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Lawrence insists he’s still Bishop of SC

Lawrence insists he’s still Bishop of SC

From Episcopal News Service:

Mark Lawrence, who led some of the members of the Diocese of South Carolina out of the Episcopal Church, has said he remains the bishop of the diocese, and called Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s Dec. 5 decision to accept his renunciation of orders as “superfluous.”


“Quite simply I have not renounced my orders as a deacon, priest or bishop any more than I have abandoned the Church of Jesus Christ — But as I am sure you are aware, the Diocese of South Carolina has canonically and legally disassociated from The Episcopal Church,” Lawrence said in a letter posted on the diocese’s website after the presiding bishop’s announcement. “We took this action long before today’s attempt at renunciation of orders, therein making it superfluous.”

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Ronald Caldwell

Fr. McQueen: You are quite right to call me to account. I apologize for making this comment. This was simply my reaction to having seen him in person and followed his words and actions for years.

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Fr. Will McQueen

Mr. Caldwell, would you like to elaborate about your comment that Bp. Lawrence is "demonstrably unstable?" On what grounds to you make that accusation? Do you have first hand knowledge of such instability?

Just because you happen not to agree with what Bp. Lawrence has done and is doing gives you no right whatsoever to slander him personally on matters that you most likely have no first-hand knowledge. I certainly wish the Christian virtue of charity were exhibited in this forum, because if you think it does, you have a very strange way of showing it.

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Derek Olsen

I'm with Bill. Regardless if we think it's the point or not, we do need to be very careful about how we speak about removing people from various positions of authority and the connection that has to sacramental rites. In the church, authority and sacraments are interconnected. In political exercises of authority we are also inscribing sacramental theology whether we're conscious of it or not--so it pays to pay attention!

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Bill Dilworth

Jeffrey: "I think that we are missing the point here somewhat. Lawrence still feels that he is 'bishop of the diocese of SC.' This is not true,"

Not the Episcopal diocese of SC, no. At least we agree on one thing. He's got something going on called the "diocese of South Carolina," but there are lots of overlapping claims to ecclesiastical jurisdiction out there, and we need not concern ourselves with them.

Eric: "One of the great challenges in all of this is the effort by some to redefine the common meaning of words--a contrivance for which we too often fall."

Alas, we too often propagate it ourselves. Witness the redefinition of "renunciation of orders." It's gone from "withdrawing from the exercise of the priestly ministry and returning (at least outwardly) to the lay state" to "withdrawing from my relationship with the Episcopal Church." I'd argue that the word "receive" has gotten some rough handling in this affair, too, having its meaning changed to "infer."

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Ronald Caldwell

Jeffrey and Eric, bravo, bravo, bravo. Well said. In fact, Lawrence is no longer the bishop of the Episcopal church diocese of South Carolina. He can call himself whatever he wishes in the fantasy world he inhabits. I do feel for the young rectors with young families who are torn between following a demonstrably unstable leader and providing for their families. Lawrence is 60 and can retire very well any day (ironically on Episcopal church retirement).

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