South Carolinians affirm decision to leave Episcopal Church

By Sarah Moïse Young
Posted Nov 17, 2012

[Episcopal News Service – Charleston, South Carolina] The majority of South Carolina Episcopalians who attended a special convention at St. Philip’s Church here Nov. 17 affirmed actions by Bishop Mark Lawrence and the diocesan Standing Committee a month ago to disaffiliate the diocese from the Episcopal Church.

Those actions took place after Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori restricted Lawrence’s ministry on Oct. 17 after the church’s Disciplinary Board for Bishops certified to her that he had abandoned the Episcopal Church “by an open renunciation of the discipline of the church.”

On that same day, the Standing Committee announced that the action of the Disciplinary Board “triggered two pre-existing corporate resolutions of the diocese, which simultaneously disaffiliated the diocese from the Episcopal Church and called a special convention.”

Jefferts Schori issued a pastoral letter Nov. 15 to Episcopalians in South Carolina offering prayers and support for those who wished to remain in the Episcopal Church.

“The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina continues to be a constituent part of The Episcopal Church, even if a number of its leaders have departed,” she noted. “If it becomes fully evident that those former leaders have, indeed, fully severed their ties with The Episcopal Church, new leaders will be elected and installed by action of a Diocesan Convention recognized by the wider Episcopal Church, in accordance with our Constitution and Canons.”

Lawrence referred to the special convention as “the Valley of Decision” during his address and asserted, “It is time to turn the page.” He referred to attempts to prevent separation of the diocese, and his oft-mentioned issues of theology, morality and disagreement with church canons.

“So be it…We have withdrawn from that church…We have moved on. With the Standing Committee’s resolution of disassociation, the fact is accomplished: legally and canonically,” he said.

While the bishop referred to numerous letters of support from church leaders, he did not announce any open offers of affiliation with the Anglican Communion, and he confirmed that for now the separatist diocese will affiliate with no one. In a conference call following the convention, he confirmed that alignment is not on the table at present.

However, during his address, he claimed that “for now and the foreseeable future, having withdrawn from our association with TEC, we remain an extra-provincial diocese within the larger Anglican Communion.”

Such a designation requires action by the Anglican Consultative Council, which concluded a 12-day meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, on Nov. 7. No action on South Carolina was taken during that meeting and the council will not meet again until May 2016.

Following his address, Lawrence called upon the convention to vote on three resolutions. The first resolution affirmed the actions of the bishop and the Standing Committee and stated “that we are no longer in any relationship with TEC, including union or association with in any capacity.” The resolution also had the convention declare that Lawrence is the diocese’s “rightful bishop.”

“By stating this, we declare that as God has sent Bishop Lawrence to be our bishop, only he [God] has the authority to declare otherwise,” the resolution continued.

The resolution also said the convention “repudiates actions of TEC purportedly taken against our bishop and declare null and void any claim by any member or representative of TEC to have any authority whatsoever over this diocese or any authority over God’s congregation at any of her parishes who willingly by their presence at this convention and their vote on this resolution so declare.”

A second resolution amended the diocesan constitution, removing all mention of the Episcopal Church, including any reference to the “accession clause,” in which a diocese declares that it accedes to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. That declaration is required in Article V, Section 1 of the church’s constitution.

The diocesan convention had previously revised its constitution limiting the accession clause by saying it would accede to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church only they were not “inconsistent with or contradictory to” the diocesan constitution and canons.

The resolution also removed any reference to the General Convention, making its only governing body the diocesan convention. The third resolution removed all references of the Episcopal Church from the diocesan canons.

Forty-two parishes attended the special convention along with 12 missions, sending a total of 170 lay delegates. There are 78 congregations in the diocese.

The first two resolutions were accepted by acclamation. The third resolution to change the church canons passed with a 90 percent majority on a roll call vote — including a vote by Lawrence. The vote on the resolution, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, included several abstentions.

According to a fact sheet posted on the Episcopal Church’s website: “Dioceses cannot leave the Episcopal Church. While some clergy and individuals may choose to leave, congregations and property remain in the diocese to be used for the mission of the Episcopal Church.”

Additional ENS coverage of the convention is planned.

— Sarah Moïse Young is a freelance reporter based in Charleston, South Carolina.


Tags


Full names required. Read our Comment Policy. General comments and suggestions about Episcopal News Service, as well as reports of commenting misconduct, can be e-mailed to news@episcopalchurch.org. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments (115)

  1. Tod Roulette says:

    Renegade members, take your beliefs NOT our stuff!

    1. Fr. Will McQueen says:

      You cannot serve God and mammon. Glad to know what you think is most important Mr. Roulette.

