Episcopal Forum of SC Writes to TEC Bishops & Standing Committees
September 17. 2007

11/3/07 Conference - Connecting with TEC - Middleton Place

In This Issue:


Episcopal Forum of SC Writes to TEC Bishops & Standing Committees

The Diocese of SC reelected Fr. Mark Lawrence to become Bishop of South Carolina. The Diocese sent letters to all diocesan bishops and standing committees to request "Consents" as required by the canons of TEC. A majority of Consents is required from the bishops and separately from the standing committees. The Episcopal Forum of SC also sent letters to the bishops and standing committees expressing concerns which should be considered in the discernment process. (SEE TEXT OF LETTER IN BELOW)

The Episcopal Church (TEC) is a hierarchical church with an elected episcopate. Once elected, consented to and consecrated the diocesan bishop of a defined geographic area exercises broad authority in that diocesan area under the Canons and Constitution of TEC.

TEC is limited in its ability to enter into diocesan affairs which are under the authority of the bishop. A major hierarchical obligation and authority TEC has in diocesan leadership and affairs is to either withhold Consents for a bishop-elect or to remove a bishop from a diocese by a process known as "Presentment". The grounds for these actions include violation of the canons and constitution of TEC.

During the past year several diocesan bishops, who are members of the ACN "Network", have taken 1st steps to withdraw their entire diocese from TEC and join a new Anglican Province in formation. TEC through the Presiding Bishop advised the Bishop of San Joaquin by letter not to move forward on this separation process. The Presiding Bishop wrote:

........."I have seen reports of your letter to parishes in the Diocese of San Joaquin, which apparently urges delegates to your upcoming Diocesan Convention to take action to leave the Episcopal Church. I would ask you to confirm the accuracy of those reports. If true, you must be aware that such action would likely be seen as a violation of your ordination vows to "uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them." I must strongly urge you to consider the consequences of such action, not only for yourself but especially for all of the Episcopalians under your pastoral charge and care."............ (see text of letter in eNewsletter # 17 at link below)

Father Lawrence is currently in the Diocese of San Joaquin and he has in his public discourse generally supported his Bishop and the ACN on the issues of "disassociation from TEC". Concern and caution should be exercised in granting consents to a bishop-elect who by public discourse does not express full commitment to the ordination oath signed by every new bishop “to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.” (BCP, p513). This commitment is understood to include respecting the democratic actions of General Convention and the elected leadership of The Episcopal Church as it is now constituted.

Issue 17 EFSC eNewsletter – 11/21/06 – The Presiding Bishop of ECUSA responds to schismatic Bishop of San Joaquin


Text of EFSC letters to Diocesan Bishops and Members of Diocesan Standing Committees

September 14, 2007


TO: Diocesan Bishops and Members of Diocesan Standing Committees (Addressed by diocese, signed and mailed (9/15/07)

FROM: The Episcopal Forum of South Carolina
L. A. Pagliaro, Board President


We are writing as an assembly of Episcopalians in the Diocese of South Carolina, working to retain and strengthen ties with The Episcopal Church. We ask you to take seriously our concerns regarding the future of our diocese and the strength of our Church. We sense that there exists a broad perception of overriding support within our diocese for the direction it is taking, which is reflected in the election of Mark Lawrence. We believe that you, leaders of our national Church, should be informed about issues of critical concern, and we believe that this certainly is one of those moments.

It is important that you know, as you consider our concern, that the Diocese of South Carolina is not unified in its support of the Anglican Communion Network and its positions, nor is it unified in a desire to disassociate from The Episcopal Church. There are congregations in this diocese that remain committed to The Episcopal Church, and there are segments within “dissenting” congregations that remain equally committed. The Episcopal Forum of South Carolina is supported by parishioners from most parishes in the diocese, and provides a voice for those loyal to The Episcopal Church.

We are concerned about the process for the election of Father Lawrence. There was neither a search nor a nominating committee, and no opportunity was provided for newly elected delegates to meet Father Lawrence or hear him speak. There was an opportunity to petition for alternate candidates, but the process was overly restrictive. Further, observers who earlier were registered and attended the 2006 Diocesan Convention were not admitted to the “reconvened convention” 7 months later.


