Oh, those warring Episcopals

05 magnet offer smallThere is no way to read all of the coverage of today’s vote, by the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, based in Fresno in central California, to cut ties to the U.S. Episcopal Church.

The top of the Episcopal News Service report, to the credit of that agency, plays the story very straight:

Delegates attending the 48th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin on Saturday, December 8, overwhelmingly voted to leave the Episcopal Church and to align with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield asked for a moment of silence in deference to those who opposed the change, reminding the gathering that he “knows what it feels like to be a minority” before the vote tallies were read. The results, by orders were: 70-12 clergy and 103-10 vote in the lay order to effectively remove all references to the Episcopal Church from its constitution and describe the diocese as “a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and in full communion with the See of Canterbury.”

You can see several sides of the local, regional, national and global conflict in that brief passage.

If you want to try to keep up, the Rev. Dr. Kendall Harmon at TitusOneNine — one of the key digital crossroads for traditionalists in the Anglican Communion — has a giant collection of links going as a guide to the mainstream coverage. Please use this post as an open GetReligion thread for early comments on the coverage as we await the tsunami tomorrow.

Meanwhile, care to vote? Which of the mainstream reports does the best job of balancing the four levels of the decision? Which does the worst job, in terms of favoring the national over the global or some other common mistake?

So far, my favorite screwed up headline is this one over at Yahoo News: “Historic split for U.S. Episcopals.”

Again and again we note for copy desks everywhere that “Episcopal” is the adjective and “Episcopalian” is the noun. So there.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • http://kendallharmon.net/t19/ elfgirl

    Glad our roundup of links at T19 is helpful. We’ll keep adding the links we find. I’m working on “Update 4″ to the post you’ve linked and should have it posted within 30 minutes or so.

    Interesting to note the San Fran. Chronicle makes the same error re: “Episcopals” not in the headline but the actual text in the lede:

    The Diocese of San Joaquin, a conservative fold which serves California’s Central Valley and has long chafed under what it considers the increasing liberalism of its fellow Episcopals, on Saturday became the first in the nation to separate from the U.S. Episcopal Church, voting overwhelmingly to take a strong and definitive stance against how the church deals with homosexuality and other controversial issues.

    Here’s the link:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/12/08/MNA0TQTDC.DTL

  • http://kingslynn.blogspot.com C. Wingate

    I see that the Wash. Post has buried the story on A20, several pages behind the inevitable “Shoppers return to site of shooting” story.

  • http://liveasif.blogspot.com Lawrence

    tmatt,

    In your “Oh, those warring Episcopals,” Rev. Charles Ramsden is quoted in the linkedYahoo story, as saying, “It’s about property, it’s about millions of dollars and it’s about power.” If he really sees this process as about those things, and not a need to more accurately follow Scripture, it strikes me as tremendously sad.

    Thank you for your summary of the most recent events in the Episcopal “wars.”

  • ralphg

    Schofield tells the NPR interviewer very clearly that the split is due to the Episcopal church moving away from the tennets of the Nicene Creed, such as the position of Jesus and God’s Word. Which prompts the NPR interviewer to ask, “What is causing the split?’

  • http://liveasif.blogspot.com Lawrence

    That NPR interviewer is right on top of things, eh?

  • Michele Hagerman

    I was listening to the local CBS radio affiliate last night and San Joaquin’s decision was amongst the CBS national news at the top of the hour. What I heard made me crazy: the reporter indicated a California Episcopal congregation had voted to leave the national church.

    Congregation? No, it’s diocese, you idiots!

  • Dale

    ralphg said:

    Schofield tells the NPR interviewer very clearly that the split is due to the Episcopal church moving away from the tennets of the Nicene Creed, such as the position of Jesus and God’s Word. Which prompts the NPR interviewer to ask, “What is causing the split?’

    That’s the problem that I see with a lot of the coverage. The debate over sexual orientation must be the cause of the split. The fact that Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori has shown a remarkable inability to make a clear statement of faith that adheres to Nicene orthodoxy, but is so certain of the morality of same-sex sexual relations to divide the Anglican Communion over it, gets a passing mention, if any. Or the fact that Bishop Spong, who has publicly and explicitly rejected the existence of a personal God and mocked the eucharist as “divine child abuse”, gets to keep his pension as a TEC bishop, while TEC takes the pensions of those who dare to oppose it on the issue of ordination of homosexual clergy.

    But no, it’s all about gay rights, and how those stodgy old conservatives won’t sign on to the zeitgeist.

  • Chip

    Or the fact that Bishop Spong . . . gets to keep his pension as a TEC bishop, while TEC takes the pensions of those who dare to oppose it on the issue of ordination of homosexual clergy.

    Dale,

    Which priest or bishop has been denied his/her pension because of a stand they made on any issue?

    TEC has no control over individuals’ pensions. The pension fund is separate from the General Convention. Disciplinary action does not effect an individual’s pension.

  • Dale

    Chip:

    As many of the clergy in the affected dioceses and parishes have publicly expressed concern about losing pensions, I’m sure that a forthcoming assurance by TEC that no one will lose a pension over this kerfuffle will be welcomed.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  • Jay

    Since this is supposed to be about press coverage, how about the disproportionate coverage being given to liberal San Joaquin parishes. 5 of 47 are staying TEC and they get their own LA Times article. Is this to make the liberal TEC members in Los Angeles feel better about themselves?

    How about a comparison of how Bp. Schofield is treating breakaway parishes to how Bp. Mathes (San Diego) or Bp. Lee (Virginia)? That would be instructive, particularly as one retired canon lawyer claims that the authority over the parish property is at the diocesan, not national level.

  • Gloria

    Dale and Chip,
    I live in Savannah, Ga. It is my understanding that the Bishop of Georgia as a part of his law suit against Christ Church is asking the Rector’s pension benefits be withheld from him and those he has earned be returned.

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