  2. So when do we go to court?

    1. Joseph F Foster says:

      I wouldn’t be too sure Courts of the Sovereign State of South Carolina will give complete deference to the hierarchy of “The Episcopal Church”. Its “Denis Canon” postdates most of the parishes of the diocese and South Carolina has tended to use not deference to hierarch but ordinary and neutral trust and contract law in ajudication of these such matters.

  3. Ken Brannon says:

    We are one in Christ, no matter what resolutions we pass or how autonomous we claim to be. When will we learn that basic truth?

  4. Deacon Tom Williams says:

    and what would you call your stuff? Canon law in regard to parish property is an injustice. It is the parish that has the responsibility for the physical plant. The Lutherans have a more just polity, a parish leaves with the property. It is an anathema to accuse Bishop Lawrence of not keeping ordination vows. This a continuing travesty on the part of the national church. Deacon Tom Williams, Diocese of Central Florida

    1. Debbie Walker says:

      This man knew from the get go that he was not going to remain with the TEC, yet he was consecrated, and during that service he affirmed his allegiance to TEC. So, has he kept those vows or not?

      1. Fr. George Stamm says:

        When I was President of the Standing Committe of the Dio. Of Eau Claire I asked the President of the standing Committee of the Dio. Of S . C. If Lawrence was planning to pull the Diocese out of TEC and was assured that, while Lawrence had a lot of issues with TEC he had no plans to leave.. Did he change his mind or was his election just a ploy to a power play?

  5. Chuck Till says:

    A polity more just to whom? All parochial properties in my diocese are held in trust for the diocese subject to the canons. Every deed of every parish has a note to that effect.

    If self-styled Anglicans wish to form their own congregations, most cities have buildings that can be rented or purchased — or the departing members can put their money where their mouths are and build anew.

    I support the PB’s decision on Bp Lawrence and look forward to his deposal after due process.

    1. Michael Raczynski says:

      Chuck the entire Diocese has left. All properties are held in trust to the Diocese, which if I am not mistaken the South Carolina Supreme Court actually already threw out the Denis Canon. Bishop Lawrence has said that any parish that wishes to leave can do so. Property and all. Very Christian of him. It would be nice to see the same Christian charity from the PB.

    2. Chris Harwood says:

      Chuck, more just to the people who built and maintained the churches in the first place maybe? 815 didn’t pay a dime for those buildings, so why should they own them? They’ve already built/ kept them the first time.
      One more point on the Lutheran version where the parishes have the property, vitriol was there, but much less than TEC and it calmed sooner, allowing the churches to rebuild. And some more conservative churches stayed, hoping to work it out, but secure that the bishop couldn’t kick them out in the future. The nastiest fights were the few congregations where the diocese owned the building( by building or signing the loan itself, not the parish), making winner-take-all the rule-like TEC. This fight also gives TEC a black eye in the general public here. There are 10 times the Lutherans here to Episcopalians and after watching the Lutherans split more peacefully, many here consider the Episcopalian version a mean greedy feudal land grab by the New York lords of the manor.

      Are all you willing to pay for those buildings when they’re empty? Several dioceses in Canada are giving large donations to BC trying to keep St. John’s open after it’s large congregation left. How many thousands are you willing to give to keep these for just a few people?

  6. Bruce Garner says:

    The real travesty is the sophomoric actions of a bunch of white boys who can’t handle the reality that they no longer control the world or the church. It’s time for them to grow up. The group that has separated itself will begin to dwindle as away by refusing to face the reality that they are irrelevant to a world and a broader church that is more culturally diverse than ever.

    I wonder when contributions to the Church Pension Fund will end? Do they realize the impact of that? And those who want nothing to do with any part of The Episcopal Church, will they decline to take a retirement pension? Time will tell of the strength of conviction.

    1. Michael Raczynski says:

      Rather narrow and racist Bruce. Look beyond race to the Gospel. You may find salvation there.

      1. Bruce Garner says:

        I have found salvation Michael and I am saved. And it is not racist for one old white dude to call out other old white dudes for focusing on their own personal power rather than on the power of the Gospel. THis is not the first time we have seen this. Look only to the former bishops of Pittsburg, Fort Worth, Quincy, San Juaquin for a similar pattern. Those guys led by fear and intimidation and by tightly controlling information that was shared with the people of the dioceses. I have listened to the stories told directly from those who were in the dioceses. The Gospel has not been part of their plans. Power and control always was.

        1. Robert G. Harp PhD says:

          Thanks for pointing out the salient issues here, Bruce. It was obviously Lawrence’s plan to lead SC out of the Episcopal Church and he never intended to keep his pledge of fealty to the national church. Having seen their influence dwindle on several fronts, “the white boys,” as you called them, have now chosen to be led by Lawrence’s monstrous ego. The day on which he styles himself “archbishop” cannot be far off. Nevertheless, let them go in peace, but NOT with church property.

