Monday, March 30, 2009


What if you had a chance to do it all over again?  What would you do?  How would you do it?  How and why would you prioritize?  Well, we are about to get that chance.  There is a piece of property with land and buildings and a school that will be returned to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin on the first day of July 2009.  It is right next door to an Episcopal Church that remained Episcopal Church that never left and in fact picked up some of the remaining folks from this other church. Let's assume that both parishes can survive but barely and one or the other parish would do very well if it was just that parish.  To complicate matters, there is another parish within about 10 miles that will be returning at or around the same time.  That parish is small, not so much a parish as a group of Anglicans looking for a chaplain, as opposed to a parish that reaches out they would rather stay within themselves.  So there you have a thumbnail sketch of a very complicated process that was spawned under the prior administration but now we have the opportunity to sort it all out.  
So, what would you do?  Close one; close two, open two and close one or close them all; split a single clergy and have multiple facilities, i.e., one parish and three churches;  just what would you do?  How would you do it? Priorities?  Please, no slapdash answers, no "let's feed hemlock to one or the other" and no "pie in the sky in the by and by (anyone remember Reverend Ike?) well none of that.  What I would like to have are thoughtful, prayerful ideas on how to view this opportunity and from all sides.  Please do not whine about who got what -- that does not matter anymore.  We must be about our Father's business and I truly believe whining and crying and thinking about coulda woulda shoulda are all gone.  I am not going to worry about those that will leave and I know there may be a "bigger picture" but we need to worry about just this picture right now.  
So, give it your best shot -- I am all ears.

I was going to publish this in Latin but I  would rather be understood than cute.
Where charity and love are, there God is.
The love of Christ has gathered us into one flock.
Let us exult, and in Him be joyful.
Let us fear and let us love the living God.
And from a sincere heart let us love each other (and Him).

Where charity and love are, there God is.
Therefore, whensoever we are gathered as one:
Lest we in mind be divided, let us beware.
Let cease malicious quarrels, let strife give way.
And in the midst of us be Christ our God.

Where charity and love are, there God is.
Together also with the blessed may we see,
Gloriously, Thy countenance, O Christ our God:
A joy which is immense, and also approved:
Through infinite ages of ages.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


We here in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin are about to get exactly what we have asked for, i.e., all those parishes and buildings and properties and trust funds and of course the people that go with them.  Well, maybe not all the people, maybe just some of the people.  The funny thing is I think we have not fully understood what that means.  But the reading of John's gospel today has put me on to at least some of what we must be about.

When Jesus came to Jerusalem he came because he knew his time was at hand.  Funny, the Greeks that came helped establish that.  The Greeks present in the city of Jerusalem said to Phillip, "Sir, we should like to see Jesus".  In these words comes the baseline for those here in San Joaquin as we press forward.  What does that mean?  Well, from where I sit in my pew it means at least two things.  We must take back those who have left and welcome them with open arms.  Must we be oblivious to those facts that have preceded this return?  No, I think not BUT, we must not hold this event(s) against them.  We must not "punish" those that return.  They like us must be about the same thing and so we simply ask them if they would like to see Jesus also?  If the answer is yes, welcome aboard!  

Alas! there is another group that also asks, "Sir, we should like to see Jesus.", that group is the marginalized folks that John David Schofield refused to allow in to our diocese.  There are many, those women who consistently wanted to see Jesus but were told they could only see him from afar.  There are the handicapped who would like to see Jesus but they could not get into our churches or up to our communion rails because of the physical barriers that were not removed.  There are our LGBT brothers and sisters that were told by our "beloved" bishop they didn't exist or worse, they could be fixed, as if they were a leaking water faucet.  There are the "liberals" who were driven from this diocese for fear they would "contaminate the water".  All these people have returned because they should like to see Jesus. 

