[The Episcopal Church in South Carolina press release] The Rt. Rev. Charles G. vonRosenberg has announced he will retire as provisional bishop of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina this summer after more than three years leading Episcopalians in eastern South Carolina.
In a Jan. 14 letter to the people of the diocese, the bishop said he had officially notified the Standing Committee of the diocese of his intention to retire after June 26, when he completes his schedule of official visits to the 30 parishes and missions of the diocese.
“It has been my great privilege to serve in this capacity with the good and faithful people who chose to continue your faith journey as part of The Episcopal Church. These times have been exciting and challenging, and I assure you that I will never forget them or you,” the letter said.
A blue-ribbon Committee on the Future of the Diocese was formed last fall. The panel is tasked with making a recommendation to Diocesan Convention in sometime this year about what administrative model will best serve the diocese and its growing congregations in the years ahead. Under church canons, the Standing Committee serves as the ecclesiastical authority when a diocese is without a bishop.
“We are so grateful for the leadership and guidance of Bishop vonRosenberg and are so blessed to have had him as our Provisional Bishop for the last three years,” said the Reverend Jean McGraw, president of the Standing Committee. “Although we are sorry to see him step down as our bishop, we are so appreciative of the firm foundation he has laid for our diocese. His insight, experience and faithfulness have instilled in us a bright vision for our future,” she said.
This will be vonRosenberg’s second retirement as a bishop. He moved to the Daniel Island community of Charleston with his wife Annie in 2011 after having served for 12 years as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee. (Find more biographical information here.)
Under his leadership, the South Carolina diocese has grown to include a staff of five part-time employees plus a wide range of volunteer positions, boards and commissions organized to serve the needs of 30 congregations and an estimated 7,000 Episcopalians in the region.
Four annual Diocesan Conventions have been held under the bishop. A major achievement of those meetings was a major update to the constitution and canons of the diocese, restoring provisions that accede to its governance within the Episcopal Church.
VonRosenberg was elected as provisional bishop at a special Diocesan Convention in January 2013, which was called to reorganize the diocese after a breakaway group announced it had left the Episcopal Church. Provisional bishops in the Episcopal Church have all the authority and responsibility of other bishops, but usually serve for a limited period of time.
Under vonRosenberg, 22 churches remained part of the Episcopal Church, and eight new mission churches have since formed. As part of The Episcopal Church of South Carolina, these congregations are all officially recognized by both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.