South Carolina continuing Episcopalians meet to plan their future

Delegates elect leadership, change name to comply with court order

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
Posted Jan 26, 2013

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The Rt. Rev. Charles vonRosenberg, newly elected bishop provisional of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, promises during a Jan. 26 gathering at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, to “observe, and to the utmost of my power, fulfill, the responsibilities and obligations of this office, striving in all things to be a faithful shepherd to the flock of Christ.” ENS photo/Mary Frances Schjonberg

[Episcopal News Service – Charleston, South Carolina] Meeting in a town nicknamed the Holy City because of its founders’ religious tolerance and in a church that has survived the Civil War, great storms and an earthquake, Episcopalians in South Carolina turned to face their future.

Continuing Episcopalians from around what is known as the Lowcountry portion of South Carolina met Jan. 26 at Grace Episcopal Church, which was festooned with flowers and overflowing with people. Many participants expressed the desire for healing and new beginnings.

The day began with Holy Eucharist, during which Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told the congregation in her sermon that “we all have a responsibility to be shepherds, to help others find their way through the gate of abundant life.”

Referring to the Good Shepherd portion of the Gospel of John, she urged Episcopalians who encounter people who have left the Episcopal Church to “consider that some of the sheep may think they’re listening to the voice of the Good Shepherd.”

“Some are also simply exhausted. What about the sheep who aren’t in the fold, who don’t know there is a feast to be found, rest for the body and soul, and partners who are willing to wrestle with the dictates of petty deciders or wolves who masquerade as sheep?”

Jefferts Schori told the story of a glider pilot who local authorities accused of flying too near a nuclear power plant and then arrested, despite lacking any authority to take him into custody. She said the story was “indicative of attitudes we’ve seen here and in many other places.”

“Somebody decides he knows the law and oversteps whatever authority he may have to dictate the fate of others who may in fact be obeying the law – and often a law for which this local tyrant is not the judge,” she said.

“Most of us don’t live in a world where one person is the ultimate decider – because, over and over again, we’ve discovered that better decisions are made when they’re made in communities with appropriate checks and balances,” Jefferts Schori said. “Power assumed by one authority figure alone is often a recipe for abuse, tyranny and corruption.”

However, she said, “the question is less about who’s right and who’s wrong in the midst of the current controversies.”

“It’s more about how we deal with those who disagree – the other sheep in the flock and the variety of shepherds around us,” she said.

Noting “God’s feast doesn’t need ‘keep-out’ signs,” Jefferts Schori said: “The banquet table is spread with abundance for all, even though it’s hard to join the feast if you’re busy controlling the gate.”

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Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori exchanges a fist bump with Hank Mengedoht, 6, while his brother, Teddy, 8, looks on Jan. 25 during a reception with her at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Their mother, Katherine, said she and her husband, Dan, brought the boys and their 20-month-old sister, Georgia, to the event “to show support” for the leadership of the Episcopal Church. ENS photo/Mary Frances Schjonberg

She drew loud applause and a standing ovation as she concluded her sermon by saying that Jesus already was in charge of the gate, “and the word is out: ‘Y’all come! Come to the feast!’”

The full text of her sermon is here.

Later in the meeting, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, told the gathering that “the House of Deputies and the entire church are covering you with prayer as you renew, reorganize, reorder, refresh, reconstitute and, indeed, resurrect the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.”

Jennings suggested to participants: “When it may seem as if the great breadth of conviction, experience and practice among Episcopalians threatens to overwhelm your longing for unity and clarity,” remember the Jan. 26 gathering and “the communion of saints that has gone before you.”

“I hope you will be convinced, as I am, that our Anglican comprehensiveness is our particular gift from God and a great blessing for the Episcopal Church in South Carolina,” she said. “Follow the Anglican middle way, and it will guide you between extremes in the company of Christians from all walks of life and all gifts of the Spirit.”

The full text of her remarks is here.

