Diocese of San Joaquin meets to decide

San Joaquin, one of the dioceses associated with the theologically conservative Network within the Episcopal Church, is meeting in annual convention this weekend. One of the orders of business it has will be to consider taking the final actions that could attempt to take itself of the Episcopal Church and join it with another Anglican Province.

The LA Times has a good explanation of the situation as of today:

“The bishop of a Central California diocese that is poised to become the first in the country to secede from the Episcopal Church has brushed aside a warning from the national church’s leader and likened the church to an ‘apostate institution.’

Bishop John-David M. Schofield, whose Fresno-based Diocese of San Joaquin is expected to decide Saturday whether to finalize a split with the national church over gay-related issues, complained in a letter released Wednesday that his conservative views had been ignored by church leaders for two decades.

In his letter to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Schofield also stated that he had long sought to shield his diocese of about 9,000 members from what he called the ‘false teaching’ of the Episcopal Church. He said the vote expected at the diocese’s annual convention, which begins today, was the result of the national church’s failure to heed repeated calls by Anglican leaders that it repent for its actions.”

Read the rest here.

UPDATE: Julia Duin, writing in the Washington Times has some additional information from the diocese:

Five parishes: Holy Family in Fresno, St. John the Baptist in Lodi, St. Anne’s in Stockton, St. Matthew’s in San Andreas and Church of the Savior in Hanford do not want to leave, according to the Rev. Keith Axberg, rector of the 200-member Holy Family.

Saturday’s outcome is not “cut and dried,” he said, adding there is a “growing hesitancy” about leaving.

“Several congregations are struggling about the matter,” he said. “I’ve been an Episcopal priest for 23 years and many of the things the Episcopal Church stands for, I appreciate. We can hold a lot of theological positions in tension and still stay together.

“But I think the bishop has been the driving force behind the way this diocese has been going for the past four years.”

Her full article can be found here.

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