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EFSC Announces Regional Forums to address Diocesan Issues
March 30, 2010

St. Andrews Parish Votes to Leave The Episcopal Church

In This Issue:
Bishop Lawrence Addresses the 219th Diocesan Convention
Regional Forums Planned for April
Date and Location of Regional Forums
St. Andrews Parish challanges polity of the Diocese of SC and TEC
St. Andrews Votes - The Time Has Come for Our Departure
Join The Episcopal Forum of SC
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Bishop Lawrence Addresses the 219th Diocesan Convention
An abstract of the key issues included in the Bishop's address:

.........Just yesterday I received word from the rector and vestry of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Waccamaw that the litigation with All Saints’ Church, of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), is over. The case is resolved; and resolved out of court……

The Trajectory of The Episcopal Church Continues Unabated .......... It would be insufferable to see this great Diocese of South Carolina come under the sway of the same false gospel that has decked so much of The Episcopal Church with decorative destruction and dreadful decline……..

Just last week the Archbishop of Canterbury released a statement from Lambeth Palace in response to The Episcopal Church’s consent to a partnered lesbian’s election as a Suffragan Bishop of Los Angeles…… It is not clear what these implications and consequences will be for The Episcopal Church or the larger Communion; but it is up to us to decide what they will be for this Diocese of South Carolina .....

The march of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Movement has gone on relatively unchallenged. And that is not the worst of the theological heterodoxy, as I and others have stated elsewhere. It is merely the boundary upon which the current challenge is waged. ....... Recently, however, the Presiding Bishop has written to the Primates of the Communion regarding the Glasspool election in a more forthright way: “Know that this is not the decision of one person, or a small group of people. It represents the mind of a majority of elected leaders in The Episcopal Church, lay, clergy, and bishops….”

This at last is an honest admission of where the leadership of The Episcopal Church is today regarding partnered gay or lesbian persons as bishops of the Church. It is also where the majority of the bishops would appear to be regarding same-sex blessings or marriages…… But under what apostolic or internationally ecumenical authority is one to claim such a monumental revelation?

………though there are bishops and archbishops throughout the Anglican Communion who have written or called us to offer their encouragement and support, for which we are inexpressibly grateful, there is no one coming to rescue us—at least with any temporal hand. This is our battle to engage. We are not entirely alone, but our list of allies at home grows thin. This is our time to stand and be humbly counted among the faithful, just as others have in prior generations. We must face reality as it is: Not as it was in some prior time………….

This false Gospel of Indiscriminate Inclusivity like kudzu in an old growth forest has suffocated the mission of the Church and has helped to set The Episcopal Church on a denominationally downward spiral of radically decreasing membership and increasing irrelevance

The Presiding Bishop’s Incursion and Its Significance: I come now to the reason why this Annual Diocesan Convention was postponed. ……. an entirely new challenge has surfaced: A constitutional question about the ability of a diocese to govern its common life in a way that is obedient to the teaching of the Bible, the received heritage of The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America, and in accordance with The Constitution & Canons of The Episcopal Church…..

….. our Chancellor, Mr. Wade Logan, was finally informed by a local attorney that he had been retained by the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor. In a subsequent series of letters he presented himself as “South Carolina counsel for The Episcopal Church” and requested numerous items of the Bishop and Standing Committee, as well as information regarding parishes in this diocese. This way of presenting himself fails to acknowledge that this diocese is the only recognized body of The Episcopal Church within the lower half of South Carolina. …….

The retaining of counsel now has all the signs of an adversarial relationship—one of monitoring through a non-constitutional and non-canonical incursion how a Diocesan Bishop and Standing Committee may choose to deal with its priests and parishes.……………

The stated purpose for her incursion is the protection of Church property. Whether there are other more disruptive reasons for such non-canonical intrusion can only be surmised. But in addressing only this stated purpose we can summarize that the Presiding Bishop has decided that the best way to resolve the challenges TEC faces over profound questions of doctrine, morality and discipline is to interpret the so called Dennis Canon as demanding that every diocese institute litigation in the secular courts with parishes that decide to depart, therein exercising coercive power to the fullest extent of the law regardless of the local issues, or the decisions of the diocesan bishop and Standing Committee. All this is a profound overreach of the Presiding Bishop’s authority. …...

Unfortunately, after lengthy and respectful conversation, the Presiding Bishop and I stand looking at one another across a wide, deep and seemingly unbridgeable theological and canonical chasm. At present both of us have signaled a willingness to continue the conversation………..

