewhat smaller. The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin existed long before Bishop Schofield was elected and will continue to exist after he leaves. While he is a bishop, he is not the church, he is not the diocese, nor, by leaving, can he define whether or not the Episcopal Church will continue in this diocese.
Episcopalians in San Joaquin will still gather to pray and worship and celebrate the Eucharist together as part of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.[/blockquote]
The press release can be found here.