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I Am Episcopalian - December 5th Episcopal Forum Announced
November 11, 2009

Diocese of SC Leadership expands chasm between Diocese and TEC

In This Issue:
S.C. Distances Itself from Episcopal Bodies
I AM EPISCOPALIAN - EFSC Forum - 12/5/09
An unavoidable distancing?
A Brief History of the Ongoing Disassociation of the Diocese of SC from The Episcopal Church
Ten Reasons to Remain an Episcopalian
I AM EPISCOPALIAN - TEC Website
Join The Episcopal Forum of SC
Contact Info
 
S.C. Distances Itself from Episcopal Bodies
The Living Church - Douglas LeBlanc - October 24, 2009

The voting margins were huge on Saturday as a special convention of the Diocese of South Carolina approved four resolutions supported by the diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. Mark Joseph Lawrence.

A fifth resolution addressed diocesan convictions on sexuality, without explicit implications for the diocese’s relations with the Episcopal Church.

As Bishop Lawrence urged approval of the resolutions, he acknowledged criticisms that they have attracted: “The resolutions that are before us, while seeming tepid to some, have to others the feel of haste, even imprudence.”

Those disagreements are clear even within the diocese. Only about six miles from the convention’s meeting site, Christ Church in Mt. Pleasant, is St. Andrew’s Church, which already has begun a 40 Days of Discernment program to decide whether it will separate from the Episcopal Church and, by extension, from the diocese.

In mid-September, the Episcopal Forum of South Carolina said the diocese “teeters on the edge of schism” from the Episcopal Church.............

In summary, the five resolutions said:

1. “In the Diocese of South Carolina, we understand the substance of the “doctrine, discipline and worship” of the Episcopal Church to mean that which is expressed in the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Creeds, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and the theology of the historic prayer books.”

Approved by 86 percent of voting clergy, parishes and missions.

2. “That this diocese authorize the bishop and standing committee to begin withdrawing from all bodies of the Episcopal Church that have assented to actions contrary to Holy Scripture, the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ .........

Approved on a vote by orders.
Clergy: 87 yes, 17 no, 1 abstaining.
Parishes: 39 yes, 8 no.
Missions: 14, yes, 3 no, 2 divided, 1 abstaining.

3. “That this diocese … will work in partnership with such Dioceses as are willing to form missional relationships providing gatherings for bishops, clergy and laity for the express purpose of evangelism, encouragement, education and mission …

Approved, 85.1 percent.

4. “That the Diocese of South Carolina endorses the [Ridley Cambridge Draft] of the proposed Anglican Covenant, as it presently stands, in all four sections, as an expression of our full commitment to mutual submission and accountability in communion, grounded in a common faith.”

Approved, 87.5 percent.

5. “That this diocese will not condone prejudice or deny the dignity of any person, including but not limited to, those who believe themselves to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. .........

Tabled until the diocese’s regular convention in March 2010.

In a sweeping address of nearly 4,000 words, Bishop Lawrence gave an extended defense of the resolutions, which were prepared by the diocese’s standing committee in response to his address to clergy in August.

Both in that address and this one, he compared false doctrine to kudzu, a fast-growing and destructive vine found in the Deep South.

“This false teaching that I have called the gospel of indiscriminate inclusivity has challenged the doctrine of the Trinity, the Uniqueness and Universality of Christ, the authority of Scripture, our understanding of baptism, and now, that last refuge of order, our Constitution & Canons,” he said. “Like an invasive vine, like kudzu in an old growth forest, it has decked the Episcopal Church with decorative destruction. It has invaded and now is systematically dismantling the fundamental teachings of our Church and our Christian heritage.”..............

Full text of Article

I AM EPISCOPALIAN - EFSC Forum - 12/5/09
THE EPISCOPAL FORUM OF SOUTH CAROLINA

This Forum will explore the positive, affirmative perspective of being a joyful member of The Episcopal Church today in spite of the dissassociation rhetoric and movement in the Diocese of SC. Come and share with other Episcopalians why "I am Episcopalian". There will be a presentation and a discussion of issues.

RESERVE YOUR SEAT TODAY AT THE FOLLOWING LINK

Date: Saturday, December 5, 2009, 12:00 noon - 2:00 p.m.
Lunch will be served
Place: Harbour Club
Donation: $20 at the door
Reserve a seat for "I Am Episcopalian" here

An unavoidable distancing?
By ANNABELLE ROBERTSON - The Item Newspaper - 11/1/09

The local Episcopal diocese says the national church of straying from biblical teachings and has taken steps to distance itself........

