Bishop Schofield's Storm (revised.)

Bishop Schofield's address to the Diocese of San Joaquin, delivered yesterday (December 1st) has been posted on the Diocesan webpages. It can be viewed HERE.It is quite a statement.

Here is a section:

"The storm? The Episcopal Church has twisted the truth by continuously manipulating the press into reporting a caricature of who we are and what we are standing for:

The Episcopal Church walks apart from the Anglican Communion but accuses US of leaving the Church.

The Episcopal Church challenges and publicly denies core Christian doctrine but accuses ME of breaking vows to uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Church as it has received them.

The Episcopal Church labels us as divisive simply because we would rather remain faithful Anglican Christians instead of complacently accepting the new religion which the General Convention has created.

The Episcopal Church heralds justice for those who act sexually outside of Holy Matrimony while inflicting INJUSTICE on those who uphold God’s Word, Sacraments and His historic Church."

The litany of wrongs is quite long, going back to the ordination of the eleven in Philadelphia.

The address is a sad statement of heavy burdens carried a long time.

More later.

Further reflections on the Bishop’s Address:

(i) There is a video recording of the address available on Stand Firm. See it, if you wish, HERE. It is with very few minor exceptions the address as printed. For some reason the last few sentences of the printed address are not included in the video. Left out is this comment: “How grateful I am that we are not alone! We share this vision in common with thousands in this country along with Bishop Robert Duncan, Moderator of the Network, our fellow Network bishops and dioceses, as well as Primates around the world who continually support and encourage us as we seek no only the Lordship of Christ but to remain faithful in the Anglican Communion.”

(ii) These last sentences are a confirmation that the Bishop is in fact living up to what was asked by the Global South Steering Committee: that those seeking Alternative Primatial Oversight (a) be united, (b) have a single spokesman, and (c) submit to the GS Steering Committee so that they can “prepare a way for us to live in a separate ecclesiastical structure which would eventually provide a way home for many Anglicans who had left The Episcopal Church for conscience sake, and many individuals and parishes that had been isolated in hostile dioceses to be part of the world-wide family of the Anglican Communion.”

(iii) Bishop Schofield made a minor departure from the text to repeat twice the following “this initial vote does not separate us from The Episcopal Church but positions us to respond positively to the Primates.”

He protests too much. He has earlier said that this vote will make it possible on the second confirming vote of the next Diocesan Convention, which he can call when necessary, to leave the Episcopal Church. What the Bishop wants to do is have the Diocese be out of the Episcopal Church, but in the Anglican Communion.

I don’t think he understands that he can leave, the people of the diocese can leave, but in the end there will be still a missionary responsibility for The Episcopal Church to exercise a jurisdiction in the area which is now the Diocese of San Joaquin.

It is absolutely clear that Bishop Schofield has submitted to the requests of the Global South Steering Committee’s emerging plan for “a separate ecclesiastical structure.” He contends that the proposed changes only sets the stage to “respond positively” to what the GS Steering Committee will require of him.

If acted on favorably the Diocesan Convention in San Joaquin will effectively put the Diocese on record that it is awaiting further orders from the GS Steering Committee.

So, what is the GS Steering Committee up to? Things now turn to the February meeting of the whole body of the Primates. There the GS Primates will have to press their point regarding Alternative Primatial Oversight and the need for a separate ecclesiastical structure for realignment dioceses and parishes in the US.

In order to press strongly enough to get a majority of the Primates to go along with a scheme for establishing such an alternative structure, they will have to do considerable homework. It has of course already begun.

(a) The Network dioceses are committed to follow the lead of the GS Steering Committee.

(b) Between now and the time of the meeting we will see more shrill verbal attacks on the Presiding Bishop, questioning her theology and her ability to govern. Every line possible will be cast, but all have one hook: to turn her into the icon of The Episcopal Church gone bad.

(c) There will be great pressure to assure that the agenda of the Primate’s meeting will meet the GS Steering Committee’s expectations, both before hand and at the time of the meeting.

