House of Bishops consents to deposition of John-David Schofield, William Cox

[Episcopal News Service] The House of Bishops voted March 12 to consent to the deposition from the ordained ministry of the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, and the Rt. Rev. William Jackson Cox, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Maryland, resigned.

Members of the House of Bishops are preparing a statement regarding these actions and for release after a March 12 afternoon session.

The process used to work through these resolutions took into account the importance of prayer and careful reflection before each vote was taken. Specifically, in both cases the House was first led in prayer by a chaplain, followed by small-group discussion, and then plenary discussion. After this, voting commenced. Each vote was cast clearly in the majority, with some nay votes, and some abstentions.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori asked the bishops assembled “to continue to reach out” in pastoral care to both Schofield and Cox.

“Abandoning the Communion of this Church does not mean we abandon a person as a member of the Body of Christ,” Jefferts Schori said.

Full texts of the resolutions follow. Each resolution was considered and voted upon separately. The resolution pertaining to Schofield was acted upon first.

The full text is here.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

42 comments on “House of Bishops consents to deposition of John-David Schofield, William Cox

  1. wildfire says:

    Note that the resolution specifies that the Review Committee made its certification with respect to Bp. Cox on May 29, 2007, but does not specify when he was given notice, stating only that “in the intervening two months since the Presiding Bishop gave notice” Cox has not retracted. In fact, notice to Cox was not served until January by letter dated January 8, 2008. This was not publicized on ENS as was the other correspondence with Bps. Schofield, Duncan and Iker. But Cox reported it to David Virtue, who made it public on January 19, 2008.

    The reason for this secrecy can be seen by reading Canon IV.9 under which the Presiding Bishop and now today the whole HOB are acting:

    The Presiding Bishop, or the presiding officer, shall forthwith give notice to the Bishop of the certification and Inhibition. [There follow provisions for retraction within two months.] Otherwise, it shall be the duty of the Presiding Bishop to present the matter to the House of Bishops at the next regular or special meeting of the House.

    The “next regular meeting” of the HOB after the May 29 certification was the September meeting in New Orleans with Rowan Williams, the Joint Standing Committee and the world’s media in attendance. Rather than follow the canon’s clear language and depose in front of the world an 86-year-old bishop who had already resigned, the Presiding Bishop sat on the certification for seven months until she could include it with Schofield and the targeted Duncan. But the canon under which Cox was just deposed says the PB “shall” give notice “forthwith” and absent retraction has the “duty” to present the matter to the HOB at the “next” meeting.

    If ever ECUSA were to follow its own rules, one would think it would do so when deposing a bishop for failing to follow the rules. But rules are for others.

  2. Pb says:

    I have had the great honor of spending time with Bp. Cox on two occasions. He is a man of God and is being persecuted for the sake of the gospel just as Jesus predicted. This is very sad.

  3. Little Cabbage says:

    Re: Bp Schofield, surely this is no surprise. The HOB probably were urged to do this to continue to build the cases (and future cases) over property in California and elsewhere. It will be years before we see how this all plays out.

    Sneaky stuff!

  4. Little Cabbage says:

    Hey! When will they depose Spong?!?

  5. Revamundo says:

    There’s nothing sneaky about this. Schofield and Cox signed their own depositions just as Iker will.

    [i] Edited by elf. The nasty tone is unnecessary. Should you continue, it will be necessary to put your comments into moderation to be reviewed prior to posting. [/i]

  6. Cennydd says:

    Little Cabbage: Are you KIDDING? It’ll never happen!

  7. William P. Sulik says:

    As St. John Chrysostom said “The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.” It looks like TEC HOB is committed to ensure it’s own chambers in the inferno.

    [blockquote]Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city…

    – Matthew 23:34 (New King James Version)

  8. Cennydd says:

    In your dreams. Revamundo……in your dreams! And in case you haven’t bothered to read the news from our diocese in the last three months, our arrangement with Archbishop Venables is “on an emergency and temporary pastoral basis” until the new Anglican province in North America is organized……as it most assuredly will be. May I suggest you get in touch with our Diocesan Office for full details? And while you’re at it, you might also want to contact the Archbishop himself…..they DO have a website.

