The bishop whose Fresno-based diocese voted in December to leave the Episcopal Church was formally banned Friday from carrying out any ecclesiastical duties for the church, officials said.
Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori took the interim step after a review committee found that Bishop John-David Schofield had abandoned the communion of the church by leading his diocese to the recent secession vote, said the Rev. Charles Robertson, the presiding bishop’s canon.
On Dec. 8, the Diocese of San Joaquin, with 47 parishes, became the first in the nation to secede from the Episcopal Church in a long-running dispute over homosexuality and biblical authority.
At the same diocesan convention, delegates also voted to place the diocese under the authority of a conservative Anglican archbishop in South America.
Robertson said Friday’s action, known as “inhibition,” meant that Schofield was prohibited from performing any religious duties at least until early March, when the church’s bishops are expected to render a final judgment in his case. The bishop has the next two months to change his mind, Robertson said.
Late Friday, Schofield’s diocese said in a statement that he had done nothing wrong and that it was the Episcopal Church that was “walking apart from the faith.”
“The Episcopal Church’s assertion that Bishop Schofield has abandoned the communion of this church is an admission that [the Episcopal Church] rejects the historical Anglican faith,” the statement said.