(d) The recitation of wrongs will now clearly go back to the ordination of women and prayer book revision. We can expect to see more of what Bishop Schofield recites in his address and a stronger affirmation of the position that THE prayer book for Anglicans is the 1662 English book.

(e) There will be, as there was in the Bishop’s address, an appeal to ecumenical relations with Rome and the Orthodox. The Bishop references Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter to the Plano Conference, which the Bishop called, “A shadow General Convention.” There will be considerable preparation to “prove” that the Anglican Communion will be legitimate ecumenically only if The Episcopal Church is cut out of the action. This flies in the face of the clear sense by Rome that we are not part of the Church, but are a community of faith (and not a very well ordered one at that.)

It will be a mess.


  1. Gosh, you weren't kidding, Schofield is still upset about Philadelphia.

    As I recall, the ordinations were irregular, not illegal, and that there is some substantive difference between the two...

    But that doesn't change the fact that Schofield thinks that he is doing The Right Thing, and that the rest of the church is doing The Wrong Thing. He accuses us of inventing a new religion. This is not a guy who will deal reasonably.

    Perhaps it is more destructive for us to allow him to remain in the Episcopal Church. Perhaps he should either be allowed to leave, or deposed.

  2. Canonically speaking irregular = illegal. (It breaks the "regula" or "rule"). There was significant debate as to whether the ordinations were valid or not, which is an entirely different question getting into the abstruse realms of sacramental theology -- difficult in Anglicanism since we're a little hazy on whether ordination is a sacrament or not!

    Seriously, I concur with Mark that this reveals a ponderous chain of grievances labor'd on for many a year, link by link.

  3. Dear Bp. Schofield,

    You are right, in fact very far right: you are much too holy for the Episcopal Church. You should leave it at once lest we mere Christians pollute your New Holy Pharisee Rekugion.

    As a NHPR bishop, we are sure you will want to stop making contributions to the pension fund, stop using our physical property, and stop meeting with our less holy members. Please leave any keys you may posess on the desk and get out of our office.


  4. Robert Dodd2/12/06 10:07 AM

    Bp. Schofield's screed deserves very careful reading. I was struck most by his version of the "requirements" specified by the Global South people at the Virginia meeting. Are they really asking the Networkians to submit to the dictates of the Global South -- a subset of the Anglican Communion? Did the ACN attendees sign an agreement to that effect?

  5. Robert Dodd2/12/06 10:19 AM

    In his convention speech, Bp. Schofield perpetuates the malicious fiction that TEC has walked away from the Communion. Consider: 1) In 1968, the Communion took a big step toward democracy with the creation of the ACC. 2) In 1979, it stepped back toward a hierarchical church by creating a second all-primate Instrument of Unity, the Primates Meeting. 3)Since then, as the number of Primates has grown, especially in the Global South, they have become increasingly self-important. 4) Now a subset of them, the Global South, is acting as if the rest of the Primates didn't exist.

    Consider: While the Communion has lurched toward and then away from inclusion of lay and priestly voices,TEC has followed a more or less straight path toward democracy. Who has walked away from whom?

  6. With regard to Bp. Schofield's continued pain over the ordination of women, will someone seriously detail for me what it is about us women that makes us unfit for holy orders other than the convent, apart from quoting scripture. That is, what is it inately about being a female human being that makes scripture exclude us, without circularly quoting scripture, if your warrant is scripture, and, in addition, what personally is it about us that makes us so abhorent in ordained orders? If you are tempted to say "scripture says so here and here and here", please say why you think it says so. And please, in responding, refrain from using condescending language. Maybe it would be best if Mark answered - I trust him to be fair and to understand what it is for which I am asking. And I am asking because quite frankly, not to take one thing away from how sick to death my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are to be continually blamed for the state of the church, the communion and the world, I am sick to death of having my orders challenged just because I am a woman.
    The Reverend Lois Blanche Thien Keen

  7. rev lois,

    I would have thought that you picked that stuff up in seminary. about the priest acting as jesus and jesus was a man and so the priest has to be a man. sorry you're sick of it,but your theological position is a minority one. You can't force people to be ok with something that they believe is not. (as much as TEC has tried)

  8. Dear Anonymous, I did indeed learn that one long before seminary. I also learned all the arguments against - Jesus was circumcised, Jesus was a Jew, Jesus was homeless, therefore all priests must be...I want to know WHY it is that Jesus's sex is the important determinant about him. What is it about being female that makes it impossible for us to represent Jesus. Go deeper. And thanks for trying. Blessings.
    Lois Keen

  9. Robert Dodd: I *think* the Global South "requirements" mentioned in Bishop Schofield's address have to do with the February 2007 Primates' meeting.

