John-David Schofield, leader of San Joaquin departure, dead at 75

Retired Bishop John-David Schofield, who was then bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and then-House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson talk Feb. 10, 2007, after the end of an all-day meeting of Episcopalians in Lodi, California. The meeting occurred 10 months before Schofield and a majority of the diocese’s congregations voted in December 2007 to realign with the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg, Episcopal News Service

Retired Bishop John-David Schofield, who was then bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and then-House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson talk Feb. 10, 2007, after the end of an all-day meeting of Episcopalians in Lodi, California. The meeting occurred 10 months before Schofield and a majority of the diocese’s congregations voted in December 2007 to realign with the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg, Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] Retired Bishop John-David Schofield, who nearly six years ago voted with a majority of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin’s congregations to realign with the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, died Oct. 29.

A statement on the Anglican Church in North America’s website said Schofield, 75, was found dead seated in a chair in his home in Fresno, California. Friends had come to check on him, according to Bishop Eric Menees of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin.

Details about funeral services are not yet certain.

Schofield, at odds with the Episcopal Church over the ordination of women and gay clergy, and issues of biblical authority, had urged the Central California Valley diocese to disaffiliate and join the Southern Cone. That vote happened Dec. 8, 2007, during a diocesan convention. He called the vote “a historic moment…a vote for freedom.”

His was the first of five efforts by bishops to lead diocesan leaders and members out of the Episcopal Church, which is made up of 109 dioceses and three regional areas.

After the San Joaquin vote, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori deposed Schofield on March 12, 2008, after the House of Bishops agreed with the findings of a Title IV Review Committee that Schofield had abandoned the communion of the church.

He served as vicar of Saint Columba Parish Church in Inverness, California, and became bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin in January 1989. Six months later he signed onto the creation of the traditionalist Episcopal Synod of America, which opposed the ordination of women and was committed to combating an alleged erosion of episcopal and biblical authority.

The ESA grew out of the Evangelical and Catholic Mission, an organization formed in late 1976 in opposition to General Convention’s decision earlier that year to allow women to be ordained as priests and bishops. The ESA later joined the Britain-based Forward in Faith, becoming known as Forward in Faith North America.

In 1992 Schofield signed an ESA statement that denied critics’ claims that the group’s efforts to set up a “missionary diocese” were aimed at fragmenting the church. Schofield’s support of the synod upset many in the Episcopal diocese.

Schofield became the leader of Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin after the 2007 split. He retired from that post in 2011 and then acted as a bishop in residence.

Comments

  1. Chris Walchesky says:

    Truly a pillar in the faith. May his memory be eternal!

  2. Kathryn Ervin, II says:

    The Reverend Bishop John-David Schofield remained steadfast and true to “The Way, the Truth, and the Life,” “the only way to God the Father,” “the Living Water,” “the Bread of Life,” “the Good Shepherd,” the “only Wise God and Savior,” – Jesus Christ. This genuinely Godly man “feared God rather than man.” Bishop Schofield held true to Jesus who “remains the same, yesterday, today, and forever.” Bishop Schofield remained solid and did not shift with the ever-changing unsteady winds of time that brought with them contra-biblical quicksand theologies. His example helped to lay a foundational example of He consistently made and held his courageous stand so well up to the very end of his earthly existence. He upheld the infallible truths of the Holy Bible. Bishop John-David Schofield demonstrated well, the courage of his convictions, giving all of us who desire to follow Christ more closely, a great example of a devoted man who faithfully walked with God and finished well. I will miss him greatly, and pray God will inspire and raise up countless others to courageously and kindly walk in Christ Jesus’ footsteps in like-manner as he did.

  3. The Rev. Elise Astleford says:

    +John-David was a dear and trusted friend. Through many retreats at St. Columba’s, Inverness, and at Lake Tahoe, he led me into a deeper walk on the Way with the Holy Spirit. I charish his memory as I charished our friendship.

  4. Fr Sarge Edwards says:

    I have known Bp John-David for forty years… He has remained steadfast to the Faith Once Delivered, and always fought for the supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures…. of the strong witness of Tradition, and the place of Spirit filled Reason. He was a magnificent preacher- always using many illustrations, and a grand sense of humor in his presentations. He was an avid “fan” of Kat Kerr, and her recent books on “Revealing Heaven.” I believe John-David’s mansion in Paradise has a huge dining room for his many friends and for us who consider him part of The Family of Christ!
    Christ!

  5. Mikael Adea says:

    Typical of the Episcopal News to vilify Bishop John-David even in his ‘obit’. It is indicative of the intolerance of anyone not in goose step with the revisionist AEC. Now even they have a saint in heaven to pray for them. They need it!

  6. Anthony Christiansen says:

    I have no doubt that Schofield had many admirable, perhaps even holy qualities. None of these can distract from the fact that his primary aim in the last years of his life was division. All of us contain both the light and the dark and nothing is black and white. It could well be that Schofield’s inability to see in anything but black and white was his fundamental foible. May he know God’s mercy.

    • Schofield seemed to have become self-centered in his exclusionary form of Christianity. I have no doubt that Jesus would not have agreed with his version of things. With his departure, maybe things will finally settle down among people of faith in the San Joaquin Valley.

  7. Andrew Dulaney says:

    Father David, as I will always remember him, was part of my life since I was five years old.

    Many people remember him as the bishop who led, or helped to lead, the schism in the Anglican Communion over the ordination of gays and women and all that.

    Blah, blah, blah.

    To me, he will always be the man who swung me around by my arms in the parking lot of St. Columba’s — the parking lot where we always had the Sea and Land Feast.

    Say what you will about him. At news of his death, one thing comes to mind: the anthem or motet that we sang when I was a Grace Cathedral chorister:

    “Oh, sing joyfully unto God our strength!”

    David — I always knew him as Father David — was always joyful. Not merely optimistic, in the sense of having a conviction that things would get better. Joyful. Every moment with David was a moment of joy in the awe-inspiring beauty of the God-createdness of everything.

    RIP

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