Did San Joaquin "Change Course?" It appears it at least stepped back.

Daily Episcopalian editor Jim Naughton cleared up the matter: Rachel Zoll and Garance Burke cobbled together a second version of an earlier story. That story has been further clarified by Burke's article that can be found on the Daily Episcopalian blog or HERE.

It appears I was wrong. There has been a change. Whether or not it is a step back, you decide.

The step back by the Bishop or Diocese concerns the language of one of the resolutions being presented. It now simply states its case that it is part of the Anglican Communion. No reference to the Episopal Church, its Constitution or Canons. That's the point, of course. The letters from the Presiding Bishop and Mr. Beers concerned issues of conformity to the Constitution and Canons and related vows. Geting rid of Episcopal Church references in the Constituiton of the Diocese is precisely the issue.

I don't see this as a step back, but simply a step to the side. The Dance goes on.

I want to thank Jim for doing some hard work getting this matter clarified. He was able to get the revised standard version of the resolution out on the web quickly. Now we can understand why the reporters thought this was a change. His solid and brief piece on this may be found HERE.

Here is what I wrote earlier on December 1st.:

LL AP Religion Writer, has posted two versions of a story titled, first, "
Episcopal leaders make concessions to conservatives" and then, "Episcopalians reach out to conservatives," both dated November 30th.

An example of the first was posted on
the TimesLeader web pages An example of the second was posted on Houston Chronicle online (Chron.com) . The times of the two articles are hours apart. Titusonnine posted the TimesLeader version. Daily Episcopalian posted the Chron.com version.

The later (Houston) article changes several sentences: The lead, from"
Episcopal leaders offered conservatives more independence from the national church Thursday, just ahead of a California diocese's vote on whether it should split from the denomination." to "Episcopal leaders offered conservatives more independence from the national church Thursday, as a California diocese quietly backed down from its threat of a swift break with the denomination." A second sentence was deleted from the story and then the last sentences a major shift, from

"San Joaquin, which includes 48 congregations in central California, will vote on its ties with the denomination during a diocesan convention. San Joaquin is one of three Episcopal dioceses that opposes ordaining women.

Any break would be finalized in a vote at another convention next year. If delegates approve a split, a protracted legal battle is expected over the diocese's assets, which are worth millions of dollars."


"A spokesman for the Diocese of San Joaquin, the Rev. Van McCalister, would not elaborate Thursday on why his diocese changed course on breaking away. Two weeks ago, Jefferts Schori told San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield in a public letter that leaving would put "many people at hazard of profound spiritual violence" and was akin to violating his ordination vows."

The difference in the two articles, separated by only two hours, led to the conclusion that some new information had been found to the effect that the Diocese had "changed course." Much of the core material was exactly the same. There is no mention in the article of a source for the proposition that San Joaquin's Bishop or diocese had "changed course."

My sense is that the reporter, Rachel Zoll, understood Bishop Schofield's remarks in his letter to Bishop Schori to indicate a change in course. What he wrote was, "In recognition of what you have proposed, I, too, will exercise restraint by not advancing the date of what could be an historic and final act." This is not about a change in course, this is the first part of a either / or pair, the second giving conditions under which he would not exercise restraint.

Perhaps there is more here, but I see only misplaced zeal and fresh headlines, moving from "making consessions" to "reaching out." Perhaps I am wrong. (That sometimes happens!)

All this gives added appreciation for just why textual criticism is such a pain.


  1. Or why we should wait until the "convention sings. . ."!

  2. They diocese has to have two Annual conventions to change their constitution: those two conventions could of course be on the same day.

    The Primates meeting if Feb will establish Duncan as Primate of the US and call on all US "Anglicans" to leave ECUSA. So expect the second convention in early March, and DioSJ to be gone by then.

    The reason SJ is going first is that the legal situation in California makes this almost no risk for the Network; were Pittsburgh, say, to leave, it's possible ECUSA would win in the courts.

    Legally, the right move for ECUSA is probably to attempt to take out all the Network/APO bishops immediately, but international pressure means they can only threaten and bluster -

    so the next offer will be "we'll yet you all go and be a seperate province provided both get to stay in the communion" - but that, too, will be a non-starter.

  3. Anonymous understans what is going on.

    The extremist right in the American Church expects (or hopes) that the Episcopal Church will be expelled or otherwise "seriously disciplined" in some unspecified way at the Primates' meeting in February 2007. But Network dioceses will be excepted from this "discipline"; +Duncan will be recognized as the American Primate.

    Thus the Network expects to achieve its goal, which has always been to REPLACE the Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion, through the actions of the Primates at the February 2007 meeting. They think ++Rowan will have to go along with the majority of the Primates, and they think they have a majority of the Primates on their side. (I don't think either is true.)

    In any case, that is the reason Bishop Schofield has asked San Joaquin to "step back." It's simply a matter of legalities and timing. The schismatics have not abandoned their plans for schism; they've simply made an adjustment in them.

  4. This doesn't seem to me much of a step in either direction from the original proposal. It presumes to elevate a diocese to the level of a province ("a constituent member of the Anglican Communion")and suggests that dioceses and bishops, rather than provinces, mediate "full communion with the See of Canterbury." This is congregationalism with a larger congregation. It doesn't reflect anything I've seen or heard from Canterbury.

    If an individual diocese becomes "a constituent member" of the Communion simply by saying so, there is no reason not to accept New Hampshire or New Westminster making the same assertion. This may be what leads to a covenant, whether many of us like it or not: a desire to clarify of whom the Anglican Communion is constituted. I suppose many are waiting to see who Canterbury invites to Lambeth (even San Joaquin's schedule allows for that).

  5. They diocese has to have two Annual conventions to change their constitution: those two conventions could of course be on the same day.

    I've heard this asserted several times and I don't believe it. Certain events would need to occur between the two conventions -- the terms of the delegates of the first would need to expire and the new delegates would need to be elected.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, 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.