    The Network wants the Primates' Meeting to do two things at that meeting. First, to approve a non-geographical "orthodox" province in North America, separate from the Episcopal Church. Second, as the Network phrases it, to "severely discipline" the Episcopal Church.

    Thus, the current Network plan is for the Primates to present ++Rowan in February with a fait accompli. They will have suspended or expelled the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion, and recognized a separate, non-geographical, "orthodox" North American province as the legitimate expression of Anglicanism. ++Rowan will have no choice but to go along. The Communion can't afford to lose Nigeria, and Nigeria will start its own Communion if the Episcopal Church is not expelled.

    Any precipitate action on the part of any members of the Network, but particularly by any of the ALPO dioceses, could damage their chances of achieving this result, especially if the Episcopal Church is able to charge them with abandonment of communion before the Primates expel the Episcopal Church.

  10. And all in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. (re Charlotte's post of 11:21 a.m.)
    Lois Keen

  11. Rev. Lois asks why? An excellent question. I am listening intently. I only hear the sound of silence.


  12. Simple answer, Lois. Men decided what would and would not be in the Bible. They had the same upbringing as the men Jesus tried to teach. His disciples included women but men couldn't deal with that so they wrote women out. Some are still doing it. And sadly, some women believe them. Sad.

  13. The three goals; unity, appoint a leader, and submission to the Primates' leadership, are the same goals that Bp. Schofield outlined at his Deanery talks.

    He claims to have received them from Bp. Duncan by email shortly after their meeting with the 6 Primates in Virginia.

  14. obadiahslope2/12/06 8:38 PM

    "We can expect to see more of what Bishop Schofield recites in his address and a stronger affirmation of the position that THE prayer book for Anglicans is the 1662 English book."
    Most anglicans would agree with the Bishop. 1662 remains the standard for the CofE and the anglican Church of Australia and for most of the anglican Communion.

  15. Given its Scottish roots, the first Bishop-elect of PECUSA having been consecrated by Scottish Bishops, the Episcopal Church adopted the major part of the 1637 Laudian Prayer Book imposed by the martyred Cantuar on the Scottish Church. Its Eucharistic Rite more closely resembles that of the 1549 BCP than the 1662 version.

    Episcopalians will never forswear their Scottish heritage and, if forced by the Primates (who have no jurisdiction anyway outside their own provinces!) to accept the 1662 BCP, will tell those egomaniacs of the ilk of ++Peter Jasper Abuja to get lost!

    John Henry

  16. Tobias, thanks for clarifying.

    anonymous, just because a whole lot of people think something is a good idea doesn't mean it is. After all, the majority position used to be that slavery was good...

  17. Lois . . . .

    God took the form of a man when by the power of His Holy Spirit He was born of the Virgin Mary. Only a man can be ordained as a deacon, priest or bishop because Jesus the perfect Man chose only men to be His disciples and apostles. God made that choice. God can do and will do what He wants to do.

    So, you'll need to take it up with Him.

  18. Pilgrim, weren't all of Our Lord's disciples and apostles Jews?

    Does that mean that my parish needs to hire a rabbi?

  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  20. Bill Carroll3/12/06 2:24 PM

    There's a story about a bishop who opposed women's ordination addressing a group of adults at Virginia Seminary. Since it may be apocryphal and it refers to a living bishop I'll remove the name.

    The bishop in question gave a version of the "the presider represents Jesus and Jesus was a man argument," and said something like "when the priest stands up there, we have to see Jesus."

    Without missing a beat, a stately steel magnolia raised her hand and addressed the bishop by his first name: "But N., when I look at you, I don't see Jesus."

