LAMBETH: Bishop Schofield Says He Will Not Attend Lambeth Conference
By David W. Virtue in Canterbury
At the last moment, the Anglican Bishop of San Joaquin, The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield has declined an invitation to attend the Lambeth Conference.
In his stead the newly parachuted- in Episcopal Bishop of San Joaquin, Jerry Lamb has been given an official invitation to attend and has accepted.
In a carefully worded note which the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams sent over the weekend to the Primate of the Southern Cone, the Most. Rev. Gregory Venables, under whose authority Bishop Schofield functions, the ABC made it clear that while he affirms the ministry of Bishop Schofield, it is better that he not attend.
In his letter to Venables, Williams wrote: "I understand that Bishop John-David Schofield has been accepted as a full member of the episcopal fellowship of the Province of the Southern Cone within the Anglican Communion and as such cannot be regarded as having withdrawn from the Anglican Communion. However, it is acknowledged that his exact status (especially given the complications surrounding the congregations associated with him) remains unclear on the basis of the general norms of Anglican Canon Law, and this constitutes one of the issues on which we hope for assistance from the Windsor Continuation Group. Bishop Schofield has elected to decline the invitation to the Lambeth Conference issued to him last year although that decision does not signal any withdrawal from the Communion. I hope there may be further careful reflection to clarify the terms on which he will exercise his ministry."
In response, Bishop John-David Schofield of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin was thrilled to learn that Archbishop Williams continues to recognize him as a bishop in good standing and in communion with the See of Canterbury, according to the Rev. Canon Bill Gandenberger, canon to the ordinary of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin.
Because of health concerns about the effect of another long trip, so soon after the Global Anglican Future Conference, and with his primary concern about his status with the Communion already settled, Bishop Schofield has decided to withdraw from the Lambeth Conference, said Gandenberger.
"Bishop Schofield has elected to decline the invitation to the Lambeth Conference issued to him last year although that decision does not signal any withdrawal from the Communion. I hope there may be further careful reflection to clarify the terms on which he will exercise his ministry."
Bishop Venables said he supported Bishop Schofield's decision to withdraw from the conference "given the rigors of international travel and the work that there is to do in the diocese." Bishop Venables also chastised Bishop Jerry Lamb of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin for what he said were statements and demands "that miss the mark of Christian leadership and fall short of what many consider propriety."
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