Episcopal Church diocese sues former bishop

June 3, 2008 4:41pm
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•  Says church property had been transferred

•  John-David Schofield had been fired in March

A lawsuit initially filed by the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of San Joaquin against John-David Schofield, former bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, has been amended on the basis of new information gathered about recent transfers of real and personal property and assets to entities formed by Mr. Schofield and his attorney sometime in early April, the church says.

The former bishop was deposed by the Episcopal House of Bishops on March 12.

The amended complaint and summons were filed on June 2, 2008 in Fresno County by attorneys for the Episcopal Church and Diocese of San Joaquin.

The amended complaint also names Merrill Lynch, the financial institution managing the investment accounts of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. as a defendant and seeks a court order to turn over the accounts and to prohibit Mr. Schofield’s further use or access to those accounts.

As a result, Merrill Lynch has frozen the accounts indefinitely until the court issues a ruling, the church says.

The freeze will not affect any of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin’s assets, accounts or operations.

The Diocesan Office in Stockton says it is seeking an arrangement with Merrill Lynch that would allow staff purportedly working for Mr. Schofield to continue to be paid in hardship cases.

“We are working with financial institutions to minimize any financial hardship on their staff such as parish administrators,” says the Right Rev. Jerry Lamb, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. “This legal action is intended to insure that the assets given by faithful parishioners remain in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin for its continuing ministry.”

Mr. Schofield was fired by the national church after he said he and a number of the churches in the Central Valley would align with a South American Anglican diocese.

Mr. Schofield had objected to the Episcopal Church’s ordination of women and gays.


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Comments on this story

Joel Watson 6/4/08 6:44 AM
I knew that there are frequent conventions of all the dioceses (Churches) and their respective bishops and a presiding bishop, but I did not know that there had been a national church established. When did this take place?

Bishop David Anderson 6/4/08 2:14 PM (dcasr@americananglican.org)
This article shows strong bias against Bishop Schofield and in favor of the Episcopal Church denomination's actions against him. The use of the term Mr. for Bishop Schofield, is most likely based on the deposition from Holy Orders that the Episcopal Church claims occurred at the last Episcopal House of Bishops meeting. If this deposition is in fact legal, then the loss of Holy Orders would indeed render the title Mr. appropriate, except in this case Bishop Schofield was welcomed into another branch of the Anglican Communion, the Southern Cone, and his Holy Orders as a bishop incorporated into their Anglican Province, before any action was taken by the Episcopalians. The Episcopal Church could extinguish his standing in the Episcopal Church, but they are powerless to extinguish his standing as a bishop in the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. The Central Valley Business Times, in choosing to disregard Bishop Schofield's standing as a bishop in one province of the Anglican Communion, and supporting the allegations of the Episcopal Church denomination, has shown a bias in news gathering and reporting that is lamentable.

scott murray 6/4/08 4:08 PM
What is lamentable, Bishop Anderson, is that you choose to spend much space and time being upset over titles and none addressing the issue raised in the article. If by their fruits you shall know them, then Mr. Schofield is a bad apple.

C.A. McCoy 6/6/08 12:09 PM
Mr. Murray is sadly mistaken in his rather abrupt appraisal of Bp. Anderson's comments. This article is extremely biased against Bp. Schofield. It is a classic case of "yellow journalism" with no investigation done as to the veracity of retired Bp. Lamb's comments either. Having been a member of this diocese, I can tell you that the overwhelming majority of parishoners are only too happy to be realigned with the Diocese of the Southern Cone and to see their assets given to the Anglican diocese which they have chosen to be part of. The Episcopal Church is grasping at straws in this particular turf war and it is patently obvious to anyone who has spent any time in the diocese which has aligned itself with the the Southern Cone. As a former journalist myself, I can tell when someone is just re-writing someone else's press releases and this is one of those pieces. . .it should be placed in the Op-Ed section if it is to be published at all. One might be tempted to think that the "author" of this piece might have some vested interest in slandering Bp. Schofield, and frankly, if I were the editor of the CVBT, I would be worried about being charged with "malicious intent" on this one.

allyn aldrich 6/6/08 12:22 PM (aplstrudel@bellsouth.net)
The sad thing is that the Episcopal Churdh (TEC)which is a member of The world wide Anglican communion has choosen to spend so much time and money sueing and condeming other Anglicans. No one wins in this type action. Leaving TEC is not easy, but is a matter of concience and staying in the Anglican Communion should be preferable to leaving altogether. TEC seems to prefer on leave the money and leave. The lawyers are overjoyed while I'm sure that Jesus is dismayed when so called Christians seem to find so much joy is sueing other Christians.

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