Monday 10 December 2007

San Joaquin

So the Diocese of San Joaquin Votes to disassociate with The Episcopal Church.

A while ago I jumped the gun a little saying that Bishop Don Harvey, moving to the Southern Cone Anglican province, in order to organise a continuing Anglicanism within Canada against the existing Canadian Anglicans, would force the Archbishop of Canterbury to act. He does not invite bishops who go from one Anglican province to work against another sitting Anglican province. The symbolic way the Archbishop does this is to invite all bishops to the Lambeth Conference, coming up in summer 2008. To invite such a boundary crossing bishop is to give approval of his bishoping, which he has not so far. However, Bishop Don Harvey was retired Canadian and then became full time Southern Cone. He did not need to be de-invited, as the retired are not invited.

However, now we have Bishop John-David Schofield of the Diocese of San Joaquin who, via a diocesan vote to remove from The Episcopal Church (TEC), and secondly by joining under the Southern Cone, is a full timer with an invitation to Lambeth 2008 (though he may not have accepted - many have not). This time sitting on the fence is not an option for Rowan Williams. If he continues to invite John-David Schofield then he is approving of this intervention while not approving of any other. However, if he disinvites John-David Schofield then Rowan Williams will have shown a definite approval that sides with TEC and goes against the Archbishop of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables, who has been a key figure in the Windsor Process (and probably still is). Gregory Venables is clear that the Diocese of San Joaquin stays in the Anglican Communion, but no other incursion is so recognised.

In the end not acting is acting, and this point is reached.

Dioceses do not move between different national Churches; TEC will simply replace him and whoever else has gone, and seek to recover any property they take. It is the national Church that handles the Canon Law and makes the dioceses.

Update Tuesday 11 December

It is now clear that there was no approval from Canterbury and that there has been some perhaps self-misleading going on in a number of quarters, partly as a consequence that the lack of comments from Canterbury about many of these issues leads too many to hang on to every word and every nuance. An Advent Letter is due from Canterbury, and perhaps it is a good idea to wait for that. No doubt it will be squeezed dry for the significance of every punctuation mark. Apparently it is a little late appearing. The Convocation of Anglicans in North America has just consecrated four more Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) bishops as part of its drive in the United States and Common Cause is about to try its hand as an alternative province from about 18 December. Wanting legitimacy means that they claim to be part of the Anglican Communion, but though he is no pope the fact that Rowan Williams says so little means people hang on to his every word and nuance.

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