1/25/2008

Ted Yumoto, Executive Council and his choices.

Ted Yumoto is a fine person and has been a vital participant in the life of Executive Council. Most recently he was a contributor to the Executive Council effort to respond to the Draft Anglican Covenant.

It appears that the Executive Committee of Province VIII has decided to replace him as their representative on Executive Council. According to the Episcopal News Service, "The Rev. Jack Eastwood, Province VIII president, said that a decision was made to vacate the seat held by Ted Yumoto of the Fresno, California-based Diocese of San Joaquin after Yumoto told them he "had voted to amend canons and the constitution of the diocese" to realign with the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone."

If he is to be replaced I will miss him at our meetings.

However, I am concerned that Mr. Yumoto's vote at a Diocesan Convention is being used as the basis for vacancy and replacement. In the first place individual votes are meant mostly to be private matters. On the occasions when they become public the person voting can be held a hero or subjected to criticism or both. The vote might be cast and then be seen as a matter of bad judgment, but it ought not be the basis for dismissal from office.

The basis for removal is found in Canon I.4..2 (d) "(d) Should any vacancy occur in the Council through the failure of any Provincial Synod to elect a member, or through the death, resignation, or removal from the Province of any such member, the President and Provincial Council of the Province shall appoint a suitable person, canonically resident in such Province, to serve until the Provincial Synod shall by election fill the vacancy."

The basis for declaring a vacancy cannot be that Mr. Yumoto voted this way or that on a given diocesan vote, but that he has removed himself from the Province.

To prove that we need either Mr. Yomoto's statement that he has indeed removed himself from Province VIII of the Episcopal Church by, with his Bishop, becoming part of another Church, and therefore outside the Province (domestic) in the Episcopal Church or sufficent proof that that has happened from other sources.

The ENS article states,

"Yumoto, reached at his home in Stockton, said he is "in a process of discernment" and declined to comment until after the bishops meet.

"I'm trying to collect my thoughts and let them sift themselves out as we move toward the first meeting of the House of Bishops and what has come down as an inhibition and potential deposition of my Bishop John-David Schofield," he said.

"Things are getting organized and reorganized in my diocese and a lot of things are in flux," he said. He acknowledged that provincial leadership had informed him of their intention to replace him on Executive Council, but declined to say whether he would offer a formal resignation."

All of this is interesting and indicates the delicate situation in which Mr. Yumoto finds himself in, but is mostly irrelevant. The House of BIshops determination as to whether or not Bishop Schofield should be deposed is quite different from Bishop Schofield having stated that he is no longer part of the Episcopal Church and that his Standing Committee must certify that they too have left and joined him. Schofield has done the latter, and Mr. Yumoto apparently has joined him.

What is relevant this this: Bishop Schofield dismissed those members of the Standing Committee who had not indicated that they were joining with him in accepting oversight from the Province of the Southern Cone. Bishop Schofield has made it clear that he no longer considers himself part of the Episcopal Church and by extension of Province VIII. When the dust settled, Mr. Yumoto was still there, as Secretary to the Standing Committee.

According to Dan Martins, in his blog posting, "Update" one of the members of the Standing Committee stated, "
We were told that this standard for serving on the Standing Committee applied to both clergy and lay members, not just clergy, and the clear message was that any members of the Standing Committee who were in discernment regarding their affiliation with the Province of the Southern Cone or The Episcopal Church, or anyone who had made a decision to remain in The Episcopal Church was disqualified from serving on the Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin. No resignations were made by any members of the Standing Committee, either verbally or in writing. Rather, the majority of the Standing Committee members were removed by the Bishop, including all four of the elected clergy members, one lay member, and possibly another lay member who was not able to attend the meeting. There was no misunderstanding about the process of removal during the meeting and the action of the Bishop was recorded in the minutes of the meeting by the Secretary, Ted Yumoto."

So it would appear that Mr. Yumoto is retained on the Standing Committee. Such retention is not available to anyone who has not made a decision to go with the Bishop to the Southern Cone. So it would appear that Mr. Yumoto has vacated the Episcopal Church and therefore Province VIII.

Of course there is the muddy problem that as a general rule lay persons have their membership in parishes and their actual physical or legal address need not be within the parish bounds (if there are any). What do the Canons mean? Suppose I am a member of a parish part of the Episcopal Church and I live, say, three miles from the edge of the Province. I could move across the river from Wilmington, Delaware, and be in a different province. But I might continue to go to a church in the Diocese of Delaware. Am I in Province II or Province III?

My sense is the Canons mean that if a layperson's moves from parish membership in a Diocese of one Province to a parish in a Diocese of another, he has vacated the Province.