  9. Chris Molter says:

    [blockquote]Goodbye and good riddance.[/blockquote]
    FEEL the love and inclusion! FEEL IT, DARN YOU!

  10. Revamundo says:

    Just because you wish something was so doesn’t mean it is. There is one and only one Episcopal Diocese of Sam Joaquin. The ex-bishop and others are thieves and squatters and will soon be gone. Again…if there were an ounce of integrity between any of them, JDS and minions, they’d already be gone to do their thing. Iker is next. Yep, goodbye and good riddance. Once this is over we can all get back to what we’re supposed to be doing.

    [i]Revamundo, you’ve repeated your “goodbye and good riddance” comment in various forms at least 3-4 times on various threads today. We get your point. If you have nothing else of substance to add to the discussion please refrain from comments that merely repeat your pleasure to have these bishops gone.[/i]

  11. William P. Sulik says:

    Is there also only one Episcopal Diocese of Sam Yosemite? If so, give him my regards.


  12. Phil says:

    Revamundo makes a good point: +JDS is no longer a “bishop” (i.e., one of the General Convention organization’s regional managers), but, praise God, he’s still a Bishop in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I think that’s more important to most people, though perhaps not Revamundo.

  13. chips says:

    [i] Comment toward another commenter deleted by elf. [/i]

  14. BillS says:

    I thought I remember reading that the first few days of the HOB meeting were spent learning about reconciliation and listening. I must have been mistaken.

  15. D. C. Toedt says:

    Cennydd [#8] writes: “And in case you haven’t bothered to read the news from our diocese in the last three months, our arrangement with Archbishop Venables is “on an emergency and temporary pastoral basis” until the new Anglican province in North America is organized……as it most assuredly will be.

    You do realize that you’re validating the following argument, which some reappraisers have put forth: TEC’s ordination of +VGR as bishop was likewise “on an emergency and temporary pastoral basis” until the rest of the AC comes to regard committed lifelong same-sex relationships as morally permissible. (Some made the same argument in the 1970s concerning TEC’s first, irregular ordinations of women to the priesthood.)

  16. Phil says:

    D.C. #15, you do realize one emergency case is invited to Lambeth and one is not, right?

    BTW, since I’ve never seen that argument before, well, right now, what was the “emergency” in Gene Robinson’s case? What was going to happen if he wasn’t consecrated?

  17. Christopher Johnson says:

    I’ve seen stretches before but that one has to have snapped you in half. Nobody ANYWHERE claimed that Robbie’s pointy hat was given to him “on an emergency and temporary pastoral basis.” Robbie was an Anglican bishop, end of story, and him getting shoved down the throats of the rest of the Anglican Communion is kind of the whole problem.

    Really lame.

  18. Cennydd says:

    There IS an Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, and the Rt Rev John-David M. Schofield, SSC, is the Diocesan. End of discussion as far as we in this diocese are concerned…..I think.

  19. TWilson says:

    How appropriate we just covered John 11:35 in Sunday’s Gospel reading. You must hand it to Ms. Schori – while her public words show her to be a less-than-passable theologian (any doubt?, listen to the SC transcripts), her ability to leverage and bend the canons to maximum advantage is striking. While I pray for good to come out of the present situation, I fear it will be long before those who look back at TEC risk being turned into pillars of salt.

  20. Phil says:

    By the way, only 2 bishops voted against? And where was the mighty, orthodox, firm-standing “Windsor Bishop” bloc, the bulwark against the onslaught, the only legitimate hope of right-thinking people everywhere?

    [i] Slightly edited. [/i]

  21. Kevin Montgomery says:

    As far I’ve been able to discover, Southern Cone does NOT have a website, at least any official one.

    As for the emergency nature of the constitutional violation, are you saying that a constitution is only to be obeyed when it’s convenient? The one for the Southern Cone, at least according to the English translation provided by Ft. Worth, clearly states that the Province of the Southern Cone consists of those dioceses within the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. To amend the constitution requires a rather involved process that also includes approval of the Anglican Consultative Council.

