Retired Anglican Bishop John David Schofield dies at 75

FRESNO, Calif.

John-David Schofield died at his home in Northwest Fresno Tuesday. Church members say they will remember him best for defending his biblical beliefs.

The public will perhaps know him best for leading the church split sparked mostly by the defense of traditional marriage. Despite the calls to resign and lawsuits over church property, Anglican Church members say Bishop Schofield will always be the man that showed them how to defend their core beliefs.

Bishop Schofield led the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin for nearly 20 years, before leading the movement to split his, and several other local churches from the US Episcopal Church.

"He showed us the courage that a true man of God has to have," said Pastor Paul Binion of the Westside Church of God. "He stood by his convictions. Yet, controversial, but he did not compromise his beliefs."

Binion was close friends with Bishop Schofield during his long tenure in Central California. Binion stood by Schofield during the turmoil that developed over issues of same-sex marriage, and the church's ordination of a gay bishop in New Hampshire. He describes his friend as bold, outspoken and courageous.

"Bishop Schofield left his mark," Binion said.

That mark was left on the McPhersons, who say they loved the bishop for the persecution he endured defending biblical truth.

"And I think he was a very good example of standing on what the bible says, what his beliefs were," Sharon McPherson said. "He didn't compromise."

The McPhersons now attend St. Mary's Anglican Church where Bishop Schofield delivered a sermon just a few weeks ago.

Schofield sat down with Action News numerous times before, during and after the church split. But that's not what his close friends want to remember him for. "He didn't like conflict," said Father Carlos Raines of St. James Anglican Cathedral. "He just loved to do pastoral care, to help people, to pray for people, to encourage people."

The Valley church that stayed with the US Episcopal Church, Holy Family, offered its prayers to Bishop Schofield and his loved ones.

Funeral arrangements are still pending.

Bishop Schofield was 75 years old.

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