The day’s business

Lay and clergy delegates from nine parishes, 10 missions and eight “continuing parishes” were seated for the meeting. The term “continuing parishes” refers to congregations in which some but not all members have followed Bishop Mark Lawrence out of the Episcopal Church. Also among the more than 600 registrants were members of four “worshipping communities” that are in the process of organizing, as well as members of other congregations that are discerning whether to remain in the Episcopal Church.

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A sign outside Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, featuring the newly adopted name of the continuing Episcopalians in that part of the state reflects a prohibition against the group using the diocesan seal. ENS photo/Mary Frances Schjonberg

Jefferts Schori declared a quorum, and the meeting’s first order of business was to act with what attorney Thomas Tisdale called “an abundance of caution, and with the desire to comply” with a Jan. 23 temporary restraining order that prevented the group from using the diocesan seal and the names “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” “The Diocese of South Carolina” and “The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.”

The group agreed to use the name “the Episcopal Church in South Carolina” in place of what Tisdale, later elected chancellor, called “what we believe is our true and lawful name.”

A hearing is set for Feb. 1 on South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein’s order preventing any “individual, organization, association or entity” from using registered names and marks that are claimed by Lawrence and 24 other leaders associated with him. More information about the lawsuit is here.

The delegates at Grace Church chose by acclamation retired Diocese of East Tennessee Bishop Charles vonRosenberg to be their bishop provisional. Jefferts Schori installed vonRosenberg during the meeting and turned over the running of the meeting to him.

A bishop provisional has all the authority and responsibilities of a diocesan bishop but typically serves for a set period of time and is meant to be a bridge into the time when the diocese is ready to elect a diocesan bishop or make other decisions about its future.

The Episcopalians needed a new episcopal leader because Jefferts Schori said Dec. 5 that Lawrence had renounced his orders. She and her Council of Advice agreed that, in a Nov. 17 speech to a special diocesan convention, Lawrence said the diocese had left the Episcopal Church a month earlier on Oct. 17 when she restricted his ministry after the church’s Disciplinary Board for Bishops had certified to her that he had abandoned the Episcopal Church “by an open renunciation of the discipline of the church.”

The day the board’s decision was announced, the diocesan Standing Committee said that the action “triggered two pre-existing corporate resolutions of the diocese, which simultaneously disaffiliated the diocese from the Episcopal Church and called a special convention.” Lawrence asked for and received affirmation from those at the Nov. 17 gathering of that departure.

Thus the remaining Episcopalians needed a new bishop and a slate of lay and clergy leaders, which also was elected on Jan. 26.

VonRosenberg, 65, has long ties to South Carolina. He and his wife, Annie, already live in the Daniel Island community of Charleston, where he retired in 2011 after serving for 12 years as bishop of East Tennessee. Since October, he has served, along with retired Bishop John Buchanan, on a voluntary basis as adviser to the steering committee that formed in October.

“Here we are, a group of people committed to the Episcopal Church, some sadly displaced from their spiritual homes, others finding new life in exciting times – and a bishop who thought he had retired,” vonRosenberg told the gathering. “Here we are facing an uncertain future and relying on others for strength and support, and depending on God’s grace for the tomorrows that await.”

He urged rebuilding the Episcopal Church in South Carolina upon the foundation of what he called the “Christly virtues” of humility and love, beginning with seeking forgiveness “for our failure to achieve Christian unity in our times.”

VonRosenburg told the participants that, “as followers of Jesus Christ, we need to recognize that other sincere Christians – former Episcopalians – have chosen a path different from ours. Theirs is a path committed to Jesus as they understand that faith.”

The full text of vonRosenberg’s address to the meeting is here.

At a later press conference, the bishop suggested that healing could begin when, instead of talking over each other’s heads, people began to find hope in their previous relationships.

“My hope,” he said, “is that as people realize that the ones who are perhaps on a different side at this time are not demonic, [that they] are not unchristian but have chosen a different way.”