Our baseline, our big tent idea, should extend to cover all those who want to see Jesus.  Not some, not a bunch, not most but ALL those who  want to see Jesus.  How do we go about doing this I am only beginning to glimpse that which we might do for I am but a single layperson that sits in the pew most Sundays.  But, let's read on just a wee bit further:
Now the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  I tell you most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.  Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  If a man serves me he must follow me, wherever I am, my servant will be there too.  If anyone serves me my father will honor him.   Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say: Father, save me from this hour?  But it was for this very reason that I have come to this hour.  Father, glorify your name!" John 12:23-28
 (I use the New Jerusalem bible.)

This is a tall order, and one not meant to be taken quite as literally as perhaps was the original intent but there is much truth for those of us here in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.  I have also higlited a part that I focus on at this time.  That trouble notwithstanding, for those who are here and for those who will return and for those who are yet to come keep in mind that when you "climb into our pulpit" the words carved into our hearts are "Sir, we should like to see Jesus."  

A hat tip to Leonardo, James and Lynn.

Friday, March 27, 2009


I had an opportunity to visit some of the "dark side" blogs for reasons too convoluted to go into but it was an eye-opener!  I had not been to Standfirm for a little while and I try not o go to Virtueonline ever.  I like my news unadulterated and my blogs a little sassy but this last go around was a "cold water in the face" experience.

The discussion involved the ruling in Colorado.  Briefly, Judge Schwartz essentially returned the property of Grace and St. Stephen's Church back to the Episcopal Church.  The folks at the SF blog took just about everyone to task including the judge!  But what struck me was the tone and tenor of the discussion.   There was absolutely no room for forgiveness, reconciliation, repentance, or any other healing process.  Now, I really do understand the tendency to be hurt and to feel  threatened but at some point we are going to have to settle our differences.  For those who come back, with the property it makes those who remained with TEC fearful that "there is one more trick p your sleeve" which in turn will create further distrust and a tendency to "punish" rather than reconcile.  Neither of us can live like that -- not for very long.

For those who return without the property it makes those in TEC sense there is a "game afoot".  Doing the "Texas Twostep" again saps everyone's strength.  Here again, the tendency will be to exact retribution instead of reconciliation.  We need to be about mercy -- we need to be about forgiveness -- we need to be about truthful separation.  

The only thing I can think of that makes the folks at SF so angry is that they hate to see us go.  parting is such sweet sorrow and all that stuff.  The riddle for me is if they are so cocksure that TEC is way too far out and that so many of TEC are headed into the black hole and we are all a lost cause why do they speak so vehemently?  Why do they curse the ground upon which we walk? Whenever they speak of TEC they spit the words out like a bite of rotten apple.  There is no charity in what they say or do.  There is no finality to what they say or what they say we do.  In my day I have spoken with several "evangelists" who believe that if I do not change my ways I am headed to hell and yet they do not speak with the virulence that say a Matt Kennedy speaks or a Sarah Hey.  Growing up with 6 brothers and sisters I have had sibling fights that have ended better than this one.  

We need to realize that we have got to arrive at some ultimate end.  If we both keep hitting our heads against a brick wall all we will get is a bloody forehead.  There must be more too it than that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

WARNING, WARNING: Coffee Out The Nose

In one of the growing number of cases that has been found in favor of The Episcopal Church, a Colorado Springs, CO judge, The Honorable Mr. Schwartz (a distant cousin I think) found that the separatist group currently occupying Grace Church and St. Stephens must give the building and grounds back to the only REAL ANGLICANS in the United States, the Episcopal Church.  Both parties are due back in "cousin's" courtroom shortly to argue about have fast this "vacation" should occur.  In an anti-clamatic twist of fate one of the issues raised by the TEC loyalists:   

Nussbaum also is asking that the congregation exiled from the $17-million Tejon Street property, Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal, be allowed to hire a security team to patrol the property to avoid theft. "We don't want a wholesale looting of the building," said Lynn L. Olney, senior warden of Grace Episcopal.