    So would this particular case fall into the category of “unitary executive” power that can ignore the constitution for the purposes of a supposed “emergency”?

    Also, what happens if the whole idea of a new sectarian Anglican province (or at least one recognized by Canterbury) does not come to fruition ? What then happens when the now overseeing unitary executive church decides to assert “emergency” discipline to bring the new “diocese” into more normative practice? Will you split again?

  22. Stan W says:

    I respect these men for following their conscience and standing for the once and for all delivered to the saints faith. One can take different positions on how to handle the current crisis, but none have the right to attack them in a blatantly unloving and harsh manner.

  23. Phil says:

    Kevin, how about the Southern Cone follows its constitution and canons with as much fidelity as does ECUSA? Deal?

  24. Alta Californian says:

    Many of us who have known Bishop Schofield for many years always expected this would come someday. Not because he deserved it but because it was clear from the first that he and TEC were on diametrically opposed paths. (Funny, many thought it would be over WO).

    Those of us who know him will also know he won’t lose one second of sleep over this.

  25. D. C. Toedt says:

    Phil [#15] and Christopher Johnson [#16], the “emergency” in each case is in the eye of the beholder; and therein lies the problem.

    In the case of +VGR, the argument would be — and mind you, I don’t claim it’s a good argument — a sufficient pastoral emergency arises from the fact that the people of NH voted for him; their desire to be served by the bishop of their choice should not be overriden by the outdated prejudices of benighted ignoramuses who cling to old-fashioned ways (or so goes the argument). The problem with that argument should be obvious.

    Recall that Lincoln unconstitutionally suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. It worked out OK, and in hindsight few criticize his action. But it’s still troubling: if constitutions and canons can be overriden any time the holder(s) of power deem(s) it an “emergency,” one begins to wonder what the point is in having constitutions and canons in the first place.

    Getting back to specific cases: It’s not at all clear to me that +VGR’s election and consecration violated TEC’s constitution and canons, in part because there’s plenty of room for legitimate disagreement about what constitutes the doctrine, discipline and worship of TEC. In contrast, there can be no reasonable doubt that +(?)JDS violated the constitution and canons, for reasons discussed at length here before, and thus his deposition was proper and indeed necessary.

  26. paulo uk says:

    very sad day for TEC

  27. Rob Eaton+ says:

    You may have tried already which does state that it is an unofficial, yet approved site by the province. At least there you can find links to all the other dioceses that have published websites.


  28. The_Elves says:

    Episcopal Cafe has started a post with links to all the secular media stories covering the news of the depositions:

    [url=]You can find it here[/url]

    So far they’ve got links to these stories:

    Episcopal Church Ousts Fresno Bishop – AP

    Episcopal Church ousts San Joaquin bishop in fight over homesexuality – San Jose Mercury News

    Leaders of Episcopal Church oust California bishop – Dallas Morning News

    US Episcopal church deposes two dissident bishops – Reuters

    Episcopal Church throws out Fresno bishop – Modesto Bee

  29. robroy says:

    D.C. #25, there was a canon passed in the late 70’s that basically forbade homosexuality. This has not been rescinded. Kendall+ talked about it in his Colorado talks. Maybe he or the Elves can give the specifics.

  30. justin says:

    Does anyone know which bishop(s) voted against this?

  31. The_Elves says:

    There is a short statement by the HoB re: the deposition of +Cox and +Schofield now posted online at Episcopal Life:

    The full text reads:

    The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church
    Meeting at Camp Allen Conference Center, Navasota, Texas
    March 12, 2008

    Calling on the reconciling love of our Lord Jesus Christ and mindful of our call to be servants of one another and of the mission and ministry of the whole church, we have taken the action of consenting to the deposition of our two brother bishops, John-David Schofield and William Cox. This outcome was is the painful culmination of a lengthy process of conciliation and review led by two Presiding Bishops. While earnest voices were raised asking if there were other alternatives at this time, the conclusion of the House of Bishops is that this action is based on the facts presented to us and is necessary for the ongoing integrity of The Episcopal Church. We seek also to respond to the needs of the people of the Diocese of San Joaquin. We are saddened by what we believe to be this necessary action and we have taken it only after deep prayer and serious conversation. We also wish to express our continuing commitment to work for reconciliation with our brothers and the People of God who have been the recipients of their pastoral leadership and care through the years.

