The Bishops of Province IV, meeting at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, heard stories of faith and struggle from continuing members of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina. The Bishops responded with a letter of support.
Responding to stories of loss and blessing told by worshiping communities across eastern South Carolina, the bishops of Province IV of The Episcopal Church June 27 issued an “Open Letter to The Episcopal Church in South Carolina,” pledging prayers for the people of the diocese and support and cooperation for their bishop, the Rt. Rev. Charles G. vonRosenberg.
“We commend you for your faith and courage during this trying season,” the letter says. “We observed that you are meeting your present difficulties with good fellowship, good creativity and good cheer. This is an inspiration to us. Your example and mission zeal is easy for us to commend in our own jurisdictions.”
Twenty-six bishops were at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston for a twice-annual Province IV meeting that concluded June 27. On the previous day, Episcopalians from seven worshiping communities spent the day telling the bishops about the effects of the schism that has divided the people of their diocese.
Here is the text of their letter:
An Open Letter to The Episcopal Church in South Carolina from the Bishops of Province IV
June 27, 2013
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
We the Province IV bishops of the Episcopal Church write to share our heart with you having learned of and listened to your witness to Jesus Christ through the church.
We commend you for your faith and courage during this trying season. We observed that you are meeting your present difficulties with good fellowship, good creativity and good cheer. This is an inspiration to us. Your example and mission zeal is easy for us to commend in our own jurisdictions.
We rejoice having heard that the Spirit is healing and urging you forward in love driven action. And it was clear to us by your words and prayers that neither vengeance nor bitterness has any place with you. We rejoice at this!
We were especially excited at the fact that the stories of faith, love and innovation were told to us by lay people. This is yet another example for us that lay people living fully into their Baptismal Covenant is precisely what the church and the world needs.
We pledge to you our prayers and the prayers of those we serve as we all go forward in faith. And we pledge our support and cooperation to our brother, your Bishop, Charlie von Rosenberg. Again and again we heard that you are persuaded that he is the right leader for this time. We agree. For this consensus and for him, we thank Almighty God who gives us better and more generously than we can ask.
Going forward, please know that we are of one mind in thanking God for your witness to the entire church that we indeed worship and serve a real, risen and living Lord.
And, we would ask you to ever keep with you the words of the Apostle to the church in Ephesus: “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.” Eph. 3:20-21
Ever in Christ,
The Bishops of Province IV
The Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase, Bishop, Georgia
The Rt. Rev. Greg Brewer, Bishop, Central Florida
The Rt. Rev. John Buchanan, Bishop Provisional, Quincy (resides in South Carolina)
The Rt. Rev. Rogers Harris, retired, Southwest Florida
The Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple, Suffragan Bishop, North Carolina
The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop, North Carolina
The Rt. Rev. Michael Garrison, retired, Southwest Florida
The Rt. Rev. Douglas Hahn, Bishop, Lexington
The Rt. Rev. Don Johnson, Bishop, West Tennessee
The Rt. Rev. Charles Keyser, Assisting Bishop, Florida
The Rt. Rev. Peter Lee, Bishop Provisional, East Carolina
The Rt. Rev. Henry Louttit, retired, Georgia
The Rt. Rev. Alfred Marble, Assisting Bishop, North Carolina
The Rt. Rev. Santosh Marray, Assistant Bishop, Alabama
The Rt. Rev. Henry Parsley, retired, Alabama
The Rt. Rev. David Reed, retired, Kentucky
The Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith, Bishop, Southwest Florida (President of the Province IV House of Bishops)
The Rt. Rev. Porter Taylor, Bishop, Western North Carolina
The Rt. Rev. Morris Thompson, Bishop, Louisiana
The Rt. Rev. Charles vonRosenberg, Bishop Provisional, TEC in South Carolina
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Waldo, Bishop, Upper South Carolina
The Rt. Rev. Keith Whitmore, Assistant Bishop, Atlanta
The Rt. Rev. Robert Wright, Bishop, Atlanta
The Rt. Rev. George Young, Bishop, East Tennessee