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Bp. Waldo asks prayers for guidance in South Carolina

Bp. Waldo asks prayers for guidance in South Carolina

From The State today in Columbia, S.C.:

The leader of Midlands and Upstate Episcopalians said this week he remains in prayer and open talks with his fellow bishop in the Lowcountry in hopes of staving off a fracture within the state and the national church over gender issues.


The national church earlier this month approved a same-sex blessing rite and expanded ordination to include transgendered persons.

Bishop W. Andrew Waldo has tried to keep his diverse Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina unified despite theological differences over the controversial issues. He said this week he hopes that his friend, Bishop Mark J. Lawrence, leader of the more conservative and traditional Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, in the Lowcountry, will remain on that same path.

“The times are tense,” Waldo wrote in a letter to the 29,000 members of the upper diocese. “Our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of South Carolina are in deep pain struggling with the decisions of General Convention 2012.”

Saying he was “in direct conversation” with Lawrence, Waldo said, “I ask your prayers for Mark and for the Diocese of South Carolina and for me and for this Diocese as we seek to discern God’s will for us, and his challenge to us as his disciples.”

Read entire story here.

Read Bishop Waldo’s letter here.

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John D

+Lawrence should never have been allowed to become the bishop of South Carolina, but he mendaciously tricked the Church into allowing him to promote his aggressive assault on the Body. Many of us knew better.So,now, +Waldo is trying to act the co-dependent and make it all right. Good luck with that.

John Donnelly

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John B. Chilton

I find the headline in The State alarmist and unclear: "Talks continue as potential split in SC Episcopal diocese looms".

The headline derives, I guess, from these two paragraphs in the article:

I. "The leader of Midlands and Upstate Episcopalians said this week he remains in prayer and open talks with his fellow bishop in the Lowcountry in hopes of staving off a fracture within the state and the national church over gender issues."

II. "Bishop W. Andrew Waldo has tried to keep his diverse Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina unified despite theological differences over the controversial issues. He said this week he hopes that his friend, Bishop Mark J. Lawrence, leader of the more conservative and traditional Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, in the Lowcountry, will remain on that same path."

My observations:

1. I'm sure Waldo has his hands full keeping his diocese together. And I'm sure he's in talks within his diocese, and that this letter represents a part of his larger effort. But "looms" is a rather strong word for the situation he faces. Hence the fudge word "potential." Is there the chance a parish or two will leave the Diocese of Upper South Carolina? Maybe. I wouldn't call that a split.

2. The "talks" the article refers are the talks between Waldo and Lawrence. For Waldo's part he's engaged in the talks, according the article's author "in hopes of staving off a fracture within the state and the national church over gender issues" and "will remain on that same path [of trying to Lawrence's diocese unified]." Folks: If you weren't aware, as long as the Diocese of South Carolina says in The Episcopal Church, Lawrence has his hands full trying to keep his diocese together. There are parishes in his diocese chaffing to leave. And one thing Lawrence won't do is take them to court if they take the property -- so what he has left is persuasion. Of the dioceses in the state, Lawrence's is the one more likely to see congregations leave -- unless ....

3. ... Lawrence follows the path of dioceses that have left. That would be different sort of fracture/split -- not in a diocese, but of a diocese from the denomination. Are both kinds of splits put in a catchall, "a fracture within the state and the national church"? Not clear.

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Chris Epting

I hope both SC bishops will take a look at the pastorally sensitive way the Bishop of Texas has handled this matter in his diocese. He too voted against authorizing these blessings, but has found a way for those who wish to use them to do so.

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Terry Pannell

I commend Bishop Waldo for the thoughtful way he is trying to address the challenges in his diocese, theological and otherwise. His concern for the church in Upper South Carolina demonstrates the heart of a pastor. It will be interesting to see how the discernment process works out.

Those who live and serve in dioceses that already recognize the validity and sacred nature of committed relationships between non-heterosexual persons occasionally forget that the process leading to the blessing of same sex couples was no bed of roses. Upper South Carolina, Texas, and all who genuinely engage in an honest and transparent discernment process will be encountering the same questions faced by other dioceses and parishes who long ago did their theological homework on human sexuality.

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Maplewood

Bp. Waldo's entire letter to his diocese is reproduced on The State's webpage, and makes for a much more interesting/fuller read than The State's story.

Kevin McGrane

[Thank you, Kevin. Link has been added at your suggestion. - ed.]

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