NO ONE in San Joaquin is being asked to act against their conscience, the Bishop, the Rt Revd John-David Schofield, has told clergy and parishes still undecided whether to remain in the US Episcopal Church or be affiliated to the Province of the Southern Cone under its Primate, the Most Revd Greg Venables (News, 14 December), .
Clergy and parishes will be able to ask for a “period of discernment”, to which the Bishop must agree. Those in the minority should be treated with “graciousness and love”, the Bishop has written in a pastoral letter. The only notable exception to the liturgy would be the intercession offered for “Gregory our Archbishop” in place of the US Presiding Bishop, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori.
The Bishop is reported by the Episcopal News Service to have not yet replied to Dr Jefferts Schori’s request to confirm that he understands himself “to have departed the Episcopal Church and [to be] no longer functioning as a member of the clergy in this Church”.
The Brazilian diocese of Recife, under the supervision of Bishop Venables since October 2005, has been formally received into the Southern Cone as an “extra-territorial diocese”. The Communion’s Panel of Reference has not yet ruled on this dispute.