The bishop said “as we come to that point and confront each other as people, that’s where our hope lies and where, I believe, reconciliation begins.”

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The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, talks with two women Jan. 25 during a reception at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. ENS photo/Mary Frances Schjonberg

Indeed, not everyone who attended the Jan. 26 meeting, or the nearly 500 who attended a reception with the presiding bishop the previous evening, has decided where he or she will end up.

Cheves Leland, delegate to the meeting from St. James Episcopal-Santee, told ENS that her congregation was in discernment about its affiliation. St. James is a “small congregation in a small village” whose members do not all agree about which direction to take, she said.

She has often voted opposite from the congregation’s other delegate. “We say our votes are divided, but we are not,” she said.

Whatever the congregation decides, the decision will affect everyone, Leland said.

“We really don’t want to split and have people leave,” she said. “I believe there is a place for everybody in the church and with God.”

Julie Walters, the director of children’s ministries at Grace, knows she stands in the Episcopal Church, just as her ancestors did six generations ago when they help to found Grace, she said. But she finds herself set against her Episcopal neighbors. She has been defending herself “in the grocery store and on the tennis court” against accusations by other Episcopalians who she said were “only hearing one side” of the story.

“It just shocks me,” she said, adding, “I hate this fight more than anything else.”

The fight, she said, is not about liturgical changes or changing interpretations of Scripture.

“It’s a fight about rule breaking … we had the same fight over women” being involved in church leadership, said Walters, whose godmother was, as Walters put it, the first female “vestryman” at Grace and was a target of disagreement.

Elizabeth Jones told ENS Jan. 25 that she had a simple wish for the weekend: “that this is the beginning of the healing.”

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service.


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Comments (130)

  1. Milton Finch says:

    I just saw the video that had the speech by Mrs. Schori. She absolutely likened the good Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina to a terrorist or one that would shoot up a school and a tyrant. ABSURD! SHAMEFUL! The group she leads deserves to be sued. She does not deal well with others. She lacks the mind pastoral. Whispering into the ears of the deceived. HORRIBLE! May those that protect the Diocese of South Carolina prevail over the lies of this national “church”. May the judges of the state of South Carolina see through every lie that is brought by the national “church”.

    She speaks of gliders over the state of South Carolina being brought down as they fly near nuclear reactors as something overreaching. She forgets the towers in New York that were brought down by terrorists flying planes that were perceived to be driven by American pilots. The pilots had already been killed by terrorists (deposed by a TEC PRESIDING bishop) and were perceived to still be commercial flights. Innocent gliders, in the instance of her speech, have the same terrorists at the controls. They are now aiming the gliders at the structures and properties and the churches that the South Carolinians hold so dear. May the judges that preside in the state of South Carolina shoot down those gliders as the gliders take aim at the unsuspecting and innocent!

  2. Maxine Schell says:

    Every SC parish should think very carefully before giving title to parish property over to control of the Presiding Bishop. There are now so many formerly self supporting TEC church buildings near empty, empty and closed or sold (even to Muslims) , all seized by KJS, by court order, after she sued for them.
    Just know that, in the future, you will have to be happy with ANY bishop or rector she will allow you, and with ANY theology she imposes.

  3. Ronald J. Caldwell says:

    The people here who are denouncing the Presiding Bishop for her sermon should read it again. She did not attack anyone. She never even mentioned the name of the former bishop of South Carolina. Those who hate her will always misinterpret her words.

    1. Hank Otto says:

      I am on the other side. I agree. A tempest in a tea pot. If either side has a moral high ground rooted in the doctrine they profess, let them take it. Abandon legality and resolve it in Christian harmony and humility.

      One is not holding one’ breath

  4. Milton Finch says:

    Those who are infatuated with her and also live her lies and stand up for her attacks against Christians will always read the words and see nothing wrong with them. Any Christian in their right mind would see the filth of her speech.

  5. John M Stevenson says:

    Closed minds will read what they want into words.