Actually Nussbaum is an attorney for the Diocese and is asking the judge for the interlopers to be removed by April 1, 2009 so the TEC folks may celebrate Palm Sunday in their building.  I am hopeful that you all understand that "coffee came out my nose" when I read the aforementioned quote. Perhaps the diocese should have done that first.  In fact, maybe if the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin hired a security force to patrol ALL of our buildings the wholesale looting would stop here also!

Monday, March 23, 2009

An Appeal to the Laity of San Joaquin

Gentle persons of the "Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin of the Province of the Southern Cone".  Time is running short.  We in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin are waiting for your return.  We have room in our hearts.  We talk about the "big tent" give us the opportunity to prove just how big we can make that tent.  We are not sure what you have been told but trust me when I say that most of what you have heard, if not all of what you have heard is just not true.  I have taken a look at your diocesan website and found that more and more you folks are not associating with other Episcopalians or other Anglicans, but rather non-denominational congregational churches.  Remember, you were going to get closer to the Anglican Communion?  How does "One Church, Many Congregations" sound to you?  Anglican?  

Have you seen the recent appellate court case New v. Kroeger?  While we may internally squabble about the issue of "who 'really' owns the property" take a look at this court case, it is binding precedent.  The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin owns the property.  For those who incorporated years ago, you lost the property the minute you left for the Province of the Southern Cone.  Please, do not take my word for it, look it up, the property does not belong to you.

Missing your friends?  Hard pressed to remember why you personally left?  Want to come home?  Want to continue to worship in that building you have for all these many years?  Long for the opportunity to pass the peace and receive communion with old friends?  

We are the valley!  Have things changed?  Yeah, they have indeed.  Can we go back to the way it was?  No, sorry but we cannot.  Do we have room under the tent for conservatives and moderates and liberals and all sorts and types?  You bet!  Wanna be a conservative in the 
Episcopal Church again?  We have room for you.  Is it going to be easy?  I do not think so.  Will it require a change in thinking for all of us?  I suppose so.  Are we going to argue?  Yeah, I bet we are.  Are we going to pass the peace and receive communion together in Christ's love?  I certainly hope so.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Peace In The Valley

There is an old saw that goes something like "Sometimes you are the windshield and sometimes you are the bug."  I try to read the blogs fairly "religiously" pun intended and of late I am depressed.  If you do a quick blog roll call you would know what I mean.  So, I offer this little ditty from Elvis ( I an thrilled to say I have seen him live).  This is a song that touches both individually and collectively, for those of us here in the Valley.  I beleive that it is what one might call a double entendre.  I think I will call this a musical interlude and hope everyone gets something from it - if only for a couple of minutes.  BTW, it offers some very nice stills of early Elvis, for those too young to have seen him.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Why Do Old Guys Get To Make War?

The Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola has provided opening remarks for the meeting of the Church of Nigeria's Standing Committee.  He has clearly hit upon a multiplicity of issues we hope he does work on -- perhaps just not what he expected.
We are glad to welcome back home our CANA bishop, Martyn Minns. With us at this meeting is Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh. Bob leads the Common Cause Partnership that will soon metamorphose against all odds into a new Anglican Province in North America.

Apparently he has not gotten the word that Bob Duncan is a Mr. not a Bishop and Martyn Minns is a hanger-on.  Bob may lead the CCP but it ain't gonna metamorphose into anything of the sort.  He needs to check with a couple other provinces.

 We have not been able to deal with the fundamental problems of our brokenness nor see through decisions taken at previous meetings of the Primates.  

Healing begins with forgiveness and you refuse to pass the peace with Bishop Schori nor will you break bread with her.  

On my return from Egypt, I issued a letter to the faithful titled ‘a wake up call’. I also sent an open letter to our chairman, Dr Rowan. In both, I made it clear that America is not thinking of backing off from its new religion. And the rest of us desiring to keep the unity and structures of the Communion by all means including losing our faith and churches risk the danger of becoming a church that has the appearance of being alive but in reality are no more than what Prof John Mbiti once described as the ‘living-dead.’  

How about instead of talking all the time you try listening.  God gave us one mouth and two ears so that we could listen twice as much as we talk.

