Executive Council of of TEC deems Diocese of South Carolina Resolutions Null & Void
September 23, 2011

Executive Council of TEC deems its 6/11/2007 Resolution NA023 applies to Diocese of SC

In This Issue:
TEC-2011 Letter
TEC-2007 Resolution
9/22/11 Letter Received by EFSC
Resolutions passed at 2011 Diocese of SC Convention
Bishop Lawrence opens his Convention Address with a trowel & sword
South Carolina Episcopalian Reports on "accession" issue.
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TEC-2011 Letter
Link to Letter

TEC-2007 Resolution
Link to Resolution

9/22/11 Letter Received by EFSC
>>>>> http://www.episcopalforumofsc.org/Overview%20Documents/20110922_re_NAC023.pdf

Resolutions passed at 2011 Diocese of SC Convention
By Joy Hunter, Director of Communication - 2/28-2011 Diocesan Website

The 220th Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina was held February 18-19, 2011 at the Parish Church of St. Helena’s in Beaufort.

Two resolutions, both of which passed at the previous convention, passed again, by more than the required two-thirds margin in both the clergy and lay orders, amending the Diocesan Constitution. The first resolution removed the accession clause to the Canons of the Episcopal Church, and the second, enabled the Convention to meet more frequently than annually, if needed. These resolutions seek to protect the Diocese from any attempt at un-Constitutional intrusions in our corporate life in South Carolina and were in response to the revisions to the Title IV Canons of the Episcopal Church.
Link to Resolutions

Bishop Lawrence opens his Convention Address with a trowel & sword
>>>>

As I have spoken in recent days to Diocesan Council, the deans, and the Standing Committee, it is my expressed hope that this year of 2011 will be free from constitutional and canonical challenges from the “national” leadership of the Episcopal Church, and that we in the Diocese of South Carolina can get on with the work of growing our parishes, strengthening the lives of our parishioners and churches, and planting new congregations. I am eager to be about this work of the Gospel. A Biblical metaphor I have employed from time to time is from Chapter 4 of the Book of Nehemiah where the workmen rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem labored with a tool in one hand and a weapon in the other. But as I have said, my hope is that this will be a season for the trowel not the sword. Time alone will tell if we will be permitted to do our work unencumbered by intrusions............
Link to Bishop Lawrence's Address

South Carolina Episcopalian Reports on "accession" issue.
Episcopal Church tells Diocese that Recent Changes to its Constitution and Canons are Meaningless (September 21, 2011)

An official of the Episcopal Church informed Bishop Mark Lawrence this week that recent changes made to the Constitution of the Diocese of South Carolina are “null and void” in the eyes of The Episcopal Church.

Last February delegates to the 2011 Diocesan Convention gave final approval to amendments to the Diocese’s governing document eliminating “accession” to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

In the Episcopal Church, "accession" means that a Diocese agrees that the national Church’s Constitution supersedes that of the Diocese when they are in conflict. The actions of the Convention, approved and supported by the Bishop and Standing Committee, would have reversed that relationship.

According to the Secretary of the Church’s Executive Council, members of its Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration determined over the summer that the actions of the Diocesan Convention are sufficiently similar to those taken by rebellious Dioceses of Quincy, San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, and Fort Worth in previous years as to be covered by the same 2007 Executive Council Resolution (NAC023) that declared them meaningless.

The 2007 Resolution specifically states that “any diocesan amendment that purports in any way to limit or lessen an unqualified accession to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church are null and void, as if such amendments had not been passed.”

The Resolution goes further to say that it is applicable, not just to those four dioceses, but any other dioceses that take “steps or have adopted amendments that purport in any way to limit or lessen unqualified accession to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church”.

In short, once a diocese commits to join the Episcopal Church, it has no authority to leave. Individual clergy and lay people can leave, but a diocese as a corporate entity can’t.

Bishop Lawrence, who claims the Diocese of South Carolina is “sovereign”, has argued that the Diocese wasn’t “intending” to leave the Church, even though he and the Standing Committee were fully aware that accession to the Church’s Constitution is essential to membership.

The underlying issue here is the ownership of Episcopal Church property in the Diocese, specifically the property of parishes that might want to leave the Episcopal Church.

The Bishop and the Standing Committee of the Diocese argue that they alone have the authority to decide what happens to it.

Link to South Carolina Episcopalian Website

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