In the Anglican Church a diocese is a collection of congregations under authority of a bishop within a certain geographical area. From denomination to denomination, or from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, those boundaries may overlap. The diocese is the fundamental unit of structure of the Anglican Church. Every diocese is the seat of a bishop. In general, a diocese contains many parishes and churches, and normally dioceses are combined into larger administrative units called Provinces and National Churches.
What do we believe?
For a detailed description of what Anglicans believe please read An Outline of the Faith, commonly called the Catechism. Every week Anglicans profess the Nicene Creed as a statement of faith taken from the Book of Common Prayer (BCP)
WE BELIEVE in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
San Joaquin History
Spanish Army Lieutenant Gabriel Moraga was the first European to explore what is now the interior valley of California. His journey left an indelible mark on the state, giving Moraga the liberty of naming most major rivers and landmarks. He and his explorers were astonished upon first entering the valley. They noted the great wealth of wildlife that they could view for as far as the eye could see. Everywhere they looked there were ducks, geese, cranes, herons, pelicans, curlew, antelope, deer, elk and grizzly bears all living their lives undisturbed. Prior to their visit only the local Indians had ventured into the area.
On June 21, 1805, Moraga brought his Spanish Calvary from the Presidio of San Francisco and traversed over the Pacheco Pass. He was under orders from the Spanish Governor of California to explore the San Joaquin Valley. The pass would later become the principal route between the coastal areas to the west and the great valley and mountains to the east. During his journey, he gave the name “Modesto” to the area that is now home to the city of the same name. Moraga also discovered and named the Calaveras River after finding human skulls at it banks. The skulls were remnants of an ancient indian battle. “El Rio De Las Calaveras” means “The River Of Skulls”. In 1806, he lead his expedition to modern-day Kings Canyon, California and named “The River of the Holy Kings.” Later it was shortened to “Kings River.” During this part of his trip, he also named “Sacramento”, which means “Blessed Sacrament”. After discovering yet another major river in the central valley, Moraga named it after “Our Lady Of Guadalupe”. It was later renamed to honor a native indian leader by the name of Estanislao . . the Stanislaus River. He also named the Merced River during this expedition, in honor of “Our Lady Of Mercy”.
In 1808, Gabriel Moraga ventured in to the central valley from the coastal mission at San Jose to find more potential sites for new Spanish Missions and pursue indians that had fled from San Jose. According to written history, Moraga was the first non-native explorer to enter what is now the San Joaquin Valley. During his trek, he named a small creek after Saint Joachim, who was the father of Mary, the Virgin mother of Jesus Christ. “Saint Joachim” translates, in Spanish, to “San Joaquin” (for a brief description of St. Joachim, click here). It was later discovered that the creek fed in to a larger river, which then took on the same name. Being the major tributary through the valley, the name of the river soon propagated to the entire central Valley, becoming known as the San Joaquin Valley. In 1850, California named the county that bordered the river as “San Joaquin County”.
As with all dioceses in the state of California, the Diocese of San Joaquin was carved out of the original Diocese of California. Bishop Kip had taken a couple of trips through the San Joaquin Valley, with stops for baptisms, marriages, and Holy Communion, in the 1870′s. The Rev. D.O.Kelly was very active and visible in the beginnings of quite a few congregations south of Fresno.
In 1911, the new diocese was given it’s official charter as a “Missionary Diocese”, dependent upon the General Convention budget for its fiscal well being. Bishop Louis Sanford guided the missionary diocese of San Joaquin through its early years, giving it a firm foundation. Bishop Sumner Walters further expanded the number of congregations in the valley.
Bp. Victor Rivera, formerly rector of St. Paul’s, Visalia, saw the diocese drop its “missionary” status and become fiscally independent. Bp. Rivera also helped keep the diocese biblically and traditionally “orthodox” through years of great upheaval in the Episcopal Church with the struggle of civil rights (including the area’s implosion concerning the rights of field workers), the ordination of women to the priesthood, and a change in the official Book of Common Prayer.
The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, formerly rector of St. Columba’s, Inverness, Diocese of California, became the 4th bishop of San Joaquin in 1989 as Bishop John-David Schofield, continuing the scriptural, liturgical and theological heritage. He continues to serve the Diocese to this day.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Eric Vawter Menees, formerly rector of Church of the Resurrection, San Marcos, California, became the 5th bishop of San Joaquin in 2011. Bishop Menees was elected by the clergy and delegates of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin on May 14, 2011 and consecrated as Bishop Co-adjutor on September 24th by Archbishop Robert Duncan and bishops John-David Schofield, William Thompson, Bill Atwood and William Murdoch. He was later enthroned at Saint James’ Cathedral as Diocesan on October 22, 2011.
There are currently congregations all over California and one in Nevada serving a world-mix of races and ethnicities, striving to be true to the Good News of Jesus Christ, and to His mission, especially as defined in the Catechism of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). St. John’s, Stockton, the oldest congregation, was founded in 1850, the third oldest congregation in the west (the Diocese of California was officially organized in 1858).
On December 8th, 2007 at its annual convention, the Diocese of San Joaquin took an historic step and voted to disassociate from The Episcopal Church. The convention also accepted an invitation from Archbishop Gregory Venables and the bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone of South America in order to maintain fellowship with the global Anglican Communion.
On June 22-24, 2009 the Diocese of San Joaquin joined many other orthodox Anglicans and became a diocesan member of the Anglican Church in North America (ANCA).