        2. Michael Raczynski says:

          It is racist and you ought to consider that it is not just the white bishop, but diocese’s Standing Committee, and by recent votes the overwhelming majority of the diocese who have affirmed their decisions. Are they all old white boys? I am betting not. Their parishioners are not some Jim Jones automatons, but come from all walks of life. They include professors, doctors, and many others who just happen to have the same theological outlook that has been taught for centuries. You may dismiss their actions by calling them names, but if the best you can do is call them white boys you have already lost your argument.

          1. Bruce Garner says:

            Michael, I have no idea where you live, but I am guessing you don’t have a lot of experience with South Carolina or any of the “southern” states. I’m a native Georgian and have lived here all my life and descend from a long line of rednecks and white trash. They are my family and I love them even though they remain racist old white men! Let me add to this something I posted elsewhere that explains my connections with the Diocese of SC. After you read it you might understand my position better. That diocese, like the others who tried to leave had become a haven of misinformation, controlled information and lack of information. Free exchange of thoughts and ideas was not encouraged. THere are some very loyal Episcopalians there who fought hard not to have this happen. Lawrence and the ones who support him are only interested in control. After you read the following, I would gladly engage in further discussion with you.

            This will be an unusually long post….but I think it needs to be said.

            I have been listening, reading, hearing, reading, marking, learning and inwardly digesting the situation in South Carolina since 1991. That is when I began serving on the now defunct Standing Commission on Human Affairs of The Episcopal Church. The appointees to that commission for the triennium included the Rt. Rev’d Ed Salmon, then bishop of South Carolina, the Rev’d Gay Jennings a priest in Ohio at the time if I recall correctly, the Rev’d Reynolds Cheney, rector of the Church of the Holy Communion in Memphis, TN, Howard Anderson, a lay person in Minnesota at the time, the Rt. Rev’d Fred Borsch, bishop of Los Angeles at the time, and several other folks.

            One of the disturbing things about the diocese at the time was its entrenchment in the fantasy that we had received our faith unchanged from the saints and apostles. That attitude was reflected in the rarity of women clergy and the rarity of clergy of color and certainly the absence of any visible LGBT clergy. The Rev’d Kendall Harmon was one of the driving forces behind such thinking, having been urged to follow such a path by the previous bishop, Fitz Allison. In retrospect and meaning no disrespect for Ed Salmon, I don’t think Ed had a clue as to how to reign in much less exercise any control over Kendall. And for what it is worth, Ed and I have always enjoyed a very cordial relationship regardless of whether or not we disagreed over church issues. He and Reynolds and I were all raised in the south with all the baggage that carries and we all loved good cooking and fine wine!

            Having shared the above, let me now state what I see based on my personal perspective as the real issue(s) in the Diocese of South Carolina, i.e., the one trying to defect.

            I listened to the audio of Presiding Bishop Katharine’s first visit to that diocese and meeting with Mark Lawrence and what I presume to be a goodly number of the clergy of the diocese. I was absolutely appalled at how those men….all I heard were male voices…dared to treat a woman AND a guest in their diocese. Now I was raised by parents who demanded that I respect guests and women whether guests or not. If I had spoken in the tone those guys used, my mother would have, as we say “gone upside my head” in short order and reminded me I was raised to have better manners and exhibit more respect than that.

            What was clear then and what is more clear now, especially having seen the pastoral letter from Bishop Lawrence is that none of the “identified” issues are the true issues. The true issues stem from the fact that a group of white men simply cannot grasp the concept that white guys do not run everything anymore. They cannot grasp the concept that women can be ordained to all orders of ministry. I see serious lack of visible support for people of color in leadership roles. And I certainly see nothing that would indicate that LGBT folks have a place in the diocese at any level. I’m and old white guy and I can say these things from experience and observation. The major difference between those guys and me is that I have seriously broadened my horizons and outlook on the church and the world and they have not. The language I hear reminds me of Fort Sumter in the early 1860’s.

            The pastoral shows only one female name of an active clergy person and that is of a deacon. Otherwise all the names are men….at least as best I can determine. We southerners do sometimes provide generic names that don’t seem to reflect gender.

            The only other women’s names I saw were retired clergy. And as an aside, I certainly hope the “Martha Horne” I saw isn’t the same person who once was Dean of Virginia Seminary. If it is, I can only express serious disappointment in her.

            Every seminary trained clergy person who has studied any of church history knows full well that what we have received from the “apostles and saints” has not been received unchanged. The various translations from the ancient languages alone makes that very clear. We do not adopt the proscriptions of the Hebrew texts, particularly the purity codes as our way of operating as Christians. The most ludicrous claim I ever hear is that the Biblical standard for marriage is one man and one woman. All it takes is even a cursory review of Genesis and subsequent books to see that it was one man and pretty much as many wives and concubines as he wanted. David committed murder after adultery to gain another wife. Solomon had some 700 wives etc. (busy man!). Polygamy was more the norm than the exception among the leadership anyway and those with the resources. Women were property, traded bought and sold like any other property. Even in the Christian Testament polygamy is only expressly forbidden for deacons and bishops (don’t tell some of our friends in other parts of the world about that prohibition!).

