FRESNO, Calif.—National leaders of the Episcopal Church have ousted 61 clergy who aligned with a former bishop from the Diocese of San Joaquin who sought to break with the national church.Read it all here.
UPDATE: The Bishop of San Joaquin has issued a statement:
May 27, 2009UPDATE: Anglican Curmudgeon has unearthed some very interesting information, from here. Here's an excerpt:
It is with a mixture of sadness and joy that we received today a letter from Bishop Lamb wherein he purports to depose 36 priests and 16 deacons as of May 22, 2009. It is heartbreaking that The Episcopal Church chooses to take such a punitive action and condemn 52 active clergy with “Abandonment of the Communion” when all of these men and women are recognized around the world as priests and deacons in good standing within the Anglican Communion. Clearly, the traditional understanding of what it means to be a member of this historic Communion has been tragically altered by this action; and thereby The Episcopal Church needlessly isolates itself from their brothers and sisters around the world.
The Diocese of San Joaquin continues to reach out to the central third of California in active ministry. It will become one of 23 founding Dioceses, along with 5 more in formation, within the new Province of the Anglican Church in North America at its first Provincial Assembly in Bedford, Texas, June 22-25. Despite The Episcopal Church’s disregard for valid Anglican Orders and ongoing legal actions against us, the bold vision to bring all to an ever expanding knowledge and joy of the Lord Jesus Christ remains unchanged within the diocese. We rejoice over the growing number of ministries seeking to join themselves with us in the mission field God has put before us.
We are, however, grieved that the leadership of The Episcopal Church feels compelled to create this unprecedented division between the ministries of The Episcopal Church and their brothers and sisters throughout the rest of the Anglican Communion. For our part, we continue to recognize the orders of those who are properly ordained according to the Book of Common Prayer and who have chosen to continue to serve Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior within The Episcopal Church. May God bless all of us who share a common vision of ministry.
+John-David Schofield, Bishop
The Diocese of San Joaquin
signed certificates with the intent of deposing 61 clergy in the Diocese for having "abandoned the Communion of this Church" in leaving to follow the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield and his Diocese out of ECUSA. (H/T: VirtueOnLine.)Read it all here.
Now anyone can do the math. According to the contemporary report of the "special convention" in Episcopal Life, there were just twenty-one clergy present at the meeting. Twenty-one present, plus sixty-one absent (and now "deposed"): that makes eighty-two total clergy canonically resident in the Diocese as of March 29, 2008, exactly as I reported here on April 28, 2008 in this post. Diocesan Canon III, section 3.01, which Bishop Lamb and the meeting claim to have followed, provides (with my emphasis added):A quorum shall consist of one-third of all the Clergy entitled to seats and votes together with at least one (1) Lay Delegate from each of one-third of all the Parishes and Missions entitled to representation. If a quorum be not present at any Convention, no business shall be transacted except that of adjournment from time to time until a quorum shall be present.Quick, anyone: 81 is 3 x 27, so what would be the minimum quorum for 82 clergy to meet at a legal Special Convention of the Diocese? That's right---twenty-eight were required to be present for lawful business to be transacted on March 29, 2008.
And now we come to one, giant, glorious chicken-and-egg problem into which Bishop Lamb, the group he is leading, and ECUSA have gotten themselves. Let me lay out the logic for you:
A. Without a quorum present, Bishop Lamb was not lawfully confirmed as Provisional Bishop of the "Diocese of San Joaquin," under its own canons. (Nor was the "Standing Committee" voted on at the same meeting lawfully elected, either.)
B. Since Bishop Lamb was not lawfully confirmed in that position, he has no canonical authority to depose the 61 clergy he claims to have deposed.
C. Therefore, as far as the "Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin" claims to be a lawful diocese of ECUSA, and one that follows its own Constitution and Canons, those same 61 clergy are still lawfully canonically resident in that Diocese, and no lawful Convention, Special or Annual, can be held without at least seven of them being present.
So until the "Diocese of San Joaquin" properly reconstitutes itself under ECUSA's own Constitution and Canons (which will need to be amended for the occasion), it has no Bishop and no Ecclesiastical Authority---and no way of lawfully electing one.