Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Episcopal Bishop who seceded is deposed

Yahoo! has a bizzare story on the Bishop of San Joaquin being deposed. The beleaguered national branch of the Anglican Communion took steps and voted to remove the renegade Bishop from ministry.

It's practically the French Wars of Religion meets the American Civil War with a post-modern twist. The Firing of Bishop John-David Schofield is the equivalent of the firing on Fort Sumter for the American Church and will reverberate throughout the world wide communion.

To examine the far reaching scope of this, it's worth noting that Families are pitted against each other, not just diocese against diocese, and conference against conference and whatever other mix can be construed and extracted from therein.

Schofield had very pointed words to say, from the diocese press office (the link is a .pdf):

“It is a shame that the disciplinary process of The Episcopal Church has been misused in this way. The disciplinary procedures used by the House of Bishops, in my case, were intended for those who have abandoned the Faith and are leading others away from orthodox Christianity, as held in trust by bishops in the Anglican Communion – and which The Episcopal Church had previously upheld also.”
"The fact remains that a canon law specifically designed to protect the people of God from wrong teaching and schismatic movements has been used in a clumsy way..."
Ouch, gotta hurt - the Bishop went on to say that the reason that the HOB did this was clearly to retain the diocese's property, perhaps the physical approximations of the spiritual warfare between theological partisans. The national church responded in lots of high language one would expect from the HOB:

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.

If this is the first open 'battle' then the first skirmish which has been going back and forth for months has to be Gene Robinson. He just rejected his quasi-invitation to observe the Lambeth Conference. His response which is telling of the whole Anglican venture.

From the Christian Post:
"I am dismayed and sickhearted that we can't sit around a table, as brothers and sisters in Christ, and study Scripture together. It makes me wonder, if we can't sit around a table and study the Bible together, what kind of Communion do we have and what are we trying to save?"
I suppose it's too late to ask the question Can't we all just get along.

I suppose the next big event will be GAFCON. Hmm.. can't wait to see Ruth's analysis of these events.

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