            We haven’t treated women as property in this country for decades and decades. We no longer treat people of color as property either. Need I go on with the examples of the so-called unchanged faith? And lest we forget, even Jesus “interpreted” Scripture.

            Unless none of the clergy in South Carolina have ever been divorced, the teaching on that has changed as well. I thought the teaching on ordination of women had changed, but apparently only to a certain degree. There are countless examples that we could all cite of the true changes in the faith we profess that have taken place. But the one thing that has never changed is that Jesus is Lord! Isn’t that all that matters?

            I really think it is high time a group of guys acting like immature college sophomores grew up and started acting like grown men. The world is different. The church is different. Just being a white male does not or should not guarantee any of us anything just by virtue of those characteristics.

            So, no, this isn’t about polity. Nor is it about any essentials of faith. Nor is it about actions of the General Convention. It is about guys whose faith never seems to have matured to the point of trusting in God and the work of the Holy Spirit in trying to provide the things a hurting world needs. And trust me, the world doesn’t need any more sexist and/or racist white guys who just don’t “get it.”

            We can continue all of the overly polite discussion than involves the polity and history of the church. We can continue all the games of word play that some claim allows them to have “winked and nodded” when they ascribed to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. We can try to change history from our beginnings among thirteen mistrusting and confused colonies who were trying to forge both a nation and a church. The bottom line remains, however, that these are the games of a bunch of boys who have forgotten their manners, their history and the true essence of faith: Love God. Love your neighbor. As Rabbi Hillel reportedly stated, this is Torah. All else is commentary.

            But I suppose we will now have to expend time, energy and funds in dealing with childish boys who think they can leave and take with them what is not theirs to take. Getting mad and taking your toys and going home doesn’t include taking what isn’t yours.

            You know, I have always made room at the table for those with whom I disagreed the most. I can count on one hand the number of times that gesture has been reciprocated. I will continue to make that room. It is part of what Jesus requires me to do. And it will continue to go unreciprocated. But that’s not my problem….it’s God’s to resolve.

            Now I am quite sure I have really irritated a bunch of folks, but they should have seen it coming. They stepped on the last nerve I had left and I don’t appreciate it!

            Bruce Garner
            L5 Atlanta 2012

            Bruce Garner

            bruce.garner@att.net

            “When fascism comes to the United States, it will come carrying a cross, wrapped in a flag.” (“It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis in 1935)

            “Since when do you have to agree with people just to defend them from injustice?” Lillian Hellman, Writer (1905-1984)

            “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth..” John 16: 12-13a

    2. David Yarbrough says:

      They “no longer control the world or the church” – neither does TEC. God is in control.

      God will hold both Dr. Schori and the Diocese of South Carolina accountable for their actions. Those who humbly obey the explicit words of Scripture, rather than the wooing of a sinful secular society, are the only ones in the position to plead for the intercession of Christ for sin.

  7. The Rev Bob Spencer, BCC says:

    Forty years ago last Sept 9th, I was ordained as priest at Holy Comforter Church in Sumter, SC. I am saddened, and hurt that the first diocese I served in has chosen to leave the Episacopal Church. My prayers are with those in SC who still feel a part of The Episcopal Church as they struggle with the strangeness of the situation. My prayers are with my friends there who find themselves on either side of this controversy. I know God is watching after all in the diocese, and I thank God for my time there and all I have been given by the people there. Blessings to all of you.

  8. Rebecca Alford says:

    I agree with Chuck Till. When I gave money to my Episcopal Church, I was not giving it o Mark Lawrence. What arrogance and ego to make everyone state, “By stating this, we declare that as God has sent Bishop Lawrence to be our bishop, only he [God] has the authority to declare otherwise,”. And who is speaking for God? Mark Lawrence? That statement is no different than any other cult leader in history. Scary that people are willing to so blindly follow a self imposed dictator. Wonder if he will make them call him “Dear Leader” and hang his picture up over the alters in their tin building meeting places?

    1. David Yarbrough says:

      “tin building meeting places”?

      The Dennis Canon doesn’t apply in South Carolina. Those parishes who choose to stay in the Diocese of South Carolina rather than the new organization established by TEC will retain their property and endowments under South Carolina law.

      Because Dr. Schori and TEC have refused to support any procedure that allows parishes to withdraw from TEC decently and in order (as the Lutherans and Presbyterians do), they have sown the wind and are now reaping the whirlwind.