    Wherever this comes from, it does not come from anything Jesus ever said or taught.

    My friend and former colleague, Don Armentrout, used to say that if you don't want to ordain at least some of them, you should stop baptizing them. Same thing goes for clergy with same sex partners, as far as I can tell.

  21. Richard III3/12/06 4:58 PM

    Would one of you more learned individuals tell me what "core Christain doctrine" +Schofield is saying TEC has violated and what new religion is it that GC has created? I though that God, incarnate in Jesus, had an unconditional love for us all and that the two great commandments of the NT were what really mattered, not the judicial laws of the Pharisees.

  22. Bill Carroll's quote ("My friend and former colleague, Don Armentrout, used to say that if you don't want to ordain at least some of them, you should stop baptizing them. Same thing goes for clergy with same sex partners, as far as I can tell.") echoes the position of Karl Rahner SJ in the late 1950s/early 1960s when he and other Catholic theologians advocated Women's Ordination.

    John Henry

  23. Convulted, deceptive and smugly viscious...I just listened/watched another arrogant, tragic and destructive saga of spreading fear, hate and greed at spiritually creepy Anglican T.V.

    Nightmare material for the spiritually challenged.

  24. Perfect critique of Bishop Schofield addressing his Convention:

    "For there are many insubordinate men, empty talkers and deceivers..." (Titus 1:10 RSV)


  25. Anonymous said...
    "Pilgrim, weren't all of Our Lord's disciples and apostles Jews?

    Does that mean that my parish needs to hire a rabbi?"

    No. Jerusalem (Acts) dealt with that. Corinthians 1 as well.

    Bill Carroll said...

    "Wherever this comes from, it does not come from anything Jesus ever said or taught."

    Precisely. Jesus NEVER ordained a woman, nor did he choose a woman as an apostle. Now someone will come back and say "well 1st century Israel, no womens' rights, couldn't go against convention..." Where did Jesus ever bow to convention? He spoke to the Samaritan woman, defended His disciples when they ignored cleanliness laws, and performed worke (healed) on the sabbath. in short, He did everything He could to tweak the noses of the Pharisees. I mean He's GOD, for crying out loud. He was/is not locked into any particular time, He is beyond time. If He had wanted to select women for His priesthood order, He would have done so. Yet nowhere in the new testamemt do we see Him telling a woman that what she binds on earth will be bound in heaven. And He had plenty to choose from: Mary Magdalene, His mother, Lazarus' sisters Mary and Martha.

    Constraining Jesus to 1st century Israel is putting Him into a far tighter box than the PB accuses conservatives of doing, and to ordain women and unrepentant, active homosexuals is to assert that the incarnate Word and Wisdom of God was mistaken, and that we at the end of the twentieth century understand the truth better than he did.

  26. Thanks to all for their responses. Anonymous 1 and Pilgrim gave it a brave try, but I still have not heard what they personally think is so disordered about the female of our species that God (see Pilgrim) has made Jesus' sex the determining factor in who can represent him at the altar. I give you my blessing, Pilgrim, as I gave it to Anonymous 1, for trying and failing. I release you all from answering my challenge and I continue to commit this (now elderly) female body to the work of the priesthood in the name of Jesus the Christ.
    Lois Keen

  27. revlois said . . .

    "I still have not heard what they personally think is so disordered about the female of our species that God (see Pilgrim) has made Jesus' sex the determining factor in who can represent him at the altar."

    Lois, I NEVER said that there is a disorder in women that precludes them from the priesthood. We are all created in God's image: male and female, Jew and gentile, black and white, gay and straight. God loves every one of us unconditionally and there is no inherent "disorder" or defect that makes some of us worse than others. I don't even know if it is sexual, although that does appear to be the differentiation on the surface. All we know is that nowhere in either the OT or the NT does God or Jesus appoint a woman to the priesthood. As I first said, you will have to ask Him; He is the ONLY one who knows the answer but I do know one thing: it will not be because you are a defective or second class human.

  28. ++Kate rocks.