  32. Vintner says:

    [blockquote] very sad day for TEC[/blockquote]

    For some, who have expressed their sadness on TI9 and SF, yes. For a vast majority of others, it truly is not. Because now women in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin will no longer be barred from the ordination process. (NOTE: I am not encouraging a discussion about WO ~ I am simply stating why I, and I believe others, are happy about Schofield’s deposition.) I have been waiting for this day to come for many years and although I maintain I would have been just as happy if he had recanted his personal beliefs and followed what the governing body of the church decided instead of playing as if he were the god of this diocese, he didn’t. So today’s action was taken and on behalf of all the women whom he denied the process to, I am thrilled for it and will congratulate my own bishop upon his return.

  33. Chris Hathaway says:

    How many women are there from that diocese who want to play church?

  34. WestJ says:

    I am glad that Ms. Schori and the other bishops who voted for this recognize that the “faith” promoted by TEC is different from the true faith promoted by the Southern Cone.
    I believe there will come a time when all who formerly came under the title of “episcopalian” will have to choose which church to belong to. The “church” promoted by Ms. Schori et al has as much to do with the historic Anglican Church as Mormonism.

  35. MikeS says:

    So what happened to +Duncan?

    I thought he was threatened with the same deposition in the letter from the Presiding Bishop earlier this year (January?). Did they not vote or did it not come up?

  36. jamesw says:

    Smuggs – so you are asserting that the “abandonment of communion” charge is simply a “smoke and mirrors” proxy for targeting Schofield because he was conscientiously opposed to women’s ordination??? Well, I am glad for the transparency and due process. Seemed to me that the liberals are pooh-poohing conservative objections to same-sex blessings because there would always be a “conscience clause” for those objecting. Pray tell, Smuggs, what false charges will become the proxy to deal with that?

  37. jamesw says:

    MikeS – the PB was clear that she intends to go after Duncan at the next HoB meeting (I think it is the one in the fall).

  38. Vintner says:

    [blockquote] Smuggs – so you are asserting that the “abandonment of communion” charge is simply a “smoke and mirrors” proxy for targeting Schofield because he was conscientiously opposed to women’s ordination???[/blockquote]

    I am not saying that at all and am not sure how you made that jump. I think the charges of abandonment was real. He abandoned TEC. The main reason that I am very happy that he is now deposed was due to his defiance of canon to the detriment of women. But WO played no role, as far as I can tell, in the abandoment charge.

    Chris in #33: I don’t know. How many men do you suppose are there that are playing church already?

  39. NWOhio Anglican says:

    DC #25, a point of information:

    President Lincoln was acting constitutionally when he suspended habeas corpus.
    [blockquote] The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, [i]unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.[/i][/blockquote]
    Article I, Section 9.

  40. wildfire says:

    God’s timing is wonderful. Just as the godly Schofield and Cox are deposed, the extent of the blind eye turned to Paul Moore’s contempt of church teaching and discipline is before the whole world.

  41. dwstroudmd+ says:

    If only two voted against it, and there were no abstentions, then the Windsor Bishops, the mighty,mighty Windsor Bishops, have acted altogether as usual – blowing in the Winds.

  42. D. C. Toedt says:

    NWOhioAnglican [#38], you correctly cite Article I of the Constitution, but that article grants certain powers to the Congress, implying that the power to suspend habeas corpus lies with the Congress. The president’s powers are covered in Article II, which is silent about The Great Writ. It’s long been almost universally agreed that therefore only Congress has the power to suspend habeas corpus; the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed this in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. It’s likewise almost universally agreed that Lincoln’s refusal to honor judicial writs of habeas corpus was unconstitutional; Chief Justice Taney (sitting as a circuit-riding trial court judge) ruled squarely against Lincoln on that point in Ex parte Merryman. Lincoln ignored the ruling.