Letter from the Bishop of Upper South Carolina about Tommy Tipton’s stepping down as Canon

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* South Carolina

7 Comments
Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. David Keller wrote:

Does anybody know the back story?  I’ve heard runmors, but I’d to know if they’re true.

September 30, 8:48 am | [comment link]
2. wyclif wrote:

As someone blissfully free of Episcopal intrigue, I fear I need someone to interpret this Item for me, and why it is Important.

September 30, 9:24 am | [comment link]
3. Hakkatan wrote:

Wyclif, the Rev Tipton was a huge burr under the saddle of the leadership of the Dio of S Carolina, and so it was a relief to them to have him take a position outside the diocese.  At the same time, it was a further step to the left for the “Upper Diocese” to have him on diocesan staff.

It would seem that he did not handle the transition well from rector to staff member, although details are not known - and certainly not reported by Bp Waldo.

I hope he is not foisted off onto some large, conservative to middle-of-the-road parish as compensation for having his hat handed to him. It might assuage the pain, but it would be a spiritual blow to such a parish.  Perhaps the best thing, from our point of view, would be for him to take a place in a diocese that is already hopelessly compromised, where he could do little further damage.

I really don’t know any of the parties, but from what I have heard of the general situation in South Carolina, this seems to be what is happening.

September 30, 10:01 am | [comment link]
4. Undergroundpewster wrote:

The scary thing is that +Waldo would like Tipton+ to stay in the Diocese on a parish level.

Scary because there are many openings right now and our parish is one of them.

September 30, 10:08 am | [comment link]
5. Sarah wrote:

Hi Wyclif—it’s really basically minor-level consequences, not a neutron bomb or anything.

Bishop Waldo hired Yet Another Raving Loony Revisionist Canon to the Ordinary, continuing in the vein of Bullock and Clevenger, the predecessors, only this one had massive **public cred** as a Raving Revisionist AND was a leader in lunacy down in the lower diocese of South Carolina.  The happy thing for the lower diocese is . . . he’s gone.  The very sad thing for the upper diocese is . . . he’s going to probably be pawned off on some ill-informed parish here in the diocese, which is incidentally where so many many failed Canons and other apparatchiks end up in this diocese.  It’s like a rotating musical chairs game—a priest utterly augers one parish into the ground or fails at some staff position and then gets shuffled around to another parish where he or she can work the same magic.

Just sad—human resources in the form of clergy placement is about as bad as it can get here because there’s just such a huge pool of poor-performance clergy who should never have been ordained at all.  I expect it’s like that in most dioceses.  Truth is, there’s not a “clergy shortage”—there are plenty of those.  There’s a “great-clergy” shortage, is the problem.

September 30, 10:56 am | [comment link]
6. Ralph wrote:

Discussing personal personnel matters in a public blog wouldn’t be a good thing, unless it serves to provide insight on Bp. Waldo’s vision for the diocese, or to serve as a warning to parishes or missions that might be persuaded to take on Fr. Tipton as their pastor. Remnants of his revisionist theology can be examined in the parish vision presentation at the website of his former parish. Woe unto the next Rector of HCFM in Pawley’s Island!

For a link and some quotes, see:
http://www.standfirminfaith.com/?/sf/page/27811#467588

The tone of Bp. Waldo’s letter (“rich and yet difficult time of reflection,” “particular challenges,” “not successfully embracing and living into the challenge,” “concerns that, in part, Tommy shared,” “needed to ask Tommy to step down”) suggests that there wasn’t a good fit between the Bishop and his Canon, and the rumor mill might suggest that there were other factors involved.

In such situations, it’s somewhat better to terminate a relationship before it becomes widely known as toxic. At the same time, it suggests that the vetting process prior to the appointment might not have been as thorough as it could have been.

September 30, 11:15 am | [comment link]
7. Sarah wrote:

RE: “At the same time, it suggests that the vetting process prior to the appointment might not have been as thorough as it could have been.”

If David is talking above about the same issue I’m aware of [and which I’m not saying] I can’t imagine that’s not being known from the outset, since the barest inquiry revealed it to anybody who wanted to know way back in February when Tipton was hired.  As I said back then, asking around in the lower diocese produced tons of happy information.

So I just can’t imagine Bishop Waldo not knowing anything that may have been “out there” already. 

No, I think he was vetted sufficiently.  The bishop knew that Tipton was the raving revisionist he is, and he knew about anything else—and he hired him anyway, which lets everybody know.

September 30, 11:35 am | [comment link]
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