The issue of sexual orientation has been a source of constant friction in the denomination since 2003, when the Rev. Eugene Robinson, a gay man living with a male partner, became the ninth bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire.

"We're (Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina) in a marriage where there has been serial adultery," said the Rev. John M. Barr III, rector of Church of the Holy Comforter in Sumter. "The husband (the national church) has not repented. The wife has gone to him again and again, and there has been no change. There comes a time when the wife no longer remains in the bedroom. At minimum, she has to move down the hall. It's not because she doesn't love the husband; it's because things can't go on the way they are. You can't be complicit in that type of unfaithfulness."

Barr, one of several deans in South Carolina diocese, was a leader of the standing committee that drafted the four resolutions on Oct. 24. ............

The Rev. David Thurlow, rector of St. Matthias Episcopal Church in Summerton, was a member of the standing committee that drafted the resolutions, along with Barr. Thurlow said that despite a certain consensus on the issue, the decision wasn't easy for anyone.........

"It's sad that it's come to this, that this is the situation that the church finds itself in, where members of the church are clearly going in a direction that is apart from the Scripture and tradition," he said. "Our church voted for the resolutions because we are taking a stand for the catholic faith and order, which has been passed down to us through the centuries ... These resolutions are the diocese's way of differentiating itself from those in the church who are doing just that – conforming matters of faith and doctrine to the pattern of the world, rather than the pattern of God's word."..........

Dorsey Henderson, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, has concerns about the ramifications of the decision ................

"It seems to me that what is most important (when we disagree) is that we follow Anglicanism's tradition of prayer and study and more prayer and dialogue and more prayer because the unity of the church is so essential to the church's mission. That's clear in Holy Scripture, and it seems to be clear in basic concepts as Anglicanism beliefs," he said.

Barr disagreed.

"Unity is a result of dwelling in the truth of God," he said. "Otherwise we might as well be in the United Nations chapel that has been scrubbed clean, singing 'Kumbaya.' God brings unity, but we don't worship unity. We worship Jesus Christ. And Christ and unity have to go together."

Henderson believes that while a tremendous amount of dialogue, prayer and study have taken place during the six years since Robinson took office, more is needed before a step such as that is taken by the South Carolina diocese............



Link to Full Article

A Brief History of the Ongoing Disassociation of the Diocese of SC from The Episcopal Church
By: Barbara Mann: 11/3/09

During the tenure of Bishop Allison, Bishop Salmon and now Bishop Lawrence the Diocese of South Carolina has become increasingly conservative. This is particularly evident in the recruitment and retention of clergy. The preference for a few conservative seminaries as sources of clergy has helped shape the narrow outlook of the Diocese. Consequently it has become more difficult for parishioners in the Diocese to hear balanced and clear information regarding The Episcopal Church (TEC), the General Convention (GC) and the World Wide Anglican Communion..........

The Episcopal Forum of SC (EFSC) was formed following the General Convention of 2003 at a meeting of Episcopalians who were concerned with the direction the Diocese of South Carolina was taking. There was great concern regarding the Diocese’s membership in the Network of Anglican Communion Diocese and Parishes and the trend towards separating the Diocese from TEC. The Episcopalians who formed EFSC and the hundreds of individuals who have joined with them since, value highly the traditional, broad character of TEC and strive to retain and celebrate its unity with diversity...........

Since early 2004 the rhetoric of the leadership of the Diocese of South Carolina has become increasingly strident. Exaggerated and, at times misleading, claims have been made concerning the actions of TEC and General Convention. Diocesan leadership has encouraged an atmosphere that rejects many of the inclusive understandings endorsed by the General Conventions. This leadership has been separating the Diocese from TEC in ways such as:

• All of the 111 dioceses in TEC are asked to give 21% of their income to TEC to support the many programs and missions of TEC. While it is true that some dioceses are unable to pay the total asking and others pay more, the Diocese of South Carolina pays less than 1%. This action indicates a complete disengagement from the programs and outreach of TEC and is a major a step towards separation.

• At General Conventions the deputation from South Carolina has generally worshipped each day at an alternative Eucharist instead of the convention Eucharist.......

