Wednesday, July 16, 2008

John David Schofield and THE LETTER

With the red finger marks still on his face, with the feel of the sting still fresh and the ringing in his ears still going on let’s take the opportunity to evaluate the letter from Archbishop Gregory Venables to John David Mercer Schofield.

I greet you in the name of the Lord from the UK where the Lambeth Conference is only just about to begin.
[ I want you, John David Schofield, to know that I am here in Lambeth and you are not.]

Though I will be in touch about the Lambeth Conference at a later date, at this critical time in the Anglican Communion, I have several things to share with you to address some of the aspects of the current crisis.
[Though you were there I am not sure you got what I want you to get out of the conference, but never mind, I will tell you what you should get out of GAFCON.]

The Anglican Communion has been in chaos for a number of years. As a whole,the structures of the Communion seem to have been unwilling to speak clearly and definitively about theological foundations and limits.
[ John-David, you and your fellow bishops really screwed up the section of the Anglican Communion known as The Episcopal Church.]

It also recognized the cooperation and mutual accountability of a group of small (but growing) group of Primates who are willing to be clear in affirming the authority of the Bible and other Anglican tenets.
[Clearly, you are not one of those primates, but I am and we, unlike you Americans, know what we are doing.]

We have agreed that we will seek consensus before implementing changes that impact other Provinces in the circle. That is the way the whole Communion should be operating.
[John David, your way to break away without any consensus was wrong. Our way is to seek consensus, clearly we are better, smarter and more intelligent.]

We also agreed with the historical perspective that the structural authority of the bishop of a diocese is not absolute. The church has always taught that bishops are accountable for their teaching and their actions. The difficulty in our day has come when there are Provinces that are unwilling to hold bishops accountable to any discipline in the face of unbiblical actions and pronouncements.
[John David, do you suppose ++Venables means you!]

As you know, by the concerted and agreed action of both the House of Bishops and the Provincial Synod, we are glad to give you full membership and a safe haven in the Southern Cone while a long term solution is found.
[John David, if you are a good boy, you can continue to play but remember I can call it quits any time I want!]

In addition, I have been in conversation with Archbishop Rowan. Over the weekend I received the following message from him: "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.
[ Not John David, Greg Venables has been in touch with the Archbishop. He tells ME you will probably be okay – unless I say differently.]

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 am in agreement with Bishop John-David's decision not to attend the Lambeth Conference.
[John David it is good of you to do so and I am happy to be the one to tell you so. You do, don’t you?]

I do not know if John David Mercer Schofield has EVER been treated in public as badly as this letter seems to treat him. He is left being the “water boy” for the football team. John David spent quite literally years figuring out exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to do it as well as which province to seek asylum. He has hand picked all his clergy and all his staff. John David has promised to deliver the Anglican communion in all its glory to the people in his see. Now he finds out “it ain’t his show no more!” I cannot for one second think JDS enjoyed this letter or the contents or the person who wrote it. He gets this letter from someone he trusted and it says YOU are NOT in charge! I, Archbishop Gregory Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone, am in charge and I will tell you when you can go, when you can stay, what you should think, what you should do.

I am going to make a radical suggestion. The Episcopal Church is a big tent, correct? We are also a loving and forgiving entity that I hope embodies mercy at our core. Soooo, John David Mercer Schofield, wanna come home? Pick up your phone and dial 1-209-952-0006 and come on back. Please do not think that it cannot be done, all things are possible with God! Hey, we are waiting with a fatted calf!

Fr. Scott joins us in blog-land

Pop on over and see Scott Hankin's new blog, Father Scott and Co. - Ask Some New Questions. He has included a thread for general conversation about Lambeth, and an initial "food for thought" post.

Fr. Scott is now on the blog roll here if you don't have time to visit right now - but do go say hello!