[Episcopal News Service] The vicar of St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Atwater, California, in the Diocese of San Joaquin has written to Bishop John-David Schofield questioning his plan to visit the congregation December 23 and asking for clarification about his status as a bishop in the Episcopal Church.The Rev. Fred Risard noted in his December 20 letter to Schofield that St. Nicholas had “already had the pleasure of your annual visitation for 2007.”
“Without notice of the upcoming visit we have not had the opportunity to prepare candidates for confirmation, nor is the Bishops Committee prepared to meet with you,” Risard continued.
The vicar told Schofield that he has the permission of the missions Bishops Committee which is the mission equivalent of a vestry to request the clarifications. Risard also noted that he has consulted with legal counsel.
“We would like you to state to us your pastoral and canonical relationship with St. Nicholas Episcopal Church, and myself,” Risard wrote in his letter. “You publicly stated at our diocesan convention that you no longer are the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, and instead you are a Bishop within the Province of the Southern Cone. As such, we understand your visit is simply to worship with us; there will be no liturgical role for you, neither celebrating nor preaching. The Episcopal Church welcomes all, and you are most welcome to worship, with the purpose of seeking transformation and reconciliation.”
Delegates attending the 48th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin on December 8 voted overwhelmingly to leave the Episcopal Church and to align with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.
Pray for St Nicholas, Atwater. Pray for the Church.