Diocese of South Carolina special convention report

The Diocese of South Carolina passed a set of four resolutions at their Diocesan convention yesterday. The resolutions are intended to draw clear lines between the diocese and the authority of the General Convention and other national episcopal structures. The Diocese of South Carolina contends that it is taking these actions to make explicit what has always been implicit in the way dioceses and national church structures have worked together.

Episcopal News Service has extensive coverage here. The report by Mary Frances Schjonberg ends with this statement by Bishop Lawrence:

"Lawrence told the convention that he and Jefferts Schori recently had 'a respectful conversation' about the matter of the Episcopal Church hiring a South Carolina lawyer to make inquiries about the diocese's intentions. During the conversation, Lawrence said, Jefferts Schori 'asserted once again what she has stated publicly on many occasions: that she has responsibility for the whole church, that the property of the Episcopal Church must be protected and this is one of her duties.' Lawrence claimed that the presiding bishop had 'assumed' a duty not stated in the church constitution and canons.

'Unfortunately, after lengthy and respectful conversation, the presiding bishop and I stand looking at one another across a wide, deep and seemingly unbridgeable theological and canonical chasm,' he said. 'At present both of us have signaled a willingness to continue the conversation even if it requires phone conversations from vastly different area codes.'"

The full text of the resolutions and the address by Bishop Lawrence are linked from the diocesan website here.

Comments (5)

Here is just about the only commentary that we need offer on this convention's content:


Except to reiterate that it was a real mistake to consent to Bishop Lawrence's election.

"Save your Confederate money...."

@Bill - yes - exactly

Bishop Lawrence in 2007:

Dear Standing Committees of The Episcopal Church,

"I have been told that some diocesan Standing Committees have graciously offered to reconsider their denial of consent to my election as the XIV Bishop of South Carolina, if they only have assurance of my intention to remain in The Episcopal Church. Although I previously provided assurance of my intention, this has not been sufficient for some Standing Committees, which are earnestly seeking to make a godly discernment. Therefore, taking to heart the apostolic admonition in 1 Timothy 3:2, "Now a bishop must be above reproach, .temperate [free from rashness], sensible, dignified, hospitable, an apt teacher.." I am reminded to make every attempt to reason with those who have denied consent or who have not yet voted. As I stated at the walkabout in Charleston on September 9, 2006 and again in a statement written on 6 November 2006, I will make the vows of conformity as written in the BCP and the Constitution & Canons, (III.11.8). I will heartily make the vows conforming ".to the doctrine, discipline, and worship" of the Episcopal Church, as well as the trustworthiness of the Holy Scriptures. So to put it as clearly as I can, my intention is to remain in The Episcopal Church.

Yours in Christ,

The Very Reverend Mark J. Lawrence”

So now that he has convinced his diocese that it is an independent organization I don’t see how he can claim that he is conforming to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church.

I know that those of certain political persuasion have taken very strongly to the “ends justifies the means” situational ethics, so I suppose he will justify his mendacity to himself in that way. Us? Well, we were snookered, it seems.

At present both of us have signaled a willingness to continue the conversation even if it requires phone conversations from vastly different area codes.

Vastly different area codes.

I am sure that (y)our +Katharine has no issue speaking with him in another area code. But the moment she has to make it an int'l long distance call to an African province then the game should definitely be over!

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