  6. Milton Finch says:

    Closed minds are those that cannot allow another theology other than their own, then immediately resort to deposing the “offender”. I only see one side with a mind that closed. That would be the liberal secularists.

    1. John M Stevenson says:

      There’s very little in the way of meaningful conversation, debate or, more formally, reasonable disputation when one resorts to name-calling or other forms of vilification, labelling, painting all with the same brush with verbal attacks rather than participate in reasoned discussion. Only a few have engaged in informed and factual discourse in preceding comments; others attack and counter-attack, and only engage in a lose-lose activity that goes nowhere except to drive people deeper into their perceived and, perhaps, uninformed positions – whether right or wrong – failing to appreciate one another as fellow human beings on the same journey in the name of Christ. The Holy Spirit is still leading us all into His/Her Truth (as promised) but closed minds anticipate what they want to hear or read but not that which may have been actually said or be behind the written Word. One needs to be open and critically study the historical/cultural context of the written Word, marvel as what may be revealed and think anew about what possibilities are presented as I have formally and informally done and continue to do over most of my 77 plus years. As I led Morning Prayer this morning, I lifted up the Diocese of South Carolina and the dissension with and within that diocese in prayer, and the people of the diocese wanting to walk different paths as a result of this schism, asking that the Holy Spirit continue to lead us all into discernment of Truth and that His/Her will be done wherever that leads us all. There are obviously differing views but nothing is gained in name-calling or labelling all in one category or another, but be kind. As Paul told the Church in Ephesus (4:29ff):
      “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that our words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”

      1. Ronald J. Caldwell says:

        Thank you and Amen. Well said!

      2. Milton Finch says:

        If only Mrs. Schori had done the same in her speech as you have eloquently put forward, there would not be the righteous indignation that is being witnessed here…especially near the end of what you wrote. There is no name calling other than what Mrs. Schori started in her speech, very unpastorally I might add. Tit for tat is what the horrible innovations of the left have led us to. Looking into a mirror daily at one’s self is a good thing. Oh that there were more mirrors on the left’s side in all this mess.

        1. John M Stevenson says:

          Your response simply proved my point. You seem to have a need to resort to labelling by putting everybody who has a disagreement with you into one category, when in truth there are conservatives, traditionalists, orthodox, moderates, progressives and, yes, liberals who express concern, any of whom may or may not agree with you. I respectfully suggest you read what she said it its entirety and not read into what she said what you want to see, hopefully not relying on or parroting what somebody else had to say.

          1. Milton Finch says:

            As you prove my point. Hang in there, John. May our Father love us all as we fail in our loving others so miserably.

  7. Ronald J. Caldwell says:

    Everyone, remember that this site has a clear Comment Policy (see below) as opposed to many others. We should all reread it including the part “Do not harass or threaten, question the motives behind others’ posts or comments, deliberately inflame or disrupt the conversation or air personal grievances about other members of the community.” Let’s stick to the subject and leave the personal attacks to the reactionary sites.

    1. Milton Finch says:

      Ronald, this site is reactionary in that the national “church” is imploding. If it is not reactionary, it needs to become so. Something has to be fixed and it won’t be done with serene moments from chairs sitting upon the Titanic’s decks as the band plays on. If the long nails screech upon the blackboard, people must tell the screecher that she needs to stop being so inconsiderate of others senses.

    2. John M Stevenson says:

      Thank you, Mr. Caldwell.

  8. Bonnie Leazer says:

    Time out everyone. It’s over. Within a few short weeks most of us would have made our decision to remain with or leave the Episcopal church. I’m staying, and after the glorious weekend at Grace this past weekend, I could not be prouder of my church and its leaders. Now would y’all do me a little ole favor and act like mature adults. When mature adults make a decision they move on. They don’t keep stirring the pot or vilifying those who chose a different path. The courts will make the final decision on who gets the property and no amount of speculation on our parts is going to affect that decision. In the meantime, may we all find peace on the paths we’ve chosen.