      1. Robert Hansel says:

        In NONE of the half dozen other dioceses (SC law notwithstanding) where a similar renegade action was mounted to leave the Episcopal Church has the property ever been alienated from TEC ownership. It’s just too bad so much time and money will have to be spent in litigation to arrive at exactly the same decision. Mark Lawrence is leading a Pied Piper movement and I am very sorry for all those whom he has duped.

  9. Micheal Link says:

    Did anyone expect any differently from the bishop Lawrence?
    I anticipated this move before his first failed election that did not comply with canonical affirmations in the proper amount of time.
    I wonder what those 20+ congregations not represented at the convention are thinking and planning do do? Did all the congregations pass or afirn those resolution?
    Let us pray for the faithful Remnant in each place And those who are spiritually homeless.
    Families and relationships will be torn apart. Miserere nobis.

  10. Don Greenwood says:

    South Carolina was the first to secede from the union, they started the Civil War, and now the genes of rebellion have once again bore fruit, be it rotten fruit!
    May our Lord Jesus be with all Episcopalians in this geographic area of coastal South Carolina!
    Even their “bishop!’

  11. Sarah Hey says:

    God bless the leaders and clergy and laity of the diocese of South Carolina — no longer a part of TEC. I’m thrilled for them, even as I happily remain within TEC.

    RE: “The group that has separated itself will begin to dwindle as away by refusing to face the reality that they are irrelevant to a world and a broader church that is more culturally diverse than ever.”

    A laughably clueless statement considering the radical, plummeting decline by The Episcopal Church over the past dreadful ten years, and the growth of the Diocese of South Carolina over the same period. But . . . I suppose hope for their decline springs eternal for revisionist activists like Bruce Garner.

    RE: “I wonder when contributions to the Church Pension Fund will end? Do they realize the impact of that?”

    [gasp] Oh no! You mean . . . they might miss out on the Church Pension Fund contributions? Why — how dreadful! Surely they’ll reverse their decision to defend their diocese against the national church’s strike against their bishop and vote to return to the rank heresy and corruption of the leaders of our organization. I mean . . . if contributions to the Church Pension Fund won’t draw them, what will!

    Sarah Hey, an Episcopalian

    1. Bruce Garner says:

      So Sarah, to what do you attribute the same decline in every other denomination? Even the church of Rome would have fewer numbers were it not for immigration. The Southern Baptists have even realized what they are selling is not being bought. The Gospel is not for sale. Nor is the Gospel exclusionary. Read closely and you will see that Jesus did not create categories, nor did He aim His ministry at the well off. He ministered to the marginalized, outcast and the fringes of society……hardly where we are is it? It’s not revisionist to read what has been and follow it. And by the way, we were charged with taking the Light of Jesus Christ into the world. If that isn’t a call to “activism” I don’t know what is.

      What you have yet to comprehend Sarah is that the folks under a certain age will not sign on to a faith community that is so hypocritical as most have become. They understand the Gospel probably better than most in pews do. They will follow Jesus just not those who proclaim to do so and then denigrate the children of God in a myriad of ways. These are folks young enough to be my children and grandchildren. I pray we have the sense to bring them into the church. We haven’t been so successful yet. But then nether has anyone else. Even the mega-churches have them leaving through the back door as fast as they come in the front. Faith based on a personality, an individual, or a secular philosphy is nothing more than a cult. Faith based on our Risen Lord is the church.

    2. Fr. Will McQueen says:

      Mr. Garner, good to see you completely shut down any substantial debate by resorting to name calling…homophobia, “white men’s club,” women haters. I wish you would be more honest and just admit that you change the plain meaning of Holy Scrioture to justify your already agreed upon interpretations. Your mischaracteriazations of Bp. Allison and Cn. Harmon are disgusting. These are two faithful clergymen, and I’m so grateful for their witness. You and your contingent have wanted them gone for years, and now you’ve used your demonic means to reach your damnable ends.

      1. Bruce Garner says:

        How about citing a portion of Scriptue where I/we have changed the “plain meaning” and perhaps we can talk. You are ordained. I presume you were seminary trained and took Greek and Hebrew. Can you honestly tell me that we have not gained a more accurate understanding of passages over the years as we leaned more about those languages?

        Time and again we are told that our direction is to love God and love our neighbor. No place are exceptions provided. Yet we have continually tried to sort out who we should love and who we should not love. That is really God’s job not ours. As a church we are to gather, not to sort.

        We do not change the plain meaning when we insist that passages of Scripture be viewed in the context of both their time and place of writing AND the larger narrative of which all are a part. Scripture ceases to have meaning when it is chopped up and used as one liners for any purpose.

