Diocese of Upper South Carolina pleads for resolution between TEC and South Carolina

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina has sent resolution to the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and to Bishop Mark Lawrence pleading for conversation and to back off from the current course of action in the Diocese of South Carolina.

The resolution says in part:

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina strongly urges the Presiding Bishop and the Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina to explore all possibilities and seek alternative means of resolving and addressing the issues between the leadership of the Diocese of South Carolina and the leadership of The Episcopal Church.

In spite of the obstacles being faced, we hope and pray and ask others to pray that an acceptable way forward can be found that leads toward reconciliation and continued relationship.


Comments (10)

Of course we need resolution of this crisis. It is only common sense. Both sides will be worse off down the road unless this is settled soon. However, having heard Bp Lawrence speak and act recently, I have little hope of this. We are in the eleventh hour. On Sat. the 19th the breakaway diocese will hold a meeting to approve the rewriting of all its documents to exclude any relation between the Diocese of South Carolina and the Episcopal Church. Once that is done, the door will be all but shut. The once grand old denomination of South Carolina society will lie broken and bleeding. We will all be poorer for it.

I would hope that every effort could be taken to head off yet another split. We expect Congress to find common ground; surely there are ways for Christians to do so. There are no winners when dioceses leave.

I pray Bishop Katharine will be able to courageously discern where the love is, for that is where Christ is. Bishop Lawrence is fear-driven and out of control.

John - please sign your name when you comment. Thanks ~ed.

What is happening in South Carolina is a mirror of what is happening in our larger American society. The day after Barack Obama was re-elected president of the United States partisans in Texas began calling for their state to secede from the Union.

Several others around the nation proclaimed a new resolve to stop associating and communicating with those who voted differently from themselves and called for others to do the same.

I have watched this movement grow, at least from the 1980's when the "Religious Right" began calling for separate schools, separate neighborhoods, separate businesses from those who disagreed with them.

How do you compromise and find common ground with those who declare that they are completely opposed to your very existence and who believe that even being in the same area that you are taints, stains, and endangers their very being?

I would hope and pray that we, as a country and as a church, can find a way through this impasse without it leading to what has historically come to violence and war. There are many examples around the world of sectarian groups that carry their hatred through generation after generation in a long, bloody trail of sadness and loss.

I pray that is not where we are headed but I don't have the personal wisdom to see how to move through the current situation in a peaceable and just way. God's hand and guidance are needed and the only possible through.

Brian, it does seem as if we're entering a new era of Puritanism. And the same sort of rhetoric seems to drive it both in civil society and the Church: the "come-outers" ascribe to the majority not different opinions held in good will, but rather various motives of greed, hatred, and irreligion bent on the destruction of America As We Know It.

Bill Dilworth

As a follow up to my last comment, I hope that the present calumnies directed against moderates, liberals, and progressives by the secular and religious Right can provide something of a teaching moment for us. When we declare that all those who hold positions other than the ones we subscribe to necessarily do so out of homophobia, or misogyny, or xenophobia, or hatred of the poor, we mirror the present tantrum of the Tea Party and their religious analogs, and end up using words to erect barriers between us and them rather than to communicate. We all need to stop demonizing those with whom we disagree.

Bill Dilworth

It's as if this Standing Committee in Upper South Carolina lives in lala land. This isn't an issue between the Presiding Bishop & Bishop Lawrence, this is an issue between Bishop Lawrence and those members of his diocese who have brought charges against him and his poison pill response to the consequences of that process.

Does this Standing Committee expect everyone in TEC to ignore the legal process that must be followed?

Bro David

Well, if it's the wrong process.... Lawrence is actually being charged with canonical violations. The use of abandonment as a means for prosecuting them is a problem that people all over the spectrum can see. Nobody at the national church level should be abetting that, and the indications that they may be willfully abetting it disturb me.

I don't understand the details of the conflict between Lawrence and the party in his diocese that is pushing this. I think the poison pill changes to the diocesan constitution are stupidly provocative. But since Lawrence is apparently to be expelled because he might leave, they apparently are going to turn out to be timely.

C Wingate, I don't think it's the case that Lawrence "is apparently to be expelled because he might leave." From what I can tell, he and his advisers think that he has already left, and imagine that he has taken the diocese with him.

The action that precipitated the purported secession was the restriction of +Lawrence's ministry pending an investigation by the HoB as to whether or not he had committed abandonment. His response was to tell the PB that he was leaving and taking the diocese with him. If his issuance of quitclaim deeds to his parishes didn't constitute abandonment, then surely saying (in effect) "We're leaving, Canons be damned" did, didn't it? How else can it be construed than an open abandonment of the discipline of ECUSA?

Bill Dilworth

Bill, since a couple of the charges have already been used, Lawrence and company probably feel, and they have a point, that TEC is going to keep repeating the same thing until they get the answer they wanted the first time, abandonment.

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