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Lambeth Palace clarifies status of Bishop Zavala visit to South Carolina

Lambeth Palace clarifies status of Bishop Zavala visit to South Carolina

Dr. Ronald Caldwell wrote to Lambeth Palace to clarify the meaning of the visit by Bishop Zavala to South Carolina. He asked about the Press Release from the South Carolina independent diocese.

From Caldwell’s blog:

On May 20, 2015, Bishop Hector Zavala (Bishop of Chile and primate of the Anglican Church of South America) visited the independent diocese of South Carolina to assure the followers of Mark Lawrence they are “part” of the Anglican Communion. On May 22, the diocese issued a news release quoting Zavala: “I’m here with you with the consent of the Archbishop of Canterbury.” The release went on: “The Archbishop of Canterbury was with the Global South Primates ‘Steering Committee’ in a meeting in Cairo, Egypt in 2014 when ‘we decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to some dioceses in order to keep them within the Anglican Communion’ said Zavala.”

Caldwell received a reply from Lambeth Palace granting permission to share the following publicly:

A Lambeth Palace spokesman said:”The Global South Primates Steering Committee announced in 2014 the establishment of Primatial Oversight for the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina, which had seceded from the Episcopal Church, in order to keep the diocese within the Anglican Communion. The steering committee informed Archbishop Justin of their decision when he joined them for the final day of their meeting in Cairo.

“Archbishop Justin has since had discussions about how the arrangements will work, exploring the exercising of pastoral, not episcopal oversight by Bishop Zavala. Archbishop Justin has discussed these developments with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori.”

Caldwell continues,

The operative phrase here is: “pastoral, not episcopal oversight by Bishop Zavala.”

Thus the Archbishop’s office has clarified several points:

1-The DSC claim that the Archbishop of Canterbury was “with” the Global South primates’ steering committee when they decided to make the oversight scheme is not true. In fact, the Archbishop arrived only for the end of the meeting (Feb. 15, 2014; Cairo) and was presented a fait accompli of a primatial oversight scheme that had already been drawn up by the primates.

We already knew that the Archbishop had not signed this primatial scheme (released on Feb. 20, 2014).

2-The Archbishop has not approved of any primatial oversight scheme.

3-The Archbishop encouraged “pastoral” oversight only and did so while informing the Episcopal Church’s primate.

4-There is no evidence that the Archbishop “consented” to Zavala’s visit to South Carolina. Zavala did not define what he meant by the word “consent.”

In fact, the Archbishop of Canterbury approved of “pastoral” not primatial oversight for the Diocese of South Carolina. What is the difference between the two? A great deal as it turns out.

Read more here.

Despite the reassurances the Lawrence diocese may wish to give its members, it is a falsehood to say it is “part of the Anglican Communion.”

UPDATE: The Church Times has received a near identical reply from Lambeth Palace.


posted by Ann Fontaine

image from Lambeth Palace web site official photos


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Professor Christopher Seitz

Of course the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina is in communion with more provinces of the Anglican Communion than is TEC, given its present course. With a new head of the ACC, the rostering of EDofSC may soon follow Bermuda and other extra-provincials. Anglicanism is not a fixed reality but a fluid one.

Marshall Scott

Our Orthodox Christian siblings have for some time experienced this pattern of overlapping jurisdictions in the Western Hemisphere, some recognized by Constantinople, some by Moscow, some by autocephalous national Orthodox churches, and some small ones by no one at all. Only within very recent history have they begun talking about how to relate, to cooperate, and perhaps pursue a truly Western autocephalous church (perhaps separating North and South America, or national churches). Some of the bodies that feel themselves in the Anglican tradition, some within and some outside the Communion, may one day be able to discuss common work. Of course, it’s taken the Orthodox more than a century….

David Allen

I see that as a very Apples vs Oranges situation. There wasn’t already a national American Orthodox Church when these little transplants of national/regional orthodox congregations started appearing around the continent.

These folks national/regional churches fight and argue with each other back home, I don’t really see them all coming together in one united North or South American autocephalous province. Not in our lifetimes.

