Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rt. Rev. John David Schofield, 1938-2013

The Rt. Rev. John-David Mercer Schofield, one of the founding bishops of the ACNA and retired bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, died October 28 at home, aged 75. His requiem mass will be held today at a Catholic church in Fresno.

Bishop Schofield will be remembered as one of the last Anglo-Catholic bishops of the Episcopal Church and one of the first (hopefully not the last) Anglo-Catholic bishops of the Anglican Church in North America.

In 2007, Bishop Schofield was the first of four Episcopal Church bishops to lead his diocese out of TEC, followed by Robert Duncan (Pittsburgh), Keith Ackerman (Quincy) and Jack Iker (Ft. Worth). (Ackerman retired from TEC and Quincy before the latter completed its succession.)

Along with Ackerman and Iker — and unlike Duncan — Schofield was also one of the last three TEC bishops to reject women’s ordination. In 1989, he was one of the original TEC bishops to support the Episcopal Synod of America, which a decade later became the North American branch of Forward in Faith.

In his eulogy, Ackerman wrote
The death of [Bp. Schofield] … has touched the hearts of many people throughout the world, and particularly those Traditional Anglicans who looked to him as a courageous leader, who took seriously his vows as a Successor of the Apostles and a Defender of the Faith once delivered to the Apostles.

A cradle Anglican with deep English roots, Bp. Schofield's life embodied the breadth of Anglicanism: Anglo-Catholic in theology, Evangelical in proclaiming the Gospel, and Charismatic in expression. Those with a limited view will remember him primarily for his staunch defense of the Catholic Faith which resulted in his participation in numerous events that challenged the Catholic order of the Episcopal Church.
Duncan said “His spiritual depth twinned with his unparalleled sense of humor made him one of a kind.”

Schofield retired in 2011(succeeded by Eric Menees of San Diego). Never married, he had been in poor health for years, presumably exacerbated by his self-acknowledged weight problem.

I never met Bishop Schofield, but I know several people whose careers and faith were shaped by working with him. Let light perpetual shine upon him.

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