GAFCON continues to wax stronger. Membership of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans is growing in many parts of the world beyond our own imagination. Here at home, some of our senior lay leaders (Fellowship of Christian Patriots, FCP) organised a two-day celebration of the ideals of GAFCON with special lectures and service of praise and thanksgiving to God. We are deeply grateful to the Christian Patriots. I urge all our members to obtain copies of the lecture. The GAFCON Primate’s Council will meet in the UK after Easter. I ask for your prayers.  

If you worked within the existing structures of the Anglcian Communion and got rid of GAFCON and FCA and AAC and the Communion Partners and all the other alphabet soup perhaps we could begin the healing process you so generously wish to start.

 While it is expedient for governments of the developed world to roll out huge sums to bail out the ailing banks to enable the world come out of recession, a more godly and lasting solution is for the operators of the system to do a lot of soul searching and overcome their sin of selfishness, greed and avarice.  

Keep in mind when you point a finger at someone four fingers are pointing at you. How about you stop coveting the property of the Canadian and American churches.

 Nigeria sells its own oil, and rather than invest the proceeds wisely in productive sectors of the economy, its political leaders simply shamelessly and selfishly distribute the money in the name of remuneration packages, outrageous   allowances and totally unnecessary travels for estacode.  

When was the last time you tried to secure the freedom of over 200 hostages taken by the rebels of the areas primarily responsible for producing your oil.  When was the last time you thought about these folks? Oh, doesn't make any difference to you cause your too busy vacationing in the United Arab Emirates. 

 But to succeed we must curb our expensive and senseless taste for foreign goods and services, shun greed and all forms of corrupt practices and begin to ‘cut our coat according to available material’. He, who has ears to hear, let him hear…  

Is there any possibility you might follow your own advice?

There we have it. Archbishop Akinola has once again taken center stage.  Isn't he too old to be a bishop?  Isn't he supposed to retire?

Which Side Are You On

Pete Seeger sings a song that befits at least one of our clergy here in the Central Vally.

Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?

You may be asking who is Fred talking about -- but first let's explain why.  Last week the Anglican Communion Institute published a rather nasty little ditty about the Presiding Bishop and the Chancellor of the Episcopal Church.  I refer you first to this by Fr. Mark:

and then there is this little ditty from our good father, Father Christian Troll over at GAFCON:

Now, you may ask, what has that got to do with the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin?  Well, you may remember back when we were forced to rebuild the diocese in March of 2008 and there was one priest and his loyal followers that came to the convention, pledged their loyalty to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and then promptly blasted the Presiding Bishop, Bishop Lamb, Father Mark, the new standing committee and just about everyone else.  He claimed to be the sole member of the Standing Committee and that he was the only one who was right.  

Then, a little later, in October he came to the convention and said everything would be okay if he could just be a member of the diocese. He posed a resolution that entitled his parish to special treatment.  That was defeated.  His parishioner/delegates tried to hijack a resolution to study the marginalized members of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and that was defeated.  I could go on a little more about money and things like that but that is unseemly.

Now we get this stinging letter from the Anglican Communion Institute that is written and supported by the Communion Partners.  Who are these "Communion Partners".  Well, the top tier is a group of Bishops, many which have one foot out the door.

Formal Name Diocese
The Rt. Rev. James M. Adams, Jr. Western Kansas
The Rt. Rev. John C. Bauerschmidt Tennessee
The Rt. Rev. Alden M. Hathaway Pittsburgh-Retired
The Rt. Rev. John W. Howe D.D. Central Florida
The Rt. Rev. Russell E. Jacobus D.D. Fon Du Lac
The Rev. Canon Paul E. Lambert Dallas
The Rt. Rev. Mark Joseph Lawrence South Carolina
The Rt. Rev. Gary R. Lillibridge West Texas
The Rt. Rev. Edward Stuart Little, II Northern Indiana
The Rt. Rev. William H. Love Albany
The Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson Western Louisiana
The Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith North Dakota
The Rt. Rev. James Monte Stanton Dallas
The Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly Texas
The Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf Rhode Island