That being the case, a second "proof" of vacating the Province would be if Mr. Yumoto belonged to a parish that itself vacated the Episcopal Church by voting as a group to go with the Bishop to the Southern Cone. In that case we would need to show, by Mr. Yumoto's own admission or by other testamony that he had determined that he was part of the group leaving the Episcopal Church.


In either case, Mr. Yumoto could make matters much easier by his admission that he was with the Bishop and with a worshiping community that now viewed themselves as part of the Province of the Southern Cone. Barring that, we have only the fact that (i) He is secretary of a Standing Committee entity related to the Bishop who has required members to leave the Episcopal Church, (ii) He identifies himself with that entity proclaimed in its website to be "The Diocese of San Joaquin, an Anglican Diocese of the Province of the Southern Cone," and that (iii) he has not repudiated either. I hope on consideration he determines to resign his position on the Bishop's committee and declare himself part of the Episcopal Church.

I am not sure that Mr. Yumoto needs to be replaced before Executive Council next meets. What's the rush? But barring his clear affirmation that he remains part of the Province of this Church he ought not come to the meeting. I am not moved by his suggestion that his discernment needs to depend on what happens at the House of Bishops. Either he continues as part of the Episcopal Church or not.

Perhaps there is a way to both honor his discernment process and the need to have only representatives of the Episcopal Church sit on the governing body of the Episcopal Church.

Ted Yumoto has a home. Apparently it is not in the Episcopal Church. He has moved across the divide. He could move back, I suppose, by being part of the reconstituted Diocese of San Joaquin. I would hope that if he did so he might retain his place on Executive Council.


8 comments:

  1. He is president of the Standing Committee of a diocese in the Southern Cone -- their rules are that no one can serve on a standing committee unless a member of their Province - seems pretty clear to me. This is no reflection on his character - just that you can't serve in both Provinces at once.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, I know. And that, not his vote on an issue at the Diocesan Convention ought to be the basis of his removal.

    I think its more than that you can't serve in two Provinces at once. There will be clear opportunities for conflict of interest and there will be matters discussed in executive session that ought not be shared with persons outside Executive Council, something hard to do if you are part of the governance of another Province.

    ReplyDelete
  3. These poor people,
    We must remember how misled they were/are by statements from those who would have the Episcopal Church removed from the communion. The confusion in their minds/souls. Remember a collar and a Mitre speak with great power to the pew, and the pew more often than not accepts what they hear as the whole truth. What is heard from the pulpit is often accepted as truth, these people were told they were protected and there would be no discernible change in status. The leadership of our church failed the flock by being more concerned about ministering to their fellow shepherds.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fr. Mark,

    It is good to pray for, and long for unity and reconciliation. But, it is also good to say, "enough." The gentleman has made a choice, and that comes with a price. We have to stop saying it is OK for the schismatic folk to act. Rather we have to say, "We recognize we do have a need for you, but you simply must behave."

    It is time to notice when someone proclaims alternate allegiance. It is also time to weep.

    FWIW
    jimB

    ReplyDelete
  5. Bruno and jim...I hope you understand... I believe Ted has indeed left and needs to be replaced on Ex. Council. My concern is that it not be because of the vote in December but because of precisely the facts that Ann and Jim state...that he has given every indication that he is part of Bishop Schofield's group now part of the Province of the Southern Cone.

    It seems to me important that we clearly exclude him on the basis of having left the Province, rather than on a vote. I have occasionally voted the wrong way or out of stupidity (gasp!) and suppose that those who elected me might hold me to account the next time there is an election. But that is different from holding me accountable to the specifics of the canon - namely that I am part of the Province.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Fr. Mark,

    Point taken. I don't think the simple fact that he voted for or against something is per se a reason. But(!) when the vote effectivly says to TEC "I have no need of you" (how Biblical is that?!?) then the situation is what it is.

    As I noted, a time to weep.

    FWIW
    jimB

    ReplyDelete
  7. Mark, I believe you are correct in your assessment of Ted's position. But I believe you are also correct in your contention that the basis of his removal from the Executive Council should not be how he voted on certain questions at the December diocesan convention, but, rather, on his subsequent behavior. I hope that others, especially the Presiding Bishop, apply a similar standard to those caught up in the San Joaquin maelstrom. Her letter to the members of the SJ Standing Committee is troubling because she is either penalizing them for the way they voted at convention (which can only be by hearsay evidence), or is manufacturing "acts" of the Standing Committee which have never been taken.

    ReplyDelete
  8. My question would be whether a Bishop could canonically 'dismiss' members of a duly elected standing committee. Perhaps he could, under the canons of the Southern Cone -- but could that happen in TEC? Hard to believe.

    ReplyDelete

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.
Rule: PLEASE DO NOT SIGN OFF AS ANONYMOUS: BEGIN OR END THE MESSAGE WITH A NAME - ANY NAME. ANONYMOUS commentary will be cut.