    1. John M Stevenson says:

      Amen!

    2. Ronald J. Caldwell says:

      I second the motion. Amen.

  9. Cynthia Katsarelis says:

    I wish they would think about the children. Girls growing up in a misogynistic setting in the 21st century is harsh. And I can’t imagine how hard it would be to be a gay child in this new cult in SC. I really don’t care what the adults do, stay, leave, fight over property. But splitting up communities and the message to the children. I can not accept that as the Good News. I will pray for the children of SC.

  10. walter combs says:

    The Episcopal Church was set up as an association of co-equal dioceses, , not as a national denomination with a mini-pope at its head. When did the Presiding Bishop assume that role? I think over time, and most notably with Bishop Schori, the “national church” has been trying to claim that authority. Those people in South Carolina that want to remain in the Episcopal Church should organize themselves to form a new diocese to replace the one which left, to include the sixteen or so parishes and missions who wish to remain affiliated with the General Convention, and let it be. Christian sueing Christians is the worst kind of witness, I don’t care which side is doing it. More and more of us are looking for the exit doors simply because we are sick to death of all this!

  11. Milton Finch says:

    It looks as though this national site is set up so that liberals can gush over their leaders and everything secular liberalist and everyone else is immature. Very telling. Lock-step everyone. Lock-step! Pravda was tame.

  12. Maxine Schell says:

    Many, posting here, seem to know, so…

    If the Residing Bishop was NOT referring to Bishop Lawrence in her speech, then tell us all, please, TO WHOM WAS SHE REFFERING ??

    1. Milton Finch says:

      Excellent point, Maxine. She spoke of someone. She aimed her remarks at someone. Fictional? Floated thought? There is only one in her target. That target remains the Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, ++Mark Lawrence.

      Name another, ones that desire a takeover of the diocese! Or is Mrs. Schori living in an illusion of hers and your making?

      1. Milton Finch says:

        I mean, she made her little speech in Charleston, to a group that wanted ++Bishop Mark Lawrence out of office in their state. Read the liberal site, South Carolina Episcopalians. They hate him with every printed word. They bend any and all truth in the matter. The blog owner of that site was there. Who, PRAY TELL, was Mrs. schori aiming her hate-speech against if it was not ++Bishop Lawrence? Any and all that recognize his authority over hers? It would seem to be one and the same! Or is it all like him? An entire group? Splattered with the same brush and paint? Very mature!

  13. Theron Patrick says:

    The sermon, the discussion, the comments all show that we have some very deep and soulful divides. I’ll be blunt — over the last few weeks I have been angered deeply by some of the public statement of some of our leaders. So I wrote comments, sent e-mail, counted to 10 (several times) and headed down to the Parish to get on with the ministry as best I could. Not because I am such a great guy, but because it is our Lord’s command.

    What is left out of much of the discussion is a willingness to accept that our “opponents” are acting based on deep religious and ethical conviction. They are not evil.

    By the way there were public pronouncements that I strongly supported also and I am sure that at least a few of my fellow parishioners are not all that happy with.

    1. John M Stevenson says:

      My final word on all of this; too much already. Fr. Patrick quite right … people are making/have made their decisions as their own consciences dictate (one would hope) and those should be honored irrespective of direction without vilification.

  14. Julian Malakar says:

    As camel due to its long neck have difficulties to see eye of a needle on the ground (Matt. 19: 16-30), ultra liberal might have the same problem identifying vice that defile godly spirit in our heart. With introduction of new idea into an old Church, godly spirit of the Church has already been defiled. I believe all things are possible thru abundant love of God, but going along with bad sex (vice) would be more difficult than abandoning bad sex altogether, as Jesus suggested living with one eye if another eye gives too much trouble that may lead to death of a soul in eternity.