But then we also have THIS group of Communion Rectors:

Formal NameGoes ByPositionChurch#BMDiocese
The Rev. Dr. Charles AlleyChuckRectorSt. Matthew’s Episcopal Church970Virginia
The Rev. Christopher L. AshmoreKipRectorTrinity Episcopal Church137Springfield
The Rev. Phyllis BartlePhyllisRectorSt. Jude’s Episcopal Church250Central Florida
The Rev. Christopher Andrew BowhayChrisRectorSt. Thomas’ Episcopal Church1,990Texas
The Rt. Rev. Anthony J. BurtonTonyRectorChurch of the Incarnation3,380Dallas
The Very Reverend Anthony ClarkTonyDeanSt. Luke’s Cathedral1,130Central Florida
The Rev. Anthony F. M. ClavierTonyRectorSt. Paul’s Episcopal Church165Northern Indiana
The Rev. Joseph N. DavisJoeRectorChurch of the Resurrection168Tennessee
The Rev. Mifflin Dove, Jr.MifflinRectorSt. Paul’s Episcopal Church130Texas
The Rev. Robert G. EatonRobRectorSt. John Episcopal Church142San Joaquin
The Rev. Richard H. ElwoodDickRectorSt. Barnabas Episcopal Church680Texas
The Rev. Frank FullerFrankRectorSt. Mark’s Episcopal Church930Texas
The Rev. Ronald Greiser, Jr.RonRectorSt. John’s Episcopal Church290Southern Virginia
The Rev. Laurens A. HallLarryRectorSt. John the Divine3,560Texas
The Rev. John M. Himes, OSFJohnRectorTrinity Episcopal Church387Texas
The Rev. Charles HoltCharlesRectorSt. Peter’s Episcopal Church595Central Florida
The Rev. Thomas HotchkissTomRectorChurch of The Advent425Tennessee
The Rev. Robert T. JenningsRobinRectorSt. Francis in the Fields2,000Kentucky
The Rev. Bennett G. Jones IIBenRectorSt. Paul Episcopal Church250Northern Indiana
The Rev. Stuart Brooks Keith, IIIBrooksRectorEpiscopal Church of the Transfiguration230Colorado
The Rev. Jerome A. KramerJerryRectorChurch of the Annunciation115Louisiana
The Rev. Gerald W. Krumenacker, Jr.GeraldRectorChrist Church260Dallas
The Rev. Ronald James LeBlancJimmyPriest-in-ChargeChurch of the Incarnation20Western Louisiana
The Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr.RussRectorSt. Martin’s Episcopal Church8,500Texas
The Rev. John S. LieblerJohnRectorSt. Andrew’s Church and Academy395Central Florida
The Very Rev. Dr. Jean McCurdy MeadeJeanRectorMount Olivet Episcopal Church100Louisiana
The Rev. Mark A. MichaelMarkRectorSaint Paul’s Episcopal Church255Maryland
The Rev. Ian MontgomeryIanRectorSt. Thomas Church1,121Fond du Lac
The Rev. David G. NewhartDaveRectorSt. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church172Central Florida
The Rev. John NewtonJohnRectorMessiah Episcopal Church425Minnesota
The Very Rev. Timothy C. NunezTimRectorSt. Mary’s Episcopal Church270Central Florida
The Rev. Robert P. PriceRobRectorSt. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church1,414Texas
The Rev. Bruce M. Robison, D.Min.BruceRectorSt. Andrew’s Episcopal Church420Pittsburgh
The Rev. Mark SeitzMarkRectorSt. Matthew’s Episcopal Church325West Virginia
The Rev. Dr. Jerry SmithJerryRectorSt. Bartholomew’s Parish1,300Tennessee
The Rev. Leigh SpruillLeighRectorSt. George’s Episcopal Church2,140Tennessee
The Very Rev. Canon Harold L. Trott, SSCHaroldVicarChurch of Our Saviour70Rio Grande
The Rev. Eric W. Turner, Sr.EricRectorSt. John’s Episcopal Church900Central Florida
The Rev. Guido VerbeckGuidoRectorSt. Paul’s Episcopal Church1,995Western Louisiana
The Very Rev. Dr. Edward A. Weiss, OSB, APCEdwardRectorChurch of Our Saviour263Central Florida
The Rev. John T. WellsJohnRectorEpiscopal Church Of The Holy Spirit350Texas
The Rev. Stockton WilliamsStocktonRectorSt. Peter’s Episcopal Church960West Texas
The Rev. Michael WyckoffMichaelRectorSt. Luke’s on the Lake920Texas
TOTAL RECTORS: 4441,269 

