The contrast here could not be plainer: Bishop Schofield has set into place procedures by which any parish or mission in his diocese could go through a period of discernment to decide with which church they wanted to affiliate. No pressure or compulsion; just democratic procedures, announced in advance and easy to follow. But Bishop Lamb sees nothing wrong in trying to force the issue with a sneak attack that leaves more than half of the mission (counting the priest in charge) now locked out of their building, and the priest in charge out of a job, without having gone through any democratic procedure whatsoever. If this is part of his program of "reconciliation," it is hard to see how that program will achieve its objective by the use of such scofflaw tactics.
[UPDATE (06/17/2008): News from a third source has added some nuances to the picture, but has not changed the basic outline. It appears that the priest in charge had lost the confidence of those members of the mission who had decided to go with Bishop Lamb, and that they changed the locks in an effort to keep him from accessing church files and records, fearing that he planned to remove them. Also, there may be support for the move from more than half of the congregation, although whether it is informed support, or just a case of follow-the-leader, remains to be seen, because no noticed meeting to discuss the options was ever called or held. What remains beyond dispute is that Bishop Lamb moved aggressively to exploit the situation by presuming to fire the priest and the senior warden, and that Bishop Schofield's democratic procedures to determine the parish's true wishes in the matter were never followed.]
I am also informed that Bishop Lamb and his Diocese, having succeeded in persuading Merrill Lynch to freeze various funds that had been held in the name of Bishop Schofield's corporation sole and of his diocesan trust, are resisting the return of certain of those funds to the control of the individual churches and missions for whose benefit they were held. That is, even though the funds were not funds of the diocese, but rather held in trust for the individual churches and missions to whom they belonged, and from whom the funds had come in the first instance, Bishop Lamb is not willing to release the funds back to those churches and missions without controls in place that would give him veto power over any expenditures beyond those needed for routine payroll, utilities, and so forth. This would give him powers with regard to those churches and missions that Bishop Schofield had already relinquished (to at least one of the parishes in question). It signals the new kind of authority that TEC's leadership wants in place over anywhere that might have a few restless natives among the population. It also is a foretaste of the kind of centralized authority that will be created under the canonical changes that could be adopted by GC 2009.
These actions will eventually get sorted out in court, when Bishop Lamb will be unable to prove that he is the duly constituted and installed Ecclesiastical Authority of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. Until that time, it looks as though those in the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin had better batten down the hatches and be on the guard against further sneak attacks.