    Episcopal News Service

    December 4, 2006

    Presiding Bishop comments on San Joaquin actions

    [ENS] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has offered the following response to actions of Bishop John-David Schofield and the Convention of the Fresno-based Diocese of San Joaquin. An ENS story reporting on the convention meeting, held December 1-2 with delegates participating from the diocese's 48 congregations, will be posted later today.

    Response to San Joaquin's Convention

    I lament the actions of the Bishop and Convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin to repudiate their membership in the Episcopal Church. While it is clear that this process is not yet complete, the fact that the Bishop and Convention have voted to remove the accession clause required by the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church would seem to imply that there is no intent to terminate this process before it reaches its full conclusion. Our task as the Episcopal Church is God's mission of reconciling the world, and actions such as this distract and detract from that mission.

    I deeply lament the pain, confusion, and suffering visited on loyal members of the Episcopal Church within the Diocese of San Joaquin, and want them to know of my prayers and the prayers of many, many others.

    I continue to consult with others involved in responding to this extracanonical action.

    The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori

    Presiding Bishop and Primate

    The Episcopal Church

  29. ++Katharine Jefferts Schori is responsible and keeps her "eye on the ball!"

    Living in REAL is a wonderful thing and soon +Schofield will be called back into reality after his harmful and unloving/fanatical fantasy and arrogant grandstanding. His twisted words and actions against himself, his diocese, LGBT people a Heterosexual Female Clergy inside and outside of TEC flock are tainted with untruth and dangerous to the spiritual life of ALL Christians.

  30. Fr. Bill wrote, "My friend and former colleague, Don Armentrout, used to say that if you don't want to ordain at least some of them, you should stop baptizing them."

    I don't think some commenters here have paid enough attention to this key point. There are four orders of ministry in TEC, not three - Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons, and all of the Baptised (yeah, the great, unwashed mass of us Episcopal laypeople ;)

    It makes no theological sense to baptise women (or gays/lesbians, or whomever...) if they're not fit for the other, three orders.

  31. Bill Caroll and the Pilgrim seem to have it together. Rev. Lois, unbenownst to you, I assume, you have made Bishops Schofield's case for him. You however left off two legs of the three legged stool. "Outside of Scripture",there is no reason in the world why women should not be ordained. In fact, "outside of Scripture" there is no reason why anyone can't do whatever their little heart desires. If you add "Tradition and Reason" and eliminate those as well, which the church in many respects already has, the sky is the limit. Bishop's Schofields statement tells of history, and the road that the Episocpal Church has chosen to go down. I don't see the Bishop's comments as "being really upset" so much as his just stating what has and is taking place. To deny the divinity of Jesus is simply following the one that Jesus warned about on many occasions. Very Very sad!

  32. Progress, ain't it great?!


  33. IIRC, it's the bar mitzvah that establishes membership in a Jewish congregation for young males. Can anyone tell me whether the Jews, at the time of Jesus, held bat mitzvahs for their daughters? I don't believe there was such a ceremony. To the Jews back then, it would have been no less ridiculous to have a ceremony for their cattle or sheep: women were property, not people of standing.

    Therefore, arguing that women should not be in the clergy because they weren't selected as Jesus' disciples ascribes a special importance to the Jewish culture. Were we to give our contemporary culture this much respect, we would openly embrace gays and lesbians in TEC, as our culture is now opening to them as it did to blacks some forty years ago. Or is it only appropriate to embrace a 3000 yo culture, minus all the iPods and bloggers?

  34. Pfalz Prophet said . . . .

    "IIRC, it's the bar mitzvah that establishes membership in a Jewish congregation for young males. Can anyone tell me whether the Jews, at the time of Jesus, held bat
    mitzvahs for their daughters? I don't believe there was such a

    You recall wrongly. There was no ceremony of either stripe in the 1st century. The terms bar and bat mitzvah do not refer to a ceremony, and they do not establish a young person's place in the congregation. A young person is Bar/Bat Mitzvah whether or not the ceremony is performed. Mitzvah refers to the person, not the ceremony, and it is a celebration of the adulthood that is
    automatically achieved by reaching a certain age. The ceremony is a medieval innovation. Before the age of adulthood, the child's behaviour is the responsibility of the child's parents.
    Afterwards they are responsible for their own behavior. Bat Mitzvah's
    were not celebrated until the 1920s.