• Information concerning TEC and its programs is very difficult to come by in South Carolina. The Jubilate Deo publicizes very little concerning the rest of TEC and has refused to publish views common within TEC but contrary to those of the leadership of the Diocese. Parishioners in the Diocese do not have the information needed to form their own opinions on the issues.......

Diocese of the SC Special Convention held 10/24/09: The agenda for this convention consisted of five resolutions presented by the Standing Committee and the Deans. Four of the five were passed overwhelmingly. The fifth was tabled until the next regular convention of the Diocese..........

The Episcopal Church has a tradition of embracing a broad range of scriptural understandings while worshipping together as a community which reflects the diversity of God’s creation. Jesus Christ included all sorts and conditions as his companions and friends. Following this model is one of the marks of The Episcopal Church.

The threshold questions are:

Are we going to allow one issue to separate us from our beloved Episcopal Church?

Will we continue to worship and reason together as Episcopalians in the Diocese of South Carolina?

We will with God’s help.
Link to full text

Ten Reasons to Remain an Episcopalian
By: Dolores J. Miller, an Episcopalian living in the Diocese of South Carolina – October, 2009

1) “You know why Episcopalians read so many prayers aloud in church”? – as the old joke goes,
- “Because speaking in unison makes people think that Episcopalians actually agree on something!”

2) That’s the Episcopal Via Media, the middle way between two extremes.
- Interpretation of Scripture - balanced with Tradition and Reason…. No snakes.

3) Take Evolution, for example. Some Episcopalians believe in it. Some don’t.
- Episcopalians seem to prefer thoughtful dialogue about the Role of Science in Religion. Maybe that’s because certain issues exist today that were simply not around at the time of Jesus – like Stem Cell Research and Nuclear Warfare.

4) Being an Episcopalian means having access to numerous learning opportunities for the whole family.
- parish youth groups and Episcopal camps and schools, the Episcopal Church Women, devotional organizations such as Daughters of the King, adult Bible seminars, retreats and many other educational programs.

5) When an Episcopalian is asked, “Have you been saved?” and replies, “Yes, it took the first time.”
- He or she isn’t being sassy, just living according to the promise found in John 3:16-17 and the assurance of Jesus’ second coming and fulfillment of the Kingdom of God.

6) Ever hear, “Don’t mix church and politics”? Well, Episcopalians do and seem happy to.
In fact, their Baptismal Covenant demands that they:
- “...strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.”

7) Most people talk about the future, but progressive Christians like Episcopalians live it.
- Consider the Civil Rights Movement and how many Episcopal priests led the way. Same for Women’s Equality, and now Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgendered.

8) Rooted in Anglicanism, yet, its governing body uniquely structured to mirror American democracy,
- The Episcopal Church will no doubt stay the course of “middle way”, taking necessary risks at times, and showing the way. It’s called Leadership.

9) Some people speak of withdrawing from support systems offered by The Episcopal Church. Leadership in four dioceses (of 111 in TEC) and a scattering of parishes have severed ties, but TEC carries on. Its dioceses and parishes remain part of The Episcopal Church.

10) “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” reads the popular car bumper sticker.
- Maybe it should read, “The Episcopal Church Welcomes Everyone,” because it does, just like Jesus did.

Use your head, not your feet, remain an Episcopalian
Link to full text

I AM EPISCOPALIAN - TEC Website
As Episcopalians, we are followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Episcopal Church has members in the United States, as well as in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Haiti, Honduras, Micronesia, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Venezuela, and the Virgin Islands.

We strive to love our neighbors as ourselves and respect the dignity of every person.

The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and traces its heritage to the beginnings of Christianity.

Our liturgy retains ancient structure and traditions, and is celebrated in many languages.

We welcome men and women, married or celibate, to be ordained as bishops, priests, and deacons.

We believe in amendment of life, the forgiveness of sin, and life everlasting.

Lay people exercise a vital role in the governance and ministry of our Church.

Holy Communion may be received by all baptized Christians, not only members of the Episcopal Church.

We uphold the Bible and worship with the Book of Common Prayer.

We affirm that committed relationships are lifelong and monogamous. Episcopalians also recognize that there is grace after divorce and do not deny the sacraments to those who have been divorced.

We affirm that issues such as birth control are matters of personal informed conscience.

We celebrate our unity in Christ while honoring our differences, always putting the work of love before uniformity of opinion.

All are welcome to find a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church.

Link to TEC Website "I m Episcopalian"

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This is the sole mission of The Episcopal Forum of SC.

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