The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin will meet in convention (again) on October 15 and October 16, 2010 and I would like to submit a state of the diocese from the pew.
Keep in mind, I am not in the know and I do not sit on any committees though I do have proper credentials to go attend and vote in convention.
Let me start with the really big good issue. This diocese, or rather the laity and some clergy weathered the storm in an incredible fashion. There is a study that has been done that dispels the rumor that "we (those who remained in the diocese during the darkest hours) aren't victims. Our resiliency is documented by an independent study that reported that those who remained were incredibly strong, vibrant Christians of the Episcopal persuasion. We waited patiently for those in positions of power to recognize that we never left the Episcopal Church and we needed help. That was three months (some might say we are still waiting). parishes have since flourished in a way that only the strong could have imagined in December of 2007.
Now, for the three big downers. First, we are still struggling to regain property that we should have never had mistaken for Southern Cone property. This continues to be a function of the conelonialists who refuse to give back that which does not belong to them and barring that, they wish to try and bleed the Episcopal Church of all cash, excess and not excess. This we struggle with.
We struggle with the Episcopal Conference Center of Oakhurst. Currently, we have financial control but nothing else and yet we cannot even get the name changed back to what it should be. Currently, we must call it the Evergreen Conference Center of Oakhurst. Why, because "they" say so. Huh?!
Secondly, we have in our midst, a Communion Partner rector that "switched sides" when faced with the reality that he was going to have problems with his original choice to go south. So, he jumps back to the Episcopal diocese and then gives the diocese a ration of you know what at convention and continues to participate in the Communion Partners, an espoused group of renegades designed to "take over" should the Episcopal Church in the United States end up in the "tank". Here is the issue: we give aid and comfort to a person that is in a group that routinely circumvents proper channels of authority and rejects about everything the Presiding Bishop has done since SHE became presiding Bishop. furthermore, they support the Anglican Covenant, a document designed to be a poison pill for the Episcopal Church. They encourage cross border incursions and would do so themselves except that would "crush" their paper thin facadeof being within the Epsicopal Church.
So we go into our third convention since the split hale and hearty but weighted with some old baggage. The people in the diocese of San Joaquin are strong, resilient and effervescent. We are building a new diocese and a new day. Convention is October 15 and 16 -- come visit (see diocesan webpage) and see for yourself.