Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A (One) Story of San Joaquin

There is a new book out by Jane Lamb (spouse of bishop Lamb) entitled Hurt, Joy, and the Grace of God. It is a collection of stories about the trials and tribulations of the Diocese of San Joaquin.  Does everyone remember when everyone voted for George McGovern? Hope so.  It is a fascinating set of stories that clearly demonstrates that the ugliness of Mr. Schofield emanated from Fresno out in an ever increasing concentric circle.  Please know that I walk a very fine line here because I know and like everyone of the people that contributed to the book.  In point of fact, I enjoyed the book very much.  And we (I) here in the diocese will always be indebted to Bishop Lamb for everything he accomplished in our diocese to return it from the brink.

Let me also say that I have only been in the diocese since 1994 - by most standards about three blinks.  But the book tends to gloss over much of what occurred from about 1998 through the final convention in which the diocese went "over the moon".  It does not mention the complicity of the Standing Committee right down to one member of the "deposed" standing committee coming to the convention in which Bishop Lamb was elected and made  a statement somewhat akin to  "the body before him was a sham and we needed to turn the reins of the diocese over to the original standing committee".  Much of both the standing committee and the diocesan council went over to the dark side though some realized the error of their ways (losing significant power) and came back.  It did not explain how one priest (now Bishop) set up most of the diocese and then took of for the hinterlands when the going got tough.  Please understand that from the cheap seats events looked way different.  The maneuvers that JDS went through with Mr. Wantland to rename to PECUSA (actually stealing). 

We may not have received much in the way of solid news and facts but it was through the power of Father Jake, Friends of Jake, Leonardo - Eruptions . . ., The Three Legged Stool (James), Preludium to some extent and a bunch more that pressure built such that some form of action had to be taken.  It does not speak  to the fact that some priests stayed and some priests left based solely on self-preservation or lack of stamina or something in that area of the soul.  Is Madera the only church to be sold, I think not.  The same thing happened to several but the one I am most familiar with is St. Dunstan. 

JDS did not plan this in 2003 or 2004 or even 2002. This was probably planned from his arrival as  bishop.  JDS once told a group of women that "Even women have a place in the church." 

At any rate,  the book is a good and a very engrossing read.  It is but one set of stories. It certainly is only close to what we experienced, at least from the nosebleed section of the diocese.
(Modified since this sentence was muddled to say the least.  My apologies to all that said, "Huh?'. F)
Let me finish by saying, buy this book and read it and you will be enlightened. 


IT said...

We at Friends of Jake are delighted that your voice is back. We need you, and thank you for this review!


Bekah Rose said...

I am reading through it a bit more slowly than Fred. I'm experiencing a range of emotions and, like Fred, I remember some of the frustrations of the late 1990s. I remember sitting in a vestry meeting, pre-dating 2003 by what now seems like an eternity, and saying, "it really bothers me that if I felt called to be a priest, I could not do so in my own diocese." Good, happy memories popped into my head as well. I remembered quite fondly, my son being baptized in the midst of turmoil turned to rebuilding. And, one week after that, a not-quite-one-year-old had the pleasure of meeting the Presiding Bishop of the US. Katharine Jefferts-Schori actually held him in her arms. And, I'll tell you what...that boy got it. He did. And he gets what going to the altar is all about better than some adults. He is the future of our church. Whenever I hear people speak as though our church is dying, I try to point out that 1) I don't think it is but also 2) We need to make sure it doesn't. The last happy visual that came to mind was enjoying dinner with my son, my dad, and a visiting priest who came to observe history in the making in the EPISCOPAL Diocese of San Joaquin. So, while I'm not very far into the book yet (and admittedly, I've jumped around rather than reading it in order), it has already reminded me of frustrations that got us here, but also JOY and HOPE. What wonderful things to hold in my memories. Now, we just need to keep moving forward and we need to grow and we need to work together. We need to remember the hurt, but share the JOY and the GRACE OF GOD from our diocese and bring others into it. There is my hope.