  15. walter combs says:

    Bishop Lawrence’s Diocese has just sent out an announcement that the Episcopal Church (USA) has agreed not to oppose the issuance of a preliminary injunction. This speaks for itself. To me it shows that Chancellor Tisdale can read the writing on the wall, and knows that TEC won’t succeed in any plan to assume the DSC’s identity or property. Of course, time will tell.

    1. Milton Finch says:

      A very good development, indeed! So, this must mean that a diocese CAN leave!

      1. walter combs says:

        It would appear so. However, I think conservatives are getting to the point that they would rather worship in a corn field than continue to be villainized by the TEC leadership. The recent sermon by the Presiding Bishop when she was obviously referring to Bishop Lawrence and likening him to a terrorist is a prime example. No wonder they are leaving us in droves! When is our leadership going to wake up and realize that if we are truly going to be an ‘inclusive’ church we need to allow conservatives to exist among us?

        1. Bryan Hunter says:

          “I think conservatives are getting to the point that they would rather worship in a corn field.” This may not be a bad thing. Perhaps we’ve become too enraptured and attached to our old, comfortable, physical THINGS and have lost sight of the Great Commission. If we ultimately lose everything, but we become reignited with a passion for the Gospel, we should count it for gain.

  16. Milton Finch says:

    Every time a diocese left previously, the Bishop led the diocese out before the deposing happened. In the case of The Diocese of South Carolina, Mrs. Schori deposed first, asking questions later. SHAME! TEc deserves every loss that is to come their way in their dealings with The Diocese of South Carolina. How dare they presume or assume. We all know what assuming does to those that do.

  17. Doug Desper says:

    At the heart of everything is this:
    1). traditional reasserters who believe that the canon of Scripture is closed, that faith and practice are discerned by Scripture examined in the councils of the Church, that change should not be imposed, but grow from a common hearing of the Spirit, then there are–
    2). revisionists who believe that the canon of Scripture has been misunderstood, that the “New Thing” has been revealed to this generation of (some) believers, and that change must come at the cost of unity (as we so very well can see).
    So, the Scripture invites us to test the fruits. Look around. See the fruits: closed parishes, shuttered cathedrals, crumbling dioceses, and shrinking/merged seminaries. Note the bishops, priests, and dominant teaching in those dioceses. Take note of what cathedrals closed under what dean. At what point does the Church say that this disgraceful wreck of direction has to stop?

  18. Hank Otto says:

    The only thing that anyone can say about the injunction is that TEC chose not to fight that battle at this time. Nothing more.

  19. Milton Finch says:

    To the masses, it looks like you have a bully in the neighborhood and someone finally smacks ’em square in the face and the bully, holding her nose, goes home to sulk among her family members, whilst the family members say they’ll get them when the time is right. So Holy. So Christian. So…not looking at the truth.

  20. Bryan Hunter says:

    “She obviously has no knowledge of the structure of the Episcopal Church.” I can’t help but laugh. Do you really believe the stuff you write? Have you made an honest study of the history of the Episcopal Church from its founding, through the 19th century, and up to the present time? That’s a serious question.

    1. Ronald J. Caldwell says:

      Mr. Hunter if you are referring to me I have a Ph.D. in History, an Prof. of History Emeritus, and have written books and articles on Episcopal Church history. So what are your credentials?

      1. John M Stevenson says:

        I had made my final word on this site regarding subject at hand. However, I just wanted to note that your works are available on Amazon should others engaged in dispute/discussion on this site might wish to broaden or deepen their knowledge of Church History, as well as perhaps review some of your works of a more local nature. 🙂

      2. Milton Finch says:

        Ronald, From what liberal institution did you receive your esteemed high education? So many try to rewrite actual history for the glorification of their desired liberal agenda today, you know. What experience are you speaking through when you write history? We have heard from the liberals how clouded the writers of the Bible were in their time of male domination in society. Are we seeing it play out from the opposite side when you write?

        1. Ronald J. Caldwell says:

          Mr. Finch, we are on this website to discuss the issue at hand, not the commentators. Let’s stick to the subject.