The 2006 convention was reconvened for the purpose of suspending the canons dealing with bishop election. We are also concerned that the process used to suspend the bishop election rules may have violated diocesan canons. We want to emphasize the fact that the above objections to the approval process were clearly expressed to leaders of the Standing Committee.

Our concern is heightened by recent statements made by Father Lawrence. Following the ruling that his first election was null and void, Father Lawrence stated, “It’s time to call for those in the middle to wake up and decide which side you are on.” (3/17/07, Charleston, SC, Post and Courier). Further, in a letter by Father Lawrence to his parish, posted August 22, 2007 on his parish’s website, he wrote; “I also hold strong convictions on remaining in covenanted fellowship with the worldwide Anglican Communion, rather than following, as some have suggested, the pathway of an overly autonomous provincial or national church.” (see link below)

His perspective deeply concerns us, as we believe that it would further isolate a substantial number of Episcopalians in the Diocese of South Carolina. A climate of intolerance exists in this diocese, virtually isolating Episcopalians who do not agree with the expressed position of the majority of clergy and lay leaders who are members of the Anglican Communion Network. We fear that climate would be exacerbated by the administration of a bishop with Mark Lawrence’s perspective.

We want the new bishop of South Carolina to be committed without reservation to the ordination oath signed by every new bishop “to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.” (BCP, p513) We understand that commitment to include respecting the democratic actions of General Convention and the elected leadership of The Episcopal Church as it is now constituted.

We question whether a person who has repudiated the polity of our national Church should be considered qualified to be a bishop in The Episcopal Church. Please give our concerns your prayerful attention as you consider your consent to this election.

You can view the names of officers, directors, and members of The Episcopal Forum of South Carolina responsible for this message at our website www.episcopalforumofsc.org.

Saint Paul’s Parish Website - South Carolina Episcopacy Revisited


Conference Program - Saturday 11/3/07

The Episcopal Forum of South Carolina will sponsor a conference November 3rd at Middleton Place Conference Center in Charleston, SC. Speakers will include: Bonnie Anderson, Sally Johnson and The Rev. Frank Wade (SEE DETAILS BELOW)

The goal of this conference is to connect Episcopalians in the Diocese of SC with The Episcopal Church nationally. Join us to be more informed about and connected to The Episcopal Church during these challenging times.

8:30 AM - Coffee and Registration

9:30 AM - Holy Eucharist

10:30 AM - Break

10:45 AM - Presentation - Bonnie Anderson

12:00 Noon - Box Lunch - Informal small groups.

1:00 PM - Presentation - Frank Wade

2:00 PM - Presentation - Sally Johnson

2:30 PM - Break

2:45 PM - Speakers Panel Discussion Q & A

4:00 PM - Closing prayer



BONNIE ANDERSON was elected Vice President of the House of Deputies in 2003 and was elected President of House of Deputies in 2006. She holds the highest ranking lay office in The Episcopal Church.

As President of the House of Deputies, Anderson's canonical responsibilities include among many others presiding over the House of Deputies, serving as Vice Chair of Executive Council, serving as Vice President of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS) (the corporate entity under which TEC operates). Anderson maintains a presence at TEC Center in New York City, and serves as ex-officio member of all TEC Standing Commissions.

FRANK WADE - The Rev. Frank Wade is a prominent speaker and consultant who served 22 years as rector of St. Alban's on the grounds of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. He is a trustee of the Alliance for Christian Media.

Wade is a well-known preacher and conference leader. He has served as a deputy to many General Conventions, has been chaplain to the House of Deputies, chaired the education committee and served on the Council of Advice for President of the House of Deputies.

SALLY JOHNSON - Chancellor to the President of the House of Deputies. Her responsibilities include employment, ecclesiastical discipline, legal and other risk management situations arising in the Episcopal Church.

Website for Inn at Middleton Place


REGISTER TO ATTEND THIS CONFERENCE

The conference will be held at the Inn at Middleton Place on Rt 61 at the Middleton Plantation. See the link above for directions to the Conference Center or to reserve a room for the evening before the conference.

The Conference fee is $25 per person including lunch. Send your name and address and the number of seats you wish to reserve using the link below.

Link: REGISTER FOR THIS CONFERENCE


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