The Superior Court of California, County of Fresno, issued an order and stipulation on August 25th. That order had to do, as far as I can tell, with releasing some funds that were in contention between the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin. The use of those assets were frozen pending judgment that would not be forthcoming for as much as a year.
In the meantime the Camp and Conference Center, called Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst (ECCO), had salaries to pay and maintenance projects to undertake. It appears from The Episcopal Diocese page and Episcopal Cafe that Bishop Lamb felt that those needs required some mutual arrangement and the Judge was asked to lift the freeze on accounts that would pay those costs. It appears from the accounts included in the lifting of that freeze that they were all accounts from which funds for ECCO might be taken. It also appears that the funds could only be taken by mutual consent of both plaintiff (The Episcopal Diocese) and the defendant (Bishop Schofield and the Anglican Diocese).
What we have here is a bit of creative financing in the midst of a lawsuit to see that ministry can in fact take place.
Episcopal Cafe had the headline taken from the Diocesan news release, "Court maintains freeze on San Joaquin Diocesan accounts, which is true enough. The Living Church had a headline that stated, "Court Divides Endowment Between San Joaquin Dioceses, which is also true enough.
The reality is that in the middle of the freeze, the two sides are agreed on putting funds to a good purpose at ECCO, and the two sides did NOT divide the Endowment, but rather took joint responsibility to see that it was used for the purpose for which it was given. The Living Church headline makes it appear that the Court of its own divided the funds prior to final judgment. What the court did was allow the two sides by mutual agreement to use funds for the purposes of camp salaries and upkeep. There is no division, as Bishop Lamb must give assent to any funds used.
A better headline might have read, Contention aside, an important ministry in San Joaquin continues.
The Diocesan web site writes, "Bishop Jerry Lamb called the continuation of ECCO’s ministry “critical.” At the direction of the Episcopal Diocesan Council, the Chancellor for the Diocese and attorneys for the Episcopal Church contacted Mr. Schofield’s attorneys to negotiate terms for interim access to funds to support camp operations, including staff salaries, daily operations and certain capital improvements. According to the order and stipulation, the ECCO management will provide operational and financial information to the Episcopal Diocese and report to Diocesan Council."
Bishop Lamb and Bishop Schofield are to be commended for an action for the common good. You will note that the diocesan notice refers to Mr. Schofield. That is difficult, but proper. In the Episcopal Church he is no longer a bishop having been deposed. This is the first time I remember seeing his title as Mister.