the diocese of california votes to secede from the american episcopal church

wow. of course, everyone knew this day was coming, sooner or later. but it’s still wild. all of the episcopal churches in “the diocise of california” (one of many diocese in california), as of saturday, are outside of the episcopal church.

Delegates voted 173-22 for secession, far more than the two-thirds majority needed. They later voted to align the 8,800-member diocese with the conservative Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, based in South America.

this saddens me. while i’m not an episcopalian, what i have loved about them, as i have gotten to know them here in the states and in the UK a bit, is the diversity they have within their midst, and that their “communion” has been held together on things other than a boundary of theology.

but, i know change happens, and this is part of life i embrace. so there we have it. but, certainly, this is a tipping point in a larger change in the face of protestantism in america.

i keep making corrections to this little post, as readers nudge me toward the actual facts (many of which i originally butchered).

8 thoughts on “the diocese of california votes to secede from the american episcopal church”

  1. I actually had a class this semester in Seminary with several Anglican students, and this topic came up multiple times. I’m sort of disappointed myself, as I share the same view of Anglicanism’s strengths as you do.

  2. I’m willing to bet that in the next couple of years us Presbyterians go through a similar experience. The key thing in the midst of this will be grace, love and hope on both sides.

  3. hey marko, based on our conversation in atlanta, you know I share the sadness of the divisions in the episcopal church.

    the diocese that voted to re-aligned today – the diocese of san joaquin, fewer than 50 california churches – is still part of the worldwide anglican communion. it has submitted itself to the covering of a like-minded bishop. there are others likely to act similarly as an emergency measure until the leadership of the anglican communion globally makes some decisions… then likely things will change again. it’s very sad to me that it has come to this place of parting rather than our traditional anglican way of understanding and reconciliation in Christ.

  4. Mark,

    I want to point out something that seems kind of slight, but I think it makes this whole thing less sad…

    When the San Joaquin Diocese voted to leave the Episcopal church, they did not vote to leave the *Anglican* church. The Episcopal church is the arm of the Anglican church in the US, but the Anglican church is MUCH bigger than what happens in America. The San Joaquin group will STILL be Anglican, but they will not be Episcopalian. They will be receiving supervision from an Anglican Bishop from South America.

    Here is a way to think of it…imagine a child who has a terrible time with their parent. No matter how hard everyone tries, they can not get along. When everything else has been tried, the child asks to go live with an uncle that they get along with. The situation is still very sad, but the child is still being raise in the same family, even if it is extended family.

  5. The whole “communion” thing that could/ should be part of YM 3.0 and/or Tickle’s “Great Emergence” might require us to be able to re-state what it is that we believe – – what makes us distinctive.
    Churches need to be able to reiterate/ re-clarify their creed in contrast to Christian Smith’s NSYR cultural church of whateverism and/or what it means to be Episcopalian in California. There is likely to be a lot of reshuffling of church affiliation a’coming- – many seeking out the Jennifer’s uncle with whom they can find a ‘home.’
    On Friday, a Vatican office will release a paper on evangelization and catechesis. The media will headline Catholics again retrenching into the claim of “one, true Church.” I will, however, be reading it to see how my own church leadership is not clinging onto the past but intentionally moving towards the future.

  6. A clarification: the decision yesterday does not involve “all of the episcopal churches in california” but only one diocese out of I think 6 in the state. Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco (which calls itself the Diocese of California) etc are not affected.

  7. a clarification, brought on by a reader who emailed me (who i’ll respond to in email also):

    my “sadness” about this is because i wish there weren’t so much division in the church. and when i refer to “bounded theology”, i’m using that term in contrast to “centered theology”, (which i unpack in this post).

    paradoxically, i think the diversity of the body of christ is beautiful.

    that’s why i hold on to this tension, and think the tension is good: i like change, and think change is often (certainly not always) good; i don’t like division, but love diversity. it’s a tough one to hold onto, to be honest. situationally, i go one way or another.

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