        As I have stated before, I will always make room at the table for anyone whether I agree with them or not. I will make room for Lawrence, Allison, Harmon, you and Sarah. But the reciprocal of that is rarely the case. I dont have all the answers, but you folks seem to think you do. Well God bless you for it. Neither of us will know for sure until we stand before God. I doubt I will be asked a single question about my sex life or who I loved. God already knows that. I will be asked if I fed the hungry, watered the thirsty, clothed the naked, housed the homeless, visited the sick and imprisoned. That my brother is true orthodoxy. Open your eyes and your heart and your head to worship the Lord. Make room for the work of the Holy Spirit. She might surprise you. She surprises me all the time.

        1. Fr. Will McQueen says:

          Romans 1:26-27 as one example. I think the plain meaning is abundantly clear, and it should be taught accordingly. Glad you are so sure about what you’ll be asked at the great and terrible day of judgment. Oh, and nice reference to the Holy Spirit as she. I’ll stick to He since that’s how Jesus referred to the Spirit. You sir are the one chopping up Scrpture to suit your own selfish and arrogant purposes.

          1. Bruce Garner says:

            I believe the ancient languages have referred to the Holy Spirit in the feminine. If you think I’m “chopping up” Scripture, what is your explanation of the language of Genesis where it tells us that God created both male and female in God’s image? If both genders are created in the image of God, it is a reasonable assumption that there is a feminine side of God. My hunch is that any feminine references to God have been conveniently culled out of Scripture over the years by a male dominated church and its institutions. As far as Romans is concerned, keep it in the context of the entire narrative. Paul is speaking to a particular church about issues that impact them. He also tells what we call “straight” people not to engage in homosexual behaviour because it is against their nature as straight people. Nothing is said about a homosexual person engaging in what is natural behaviour for them. The New Testament references used against LGBT people are all part of larger narratives and usually part of lists of things that are abusive, coercive or exploitive of others. THat is the sin. Picking out the “anit-gay parts” lacks integrity. They do not stand alone but as parts of a broader story. The point Jesus continually drove home was the need for right relationship with God and each other. His examples of what we were not to do always involved some form of coercion, exploitation or abuse. None of them represented loving, stable, mutual relationships. Keep in mind also that 2,000 years ago, we did not know what we know now about human psychology and sexuality. Being left handed was a sin then….we certainly don’t think so now.

  12. Any division is sad and unfortunate. But the Episcopal Church as a body is changing as is the whole world. Some of us have embraced that change, even if difficult and challenging. Others have chosen to part waves. I am sad to see Christians unable to find “reconciliation”….all division in our churches is a scandal, especially to a secular world that is seeing us more and more in skeptical terms. An those sins were not taken lightly by Jesus who prayed that we be one…as he and the Father are one. God forgive our stubbornness of heart. God help us to move ahead as a stronger and better Episcopal Church. My prayers for all.

  13. Debbie Walker says:

    When Bp. Lawrence was consecrated, he affirmed his allegiance to TEC. Remember, his first election was nullified and he was re-elected. I wrote to my Bishop (NC) asking him to not confirm his election, but he received enough confirmations from around the country. I even had an e-mail correspondence with Lawrence, and he said at that time that he would be ordained as a Bishop in TEC. I knew he was not being truthful then, and here is the result I knew would happen. It sure has been an ego trip for him. I feel sorry for those members of the Diocese who do not support him and have to go through this. There are many court cases where the property rights of TEC have been affirmed, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  14. Benjamin Uchytil says:

    Mark Lawrence’s statements and actions reveal his narcissism.

    He has set himself up as a cult leader. Will his South Carolina followers drink his laced Kool-Aid?

  15. Tom Rightmyer says:

    I was ordained in 1966 and Pension Fund assessments were paid by congregations and church agencies until I retired in 2002 and began to draw my pension. Those assessments were part of my deferred compensation for ministry. I earned my pension. I remain a priest of the Episcopal Church and plan to continue to do so. Clergy who have left the Episcopal Church remain entitled by law to the deferred compensation provded by the Church Pension Fund. It will take some time to re-organize a Diocese and depose the clergy of the “extra-provincial” diocese. The Presiding Bishop’s letter assures these clergy that Pension Fund assessments may be paid for these clergy until they are deposed. I think Bruce Garner’s comment above is tacky.

    1. Bruce Garner says:

      Not tacky Tom…..just wondering if those who have decided to leave The Episcopal Church have been informed of and realize the long term impact.

      What IS tacky is the “band of boys” and their actions. How many women clergy have signed on to “leave?” Not many because their are few of them or not many because they understand the shallowness of the reasons the boys are actually using regardless of what they claim?

  16. John Neir says:

    Will ex TEC bishop Lawrence order all TEC Book of Common Prayers removed and replaced with his new approved versions ?

