Friday, March 28, 2008

San Joaquin [Episcopal] diocese prepares for its future

Note the subtitle "Reorganization effort to continue by 'taking care of people'" Maybe it's my Italian-by-marriage roots, but that can sound a little ominous, depending on how you read it!

From EpiscopalLife Online [boldface mine]:

Members of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin are gathering in Stockton, California, March 28 to take two major steps in reorganizing the diocese.

The first step will be a "service for healing and forgiveness" at the Episcopal Church of St. Anne in Stockton, the temporary home of the diocese. House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson will preside at the service and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will lead the litany for healing. The Presiding Bishop and a number of other clergy will be available to anoint people during the service.

Prior to the service, St. Anne's will host a reception for Jefferts Schori and Anderson. After the service, the Presiding Bishop will engage members of the diocese in a question-and-answer session at the church.

The Rev. Mark Hall, St. Anne's rector and acting diocesan administrator, told ENS that interest in the healing service is keen. Based on registrations, he estimates about 350 people will attend -- a number that will stretch the seating capacity of St. Anne's.

"We have people we haven't heard from in years calling and saying they want to be part of it," he said.

Hall said that while there is a "lot of joy" in the diocese at the moment and some people may be feeling "somewhat vindicated," the healing service is important. "This is not about being triumphant," he said. "This is about being the church and taking care of people."

The second reorganizing step will come the following day, March 29, at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist in Lodi when the diocese gathers for a special one-day convention.

“As the faithful people of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin gather this weekend, it marks a sign of hope for the future," the Rev. Dr. Charles Robertson, canon to the Presiding Bishop, told ENS. "As specified in Canon III.13.1, the Presiding Bishop will be present to consult with the Convention about a provisional bishop.

"However, her presence and that of the President of the House of Deputies is also a reminder of the larger Church which stands with, prays for, and supports the people of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin as they move forward in mission and ministry."

Canon III.13.1 states in part that "a Diocese without a Bishop may, by an act of its Convention, and in consultation with the Presiding Bishop, be placed under the provisional charge and authority of a Bishop of another Diocese or of a resigned Bishop."

Delegates to the special convention will be asked to consent to the Presiding Bishop's recommendation of Bishop Jerry Lamb as provisional bishop of the diocese. Lamb, 67, retired as bishop of the Diocese of Northern California in 2007 and most recently served as interim bishop in the Diocese of Nevada.

Lamb is expected to be seated at the provisional bishop during the Eucharist which will follow the close of the convention. He anticipates serving the diocese three-quarter time for a minimum of 18 months while the diocese searches for and elects a diocesan bishop.

The delegates will also be asked to sign an oath of conformity to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, and will consider a number of other re-organizing resolutions, including one to essentially return its Constitution and Canons to the state they were in before now-deposed Bishop John-David Schofield led an effort to remove the required accession to the Episcopal Church's Constitution and Canons. . .

And so it goes. Read it all.

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