    And Jesus DID treat all of the women in - and outside - His circle
    as full members of the community, in opposition to the norms of His day. He defended the adulterous woman and accused her partner; unheard of in His time, and he not only spoke to a Samaritan, but He
    spoke to a Samaritan WOMAN! (GASP!)

    But He still did not choose them to be Apostles.

    Once again I am hearing that the Old Testament God - and Jesus - got it wrong, and we ever so much smarter and spophisticated people of the 21st Century understand the truth better than they did.

  35. But He still did not choose them to be Apostles?

    In the NT 'apostles' are witnesses to the resurrection of Christ. Didn't the Risen Christ first appear to women before he appeared to men? Didn't he tell the women at the empty tomb to tell the (male) disciples that he is RISEN?

    Christian tradition (prior to and up to the Reformation) in as far away places as Gaul/France recognized Mary Magdalene as an 'apostle'; and there were even stained glass windows showing her wearhing a priestly stole (cf. Elisabeth Wendell-Moltmann).

    John Henry

  36. "Once again I am hearing that the Old Testament God - and Jesus - got it wrong, and we ever so much smarter and sophisticated people of the 21st Century understand the truth better than they did." Pilgrim

    A long time ago, around 1993, when I was mentor for an EFM (Education for Ministry) seminar, I had a student who self-identified as a "fundamentalist, Biblical-literalist Episcopalian". He had been in my seminar for almost two years when, having arrived early one day, we had another of our always generously civil discussions about scripture. He said he could believe in Jesus because he knew the scriptures to be plainly and literally true just as written. And yet, he said, I too clearly had a deep faith in Jesus. He said he couldn't see how that could be. And I said, "And yet, it is true." And he said, "I know; it's clear."

    Pilgrim's statement above reminded me of my old friend. He is hearing us say, clearly, that God or the Holy Spirit or Jesus got it wrong and we are now getting it right. And yet, none of us are saying or even thinking that. We're talking past one another, without the advantage I and that other man had of a long-term relationship of spiritual formation and learning.

    I framed my challenge the way I did, not to be funny or sarcastic, but for a reason. I was trying to push the Bp. Schofield's of the church to dig inside and be honest about their presuppositions about women that make them come up with
    reasons, with the appearance of unassailability, to exclude women from holy orders. (At least there was honesty in the men who used to tell me in the early 1980's that women can't be priests because we bleed and there's no way you can tell when we are unclean, and so you can never tell when the altar and the sacrament have been polluted. Gross, but honest.)

    The reason I did this, is because, in venues other than this blog thread, we women clergy are being labeled as unfaithful, pagans, and non-Christians for taking holy orders - I have been told so to my face, not to mention on Virturonline. We are not. We are women of deep faith, as we represent Christ at the Altar. We are Christians, as priests of Christ at the Altar. We worship the Triune God, as faithful baptized persons. I personally have a special devotion to the Virgin (yes, Virgin!) Mary. Bishop Schofield's point of view, evidently, is that this cannot be so, so long as I remain a priest.

    And yet, it is so.
    Lois Keen

  37. Pilgrim, Jesus called 12 human beings. It's YOU (and a "tradition" that's no more than a hundred years old or so, based largely on FALSE, sexist presuppositions---see Aquinas---and always contended against) that looks at the COINCIDENCE of gender, and sees a CAUSE (of determining holy orders).

    Jesus had nuthin' to do with it! (your sexism, that is)

    I get so freakin' SICK of people reading their contemporary prejudices (pal, you take THAT up w/ God!) INTO Scripture (and constant Tradition).

    [Now, please thrill me w/ talk of how "most Christians agree w/ me"---which is NEITHER true, NOR relevant]

    As I've said in my more "colorful" commentary, while the Papists (and their fellow travellers) make kitschy art re Jesus' "Sacred Heart", they should really canonize Another Organ, based upon how important it is in their scheme of things. >;-/


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.