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Those in S.C. loyal to national church start over

Those in S.C. loyal to national church start over

Schism is “like a death in the family,”says a woman in South Carolina who left her congregation when her congregation left the Episcopal Church. But Episcopalians in South Carolina loyal to the national church are soldiering on. From the Augusta Chronicle:

Beyond the headlines, the story of the Diocese of South Carolina’s split from the national Episcopal church is the story of people such as Rebecca Lovelace.

For most of her 64 years, she worshipped at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in this quiet farming town and bedroom community about a dozen miles from the high-rise condominiums of Myrtle Beach. That was until about two months ago.

That’s when Lovelace and a small group of St. Paul’s parishioners decided they could not stay in their church of 500 members as it followed the Diocese of South Carolina in breaking ties with the national church over ordination of gays and other issues.

Lovelace met with the priests where she attended church her entire life to tell them she could not stay.

“I really truly felt like there was a death in the family,” she said.

Lovelace and a small group of like-minded Episcopalians now worship together in a new congregation that meets in a chapel at Coastal Carolina University. The Chronicle reports that “fourteen churches have decided not to follow the diocese away from the national church. There are also now five worship groups with congregants forming new churches that will remain with the national church…”

Lovelace says she bears no animosity toward her friends in her former parish who have left the national church. “They are doing what they have to do. I respect the depth of their convictions. I don’t agree with it, but hopefully they know I’m doing what I feel called to do,” she added. “I never heard a reason good enough to make me leave the national church.”

Read full story here.


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Peter Pearson

While we fight over which institution we belong to, the world is watching and many are walking away in disgust. That’s the real tragedy here. When will we Christians learn this hard lesson? And I mean ALL of us, no matter what team we decide to follow.


“For most of her 64 years, she worshipped at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church”

Prayers that Rebecca Lovelace (and other faithful Episcopalians) are soon back in their Episcopal parish sanctuaries.

Prayers that God grant reconciliation to all, in God’s Time.

JC Fisher


@RC: You raise a good point, which is that we historically have had room for a true diversity of views. This whole notion by dissident groups of, “Do it my way, or I will take your assets,” is wrong. It is wrong in that it is a violation of one’s ordination vows. It is wrong in that it causes suffering for all involved. It is wrong in that it diverts resources from serving others.

That said, it is not wrong to stand up to a bully. While I ardently hope for a consensus-based approach that avoids recriminations and lawsuits, Lawrence did represent that he had no plans to try to foment schism. TEC took him at his word, and thus far has been more than fair in giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Eric Bonetti

Ronald Caldwell

Episcopalianism, and Anglicanism in general, has always been the religion of the big tent, famous for tolerating a wide range of views. Conservative dioceses in TEC usually declared resolutions opposing certain decisions of TEC, sign protesting documents, then went on their way as they pleased inside the big tent. The Diocesan leadership in South Carolina chose not to do that, but to take the “destructive path” themselves. Nullification, local sovereignty, and finally secession were their own choices, freely made. And they did so in view of four clear-cut cases of earlier breakaway dioceses. We know very well what is going to happen in SC by reviewing what happened in San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Quincy, and Fort Worth. Once the new provisional bishop is chosen on Jan. 26, things will start to move apace according to the Constitutiions and Canons of the Episcopal Church which hold that all local properties are held for the Episcopal diocese and the Episcopal Church. In all likelihood, the bishop will take legal action to remove non-Episcopal congregations from Episcopal Church properties. No doubt this will first occur where there ar viable local Episcopal congregations that fled from secessionist parishes, as in Florence, Edisto, Summerville, and Conway. At any rate, we can look for years of expensive, difficult, and unpleasant legal actions. And for what? Because some people did not want others to have the right to bless same gender unions? The lives of 29,000 churchpeople in South Carolina will be thoroughly disrupted because some people could not accept that the Episcopal Church was trying to minister to the needs of an evolving society. The destructive path has already been taken.


May God bless the faithful Episcopalians in South Carolina. May God bless those who left, too, and I pray with Elizabeth that the two groups find their way to a peaceful settlement about property, but I’m not hopeful they will.

June Butler

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