Diocese Nears Break With Episcopal Church December 3, 2006Posted by Michael in Religion.
Some Americans are getting fed up with the liberal trends of the American Episcopal Church.
FRESNO, California (AP) — In a rebuke of the Episcopal Church, a conservative diocese voted Saturday to affirm its membership in the worldwide Anglican Communion after distancing itself from the national church over the ordination of gays and women.
San Joaquin, California, Bishop John-David Schofield called it a first step toward a formal break with the U.S. Anglican denomination, though the proposal makes just minor changes to the diocese’s status.
“We have given a signal as to what direction we intend to take,” Schofield said Saturday. “We are now in a position to take seriously any offer the archbishops around the world should come up with.”
In America and the U.K., the Anglican Communion is declining. The growth of the Anglican Communion is in the Third World, where the churches tend to be conservative and opposed to the ordination of gays and women.
Delegates also approved rewriting the Diocese of San Joaquin’s constitution to bring its trust fund under the bishop’s control, a move immediately questioned by Episcopal leaders.
The denomination’s canons don’t give local dioceses sole ownership of church property, said Robert Williams, a spokesman for the Episcopal Church.
I’ve seen this in happen in my own Lutheran fellowship. Schisms that arise from theological issues rapidly focus on financial issues.
Divisions erupted in 2003 when the Episcopal Church, the U.S. wing of the 77 million-member Anglican family, consecrated the first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Traditionalists contend that gay partnerships violate Scripture.
Schofield, who refuses to ordain women and gays, has publicly accused the church’s first female leader, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, of promoting heresy. Under his leadership, the Fresno-based diocese has cut back funds sent to the national church and considered a plan to affiliate with an Anglican diocese in Argentina.
See? A conservative Episcopal diocese in California finds more in common with the Anglican church in Argentina than it does with other Episcopal churches in America.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with the ordination of women. Fifteen years ago, I would not have said that. Since then, I’ve studied the scripture on this point in depth, and I’m OK with female pastors. These days, I take communion from a female pastor at my church.
Practicing gay pastors are an issue for me.
National church leaders had been putting pressure on Schofield and other conservatives to ease off their threats to break with the denomination. They proposed creating a leadership position called a “primatial vicar,” who would work with conservative dioceses, performing functions that normally fall to Jefferts Schori, including consecrating local bishops.
Schofield called that offer “absolutely inadequate,” but suggested a truce was not off the table.
Six other conservative dioceses also have rejected Jefferts Schori’s authority but have stopped short of secession. The 2.2 million-member Episcopal Church estimates that nearly 115,000 people left the church from 2003 to 2005. At least one-third of those departures stemmed from parish conflicts over Robinson.
H/T to Retired Geezer.