So we proceed at this Annual Convention with our various resolutions.

R-2 demands not only the withdrawal of legal counsel but a respectfully honoring of the Polity of The Episcopal Church as practiced consistently within this Church since its inception……

R-3 makes explicit what has been implicit all along and affirmed by a federal court that the bishop of the diocese is the sole authority as to the interpretation of Diocesan Constitution and Canons. …..

R-4 declares explicitly what is implicit, and here for good reason. It is difficult not to conclude that in the Presiding Bishop’s opinion, any bishop or ecclesiastical authority which chooses to deal with a departing parish in a manner contrary to her stated position is failing in his or its fiduciary responsibility………..

R-1: I believe what we seek for this diocese is stated succinctly in Resolutions R-1: It is to be a gospel diocese, proclaiming an evangelical faith, embodied in a catholic order, and empowered and transformed by the Holy Spirit. To strive by God’s grace to remain unswerving in our belief that above all Jesus came into the world to save the lost, that those who do not know Christ need to be brought into a personal and saving relationship with him, and that those who do know Christ need to be taught by the Holy Scriptures faithfully to follow him all the days of their lives to the Glory of God the Father by taking their places as responsible members in His Church. As your bishop I also want us to be able to do this while maintaining mutually enriching missional relationships with dioceses and Provinces of the Anglican Communion................

As I bring this Address to a close I must say something about my decision, which was unanimously affirmed by the Standing Committee, not to adjourn but to recess (until October 15.)...... We need to give ourselves latitude of maneuver.

We did this when we used such language at last October’s Special Convention in the resolution that stated we would “begin withdrawing from bodies of The Episcopal Church….” Such language was carefully crafted because we recognized the fluidity of the environment; that is, since anomalous situations were sure to emerge prudence suggested to us that we draft the resolution to allow for a principled flexibility; and so we did.

In conclusion, I must return to St. Paul and to his willingness, with much inner struggle and grief, to leave a work of evangelism to face the unpleasant demands of protecting the Church and defending the faith. ........ he (St. Paul) also reminded them to put on the whole armor of God that after having done all, they may stand firm. (Ephesians 6:10-20) He who has called us to this is faithful, and so I trust by God’s grace stand we shall.

Link to full address

Regional Forums Planned for April
What in the World Is Going On in the Episcopal Diocese of SC?

A panel of lay people and clergy will discuss issues which are important to all Episcopalians.

• There is an Enthusiastically Episcopal Church out there.
• House of Bishops meeting actions/reports.
• Diocese of SC Convention actions/reports.
• Implications of St. Andrews vote to leave TEC
• The Diocesan leadership's stated position on these issues.
• Activities of The Episcopal Forum of SC.

All Are Welcome • Bring Your Questions • Bring Your Friends

No Registration Required • No Charge for Forum

Date and Location of Regional Forums
JOHNS ISLAND ... Sunday, April 11, 2010 ..... 4 PM – 6 PM
Berkeley Electric Co-op, 3351 Maybank Highway

SUMMERVILLE ... Sunday, April 18, 2010 ... 4 PM – 6 PM
Cuthbert Community Center, 105 West 5th South Street

HILTON HEAD ... Sunday, April 25, 2010 ... 4 PM – 6 PM
All Saints Episcopal Church, 3001 Meeting Street

FLORENCE ... Sunday, May 2, 2010 ... 3 PM – 5 PM
Florence County Public Library, 509 S. Dargan Street

MYRTLE BEACH ... to be announced.

No Registration Required • No Charge for Forum • Bring a Friend
Link to Announcements for all Forums

St. Andrews Parish challanges polity of the Diocese of SC and TEC
RESOLVED that the resolution unanimously adopted by the Vestry on March 28, 2010 for this church corporation, parish, and congregation to withdraw from and sever all ties with The Episcopal Church in the United States and to transfer its canonical residence to the Anglican Church in North America or another province of the worldwide Anglican Communion be ratified by the members of this church corporation.

************************************

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ.

As you know, yesterday we gathered at 12.15 pm for a Special Meeting of the Parish to consider our way forward. First, let me say how deeply I appreciated the participation of the 722 people who cast ballots. This day and this decision was without a doubt one of the most significant days and decisions in the history of this parish. Thank you for your faithfulness and for your willingness to complete the process we began many months ago.