From the latest publication from this group we have this:

 meeting of Communion Partner Primates, Bishops and Rectors is scheduled for April 16-17, 2009 at St. Martin’s in Houston, Texas. Will you join us? Communion Partners is a way to identify with the missionary and the theological distinctives of the Anglican Communion of Churches.

And so in the words of Pete Seeger we ask our "Lone Ranger":

Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Us Valley Folks

Eight counties comprise the San Joaquin Valley, including all of Kings County, most of Fresno, Kern, Merced, and Stanislaus counties, and portions of Madera, San Luis Obispo, Tulare counties. The San Joaquin Valley is home to more than 3 million residents. The largest cities are Fresno, Bakersfield, Modesto, and Stockton. At its northern end, the San Joaquin Valley borders the southern end of the Sacramento Valley. To the west, south, and east, the San Joaquin Valley extends to the edges of the valley floor.

I probably need to put this disclaimer out right up front.  As a current resident of the San Joaquin Valley I am a transplant from Southern California.  Yes, surf, skateboarding, Hollywood and Vine, The Shrine Auditorium, Whittier Blvd, El Monte Legion Stadium, Olvera Street, Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm are all in my past.  Should I misstate at least some history, you may attribute it to that upbringing.  Also, as an itinerant, having moved almost 20 times in our life and having lived on both coasts (Woodbridge, VA) my world view is a little different than the native San Joaquin"er".  

By words, pictures and maps you can get a basic understanding of who we are.  As a matter of fact those belonging to the  the Episcopal Church are not much different than those other Valley people.  But what I would like to focus on is who we will become in the next few years.  

The Valley is a very conservative, Republican based geographic location.  As one drives up and down the valley via either Interstate 5 or US 99 one can still see signs of "Get Us Out of the UN" and "Impeach Bill Clinton".  Nowadays there are more signs about "Abortion stops a beating heart".  So the large portion of valley folk are and have been very conservative.  This comes from the huge migration years and years ago from the mid-west.  Folks from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and other farmers moved here during the dust bowl.  They were farmers then and they are farmers now.  Farmers are very pessimistic and as a rule, conservative in their outlook.  Until the last thirty years or so there were no big cities.  Places like Manteca and Bakersfield and Stockton were tiny specs on the map.  The combination of the lure of "California" and cheap home prices has filled the cities with places like Stockton and Modesto and Manteca and Tracy and Bakersfield all growing into the hundreds of thousands.  The "bucolic farm town" and the quaint dairy village" are all but gone.  This influx has brought "new ideas and a new way of thinking" to the Valley.  Currently there is a clash of cultures going on here that is quiet, but nonetheless changing.  

What does that all mean for us in the the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, now?  What does it mean for the larger TEC?  Well, I believe that we are the epitome of the "Big Tent".  Yep, the valley is a place where everyone can have an opinion, and generally does.  When the court cases are settled, the property is all returned, the focus is "re-focused" we will need to once again build the big tent.  For those who might think that the valley would somehow suddenly go ultra-liberal or ultra-conservative we ask that you re-think that thought.  We are a group struggling with all the issues of the Episcopal Church and we are willing to continue that struggle. Do we have all the answers? Nope! Are we going to agree on everything? Nope. In fact I am hopeful that we start with the idea that we are a big tent and that there is lots of room for discussion and dissension.  That we can in love and charity work on the myriad of issues that we think about, care about, pray about.  Here is the change I am looking for.  At the end of the day we will do two things: Everybody gets to pass the peace and everybody sits down at the table.  I mean everybody! 

