During a telephone news conference Wednesday from the bishops’ retreat center in Texas, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori appeared to caution Schofield from trying to hold on to church property in the diocese, estimated to be worth millions of dollars.
“Since he is no longer the bishop of San Joaquin, it would be inappropriate for him to retain title,” she said.
Since the Dec. 8 secession vote, competing diocesan structures — one Anglican, one Episcopal — have emerged in the sprawling territory of San Joaquin, which stretches from Sacramento to Bakersfield. There are now two diocesan headquarters, two diocesan websites and a number of painfully divided congregations, including St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Visalia and St. Mark’s in Tracy.
Schofield has continued to work from his Fresno headquarters, celebrating the Eucharist, meeting with clergy and going about the business of the diocese, said his spokesman, the Rev. Van McCalister.
Wednesday’s action was “kind of meaningless from our perspective,” McCalister said. “Our feeling was let’s just be done with it and move forward.”