Sunday, December 23, 2007

How the Grinch Stole San Joaquin, part 2

From Andee, an eyewitness at Atwater and all-around "Gooperson" (as Grendel would say) as reported on Father Jake's Blog:

"Bp. Schofield did come to Atwater today, preached and celebrated (with Fr. Fred concelebrating and distributing the eucharist). At the end of the service, Schofield stood up and said that there had been much speculation about the reason for his visit, and he wanted to reassure everyone that (1) Fr. Fred had not been fired and (2) St. Nicholas was not being closed. Then, just as everyone was starting to take a tentative breath of relief, he said the other reason he wanted to come was to tell them that Atwater was no longer bringing in enough money to pay a full time priest, and that instead the diocese would be sending them supply priests occasionally. In other words--Fr. Fred wasn't being fired, he just wasn't going to be paid any longer, and the diocese wasn't even going to keep a steady part time priest, just send supply priests periodically.

Then, in his concluding remarks, Fr. Fred told the full and emotional story of the ways the diocesan leadership--most specifically, he named Bp. Schofield and Canon Gandenberger--had deliberately and maliciously undermined the health of the mission, fostering division and schism instead of love and compassion. Tears, prayers and applause from those who witnessed this!

Among those of us who came to be there in support of Fr. Fred and St. Nicholas were myself, members of Holy Family (Fresno), St. Francis in exile (former members of St. Francis Turlock), St. Michael's in exile (former members of St. Michaels in Sonora), St. Paul's Oakland, St. Aidan's San Francisco, Canon Bob Moore (Diocese of Olympia - also both husband of Bp. Nedi Rivera and Presiding Bp. Katherine's appointee to provide interim pastoral care to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin), Fr. Michael Backlund (representing Bp. of Northern California Barry Beisner), and Remain Episcopal attorney Mike Glass. At least four of us present are on the Remain Episcopal Board.

They were surrounded by our love, and by the prayers of thousands of people from around the world.

Fr. Fred has no plans to leave, and I understand that funds from outside the diocese are being made available to make sure he is paid.

After the service and a wonderful extended coffee hour, a number of us helped them distribute bags of food and turkey certificates to a low income Housing Authority project in the area, where we were greeted with enthusiasm and warm Christmas thanks.

The morning ended with several of us joining Fr. Fred and his extended family (parents, two brothers, nieces and nephews) for lunch.

Emotional, difficult, heartwarming--and Christ was very present."

Lord, have mercy!

3 comments:

Diane said...

thank you for sharing this. I'm confused. Is this the bishop who left the episcopal church?

Alcibiades said...

Absolutely, breathtakingly, gut-renchingly disgusting behaviour by Schofield: I've met drug dealers with more integrity. And BlackStar and Fiver have squeaky toys who better understand the bible.

God bless you for standing by Fr. Fred, and blessings on him for having the courage and strength to speak out. Prayers with you all.

Kirstin said...

Yes, Diane, and good freaking riddance.

Agha: Have you been to St. Nick's website lately? They updated it. :-)