          1. Milton Finch says:

            Ronald, you brought up your exeptional and exemplary training in the arts of higher learning on your own. I merely asked some questions so it would enlighten the readers if you may have been slightly biased or sticking with the truth at hand on this very matter. Sticking with the subject.

  21. Bryan Hunter says:

    I know Mark Lawrence personally and consider him a friend and a pastor. He is an honest, humble, godly, and brilliant man. I can’t recall another person in my lifetime who has a firmer grasp of Scripture, but he also has an amazing command of secular literature and philosophy. He is conversant in multiple languages. His speech is erudite, lucid, and eloquent, yet straightforward and accessible. He is in submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ and filled with and guided by the Holy Spirit. He is the kind of man the Episcopal Church once held in esteem. Call me a Lawrenceite. I consider it an honor.

    1. Hank Otto says:

      We obviously share 2 common views. The first is that we both feel the same way about Mark Lawrence and the second is that we both apparently like the epithet lawrencites. I am already calling myself one. It works well in the adjectival state of Lawrencian. There is a good precedent among true men of God: Dominican, Franciscan, Augustinian etc etc

      Pax!

  22. Bishop Andrew Gerales Gentry says:

    What has happened in South Carolina and in a number of other places in the what used to be called PECUSA has been in the making for a long time. The uniquely Anglican understanding of the old maxim “In non essentials, liberty, in essentials, unity, and in all things love” has, in many places in the world wide Communion, fallen into disrepute. It has been replaced with either “relativism/plurality” on one side and a creeping literalism on the other. The old skirmishes between “high church Anglo Catholic” and “Low church Evangelicals” is little more than a historical footnote and a waning anarchism. When any body of what ever type and kind can no longer define what are the essential foundations of identity and belief that body will soon scatter and divide. Or to put it another way ” if you try and be all things to all people there is grave danger that you will become nothing to everyone”! Years ago in the old battles that waged on the extremes of the Anglican experience the one anchor that held the fellowship together was the common fidelity of bishops and clergy with the People of God to what had always been the essentials of belief. It is true that the Church of Jesus Christ does not exist nor function in a vacuum nor is it immune nor should it be to social change and understanding. Our Lord Himself told his Disciples that such change would occur and he gave them, that is the his church, the authority to lose or bind. He even went so far to tell them that there was many things He could have told them but they could not bear to hear them! What does not change is the Foundation of the Gospel, the witness of the Church in Council, and the exercise with the necessity of reason of the conscience . There are many of us who claim the title liberal who do not accept deism as Christology nor unitarianism as an alternative to the Incarnation. Whatever your position defend it with the Essentials and all will ultimately come out with the Latter Rain!

  23. Elizabeth Sosnowski says:

    I grew up in Charleston,S.C. in St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.I have 2 questions:
    1. Which group chooses inclusivity as its basis for offering the love of God to the world?
    2. Has anyone seen Satan lately- I heard he is relaxing in his recliner, in a condo overlooking the Mediterranean, sipping something delicious, laughing because his work in the church is being done by all those arguing instead of being the face of Jesus to the world.

  24. Peter Mitchell says:

    The following letter was sent to the Post and Courier. The newspaper chose to edit out some sections (their right) in the version printed on Friday, so I am sending the original longer version.

    Letter to the Editor: Comments by Bishop Jerrerts-Schori in her sermon:

    I was saddened and appalled, but not surprised, by the vindictive and mean-spirited language Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori used in her sermon on Saturday. Alluding to Bishop Mark Lawrence as a “tyrant” and comparing him to “citizens’ militias deciding to patrol the Mexican border for unwelcome visitors” was unconscionable. Going on to equate his actions with “school shootings, or those who want to arm school children or the terrorism that takes oil workers hostage” was despicable.

