St. Francis was packed Sunday, with about 140 people filling every pew and the choir area, with visitors from Bakersfield to Lodi. The crowd fit the theme of the day, from the opening hymn to the sermon: “All Are Welcome.”
“What a joy it is to be here in St. Francis Church,” Talton said during his sermon. “This is the church, St. Francis, a part of the Diocese of San Joaquin and a church cannot be divided. We affirm that, praise God.”
But division did hit the parish in 2007, when the San Joaquin Diocese and 40 of its 47 parishes, including St. Francis, voted to leave the theologically liberal national Episcopal church. It became the first diocese in the nation to do so and renamed itself and its parishes Anglican, remaining with the worldwide Anglican Communion, to which the Episcopal church also belongs.