Episcopal Church Diocese of San Joaquin Threatens Breakaway
The AP reported today that:
FRESNO, Calif. - Headed into a critical vote, an Episcopal diocese in central California is poised to split with the national denomination over what its bishop sees as the threat of moral decay in the church.
The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is expected to vote by Saturday to secede from the U.S. church, becoming the first full diocese to do so because of a conservative-liberal rift that began decades ago and is now focused on whether the Bible condemns gay relationships.
An affirmative vote would place San Joaquin under the leadership of a like-minded, conservative Anglican diocese in Argentina. It is almost certain to spark a court fight over control of the diocese's multimillion-dollar real estate holdings and other assets.
In a letter to parishioners, Bishop John-David Schofield said "those who claim they want to remain Episcopalians but reject the biblical standards of morality ... will — in the end — be left solely with a name and a bureaucratic structure."
The head of the U.S. denomination has warned Schofield against secession.
"I do not need to remind you as well of the potential consequences of the direction in which you appear to be leading the Diocese of San Joaquin," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, head of the U.S. denomination, wrote in a letter Monday to him. "I do not intend to threaten you, only to urge you to reconsider and draw back from this trajectory."
Schofield responded that the diocese would go forward with the vote during its annual convention, which starts Friday. He all but predicted that delegates would choose to break with the Episcopal Church, the U.S. member of the global Anglican Communion.
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