Monday, June 16, 2008

More Skulduggery in San Joaquin

It would seem that the Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb and his newly constituted Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin are not content simply to file a lawsuit and seek redress in the courts---they also want to take the law into their own hands. The actions described on the official blog site of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin---holding a secret meeting with members of a mission, without proper notice to the rest of the congregation, at which a "vote" was taken to disaffiliate and join with TEC, and then moving in aggressively to fire the existing Priest and Senior Warden, and change the locks---are tactics unworthy of one who professes the Christian faith. But they are of a piece with the Constitutional and canonical violations by which Bishop Lamb assumed his "office" in the first place. (There are more facts about the situation disclosed in the comments to this story, which is based on the official account.)

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.


  1. We should have expected nothing less of this group of people.

    "The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops." St. John Chrysostom

  2. Fr. Haley (I am presuming you are a priest. Fogive if you are not)

    Thank you for posting this! I am saddened by all that is happening in my Anglican Diocese but we knew it was going to be a bumpy ride when we made our vote. God never promised a life of glory here on earth only in Heaven with Him and to get there we must persevere many trials and tibulations of this world and we will be tested for our faith. But, we are joyful here in the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin even through our woes of what +Lamb and 815 are doing. Why? Because we have God on our side and we know that we are following Him and not the World or those who would change His teaching.

    I really wish some of the other bog sites would put these happenings on their site so that all could be revealed to the bulk of the blogging world instead of letters written by a wounded mother and unrepentant priests and bishops. Reading those letters on the internet is like looking into ones private hell and horror. I just don't think it is right to do that. It's bad enough that the victims are having to relive it in court and everyday, but to have them open for the world to read, well....I thought we could be better Christians than that. We already know what the Bennison brothers are and so does the rest of the world by now.

    But, you are putting up great reading for all of us who need a break from dead news to the news we all need to be aware of that is actually happening now at this time and get on our knees to pray against the enemy and pray for our faithful warriors who are battling right now those things that the enemy is doing. It's like satan is saying to himself "keep them busy with old news that will sort itself out while I go and create more havoc somewhere else."

    So, Fr. Haley, thank you for bringing this tragedy to the masses. Today +Lamb will be here in Fresno setting up shop from 2pm to 7pm and having secret meetings at the Hampton Inn Suites. I live but only 2 miles from that location and I for one willbe on my knees praying hard. Because only satan works in the dark!

    TeriLyn Dillon
    Fresn, CA

  3. TeriLyn, Thank you for your comments. No, I am not a priest; just an old curmudgeon of an attorney who does not like the things that are being done in our name by those who currently head up The Episcopal Church. I try to point out what the right thing to do is under the law and the canons as I have lived and worked with them, and to call attention to some of the more egregious violations of them. (Lately, I have been also concerned with countering the revisionist propaganda in 815's Sunday bulletins.) I shall do my best to continue to earn your respect.