FAQ Regarding Bishop Lawrence's Departure from TEC
October 30, 2012
SC Episcopalians Takes on Bishop Lawrence's Spin Meisters
FAQ Regarding Bishop Lawrence's Departure from TEC
The following FAQ's are published on SC Episcopalians Website:
?????? What happens now that Lawrence has left?
The Diocese of South Carolina continues to exist just as it has since 1789. We are all still in the Episcopal Church. Legally parishes and dioceses cannot leave the Church anymore than towns or states can leave the United States.
While the continuing Diocese moves forward, a considerable sorting out process will take place over the next few months in preparation for its 2013 Annual Convention on March 8-9th, 2013. This is the only legitimate convention of the Diocese of South Carolina that is currently scheduled.
?????? At that convention a new “Provisional” Bishop and Standing Committee will likely be elected, along with new Diocesan officers. This governing structure under the provisional bishop will undertake the task of organizing the Diocese post-Lawrence, until it is strong enough to stand on its own.
As was the case in other dioceses with renegade leadership, a steering committee of clergy and lay people will be formed in consultation with the Presiding Bishop. That will likely be happening very shortly.
The committee would not be authorized to operate the Diocese, but rather serve as a source of communications, advice, reorganization, and support for loyal Episcopalians between now and March. The committee would also organize the March convention.
?????? What is the status of Mark Lawrence and the Standing Committee?
Oddly, Mark Lawrence is still considered the Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, even though he has been temporarily “restricted” from exercising any acts as a bishop or priest.
While Lawrence claims he has left the Episcopal Church, he has not formally renounced his vows in writing, as required by Church law. Even then, his resignation can only be valid when it is accepted by the House of Bishops. In short, the door is still open if Lawrence wants to stay in the Episcopal Church, and, for some reason, Lawrence is not closing it.
However, there is no current Standing Committee in the Diocese of South Carolina.
According to the minutes of a secret meeting of the Standing Committee on October 2nd, its members unanimously voted to leave the Episcopal Church. The former clergy members of the Committee therefore are no longer Episcopal priests in that they have openly violated their ordination vows. None of the Committee members – lay or clergy – can now hold any positions of authority in the Episcopal Church.
?????? So by what authority is Mark Lawrence confirming people?
His own. Lawrence claims he is not accountable to anyone. Any confirmations, baptisms, or ordinations he conducts are meaningless in the eyes of the Episcopal Church, and in the Anglican tradition. These unfortunate people are simply pawns in whatever political game he is playing.
?????? So what is the Special Convention on November 17th all about? Should our delegates attend?
This is a “rump” convention and it is meaningless since Lawrence is prohibited from engaging in canonical acts like convening official meetings. The entire Standing Committee has left the Church so it has no authority to do this either.
The purpose of this gathering on November 17th is part pep rally and part political. Lawrence and his people are trying to figure out which parishes and clergy are aligned with him, and which are not. Many of the loyal parishes in the Diocese will most likely not be sending delegates, as it has no legitimate Diocesan purpose.
However, clergy will be running the risk of being deposed if they go on record supporting Lawrence's new renegade "diocese". This is why Lawrence is pressuring them. If they are deposed by the Church they would have no where to turn except to him.
In other words, unless you are clergy, it doesn’t matter whether your parish sends anyone to the rump convention. The important date to remember is the 2013 Annual Convention of the Diocese on March 8-9th.
?????? Former Bishop Lawrence is pressuring us to go with his group. Do we have to make a decision now?
No. Mark Lawrence has no authority to insist that you do anything, because of the temporary “restriction” on him. Lawrence is trying to see how much support there is for him among the parishes. Every parish in the Diocese is in the Episcopal Church, and legally none can leave the Church.
?????? What is the status of the clergy?
Each clergy person will have to decide if he or she wants to stay in the Episcopal Church.
The final status of individual members of the clergy will be determined by the Provisional Bishop who most likely will be elected in March. He or she will have full authority to depose any of them who have demonstrated disloyalty to the Church or do not feel they can continue to abide by their ordination vows.
Any clergy who intend to stay in the Episcopal Church do not need to do anything. Lawrence's announcement last week that they were no longer in the Church was nonsense. It is imporant for them to keep up their contributions to the Church Pension Fund as an indication of their plans to stay the course. In other dioceses with renegade leadership, the list of those who have stopped their contributions is pretty close the same list of those who have been deposed. The Provisional bishop will have that list.
Clergy are the most vulnerable pawns in Lawrence’s plans. There are not a lot of jobs out there for deposed priests, as they cannot be employed by parishes in the Episcopal Church nor carry out the duties of a priest in most other denominations. In other parishes that have attempted to leave the Episcopal Church, deposed clergy have been able to find secular jobs, or part-time employment, but not many in their chosen fields. They also are giving up their investment in one of the most generous retirement plans in the world.
Lawrence and many of his allies are fully vested in the Episcopal Church’s Pension Fund, and can fully avail themselves of health benefits, moving expenses, and any bonuses the system awards. Lawrence continues to live comfortably in the Diocesan House, and pay himself with funds belonging to the real Diocese of South Carolina.
?????? Who will be the Provisional Bishop to take over in March?
At this point, no one knows. There are a number of retired bishops in the Church and a few active ones who find a challenge in reorganizing a Diocese that has been traumatized as has happened here.
The Steering Committee will consult with the Presiding Bishop to identify prospective candidates for consideration by the delegates to the March convention. Normally several nominees will be presented to the convention, and one will then be elected.
Provisional bishops have the full authority of a Diocesan bishop except they can be replaced when the Diocese is ready to elect permanent leadership. Normally, that means he or she will serve for two or three years, but there is no hard and fast rule about it.
?????? What should my parish anticipate if we vote to support Lawrence?
The clergy are the most at risk. They have taken a sacred oath of loyalty to support the "doctrine, discipline, and worship" of the Episcopal Church. By aligning themselves with Lawrence and his group, they are de facto leaving the Church and will likely be deposed by the Provisional Bishop.
In other dioceses with rebellious leaders, dissident congregations have insisted that they own their own property and refused to leave. This has proved costly in that the congregations have had to pay for expensive litigation which they then lost. Some have been ordered to pay compensation for the money they have spent after rebelling against their dioceses.
Parishes in the Diocese of South Carolina need to be aware that, thanks to Lawrence's handling of quitclaim deeds and other Diocesan assets, there is no way for resolution of these property issues to happen without litigation. Any congregation that feels it needs to leave the Episcopal Church with its property, it needs to be prepared for lawsuits.
In those other dioceses, rebel parishes also found that lenders are none too pleased to be underwriting loans to a parish that is fighting with its national church. Lenders like the stability that such an affiliation brings to the borrower, and often they will consider the loan riskier than when it was made, and hike the interest rate.
In short, not one parish in the breakaway dioceses has gotten through this without incurring significant costs over time,
By staying put, nothing will happen and your parish will be able to continue on with your own clergy just as you have in the past.
Read more on SC Episcopalians Website
Lawrence Pushes Clergy to Leave the Church, while He Remains an Episcopal Bishop
October 26, 2012 - SC Episcopalians Website:
Contrary to last Friday's announcement, Lawrence has not taken steps to actually leave the Episcopal Church
His clergy supporters on the Standing Committee are no longer Episcopal priests, but Lawrence could yet work something out for himself
CHARLESTON - Mark Lawrence has spent much of this week leaning on wavering clergy to abandon the Episcopal Church and join his renegade "diocese", even though he himself has not taken the formal steps necessary to leave.
Last Friday, Lawrence told Diocesan clergy that he, they, and their parishes were no longer in the Episcopal Church. However, that is not legally possible under civil or canon law without affirmative steps by Lawrence and individual clergy. There is also no mechanism by which parishes can leave the Church.
SC Episcopalians has learned today that Lawrence has apparently not notified the Episcopal Church that he is leaving nor put in writing a disavowal of his episcopal orders, as required by canon law.
Until he does that, he remains the "restricted" Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. As such, he's still in a position to try to work something out with the Church if he wants to stay.
Of course, it is unlikely, but as parishes and clergy look at the costs of leaving the Church, the certain litigation, loss of income and job prospects -- following Lawrence off a cliff is not as appealing as it once was. In fact, SC Episcopalians is not aware of any clergy who have voluntarily submitted their resignations to the Episcopal Church this week.
Lawrence may yet realize that his movement might be better off staying in the Church, and remaining a part of the Anglican Communion.
The scenario is not so far fetched with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on the other side of the table. She has regularly sought solutions to the challenges Lawrence has presented in ways that are more pastoral than legalistic. Over the years, her approach seems to have been to give Lawrence room within the Church to rail against her, gays, and "false gospels" perhaps as a price for his keeping the Diocese intact.
Just last week Lawrence conceded that he has been exploring "creative options" with her that might include his staying in the Church.
As nearly as SC Episcopalians can tell, neither Lawrence nor the Presiding Bishop has shut down those conversations, even when she was required to impose a "restriction" on his ministry after a disciplinary board found he'd abandoned communion.
The Standing Committee is another story.
Meanwhile the body count from Lawrence's continuing "war" against the Church has continued to climb.
Six clergy members of the former Standing Committee of the Diocese are now deemed to have abandoned the Church, thanks to their support of a secret scheme by Lawrence to try to leave the Episcopal Church and take the Diocese with him.
Last week, minutes of a previously undisclosed Committee meeting on October 2nd, revealed that a unanimous Standing Committee approved such a plan.
According to precedents in other dioceses with renegade leadership, support for such measures by priests equates to "abandonment" of the Church. SC Episcopalians has confirmed this understanding with Church officials familiar with these situations. The six are Paul Feuner, John Barr, Ken Weldon, Greg Snyder, Andrew O'Dell, and Tripp Jeffords.
A final decision on their deposition would be made by the new Provisional Bishop to be elected on March 8-9th.
Under Church canons, the entire Standing Committee is deemed to have left the Episcopal Church, and has no authority. A new Standing Committee is scheduled to be elected at the same Convention in March .
Link to SC Episcopalians Website
SC Episcopalians Responds to Wacky Ad & Fictionalized Version of Recent Events
"The Episcopal Church Abandons Bishop and Diocese" is the latest official spin of the Diocese, formerly known as the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, on the mess Mark Lawrence has created. Lawrence likely spent thousands of dollars to publish this strange narrative in the Charleston Post & Courier just after announcing that he'd left the Episcopal Church and dragged all the clergy and parishes of the Diocese with him. The text of the ad is in black, while our comments are in blue.
Diocesan Ad: "Anglicans have been worshiping in South Carolina since its establishment as a British Colony. From the beginning, they have defended and upheld the doctrine, discipline and worship of the faithful generations who came before them."
SC Episcopalians: This unidentified writer seems to be describing a diocese other than South Carolina. Historically, the relationship between South Carolinians and the Church of England before the Revolutionary War and the Episcopal Church today has been contentious and of questionable faithfulness.
Far from upholding the "doctrine, discipline, and worship" of either institution, South Carolinians have repeatedly challenged the authority of Church leaders from colonial times right up to the present. From issues of loyalty to the King of England to slavery to the full inclusion of black people and women in the life of the Church, the leaders of the Diocese of South Carolina have been on the front lines of dissent and resistance to Church authority.
Our first bishop reluctantly signed on to the new Church only after extensive negotiations assured him that South Carolina would always be able to elect its own bishops. Even then, he did almost nothing in the way of confirming people or creating a sense of unity in the new diocese.
SC Bishop William Alexander Guerry was assassinated in the 1920s when he embraced the Episcopal Church's innovation of suffragan bishops that would allow black people to minister to black Episcopalians.
Parishes in the Diocese threatened to leave the Church in the 1960s when the national Church started treating black people like everyone else. They made the same threats when women were being ordained as priests, and when the Church revised its Book of Common Prayer.
In the 1980's, SC Bishop Fitz Allison even started his own seminary to produce clergy who would oppose the Episcopal Church and its theology.
Incidentally, the writer needs to realize that members of Lawrence's make-believe Diocese of South Carolina are not Anglicans as they are not recognized by our Archbishop of Canterbury.
"That freedom is now under direct assault. As a founding Diocese of the Episcopal Church, we have taken steps in recent years to defend our freedom of worship and order of gathering. On Monday of this week (October 15), the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence (14th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina) was informed by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church that a disciplinary board had certified that he was guilty of abandonment of the communion of the church – that he had, in effect, by his words and actions, left the church. We believe that these actions of the Episcopal Church are both invalid under the Constitution of the Episcopal Church of this Diocese and violations of rights and freedoms which all Americans hold dear. We emphatically reject them, as well as the attempted restriction upon the ministry of our Bishop."
The writer of this text confuses the Constitution of the United States with the Constitution of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Lawrence is charged with abandonment because he violated his sacred vow to uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church. Yes, technically he did it by speaking, but even under the U.S. Constitution, speaking certain things can be a criminal offense.
The Constitution of the Episcopal Church grants no such freedom of speech to its bishops when it comes to their vows of loyalty to the Church. Lawrence's misconduct has nothing to do with freedom of speech or the right to worship as we please. Nice try, though.
"An Assault on the Bishop. This action is a deplorable assault upon the Bishop of this Diocese. The attack came in the midst of negotiations whose stated intent was to find a peaceful solution to our differences with the Episcopal Church."
No one has assaulted anyone. The Episcopal Church has decided that Mark Lawrence has violated a sacred oath he took at his consecration. The Presiding Bishop temporarily "restricted" his ministry, and reportedly continues to reach out to him to explore ways in which the restriction could be removed.
That's not an assault. It's called compassion.
Mark Lawrence has never been in any serious negotiation with anyone at the national Church about peacefully resolving anything. In fact, his colleagues in the House of Bishops say he is famous for not engaging in dialogue about the issues that concern him, but just making questionable statements of theology and ignoring those who would challenge him.
With respect to the restriction on his ministry, Lawrence just found out about it on Monday, and had agreed to have a conversation with the Presiding Bishop this coming Monday. There do seem to have been communications between Lawrence's associates and Church leaders over the last few weeks, but nothing amounting to serious negotiations.
Lawrence and the Diocese apparently do not understand that the temporary “restriction” on Lawrence is required by the laws of the Church when a bishop is found to have abandoned communion. There is clearly a period of time in which negotiations can take place that can result in the lifting of the restriction. Lawrence has refused so far refused to participate in these discussions, guaranteeing that there can be no resolution of the charges.
"It involved a process in which there was no prior notice of the proceedings, no notice of the charges against him nor any opportunity to face the local accusers (who remained anonymous until today)."
Let's look at what happened.
Twleve communicants and two priests of the Diocese filed a complaint with the Church’s Disciplinary Board for Bishops (DBB) asking if twelve specific actions by Bishop Lawrence constituted “abandonment of communion.” The Board certified that three of them – denying accession to the Constitution of the Episcopal Church, issuance of quitclaim deeds, and amending the corporate charter of the Diocese to eliminate references to the Episcopal Church – constituted abandonment.
The process used by the DBB is spelled out in canon law. All procedures were followed precisely. You can find them for yourself online. Essentially, the DBB operates like a grand jury. There is no requirement that there be prior notice of the proceedings, no notice of the charges, and no disclosure of the names of the people who filed the complaint.
There are three reasons why the writer's logic here is fantasy.
(a) Lawrence made it very clear when a similar complaint was made against him in 2011 that he does not consider himself under the authority of the DBB and did not care about its process. It's just a little implausible that now Lawrence is seriously complaining about that process.
(b) As a courtesy to Lawrence last year, the DBB provided him with a copy of the complaint that was filed against him. Rather than respond to the complaint, Lawrence posted it online and used it to make a political statement rather than present intelligent counter-arguments. Did he really think the Board would extend the same courtesy to him again after the contempt he showed for it last year?
(c) Lawrence admits that all the allegations are true. What then would be the point of naming those who filed the complaint except to allow them to be harrassed? Neither Lawrence nor the Diocese dispute that the complaint is factually correct. The assumption behind the right to face your accusers is that you think they have wrongly accused you... not when you admit that their accusations are true.
"Also deeply concerning is the fact that all of the stated reasons for “abandonment” were known nearly a year ago, when an earlier attempt to remove him failed. This second attempt is double jeopardy of the most egregious sort and is contrary to the very canons they have used."
The writer is correct that the business about amending the Diocesan Constitution and corporate charter were known a year ago and included in the original complaint filed with the DBB in 2011.
However, his knowledge of the history of this matter is a bit off-base.
The DBB responded to the original complaint by saying that there was insufficient evidence linking Bishop Lawrence directly to these actions. It never said Lawrence was innocent or acquitted.
Obviously, in the second complaint, those allegations were more substantial.
The writer here is really stretching to make an irrelevant point about double jeopardy. The DBB has never charged Mark Lawrence with anything, so it can hardly be argued that he has been charged a second time.
Remember to think of the DBB as a grand jury, not a trial court jury. Grand juries can investigate any suspected crimes anytime they choose, including those they have already investigated. Readers will be intersted in knowing that the people of the Diocese of Pittsburgh had to file three complaints against former Bishop Robert Duncan before the Church felt there was sufficient evidence to proceed against him.
"Worst of all, canons that were originally meant for the removal of clergy who had well and truly “left” the church are now being used to purge a Bishop who has diligently sought to keep his Diocese both intact and within the Episcopal Church."
This a leap that would daunt even the Flying Wallendas.
Almost since the day of his consecration, Mark Lawrence has been attempting to provoke the leadership of the Episcopal Church to act against him. If Lawrence has done anything to keep the parishes in the Episcopal Church, he has done a good job of hiding it.
In his "diligence" to stay in the Episcopal Church, he has spent nearly $500,000 on lawyers mostly to work on legal schemes to deprive the Episcopal Church of its legitimate interest in parish properties and to create an avenue that would allow him to take off the parishes and assets of the Diocese.
Just this week, the Diocese disclosed that Lawrence and the Board of Directors of the make-believe Diocese had secretly put in place a dubious self-executing plan to take the Diocese out of the Episcopal Church.
Only the most zany of Lawrence supporters would even attempt to argue that Lawrence has not abandoned the Episcopal Church on the same webpage on which Lawrence admits he and the Standing Committee had put in place a secret resolution to abandon the Episcopal Church.
"An Assault on the Diocese. These actions, however, are not just an attack upon Bishop Lawrence. They also represent an assault on this Diocese and its congregations."
There has been no attack on the Diocese. Mark Lawrence is shamelessly promoting this idea of an assault on the Diocese to divert attention from the fact the certification of abandonment was the result of his own personal behavior and his violation of his consecration oath.
By making it seem like the Diocese is under attack, he can rationalize the thousands of dollars in Diocesan funds he is wasting on silly newspaper ads and armies of lawyers.
"Two of the three actions that the Episcopal Church claims prove his abandonment are in fact actions of the Diocesan Convention. These were actions of the entire Diocese, all its parishes and missions, expressing together in duly elected convention what they needed to remain in the communion of this denomination."
In 1861, South Carolina tried to succeed from the United States. That didn’t exactly work out. Part of the reason is that once a territory becomes a state in the United States, there is no mechanism for leaving. Back then, conventions in Charleston and Columbia passed resolutions that violated that part of the United States Constitution, and eventually -- after a long war -- were considered to have committed treason.
The Constitution of the Episcopal Church is structured along the same lines as the U.S. Constitution and was, in fact, written up by some of the same fellows.
One of the requirements of all dioceses in the Episcopal Church is that their diocesan constitutions contain no provisions that would infringe on the concept of “unqualified accession” to the Constitution of the Episcopal Church. Accession means that the diocesan constitutions are trumped by the Constitution of the Episcopal Church when they are in conflict. This is essential to the “discipline” that priests and bishops are required to uphold. Bishops agree to it when they take their vows.
In 2011 and 2012, the Diocesan Conventions approved a critical change in the Diocese’s Constitution. They actually reversed the accession clause to say that the Diocesan Constitution takes precedence over that of the Episcopal Church. Lawrence not only supported this change, he was actually instrumental in creating the resolution and getting the Standing Committee to send it to the conventions.
The reason the Disciplinary Board for Bishops believes this to be “abandonment of communion” is that Lawrence used his position as bishop to advance this unconstitutional amending of the Diocesan Constitution. Even if he had had nothing to do with creating it, he had the authority to rule it out of order when it came before the conventions. This, the DBB says, was a violation of his consecration oath.
"In effect, the Episcopal Church has said it does not care what the parishioners of this Diocese, who are its sole supporters, have to say about their own future. The final action for which the Episcopal Church claims Bishop Lawrence was found guilty was for confirming, by the release of quit claim deeds, that our congregations own their own property."
There is no evidence that Jesus Christ ever imagined that his community of followers would not be mutually dependent on each other. St. Paul very clearly saw that churches and church leaders who viewed themselves as autonomous within the larger Body of Christ were a threat to the Gospel, not its' friend.
Mutual respect and interdependence is the fundamental premise on which all hierarchical churches like the Episcopal Church are constructed. It is hard to imagine that the person who wrote this for the Diocese is even an Episcopalian. We are one Church that gives enormous latitude to its individual dioceses and parishes for the expression of the Gospel, but we are one in spirit and mission.
If Episcopalians in a Diocese want to leave the Episcopal Church, there is no penalty or ostracism. They can leave with no hard feelings.
However, Lawrence and his followers say they want to leave the Episcopal Church… and help themselves to the assets of the Church on their way out the door. These are not assets that they personally paid for, nor did they actually build or pay for most of the current parish buildings they claim belong to them.
The idea that a bishop somehow is the owner of millions of dollars in trust funds, real estate, and camps and conference centers when he is consecrated is ridiculous. The same is true for those who think they own church buildings just because they walk in the door and say they are members of the parish.
In other words, the writer of this piece seems tobe equating “what the parishioners of this Diocese have to say about their own future” with permission to commit grand larceny. This is why a number of lawyers believe that Lawrence and his followers have engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the Episcopal Church of its rightful property.
"Abandoned. Bishop Lawrence’s actions have been taken to protect the integrity of the Diocese and its parishes. "
How is the integrity of the Diocese at stake? Because New Hampshire had a bishop who was gay, or that bishops in the Episcopal Church can choose to bless committed, monogamous relationship between adults of the same gender? The Diocese of South Carolina is trying to tie itself closer to members of the Anglican Communion, but apparently feel no threat to their integrity because of its condoning of polygamy among its members.
"In the exercise of his freedom of speech, he has stated his personal good faith beliefs concerning the theology and polity of this Diocese. The parishes of this Diocese have repeatedly joined him in expressing those same beliefs. The actions taken by the Episcopal Church make it clear that such freedom of expression is intolerable to them."
The writer of this piece is again confusing the Constitution of the United States with the Constitution of the Episcopal Church. No one is attacking Lawrence’s freedom of speech, nor has not been found guilty of “abandonment” because of his beliefs or theology.
Nothing in the complaint filed against him or the charges certified by the Disciplinary Board for Bishops says anything about his free speech, his beliefs, or his theology.
In the parlance of debate, this argument is called a red herring. It means something designed to confuse others when the facts of an argument don’t hold water.
"It is this Diocese and its Bishop who have been abandoned..."
The Church has abandoned Lawrence and the Diocese? Seriously?
The reason this writer’s logic make no sense is that the Episcopal Church today is no different than it was in 2008, when Mark Lawrence took a sacred oath of loyalty to the “doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church” during his consecration.
There was already an openly gay bishop in the Church, and many openly gay clergy. The polity of the Church had been engaged in discussions about homosexuality for nearly thirty years.
Years earlier the Episcopal Church had led the way on the ordination of women, and the full inclusion of black people into the life of the Church. We had rewritten our Prayer Book using more inclusive language, and allowed lay people to administer the chalice during communion.
That Lawrence and any of his clergy followers would suggest that the Episcopal Church is a different church from what it was in 2008 or whenever they were ordained makes no sense. The real question is: what were they thinking when they took their vows of loyalty to the Episcopal Church?
"... left behind by a denomination that has chosen a radically different path from that of its founders."
Is this guy/woman serious? The founders of the Episcopal Church clearly envisioned a Church where landowning white males would decide policy and theology for everyone else. There is no evidence that any of the founders were female or anything but white, wealthy, and seeking to create a church that would support the status quo.
Many of them owned slaves and saw no conflict between their enslavement of our fellow men and women and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The first bishop of this Diocese, of whom Mark Lawrence is an admirer, was a huge slave owner. Even bishops outside the South were famous slave-traders and made fortunes trafficking in human flesh. When priests in this Diocese attempted to baptize or even perform marriages for slaves, they were ostracized and threatened with losing their jobs.
Today, most Episcopalians rejoice that the Church has taken a radically different path. Only in South Carolina would we in the 21st century try to romanticize this sorry legacy.
"For that reason, we have disassociated ourselves from the Episcopal Church and will meet again in Convention on November 17th to consider further responses to these actions by the denomination we helped found."
This is the most peculiar claim in the entire flyer. In the first place it is unlikely that the writer had anything to do with founding the Episcopal Church. If he had, he would know that our bishop signed the Constitution of the Church knowing full well that there was no exit clause or right of secession. He also would have known that dioceses are creatures of the Episcopal Church, not the other way around. No group of parishes can become a diocese of the Episcopal Church without being authorized as such by the Episcopal Church.
"By God’s grace, we look forward to many more generations freely exercising the faith first brought to these shores so many generations before us."
The writer, who presumably speaks for the Diocese, seems to have invented some theory that bishops of the Episcopal are somehow free to go around saying and doing anything they please. In the Episcopal Church, bishops are not mini-popes. They pledge themselves to be part of the wider Church of Jesus Christ, and that means honoring your consecration vows (Please refer to definition of “red hearing” above)
Link to SC Episcopalians Website
Diocese of SC Publishes Its Version of Events in FAQ's
The departing leadership of the Diocese of SC has posted on the website of The Diocese of SC a list of their answers to FAQ's about events leading to their departure from TEC.
Link to Diocese of SC Website
Voluntary Release of names by the 12 lay people and two priests who filed complaints with the Episcopal Church’s Disciplinary Board
South Carolinians say diocesan actions were ‘too far out of bounds’
By Mary Frances Schjonberg - October 18, 2012
Episcopal News Service -
The 12 lay people and two priests who filed complaints with the Episcopal Church’s Disciplinary Board for Bishops alleging that the Diocese of South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence had abandoned the Episcopal Church said Oct. 18 that they filed those complaints “with great deliberation” because certain actions he and other diocesan leaders took “seemed to be going too far out of bounds.”
Their statement came in a press release issued just after an attorney who worked with the 14 people had e-mailed a letter to Lawrence about their action. That letter, also e-mailed to Episcopal News Service, notes that they have made their names public “as a courtesy to you, so as not to have secrecy surrounding the action.”
Melinda A. Lucka, an attorney in the Charleston, South Carolina, area and an active communicant in the diocese, said in the letter that the complainants “do not want possible misunderstandings” and stressed that no one from elsewhere in the Episcopal Church encouraged or initiated the complaint.”
The 12 lay communicants include: Robert R. Black, Margaret A. Carpenter, Charles G. Carpenter, Frances L. Elmore, Eleanor Horres, John Kwist, Margaret S. Kwist, Barbara G. Mann, David W. Mann, Warren M. Mersereau, Dolores J. Miller, Robert B. Pinkerton, M. Jaquelin Simons, Mrs. Benjamin Bosworth Smith, John L. Wilder and Virginia C. Wilder. The clergy who were named are the Rev. Colton M. Smith and the Rev. Roger W. Smith.
It was announced Oct. 17 that the disciplinary board had certified to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori that Lawrence had indeed abandoned the Episcopal Church “by an open renunciation of the discipline of the church.”
The diocese said in an Oct. 17 statement on its website that the board’s action “triggered two pre-existing corporate resolutions of the diocese, which simultaneously disaffiliated the diocese from the Episcopal Church and called a special convention.” That convention will be held Nov. 17 at St. Philip’s Church, Charleston.
The disaffiliation resolution, passed by the diocesan Standing Committee on Sept. 18 is here.
The church’s Executive Council discussed the South Carolina situation during a very brief executive session on the final day of its regularly scheduled meeting Oct. 15-18. Jefferts Schori said during a press conference just before the close of the meeting that she is “still hopeful that we can find a way for South Carolina to remain part of the Episcopal Church.”
In their press release, the 14 people asked for prayers “for the bishop and all involved,” and stressed that “there is definitely a place for orthodox and evangelical views within the diocese; that’s the beauty of being under the large tent of the Episcopal Church.”
“However, viewpoints and practices in the diocese began to take large leaps away from the broader church when various actions took place,” the complainants said. “Severing the legal connections to the governing laws of the church and essentially forming a new corporate entity, outside of the Episcopal Church by changing the diocesan corporate purpose statement to no longer accede to the constitution and canons of our church seemed to be going too far out of bounds.”
“The hope of these individuals is that the diocese will continue to be a home for all Episcopalians to worship and live together in God’s love through Jesus Christ.”
Lucka requested on behalf the 14 people that the disciplinary board look in various actions Lawrence had taken or encouraged over the past two years. She said in the release that she asked the board “if it could make a determination as to whether or not the actions were consistent with the mission and polity of the Episcopal Church.”
Generally, names of individuals who initiate these requests are held in confidence through privacy provisions of the Episcopal Church’s canons, the release said. “However, the complainants in this request gave their approval to allow themselves to be made known to the bishop,” the release said, “as a courtesy to Bishop Lawrence, so as not to be cloaked in a shroud of secrecy.”
The complainants hope that their disclosure “will prevent any suppositions that may be asserted in the upcoming days or weeks that the Episcopal Church may have initiated or encouraged the filing of this request,” the release said.
The complainants said they also wanted to clarify that although most of them are members of the Episcopal Forum of South Carolina (an organization of what the release called “mainstream Episcopalians”), “this was not an action taken by the forum or its board.”
“In addition to the individuals who made this request, there are many, many other loyal Episcopalians in the diocese who felt strongly that Episcopal Church officials should review the bishop’s actions,” the release said.
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