If the big tent idea is going to work, or continue to work, it must work here.  It is easy in a homogeneous parish or diocese to say that it works because the differing opinions are not as sharp and the holders of those opinions are not as strident.  We are a diverse group of people with as many ideas.  We are thoughtful but we are also thought-provoking.  We do not change our minds easily or quickly.  Our moves are grindingly slow.  But, we are a loving and caring group that does enjoy a good picnic, a neat carnival and of course the ever popular potluck.  We are gregarious and we believe the Eucharist is the center of our worship.  If the big tent can still work it must do so here.  I do not know about Fort Worth, or Quincy or Pittsburgh.  San Joaquin is the grounds on which to pitch the big tent and make sure that everyone gets underneath it.  Not just for show, but because we say what we mean and we mean what we say.  If the big tent works here it will work everywhere.  There is some talk of breaking us up -- that may certainly solve the problem but it will get no one anywhere closer to recovering the big tent idea.  No, it must be rebuilt right here in San Joaquin!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fingerprints on The Weapon

For those of us in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin I would like to point out some interesting information. Long about 6 or so years ago the Canon to the Ordinary changed from a very capable person to the Reverend William Gandenberger. Things soon really heated up in our diocese. Mr. Gandenberger (he is now been deposed so he is merely a Mr.) started making the rounds with Bishop Schofield. He frequently spoke on behalf of the bishop. Now let me share some digging around.

First, to the best of my knowledge Bill Gandenberger is a member of the board of Trustees of the American Anglican Council and Forward in Faith in America, not John David Schofield. Mr. Gandenberger makes a huge deal out of him being one of the authors of the Jerusalem Declaration. He talk about spending the entire time in Jerusalem locked up behind closed doors and writing the document with "some other folks". Now, he indicates that at that time John David Schofield was out seeing the sights of the town or attending a religious rite of one kind or another but never having JDS so much as add one word to the Jerusalem Declaration nor even having JDS edit the document.

When there are interviews to be conducted by the press, the real press such as the Fresno Bee or the Modesto Bee or pretend press such as George Conger or David Virtue the quotes that come from Mr. Schofield's office always come from him, Gandenberger. That is to say Mr. Gandenberger says JDS believes this or JDS believes that or JDS has this or that to say. Rarely if ever, any more, does Mr. Schofield give a direct statement. This has become more pronounced as time passed and since the split has been an extremely common occurence. There is one quote on Father Simon Howson, where Gandenberger states that Father Howson, despite his being deposed in another diocese, has been found  by Mr. Schofield to be innocent of any charges in New York and could carry on his priestly duties in the Diocese of San Joaquin at St. Francis Turlock Parish.

There are a couple of explanations for this. First, JDS no longer exists and that in order to keep order in the Conealoneialist Diocese they must keep up the appearance that JDS is still among the living. You and I both know this would be a little too fantastic. Second, that John David Schofield is not really in charge any more and that he is the "puppet" that is propped up while Mr. Gandenberger is the real power behind the man. This would lead to the natural conclusion that when JDS does move on Mr. Gandenberger would of course inherit the pointy little hat. Hummmm, think a little about this one. Third, JDS has left virtually no fingerprints since his moving to the Southern Cone and has maximum deniability. He has not talked on his own, he has said nothing incriminating and he belongs to no group that would keep him out of recanting should he choose to do so. He has picked a series of clergy, mostly men, that he could then say he was "hijacked" and now wants to return to the fold. Knowing JDS, I kinda opt for this one. I can see him losing all the litigation, having but a rag tag rear element left of the conealoneialists left and having JDS abandon that rag tag group and decide to return so that he could spend the rest of his retirement in relative ease and peace and quiet. Gosh, where would that leave Mr. Gandenberger?