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SAN JOAQUIN: Diocese Votes To Change Name from Episcopal to Anglican

Diocese Takes First Step to Leaving The Episcopal Church.
Second Vote Still required

By David W. Virtue

FRESNO, CA--Delegates to the 47th Annual Convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin took the first unprecedented step in the history of The Episcopal Church towards separating from the national church, and voted overwhelmingly to amend its diocesan constitution to change its name from Episcopal to Anglican in anticipation of transferring its relationships and communion to an orthodox Anglican Province.

In a vote by orders, 68 of the clergy voted in favor of the amendment, 16 were opposed. The lay delegates voted 108 in favor, with 12 opposed to the amendment to Article II. After the vote was counted delegates rose to their feet and erupted in applause.

The amendment to Article II of the diocesan constitution now identifies the diocese specifically as "Anglican", the term most commonly used through out the world-wide Anglican Communion, whose historical center is the Church of England.

The language of article II, "Anglican Identity" now reads as follows: "The Diocese of San Joaquin is constituted by the Faith, Order, and Practice of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church as received by the Anglican Communion. The Diocese shall be a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and in full communion with the See of Canterbury."

The constitutional amendment will not take effect until a second vote is taken at another annual convention in 2007. The second reading will require a two-thirds majority in order to pass.

The second and final stage of separation will be determined at a special convention called by Bishop John-David Schofield that will see a permanent separation from The Episcopal Church.

The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin, was recently exonerated by the Title IV [Disciplinary] Review Committee of charges that he had abandoned the communion of The Episcopal Church. The investigation was necessary after a complaint was received in June from the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles; the Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb, Bishop of Northern California; the Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes, Bishop of San Diego; and the Rt. Rev. William E. Swing, Bishop of California. Bishop Swing has since retired.

"The Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA) has taken a number of actions which have resulted in a majority of the Provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion declaring that ECUSA is no longer a member in good standing of that Communion," reads the explanation to the proposed changes. "After ample time for reflection and repentance, ECUSA refuses to reverse these actions and refuses to commit not to engage in such actions in the future, jeopardizing its standing as a member of the Anglican Communion.

"The Diocese of San Joaquin now upholds, and has always faithfully upheld, the orthodox Christian Faith in its Anglican expression, and intends to remain a Diocese in good standing within the Communion regardless of the actions and disobedience of ECUSA."

The Diocese passed four additional resolutions.

Resolution 2. Article 3 of constitution changed. The ecclesiastical authority of the diocese is the bishop. In the bishop's absence or ability to act the bishop coadjutor will be the ecclesiastical authority. If there is no bishop coadjutor or he is absent or unable to act or the episcopacy becomes vacant, the Standing Committee shall be the ecclesiastical authority. Passed by orders. Clergy 64 yea, 17 nay, Laity 100 yea, 19 nays.

Resolution 3. Article XII. All diocesan trust funds now or hereinafter created shall be vested in the corp. sole of which the bishop of the diocese is the incumbent. The terms of any trust shall be the sole measure of the extent and use to which it may be put. This means that any monies and funds in ECW trust funds shall be rolled up into the corp. sole. This is a protective clause so that the national church cannot pick off trust funds.

Resolution 4. Article I of the Constitution. Title and Territory. This diocese shall be known as the Diocese of San Joaquin. Its territory shall embrace but not be limited too all that portion of the State of California included in the counties of: San Joaquin, Alpine, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Mono, Merced, Mariposa, Tuolumne, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, kern, and Inyo county. Clergy vote 70 yeas, Nay 13. Laity votes: Yea 103, nay 17.

The following resolution was brought to the floor at the last minute by a diocesan priest. Affiliation in the Anglican Communion. Whereas the 2006 GC of the TEC did not adequately respond to the requests of the Windsor Report, thereby placing the relationship of the TEC to the Anglican Communion in jeopardy; and whereas the primates of the Global South have declared "the time has come to take initial steps to wards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA"; and whereas our worldwide identity as Anglicans in this diocese is contingent on affiliation with a recognized province of the Anglican Communion; therefore be it resolved this 47th convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin direct the bishop, counsel and Standing Committee to assess the means for our affiliation with a recognized ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion, and to bring to the 48th convention of this diocese a detailed plan for the preservation of our relationship with the Anglican Communion. No vote by orders. 166 yeas and 4 nays.

A diocesan spokesman said that while armed police were present at the cathedral there were no expected demonstrations from Episcopal Lesbitransgays. They were anticipated, but not realized.

When Bishop John-David Schofield spoke he brought the house down, VOL was told. There was a joyful eruption from the entire diocese. "We were united as never before, and we go into the future united," said a diocesan spokesperson. "Only one parish wants to stay with the Episcopal Church, the rest are with the bishop. It's been a long time coming, but today saw clarity and resolution the like of which we have never seen before."


BREAKING NEWS....Bishop Schofield was admitted to the hospital Sunday night. He has been diagnosed with gall stones and a light case of pneumonia in one lung. We would ask that at this time, you not visit him in the hospital, and that cards be sent to the office:
c/- June: 4159 E. Dakota Ave.,
Fresno, CA 93726.

They will be delivered to him daily.

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