Uniting a Divided Church

March 15, 2008 2:55:17 PM PDT
A retired bishop chosen to replace an ousted bishop met with Valley Episcopalians Friday night.Church members are ready to move forward, after years of problems within the San Joaquin Diocese.

Excitement and optimism Friday as members of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin met with Bishop Jerry Lamb who could be their new leader those who came Friday night want to stay with the Episcopal Church.

Jerry DeGraff, Churchgoer: "We know there's a wider church than the sort of narrow view that we've sustained here in the San Joaquin Valley for the past few years."

George Wade, Churchgoer: "The people of the San Joaquin Valley have not seen a real Episcopal Church in more than 20 years."

Bishop Lamb was selected to replace Bishop John David Schofield, who was deposed this week.

Schofield led the diocese through its vote to leave the US Episcopal Church and realign itself with an Anglican Church in Argentina the rift within the diocese was largely caused by disagreements over the bible and homosexuality. Though the majority in the diocese agreed with Schofield, those who gathered Friday night feel his views are too conservative.

Rev. Mark Hall, Temp. Diocesan Administrator: "We take the bible seriously but not literally and we encompass a very broad scope of people and there's many people who felt that has not been the case in the diocese for the last number years."

Though the US church stripped him of his title Schofield he maintains he's still an Anglican Bishop and he'll continue to lead people within the diocese.

John David Schofield, Anglican Bishop: "I'm still in the Anglican communion. I am still teaching the traditional faith. What this really about is money, property, and power. That's what this is about."

What happens to property in the diocese remains to be seen because both sides claim it's theirs. For now many who are just glad to be moving forward.

Barbara Wade, Churchgoer: "It's sad that we had to have a break like this but on the other hand it's an exciting new day for the diocese."

The Episcopal Church will hold a special convention March 29th. Members of the diocese will vote on whether to confirm Bishop Jerry Lamb.


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