Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More Schism News...

It wasn't even close.

Los Angeles Times, By Rebecca Trounson, December 9

FRESNO — Central California's Diocese of San Joaquin on Saturday became the first in the nation to secede from the Episcopal Church, taking the historic, risky step as part of a years-long struggle within the U.S. church and global Anglican Communion over homosexuality and biblical authority.

Despite emotional last-minute appeals from opponents to reconsider or delay, delegates to San Joaquin's annual convention voted 173 to 22, far more than the two-thirds majority needed, for the key constitutional change to break the diocese's ties to the Episcopal Church.

The action could serve as an impetus for other dioceses around the country to leave the Episcopal Church and try to start a more conservative alternative church. It could also lead to more lawsuits over who controls millions of dollars worth of property.

The delegates formally accepted an invitation to align their small, largely rural diocese with an Anglican province in South America and its conservative archbishop.

As the results were announced, a majority of the delegates in a hall of St. James Cathedral in Fresno applauded, shouted congratulations to one another and rose in a standing ovation. But toward the back of the room, faces were glum and a gray-haired woman wiped away tears.

San Joaquin Bishop John-David M. Schofield, a longtime critic of the Episcopal Church who pushed hard for the changes, was exultant after the votes were counted.

"We've seen a miracle here," Schofield said, as he was flanked by supporters in a crowded parish hall. "We are now clearly outside the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church."


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