Friday, September 27, 2013

If at first you do not succeed

I am very glad for Bishop David Rice, Bishop of Waiapu here, that he has been appointed Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin in California.

Earlier this year he was a publicly named candidate for election to another TEC diocese and that was a signal to his diocese that he felt it was time to move on. Now he will move on and the diocese can work on securing the certainties it needs for its future direction with the election of a new bishop.

20 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

Bishop David will be sadly missed by those of us in ACANZP who value his liberating influence on matters of gender and sexuality as they affect our Church in Aotearoa/New Zealand & Pacifica.

However, the re-constituted TEC Diocese of San Joaquin will no doubt benefit from his liberation theology.
Go Well, Bishop David!

Anonymous said...

'Provisional Bishop' of a diocese with almost no churchgoers because most of them left over Tec's revisionism, but lots of ongoing litigation funded by 815 to seize the properties - not everyone's idea of gospel ministry, I suppose.
You have to wonder what imperatives are driving Tec. I doubt they have much to do with bringing the gospel to unchurched Americans.
Martin

MichaelA said...

Bishop Rice will have his work cut out.

In 2007, most of the diocese San Joaquin voted to disassociate itself from the Episcopal Church of the USA. Membership and income dropped by around 80%. Since then, it has not recovered. The chart of people and finance for his new diocese is here: http://pr.dfms.org/study/exports/9520-1331_20130926_09143214.pdf

I believe there is on-going litigation, but ECUSA's legal position suffered a major set-back in 2010 and essentially that train has left the station. The new Anglican diocese of San Joaquin has founded new parishes, and even if somehow ECUSA won every single legal point tomorrow, it wouldn't make much difference to the Anglicans, nor would it assist ECUSA.

Toni Alvarez said...

I am in the Diocese of the San Joaquin and this is a very exciting development.

I have to respond to the comment above. My parish here in Fresno has grown tremendously since the unfortunate events that caused the majority of the diocese to walk apart. We nearly had two dozen confirmands at Pentecost this year, including two whole families who had no affiliation with the Episcopal Church previously. I vehemently contest the idea that in the Episcopal Church in general and in the diocese of the San Joaquin in particular, we do not care about sharing the gospel!

Toni Alvarez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Father Ron Smith said...

Thanks, Toni, for your encouraging comment on this thread. I want to assure you that Bishop David has many friends in ACANZP. We pray that he will bring help and support to families like yours in the difficult situation in which you have been placed. TEC has many friends in our Church. May God bless you all.

MichaelA said...

Thanks Tony. I agree, Holy Family Fresno has shown growth.

This is the Episcopal Church stats page for the parish: http://pr.dfms.org/study/exports/7344-6890_20130927_09025542.pdf

The Underground Pewster said...

It sounds like he has moved to a situation where he will be "preaching to the choir."

Father Ron Smith said...

Well, Pewster, even the Choir can be Christians. Is that not so in your own congregation?

The Underground Pewster said...

Fr. Ron, For the most part they are Christian even when they are off key.

Father Ron Smith said...

Thank you, Pewster, for that gracious acknowledgement. Blessings!

Edward Prebble said...

Bishop Rice will have his work cut out.

Yes, I suppose he will but I don't think the avoidance of work was one of his motivations. As someone who knows +David fairly well (I used to be in his diocese) I can assure Toni and other San Joaquin Episcopalians that they have scored a hard-working and dedicated bishop.
He will be missed here in New Zealand.

Anonymous said...

A friend who served as a priest in the Wairoa area tells me (as I'd ascertained from his sermons as Dean of Dunedin) that David Rice is firmly of the revisionist outlook regnant in Tec, so he should fit in well with the reconstituted Tec diocese, which has a total usual Sunday attendance of c. 900 (2011 figures). From a financial point of view, I can't actually see how a diocese where the total usual attendance is less than some individual parishes could be viable, so I imagine it is being heavily subsidized somehow by 815.

Martin

Father Ron Smith said...

Well, Martin; the first disciples of Jesus numbered only 12 - and one of those forsook him in the end. The build-up of the loyal TEC Diocese of San Joaquin, likewise, may have to start with the 600. This is not a bad beginning for an apostolic mission.

I'm not sure that money is ever the critical factor for success - except, perhaps, in the recently fought World Sailing Cup Series.

It does us all good to remember the admonishment of Jesus - to those who revel in the numbers game - that: "Wherever two or three are gathered together IN MY NAME, there am I in the midst!"

Bishop David Rice will do well, with God's blessing - and the loyalty of his little flock!

Anonymous said...

Ron, I rather doubt whether any of the Eleven plus St Matthias and St Paul would have been accepted for ordination in the reconstituted Tec Diocese of San Joaquin - especially not the last named bigot.
In any case, my point was about the creation of an unnecessary diocese, when tiny Tec Eau Claire (IIRC) was absorbed into Chicago. If anyone thinks money is the critical factor, it is those in 815paying for this showcase.

Martin Potemkin

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Martin
Please don't use the word 'bigot' even in ironic jest.

Dear Commenters
I think we have discussed enough the fortunes of a diocese along way away from most of us commenting.
We could allow Bishop David to get on with the job as it is and as it has been assigned to him.

Anonymous said...

I imagine "a total usual Sunday attendance of c. 900" is a number many bishops in ACANZP would be happy to have in their episcopal unit - even a high goal to strive for.

Alison

Anonymous said...

"I imagine "a total usual Sunday attendance of c. 900" is a number many bishops in ACANZP would be happy to have in their episcopal unit - even a high goal to strive for"

Seriously? Do you have the stats on this? Does ACANZP publish *any stats? Why would you need a non-parochial bishop and the expensive infrastructure of episcopal staff and the expenses of office for so few people? It would make more financial sense to merge dioceses, as they are doing in the north of England (where there are more Muslims in mosque than Anglicans in church).
Martin

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Martin and Alison
I am a little unfamiliar with diocesan attendance stats these days (we keep no national attendance stats) but from the days when I was, I would say our smallest pakeha diocese is c. 100000 annual attendance or c. 2000 Sunday attendance. My own diocese, Christchurch is at the 7000+ mark per Sunday.

I think we can be pretty sure that if San Joaquin were 'paying its way' as a diocese then it would have proceeded in the usual TEC way to have an election.

We can only wish +David well as he embraces his new challenge.

Anonymous said...

That's what I thought, though I suspect Dunedin diocese might be nearer 1500 now. The Maori "dioceses" have very few regular attenders, as far as I can tell. The lack of national stats is absurd and easily rectified in these days of electronic communication; is this wilful ignorance? At least Tec publishes parish and diocesan figures for all to see.
Martin