  17. The Reverend Canon Susan Russell says:

    I’m sad for Jesus but can’t muster an ounce of anything other than bone deep weariness for those whose penchant for polarization has finally wrought the division they’ve been orchestrating for lo these many years. Enough already! (And now back to my sermon for tomorrow — where we’ll be welcoming 49 new members and baptizing four of them. Onward and upward.)

    1. John Neir says:

      Amen Reverend Russell. The Episopal Church across this great land will still “welcome all”

    2. Michael Raczynski says:

      Awesome and congratulations on your parishes growth. When you stand in the pulpit tomorrow take a moment to look out at the congregation and ask yourself this: If the overwhelming majority of my congregation decided that they wished to walk apart from the national church would you seek to expel them from the buildings they have built and sustained or would you seek a way to allow them to keep their home? When you can answer this question your weariness will end and you can continue to build your parish in peace.

  18. Fr. Will McQueen says:

    Many of the above comments show how unchristian those folks are who have been opposed to Bp. Lawrence and the traditionalists really are. By their fruits you will know them.

    Bp. Lawrence has already told those who disagree they may go with their property. The reverse would never be true if the tables were turned.

    May God bless Bp. Lawrence and the orthodox faithful in South Carolina. Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’ words are coming true, “when orthodoxy becomes optional, it will soon become proscribed.”

  19. Robert H. Crewdson says:

    It is unforunate that our church does not seek to reconcile rather than depose and kick out those who disagree. There seems to be a lot of legal stuff on both sides. When one relies on law, they have already lost whatever authority they had. As one who has been active in ecumenism, it seems it would be more loving to let this faithful diocese go with our blessings, leaving the possibility that they would come back. Taking the churches of South Carolina to court and waste tons of money from mission is wrong as mission will suffer on both sides. St. Paul knew what he was talking about when he opposed taking each other to court.

  20. Robert H. Crewdson says:

    It would be far more loving to let the churches who want to leave go with our blessing with the hope that one day they will return. When we resort to law and canons, we have already lost what authority we might have had. Our church needs to be more involved in reconciliation and love than resorting to law.

  21. Bishop Andrew Gerales Gentry says:

    Well the Episcopal Church really looks bad when all is said and done that the matter comes down to money and property. If the the PB really believed in diversity of opinions and theologies would she not advocate for a more fair and just resolution of property issues and the like? As a non Episcopalian who is unabashedly liberal Because of the orthodoxy of the Gospel, Because of the Church Fathers and Because of Holy Tradition I would recommend that perhaps a bishop who claims Jesus is no more divine than anyone else should allow those who differ from her to leave in peace.

    1. Robert Hansel says:

      Anybody is welcome to “leave in peace”—-just don’t try to take our property with you. If you want to have a church building of your own then raise the funds and build one.

      1. Fr. Will McQueen says:

        They’ve already built and paid for those buildings once. So glad to know that you’re more worried about the property than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May God have mercy on your soul.

        1. Debbie Walker says:

          so which people built the churches. Those who worship there now or those who did years ago? That is why the property belongs to TEC. Our concern is that Bp. Lawrence and his followers are not practicing the Gospel which includes honoring the dignity and worth of every human being (see Baptismal Covenant). They are excluding those they feel are different from them from God’s love. How can that be Christian? I’m glad that TEC welcomes all.

      2. Michael Raczynski says:

        They already did pay and build their buildings Robert. Which building in that diocese was built with TEC funds? Which has been sustained? The answer is that probably none at all. The Diocese has chosen to leave. It has been affirmed by those present at its meeting this weekend. The bishop has said that those parishes who wish to remain with the TEC can do so property and all. Who is being a moderate here and who is being unreasonable?

        1. Bruce Garner says:

          No Michael, these folks did not pay for these buildings. Many are a century or two old and were paid for by Episcopalians who would not likely approve of this. They, like many or most of us, pledged funds for the benefit of all, including the future. When we give gifts they are just that, gifts. If we leave, they stay. No matter what becomes of my parish or diocese, the gifts I have given will remain with them. I have no right to leave and try and take them with me. Otherwise they are not gifts.

      3. Bishop Andrew Gerales Gentry says:

        I think it could be argued that if you insist that parish property a priori belongs to the diocese and that the diocese belongs to the national church could it not also be argued that the national church belongs to the world wide Anglican Communion if not de jure certainly de facto not to mention by identity and ethos? If this is so then if a diocese or a parish votes to withdraw from the national church but NOT the Anglican Communion should it not be allowed to do so by placing itself with a different national body within the Communion.
        I also think if you are more concerned about property and the money it represents your values are to say the least ill placed and misdirected but assuming they are not is it not fair and just to recognize that it was the local folkes who paid for that property not the national body! Lastly I am still confused as to why the retention of property is so important to the PB if she in fact views Christianity as simply “one of many”. In such a broad view of fellowship would it strain credulity to allow those who differ from her to affirm what they believe in the houses of worship they bought and paid for rather than creating even more division and bitterness by hounding them for said possessions!

