Banned Episcopal Bishop Fights Back

December 22, 2008 2:03:27 PM PST
The Episcopal Church ordered John-David Schofield to stop ministerial work on Friday January 11th. Bishop Schofield was given 2 months to reconsider the decision to break away from the national church. The bishop says he no longer answers to the national church and expects a lawsuit to wind up on his doorstep any day.A December 8 vote by members of the San Joaquin Episcopal Dioceses led to a split from the national church. On that day, Valley Episcopalians joined with the Anglican Church in South America.

But in a letter Friday, the national Episcopalian church asked Bishop Schofield to repent and rejoin the national church and re-adopt its constitution.

For now, the church believes Schofield has abandoned his post as bishop. If he doesn't return, Schofield says he could face legal issues.

Bishop Schofield said, "Even though the American Church is threatening us with all sorts of things, they no longer have jurisdiction over us."

The decision to split came after several years of disagreements over same-sex unions and the roles of homosexuals in the national church. Bishop Schofield says the Valley's view of the Bible is more traditional and orthodox.

"We're dealing with two different teams with two different rules for the game" said Schofield.

Schofield also said those differences could easily turn into a battle over who has legal ownership of the church and estates in the Valley.

"Unfortunately, the liberal side is mean and ugly and going for the money and the big time" said Schofield.

After news of the split the national church issued a statement saying a lawsuit could be filed if Schofield and his congregation try to keep Episcopal Church property. But Schofield said the national church wasn't there when he and other clergy raised money for church and the property within those sanctuaries.

Schofield said, "Cause it never did anything, never gave anything and in fact they don't even have the right to tax us."

In the letter from the national church bishop, Schofield was also asked to stop ministerial duties for the time being. However, earlier today Schofield was ministering at a local hospital.

The local diocese owns about 50 pieces of property, which would be at the center of any legal dispute.


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