One congregation in the confines of the Diocese of South Carolina did not have vote or voice at the diocese’s special convention. St. Mark’s celebrated its fifth anniversary in November 2008.
Our next step toward formal Episcopal status occurred in the winter of 2007 when we attended at St. Helena’s a meeting called by then Bishop Salmon who, over the years, had been supportive of St. Mark’s and posited that “it was not nice to be in exile,” leading to our hope of becoming a diocesan mission. Present in addition to Bishop Salmon and Bishop-Elect Mark Lawrence were the rector of St. Helena’s and his two wardens as well as their Bishop-in-Residence Alden Hathaway. The final decision about our status was passed to the hands of Bishop-Elect Lawrence who, after he was consecrated, declined to recommend to the Diocesan Convention the admission of St. Mark’s as a diocesan mission. .
Read the rest of St. Mark’s story here.
During those five years we have made several attempts to be recognized officially in the Diocese as a mission. Our first venture was a meeting with clergy and wardens of St. Helena’s Episcopal Church (the only Episcopal Church in northern Beaufort County) to discuss the possibility of becoming a parochial mission of that parish. By mutual concurrence, vast theological differences precluded such a relationship.
TEC is our only resource. Your guidance is critical for those of us “in exile” who want to maintain a viable Episcopal presence.
The PB’s response illustrates the difficulty: missions and parishes are creatures of a diocese, a geographic entity. Perhaps Bishop Lawrence will be amenable to providing St. Mark’s with Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight.