Diocese of South Carolina Holds Convention
November 12, 2006

Resolution to seek Alternate Primatial Relationship passed

In This Issue:

Bishop Salmon explores chasm in The Episcopal Church

Bishop Salmon opened his address with a discourse on the powers of the bishop and diocese. He stated that the diocese alone has the power to perpetuate itself. Parish units do not exist and cannot live outside of their particular diocesan context in which the bishop is the final authority. He stated that The Episcopal Church "is a church of two minds, two churches under one roof". He asserts that PB Katharine refers to Jesus as a vehicle of the Divine implying Jesus is not God, but one way among others to know the Divine. Bishop Salmon stated that "the Cross of Jesus revels the nature of God uniquely, not one way among others". He concludes from this that there is "no way for our mission to go forward in the current disagreement" (within the Episcopal Church) therefore an Alternative Primatial Relationship has been requested within the Anglican Communion.

Resolution passes to seek Alternative Primatial Relationship.

A resolution empowering the Bishop and Standing Committee to determine the details and enter into an Alternative Primatial Relationship passed by voice vote. EFSC representatives estimated that perhaps 10% voted no. This is a strategy to involve another Primate in The Anglican Communion to act with and on behalf of the Diocese of South Carolina in lieu of functions that are performed by the Presiding Bishop. This is deemed necessary due to the deep chasm in scriptural understanding perceived by the ACN.

The emergence of several "mega" parishes has driven significant growth in the diocese.

Statistics show that during the past 17 years the diocese has grown 27% in attendance and total parish income (NDBI) has tripled. Although 40 parishes have fewer than 100 average Sunday attendance and 23 have fewer than 50 attending , a few are very large. These large churches; St. Paul's Summerville, St Andrews Mt. Pleasant, Church of the Cross Bluffton and Holy Cross Sullivan's Island, have fueled much of the diocesan growth.

We can observe that disassociation of more of these mega churches, such as the departure of All Saints Pawleys Island to the AMiA ,would seriously diminish the diocese.

The questions being asked are: Can an Episcopal Diocese separate from and exist outside The Episcopal Church? and; Can a parish disassociate from its diocese? The answer varies based on interpretation of canon and civil law.

Bishop-elect Mark Lawrence comments on his advocacy of disassociation from the Episcopal Church.

Mark Lawrence cited statistics showing that The Episcopal Church has declined from 3.5 million in 1966 to 2.25 million in 2006. This led him to characterize the Episcopal Church as dying and comatose. He stated that the 2003 election of Bishop Gene Robinson revealed the Achilles heal of the Anglican Communion being an inability to deal with unilateral actions of members. He has called for a progressive reappraisal of the polity within the Anglican Communion. This would take the form of a more binding covenant within the worldwide Anglican Communion.

When asked by another Episcopal bishop if he, Mark Lawrence, intended to leave the Episcopal Church he related his response as, he will work at least as hard to stay in The Episcopal Church as his brothers and sisters in the House of Bishops work to keep The Episcopal Church in "covenanted" relationship with the World Wide Anglican Communion. This conditional response is the answer which he gave to the Diocesan Convention. It appears that support for the polity of the Episcopal Church is made dependent on acceptance of a new covenant, to be defined, within the Anglican Communion.



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