    That any Christian, much less a Presiding Bishop, would use such invective and incendiary words says more about the speaker than the person she is attempting to vilify. However, she is the same person who has spent over $22 million to sue churches and steal their property, who refused to sell a church back to its congregation and instead sold it to a Muslim organization, and who sued beloved retired bishops because they challenged her authority.

    Her callous disregard for a fellow Bishop is only exceeded by her hypocrisy. She had the gall to say in her sermon that “Most of us don’t live in a world where one person is the ultimate Decider. Power assumed by one authority figure alone is often a recipe for abuse, tyranny, and corruption.”

    Ironically, her reign as Presiding Bishop is replete with action after action where she served as “ultimate Decider” or controller and where she violated or manipulated canons in existence for centuries. She extolled the value of “transparency,” yet she met with Bishop Lawrence to discuss a resolution of the problem knowing that her second effort to punish him had finally succeeded and never mentioned it.

    As a retired college president returning to South Carolina in 2007, I was stunned when I read the resume of Jefferts Schori – a Ph.D. yet I could not find one publication in her field, a mid-life transition into the ministry, listing being “Dean” of a seminary when in reality the position was much more like coordinating an adult education program in a local church, one year as an assistant rector in a church prior to being elected a Bishop, scholarship as a Bishop that is thin at best, and whose fruits of leadership are a significant decline in members, controversy and confrontation with the majority of the Anglican Communion, and financial problems resulting in the need to sell prized land in Manhattan.

    Jefferts Schori’s depiction of Bishop Lawrence and those in the legitimate Diocese of South Carolina as “petty Deciders or wolves who masquerade as sheep” is far more appropriate for herself and the leadership at TEC. Throughout the ordeal, Bishop Lawrence acted with grace and compassion. His consistent plea was “stay intact and stay in TEC.” Even when disaffiliation was the only way to protect the autonomy and Anglican traditions of our Diocese, he lovingly affirmed the right of the approximately 20% of the parishioners to find a place in TEC. Only when it became clear that TEC intended to steal our Diocese name and heritage, did he take appropriate legal action.

    “They will know we are Christians by our love” has been a favorite hymn of mine for over 50 years. It is also a good barometer of a person’s Christian character. The language used by Jefferts Schori from the pulpit is unloving and unchristian. Still as one who believes in a forgiving God and in spiritual transformation, I will continue to pray that TEC and Jefferts Schori may be inspired and imbued with the Holy Spirit and in the process may rise above petty name calling and invective rhetoric and embrace the love of Christ in what they say and do.

    Dr. Peter T. Mitchell
    Georgetown, SC

  25. John Andrews says:

    ……………..that divisions may cease……….Prayers of the People, p.390

    February 1st writing of Bishop Edmond Lee Browning, “A year of Days with the Book of Common Prayer”

    We uphold the vision of God’s kingdom, in which every barrier humankind has erected to the unity of the human family comes crashing down. One day our divisions will cease, regretfully, that day is certain to come in another world, better than this one.
    But we hold up the vision of that better world’s oneness to this world’s brokenness, and it is essential that we do. Do we all disagree passionately? Do we differ? Do we freighted each other, sometime, with our differences? Yes we do. But are those reasons to abondon one another, to live apart in little clumps of similarity, surrounded only by people who resemble us?
    Absolutely not. Cumbersome as it can be, institutional unity—-in the nation, in the church, anywhere—is a powerful symbol of spiritual unity. It is a worthy investment of the money, energy, and talent it takes to maintain it. It is worthy too, of our best effort as we seek to transform. Let us fix what is broken in our society. Let us be serious about political reform. But let us make the effort with sincerity and mutual trust, turning our backs on the partisan spirit of fragmentation so pervasive in our land. It is shortsighted and dangerous for a nation and for a church. Now is no time for people of God to grow further apart. Now is the time when we need to be closer together.

    My prayer is that one day we will all be able to sit at God’s table in unity of His spirit……….I’m afraid that day has not come and may not come in my life time…………Nonetheless that is my prayer

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