        1. Jeremy Bates says:

          If being concerned about property and money is ill placed and misdirected, then why are Lawrence & Co. taking it with them? Why did they go through the quitclaim deed charade, if not to take the property for themselves?

        2. Bruce Garner says:

          The world wide Anglican Communion does not have a constitution and canons that all constituent bodies have signed on to, so the example is not applicable. The Episcopal Church was created out of the several dioceses through action of legislation that adopted a constitution and subsequently a body of canon law for its governance. No such parallel exists in the Anglican Communion.

  22. Donald Hill says:

    Yet another group wanting to pick up their marbles and leave. I well recall such groups on different issues over the past 5 decades. The issues are different civil rights, new prayerbook , ordination of women, etc. Our polity posits that we have a “franchise” agreement with the denomination. One of the agreements is that property does not belong merely to a congregation. It is held in trust for the larger church. You can leave but you
    Cannot take the diocese with you. It is like a county in Indiana deciding they want to seceed and be part of Arizona. It just can’t happen – though everyone in the county can choose to move as an individual.

  23. Bonny Loring says:

    Has it occurred to any of the Jefferts Schori secularists that money (losing properties, pensions, prayer books, families’ church heritages) is not the point? The faithful remain loyal to the true Christian faith, our secular American culture notwithstanding.

  24. Rebecca Alford says:

    All the clergy who are trying to argue your point that ALL of TEC is wrong and Mark Lawrence is the ONLY one that is right—-you sound like you are more concerned with the idolization of Mark Lawrence. By the way your use of the term “traditionalists” is a nice way of saying backwards bigots. That’s the same argument that was tried and failed in every attempt to move the church to the forefront of human rights in history for over 100 years. Slavery, women’s rights, civil liberties….at every advancement of human kind, certain people have resisted progress and cited Bible verses to promote continued hatred, servitude and segregation. Why aren’t you outraged at people wearing garments of 2 different cloths? Burning adulterers at the stake? Beating your children? Kicking all those heathens out of the church who shave and cut their hair? Why are you not “enforcing” every law outlined in the Bible anywhere? Are you going to take all your ‘Episcopal Church Welcomes You’ signs down now? Since, you know, you don’t really welcome everyone? By the way, What WOULD Jesus do? The Gospel of Jesus Christ is LOVE….plain and simple Fr. McQueen and God blesses me with Mercy and Grace daily which I share with everyone, not just the ones that I decide are “Good Enough”

    1. Fr. Will McQueen says:

      Ugh, no, we’re not idolizing Bp. Lawrence. We simply choose to stand with Scripture, 2,000 years of church teaching, over 1,000,000,000 Catholics, 300,000,000 Orthodox, Protestants, and all who hold to the catholic teaching. Yep, make this a “civil rights issue,” and you simply attempt to cutoff any discussion or debate. You’re right Ms. Alford, God is love. He loves us so much he doesn’t want us to remain in sin, turn, amend our lives and follow Him. It’s most unfortunate that a group of folks choose not to turn and amend their lives, abandon their sinful behaviour and seek God’s forgiveness and mercy.

      1. Bruce Garner says:

        I’m sorry but you have not studied church history very well. We don’t follow over 2,000 years of unchanged teaching. Every generation has interpreted and worked out its own salvation within the broad bounds of what Jesus taught. Jesus taught right relationships yet he never discussed human sexuality in that concept other than to condemn any relationship, even a “marriage” that was abusive, coercive or exploitive. Such relationships are not of Jesus Christ. Most of our views about marital relationships did not come from our fatih but from the legalities associated with passing property on to legitimate heirs. Marriage essentially insured that property would pass only to legitimate heirs…..begging the question of why it was needed except to respond to the inability of men….mostly those of wealth….to keep their zippers zipped.

    2. John Neir says:

      Totally agree Rebecca

    3. John Clemens says:

      Well stated, Rebecca.

    4. Michael Raczynski says:

      This is where the TEC has truncated the message of Christ. Episcopal Church Welcomes You was always just part of the message. The forgotten part is that everyone is welcome, but they are welcome to come and transform. Today’s TEC says everyone is welcome and it will change to accomodate your beliefs. The Gospel of Jesus is LOVE, but it is also a LOVE that forgives us our sins. In the TEC there no longer is sin, no need for forgiveness, and no reason to transform oneself.

  25. Susan Kearney says:

    I think Fr.McQueen misses the point that there are those of us who invested over a lifetime in the support of our church and don’t appreciate it being taken away from those of us who DID help pay for and support them but do NOT wish to leave The Episcopal to follow Bp. Lawrence’s intractible interpretation of scripture.

Comments are closed.