Monday, February 12, 2007

A Joyous Celebration

I joined hundreds of Episcopalians from the Diocese of San Joaquin on Saturday at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Lodi to "celebrate and proclaim the love of Christ" and to express our desire to stay in the Episcopal Church. After a joyous Eucharist, we ate lunch and then listened to Bonnie Anderson, who gave an inspiring speech that began simply, "Hello! I am Bonnie Anderson and I am an Episcopalian!"

The cheers went through the roof as we all stood and applauded. Well, almost all of us...

It was a huge surprise when Bishop Schofield showed up! No one expected him to be there, but we all greeted him warmly. (He was one of those that did not stand.) Ms. Anderson looked straight at him and told him firmly that he could NOT take this diocese with him if he left the Episcopal Church.
Above: Marshall Johnston, Senior Warden at Holy Family, greets the Bishop. Left: Ms. Anderson and the Bishop chat after her address.

Most of us from Holy Family Episcopal Church in Fresno came up in a chartered bus; some drove up earlier. We watched a DVD of the investiture of our new presiding bishop during the long drive. Wow. I was deeply moved by her sermon on "Shalom." We had about 45 people there, most of us wearing our baby blue Holy Family T-shirts.

During the question-and-answer period many people got up to say how saddened they were by the Bishop's desire to take the diocese with him. Contrary to what some have claimed, it is not just people from a couple of "liberal" parishes in this diocese. I counted members from at least ten different parishes just from those who got up to speak...

"Don't take away our Diocese!"
This parishioner sat next to the Bishop the whole afternoon and let him know what was on her mind.

On Sunday Ms. Anderson came to Holy Family Church and preached. She came with the Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg. Ms. Anderson asked our little female acolyte, "Have you ever seen a woman priest before?" The acolyte answered, "No." "Take a good look. You could be a priest too." She was wonderful.

Bonnie Anderson and our clergy before the 10 am service at Holy Family EPISCOPAL Church.

Here is an article from the Lodi News-Sentinel on the Lodi celebration.

ENS has an overview of Bonnie Anderson's visit to Lodi and Fresno here.


Paige said...

Well, well, well---I'm actually quite shocked that he showed up!

Did he address the crowd?

Grandmère Mimi said...

Sounds like a wonderful day. God bless you way over there in San Joaquin.

I'm a little surprised that Bishop Schofield showed up, too, but I suppose he wanted to see just what was going on in what he thinks of as his territory.

Aghaveagh said...

The Bishop said not a word publicly to the assemblage, but did talk at length to two reporters afterwards, one from the SF Chronicle and one from the Lodi newspaper.

There were a couple of other priests there who shared the Bishop's sentiments. When one of the reporters asked if they agreed with the majority there, one priest responded (rather mean-spiritedly, I thought), "No--WE"RE not all wearing the same t-shirt"--a reference to Holy Family parishioners, who were wearing our parish T-shirts as a sign of solidarity.

But aside from that, it was a wonderfully supportive environment!

Eileen said...

I love Bonnie Anderson. Way to look Schofield+ down - she was obviously happy to tell him exactly what was on her mind!