The Anglican situation didn’t come about by migration to a province-less region, the separations were antagonistic from the first separation.

Bro David

Paul Powers

John, I deliberately avoided saying that there are two Anglican _Communion_ Dioceses of South Carolina so as not to get into a discussion about who’s in and who’s out of the Anglican Communion. At most, one could say that Bishop Lawrence’s diocese and the ACNA are in communion with several Anglican Provinces, but they aren’t members of the Anglican Communion. At least not yet. And it would require some action by the other Primates and the ACC for them to be admitted. +Welby couldn’t do it on his own. None of this changes my point that the are two de facto Dioceses of South Carolina, and there will continue to be two dioceses regardless of the outcome of the litigation (although only one will continue to be allowed to use the name “Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina”).

Scott Wesley

I would just like to note that litigation is a method of reconciliation, not a sign of its absence or failure. I would certainly agree that it would be nice if things could be worked out prior to going to court, but litigation is an extremely powerful and, often, extremely good reconciliation. We should not apologize that TEC has used this tool in SC and other areas. As for the the “pastoral” rather than “primatial” distinction in oversight – I must be missing something… To enter another bishops see a visiting bishop must have permission from the bishop – and that type of visit is by definition pastoral. The bishop cannot cede parts of his or her see. And in TEC the Presiding Bishop has no particular see – so how could she grant permission for a pastoral visit to SC?
Br Scott

J. W. McRee

If litigation is a method of reconciliation then a battle is a method of making peace. St Paul condemns litigation but it has occurred. Unless a mutually agreeable settlement is reached, litigation will continue until the courts arrive at their decisions.

Please use your first and last names when posting comments as requested in our comment policy. – ed

David Allen

There is one Episcopalian/Anglican diocese in South Carolina, the one currently called the Episcopal Church in South Caroline. Were +Zavala to make a pastoral visit to a parish in that diocese he would need to have the permission of the bishop diocesan, +vonRosenberg. There is a diocese which pretends to be Anglican in South Carolina, which has usurped the diocese’s name and absconded with real estate and other property of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and which is lead by Mark Lawrence, a deposed bishop, formerly the bishop of Dio South Carolina. +Zavala was visiting this pretend Anglican diocese, so he was not actually encroaching on the diocese lead by +vonRosenberg or the jurisdiction of any other religious body in South Carolina; Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Morovian, etc.

+Zavala was however, visiting in the United States, which is part of the Anglican province known in the Anglican Communion as The Episcopal Church. And he was doing so as the primate of another Anglican province, the Anglican Church of South America, without the permission of the primate of TEC, +Katharine. That’s the incursion. That’s the violation of Anglican Communion protocol. +Zavala is pretending to be making a primatial visit in another primate’s province and has falsely claimed that he is doing so under the auspices of, +Justin, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bro David

David Allen

Paul, they aren’t claiming to be some one off type of Anglican, they are pretending to still be part of the AC, hence, pretending to be Anglican. And it is things such as the incursion of +Zavala into the Anglican province which is TEC, that encourages them as they go on pretending to be part of the AC, and so pretending to be Anglican.

Bro David

Paul Powers

“A diocese that pretends to be Anglican”? I guess that depends on how you define “Anglican,” Bro. David. I believe that a church can be Anglican without being part of the AC. I assume you disagree, which is fine. Neither “Anglican,” nor “Episcopal” (nor “Catholic”) are trademarked, so any church can describe itself as such. However only one of the de facto Episcopal Dioceses of South Carolina is likely to be able use that name after the litigation is over.

As for planting LGBT-welcoming and affirming churches in GAFCON countries, you are absolutely correct in many of those countries this would be very dangerous. Ironically, +Zavala is primate of a GAFCON Province where same-sex marriage is legal in two countries (Argentina and Uruguay), and same-sex civil unions will become legal later this year in his home country of Chile (baby steps).

Kurt Hill

I think that we should consider planting women-friendly, gay-friendly churches in GAFCON provinces that support our local schismatics. What is good for the goose…

David Allen

…could well be mortally dangerous sauce for the gander.

Most of those locations aren’t too safe for GLBT folks.

Bro David

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