On September 9 at the Episcopal Chancellors Network Conference, President Jennings awarded Michael Glass, chancellor of the Diocese of San Joaquin, with the House of Deputies medal. She made these remarks:
You know, of course, that late in 2007, the convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin voted to leave the Episcopal Church. It was a place where, more than 30 years after General Convention made the ordination canons equally applicable to women and men, the bishop was still refusing to abide by that change. And in 2003, when the people of the Diocese of New Hampshire elected Gene Robinson as their bishop, the leaders of San Joaquin also refused to accept that decision. And so they left, which was their right. But they tried to take the property and money with them, which was not.
Shortly thereafter, in early 2008, the faithful Episcopalians of the Diocese of San Joaquin reorganized themselves to continue doing God’s work in the Central Valley of California. And that’s when Michael Glass stepped in.
Here’s the understated way that Mike’s LinkedIn profile describes his role: “In early 2008 Mr. Glass was appointed as the Chancellor and chief legal officer to the Diocese of San Joaquin of The Episcopal Church advising the Diocesan Bishop and various Diocesan governing bodies and institutions on secular legal issues, litigation, and compliance with Church Canons and ecclesiastical proceedings.”
The real story is nearly nine years and counting of sleepless nights, endless conference calls, voluminous filings, and other legal routines with which you are all so familiar. I am going to spare you the details of the rulings and appeals and behind-the-scenes legal drama involved in securing the return of the property of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, but I am willing to bet that after we adjourn this evening, Mike will tell you everything that you want to know. Possibly in real time.
But here’s what you need to know now: In mid-July, the California Supreme Court declined to review an appellate court’s ruling that returned 28 properties and associated funds, including the diocesan offices, the cathedral, and the diocesan conference center, to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. Mike will be quick to tell you that the work is not done yet—three remaining cases involving parishes will soon resume—but I will be equally quick to tell you that without Mike’s tireless devotion to both the canons and a vision of God’s kingdom as a place for all of God’s children, we would not have seen this day.
Lest you think that Mike only does property litigation, he has also been an invaluable member of my Council of Advice for the past four years and was the creator and first chair of the House of Deputies Resolution Review Committee, which reviewed all resolutions submitted prior to General Convention and nearly all submitted during convention for canonical, polity and funding implications. Those of you who served on legislative committees know what a tremendous service Mike and his committee provided. And it’s hard to say whether he or I was more pleased when word spread and bishops began coming to the committee room asking for help with their resolutions.
In thanksgiving for his relentlessly faithful and remarkably astute legal work, his enduring elasticity, and especially his commitment to the followers of Jesus in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and the big tent that they have pitched there, I am delighted to award Michael Glass with the House of Deputies medal.