Monday, April 13, 2009

Keeping The Promises in Front of Us

Remember back when there was no schism?  Well, maybe not that long ago, how about we remember to the spring and summer of 2007.  Mr. Schofield and Mr. Gandenberger (then bishop and priest ) were making the rounds of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.  He came to our parish in the northern portion of the diocese and was willing to take questions.  Here are some of the important questions and answers and how that has played out.

Question:  Bishop Schofield, I am an Episcopalian and if we move to the Southern Cone where will I worship? 

Answer: Why, right here in your own building.  Nothing will change.

Today:  Those buildings and properties taken by the Southern Cone are being given back to the Episcopal Church where they belong.  So, had you gone with Mr. Schofield (or anyone else such as AMiA) you would be in the process of finding new digs after giving back the stuff that was taken.  One parish is currently preparing to move here in our diocese and the balance of those incorporated parishes will be coming back shortly.  Those in the corporate sole will be back with in 4 to 6 months.  In point of fact, those who went with the Southern Cone will NOT be worshiping in their own buildings.  Furthermore, when you travel, you need to be very careful since there are so few southern cone churches inside or outside of California.  

Question: Bishop Schofield, will we be able to use our own prayer book?

Answer:  Nothing will change.  The Book of Common Prayer will be our prayerbook and nothing  will change. 

Today:  The Global South, the Southern Cone included and all of the GAFCON provinces have adopted the 1662 prayerbook.  That is right, the book prior to anything American.  You pray for the King and Queen of England.  Even the cherished Rite I, or the original Eucharistic prayer from the 1928 prayerbook is not recognized.   Don't forget you folks adopted the Jerusalem Declaration at your last convention.  

Question:  How will this change help us bishop Schofield?

Answer:  Well my people, it will bring us back into alignment with the Archbishop of Canterbury.  We will be closer to Canterbury and the Church of England.

Today:  Not only are you not any closer you are actually further away.  Look for one statement in which the Archbishop of Canterbury directly recognized your deposed bishop, your diocese or your move to the Southern Cone.  AND, the Jerusalem Declaration says that you don't have to recognize the Archbishop of Canterbury -- in fact -- the Archbishop of Canterbury is a throwback to colonialism and is probably a bad thing. 

Question:  Bishop Schofield how will this move fix the issues we face in the church?  Will this resolve the +Robinson issue?  Will this resolve the women's ordination issue?  How about the other things you warned us about?

Answer:  It will clear the path so that we can work on those issues but it will not fix them immediately.  

Today: Well, nothing has changed but the path has become no clearer.  And in fact the Southern Cone is preoccupied with other issues, like money. 

Ladies and gentlemen of the Southern cone -- you are not Anglican, you must use a prayerbook you never even saw and your issues have not been resolved.  By the end of the year you will be worshipping in storefronts and old liquor stores and borrowed churches.  Look at the following:

Picture is a bit dark but it is of the Easter Vigil just last Sunday.  It is of the renewal of life in the Episcopal Church in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.  It is not too late and it is time to renew your life.  Come home, come back to your friends and family.  Come back to where the prayerbook is the 1979 prayerbook and we pray for those things American.  Come back to where you can worship in your own buildings, built by your fathers and grandfathers for the Episcopal Church.  Come back to wrestle with those gnarly issues that we all wrestle with and things will improve.  Come back to the Episcopal Church -- the only true tie back to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion.  Come back -- no come home -- this is where you belong -- why continue the charade when you can resolve these issues and come home.  We continue to be hopeful.