March 1, 2008
Feast of St. David, Bishop of Wales
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori and
Members of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Dear Bishop Schori and Members of the House of Bishops,
Greetings in the name of our Lord and only savior Jesus Christ! Please accept this letter as my formal response to the charge of abandonment of the communion that has been lodged against me.
On December 8, 2007, the Diocese of San Joaquin was forced to make the painful decision to leave The Episcopal Church. This action enabled the diocese to participate in the provision of the Province of the Southern Cone of South America to become a member diocese on an emergency, temporary and pastoral basis. This drastic action was necessary because The Episcopal Church failed to heed years of warnings from all quarters of Christendom to turn back from false teaching and to accept Holy Scripture as the supreme authority for life. In March 2007, The Episcopal Church and, specifically its House of Bishops, vetoed a plan created by the Anglican Communion Primates, and previously agreed to by Presiding Bishop Schori while in Dar-es-Salaam, that would have offered a spiritual safe harbor to the Diocese of San Joaquin and other orthodox dioceses. This defiance of the collective will of the Anglican Communion clearly demonstrated that The Episcopal Church fully intends to remain on a path that is irreconcilable with God's word and the Anglican Faith.
The evidence in the public record reveals that the Diocese of San Joaquin was left with no choice but to separate from The Episcopal Church to preserve Biblical truth and the historic Anglican Faith and Order. It is important to note that this is separation and not schism. Separation, by definition, is the Biblical answer to unrepentant and public false teaching and immorality. The Diocese of San Joaquin consequently made the appropriate and courageous decision at its Annual Convention by an overwhelming vote in both clergy and lay orders (Pro 173 to Con 22) to realign itself with an orthodox province of the Anglican Communion made possible through the heroic action of both Archbishop Gregory Venables and the Provincial Synod of the Southern Cone of South America meeting in Valparaiso, Chile November 8, 2007.
Immediately after the Diocese of San Joaquin voted to accept the invitation of the Southern Cone, the Annual Convention was greeted by these words of Archbishop Venables: "welcome home. And welcome back into full fellowship in the Anglican Communion." It is my hope and prayer that one day The Episcopal Church will hear these same words.
After the Diocese of San Joaquin had voted to become a member diocese of the Southern Cone, I was received into membership of the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone as the Bishop of San Joaquin. At this moment, therefore, I am a bishop in the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone, and I am the Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin. The Episcopal Church has no jurisdiction or authority to affect my status in any of these capacities. This leaves only my status as a member of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church to be determined. Rather than force the House of Bishops to a vote, I herewith tender my resignation as a member of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church effective midnight EST, March 7, 2008
The Episcopal Church and Bishop Schori will remain in my prayers and the prayers of all parishes and missions in the Diocese of San Joaquin. The door of reconciliation will always be open.
May God bless you and keep you.
Sincerely, in Christ
The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield
Bishop of San Joaquin