Today we received the preliminary vote totals from the CPA firm contracted to oversee the balloting process. There were 722 ballots cast. The results are:

Resolution 1 (to amend our Parish By-Laws): 709 in favor, 13 opposed – 98 % approval.
Resolution 2 (to amend our Articles of Incorporation): 707 in favor, 15 opposed – 98% approval.
Resolution 3 (to disaffiliate with TEC and affiliate with ACNA or some other Province of the Anglican Communion): 703 in favor, 19 opposed – 97% approval.

I rejoice and give thanks for both the clarity of this discernment process and the unity of purpose within this parish demonstrated by this vote. Unity and discernment are both gifts worked in our lives by the Spirit. Having said that, I am reminded that at least 19 members of St. Andrew’s may not be rejoicing in this vote and I commend them to you and your prayers as brothers and sisters in Christ. Please commit with me to ensure that St. Andrew’s will remain a parish where all are welcome to gather at the foot of the cross; sinners yet redeemed by the wonderful work of Christ.

What’s next?
The Vestry and I have made arrangements for St. Andrew’s to affiliate with The Diocese of The Holy Spirit, a diocese within the Anglican Church in North America. This affiliation will be effective upon the certification of our vote by the CPA firm at 3.00 pm, 2 April, at the latest.

Our Bishop will be The Rt. Rev’d John Guernsey. Bishop Guernsey is the long-time Rector of All Saints Church in Dale City, Virginia and will be well known to several within St. Andrew’s. I have known +John for over 20 years, dating back to my time at Virginia Seminary. You will discover that he shares many of the priorities that we have as a parish; from our commitment to missions (the Bishop is the Chairman of the Board for SOMA – a well known mission agency) to our passion to see every member equipped for ministry with both Word and Spirit. I have made arrangements for Bishop Guernsey to visit and preach at the Wednesday night service, 28 April 2010, followed by a time of healing prayer led by the Bishop. Please make plans to attend.

Lastly, the departure of this parish from the Diocese of South Carolina was not hastily made nor was it an easy decision. Indeed, this struggle has extended well beyond the past decade costing this parish one well-beloved Rector. Any sense of sadness over our separation is tempered by our joyful sense of the Lord’s forward-looking call upon our lives; by our common love for our Lord and by the common knowledge that our difficulty lay with the spiritual headship of the National Church, of which the Diocese of South Carolina remains, and intends to remain, a part, and not with the Bishop of South Carolina.

And so, I must say “thank you” to Bishop Lawrence. From the day I met +Mark in the candidacy process I have spoken with him often about St. Andrew’s costly efforts to remain faithful to the gospel in the midst of the Episcopal Church’s increasing abandonment of the faith as revealed through Scripture and Tradition. These conversations have continued throughout +Mark’s episcopacy and have grown to include the Vestry of St. Andrew’s as well as the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina. I have found in Bishop Lawrence a friend and co-laborer in the ministry of the Gospel. We share a mutual desire to maintain our fraternal relationship and have committed to one another that St. Andrew’s and the Diocese of South Carolina will continue to partner in Gospel ministry as opportunity and circumstance permit. Please remember to pray for the Diocese of South Carolina as we desire nothing less than God’s best for them.

As we continue in the next steps of our adventure together may we hold fast to our Saviour Jesus Christ. May we also with a renewed sense of the Spirit’s presence and power commit ourselves to extending His Kingdom to the ends of the earth by being a blessing to all whom we encounter.

I close with these words of praise from the pen of St. Paul: “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Faithfully in Christ,

Steve
(Rev. Steve Wood, Rector)
Link to Blog of The Rev. Steve Wood

St. Andrews Votes - The Time Has Come for Our Departure
The Time Has Come for Our Departure

Posted by Steve Published in Mission, St. Andrew's

St. Paul wrote:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist,fulfill your ministry.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there islaid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me onthat Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.This morning at 7.15 am the Vestry of St. Andrew's Church ~ Mt. Pleasant met and unanimously passed the following resolution:

RESOLVED that the resolution unanimously adopted by the Vestry on March 28, 2010 for this church corporation, parish, and congregation to withdraw from and sever all ties with The Episcopal Church in the United States and to transfer its canonical residence to the Anglican Church in North America or another province of the worldwide Anglican Communion be ratified by the members of this church corporation.

The Parish then met in a Special Meeting at 12.15 pm for the purpose of ratifying and concurring with this decision of the Vestry to withdraw from The Episcopal Church.....

With love and prayers,

Steve
Link to text on Steve Wood's Blog

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