Dan Martins is reporting on his blog, Confessions of a Carioca, that six of the eight members of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin have refused to become members of the Province of the Southern Cone. Bishop Schofield has renounced his membership in The Episcopal Church and joined the Province in South America.
The message from Bishop Schofield:
On December 8th at our Diocesan Convention the overwhelming vote to transfer from the Episcopal Church to the Province of the Southern Cone was passed. At that time I became a member of the House of Bishops of that Province. Therefore, the Standing Committee, which is my council of advice, must be composed of clergy members who are Anglican priests of the Southern Cone. This is required by Diocesan Canons and the Archbishop of the Southern Cone of South America, who writes:
“In welcoming you to the Province of the Southern Cone on December 8th it is my clear understanding that even though you are allowing a period of discernment for those clergy who are still undecided, it would be highly inappropriate for any officer or leader within the Diocese of San Joaquin to be currently undecided or clearly within the Episcopal Church and continue as an officer or leader. The requirement governing each diocese of the Southern Cone is that all members of Diocesan Council, Standing Committee, and those selected as representatives at Synod be recognized Members of this Province.”
Therefore, this morning I received the resignation of those members of the Standing Committee who do not meet the above qualifications. Communication and correspondence related to the Standing Committee should now be directed to the new President of the Standing Committee, ---------, at the Diocesan Offices.
Then we have this , from the duly-elected president of the Standing Committee:
During the Standing Committee meeting of January 19th, the Bishop determined that the elected members of the Standing Committee who had not publicly affirmed their standing in the Southern Cone [whose congregations are in discernment, some over the legality of convention's actions] were unqualified to hold any position of leadership in the Diocese, including any elected office. He pronounced us as unqualified. No resignations were given. The question of resignations was raised and rejected. The members of the committee at this morning's meeting were quite clear on this point, we did not resign, we were declared unqualified to hold office. The Bishop's decision affects up to 6 of the 8 elected members of the Committee including all of the clergy members.
The Presiding Bishop's representative and the President of the House of Deputies are scheduled to meet with members of the Diocese of San Joaquin to discuss the future of the church in central California.
Read Dan Martins' comments at Confessions of a Carioca. Until a recent call to another diocese Dan was a priest in the Diocese of San Joaquin.
UPDATE: more details emerge on the "firing" - read it at Fr Jake Stops the World
FURTHER UPDATE: Dan Martins offers a further update to the story here, including the following from Michael McClenaghan, Rector of St Paul's in Modesto:
Just a quick clarification regarding the changes that took place with the Standing Committee this morning.
Bishop Schofield informed the Standing Committee that members must be composed of clergy and lay members who have openly declared that they are members of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. His letter following the meeting states: "The Standing Committee, which is my council of advice, must be composed of clergy members who are Anglican priests of the Southern Cone. This is required by Diocesan Canons and the Archbishop of the Southern Cone of South America."
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 decison 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.
Monday Afternoon - John-David Schofield responds here. An excerpt:
certain members of that Standing Committee who do not meet the above qualifications, by their own conscience, understood that they were not qualified to remain in those positions unless and until they can accept fully their membership in the Province of the Southern Cone. Every one of these former members of that Committee are strong, faithful and orthodox leaders within this Diocese who are taking the opportunity afforded them for discernment as parish priests and we thank them for their past, present and future service. Communication and correspondence related to the Standing Committee should now be directed to the new President of the Standing Committee, Mr. Ted Yumoto, at the Diocesan Offices.