South Carolina Differentiates Itself from Actions of 77th General Convention

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[This post will was originally 'sticky' at the head of the blog - new posts were below sticky posts - see also the index].
It was with significant prayer and reflection that the Bishop of South Carolina, the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, and the South Carolina deputation to the 77th General Convention took steps to differentiate themselves from actions taken by the convention which, in the words of Bishop Lawrence “mark a departure from the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them.”

On the morning of July 11, 2012, five of South Carolina’s seven deputies did not return to the house floor. Bishop Lawrence, after addressing the House of Bishops in a private session, also left the convention.

The full deputation released a statement, July 10, 2012, which said:

“Due to the actions of General Convention, the South Carolina Deputation has concluded that we cannot continue with business as usual. We all agree that we cannot and will not remain on the floor of the House and act as if all is normal. John Burwell and Lonnie Hamilton have agreed to remain at Convention to monitor further developments and by their presence demonstrate that our action is not to be construed as a departure from the Episcopal Church. Please pray for those of us who will be traveling early and for those who remain.”

Those who did not return to the house of deputies were the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis, the Very Rev. David Thurlow, Elizabeth “Boo” Pennewill, Lydia Evans, and Reid Boylston.

Bishop Lawrence stated that the departure of the deputies should not be understood as a departure from the Episcopal Church. “Frankly, a deputation to General Convention has no authority to make such a decision.”

Bishop Lawrence, in a private session of the House of Bishops on July 11, requested and received a point of personal privilege. During this time he expressed things for which he was grateful during this convention, the “intentional engagement in honesty and collegiality with fellow bishops.” He also expressed his “grievous concern” with changes to the canons through resolutions D002 and D019, which have to do with transgender identity and expression, as well as with resolution A049, which authorized a provisional rite for the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions.

“These resolutions in my opinion,” said Lawrence, “are disconcerting changes to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church--to which every bishop, priest and deacon is asked to conform. More importantly they mark a departure from the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them, therein making it necessary for me to strongly differentiate myself from such actions.“

At the conclusion of this private session Lawrence told the House of Bishops that he would not be continuing in the remainder of the Convention.

“I concur with the assessment of our canon theologian, the Rev. Dr. Kendall Harmon, when he described the actions of this General Convention as ‘unbiblical, unchristian, unanglican and unseemly,’” said Lawrence.

Bishop Lawrence will be sending a statement to diocesan clergy, which is to be read in parishes on Sunday, July 15, 2012.

“Our deputation and I appreciate the prayers of so many in the Diocese of South Carolina,” said Lawrence. “I know that some did not think we should attend the 77th General Convention, but I believe our presence and witness was important and even respected by many on both sides of the theological divide. As St. Paul states regarding his ministry, ‘…we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.’“ (2 Corinthians 4:2)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops* South Carolina

15 Comments
Posted July 12, 2012 at 10:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Undergroundpewster wrote:

“unbiblical, unchristian, unanglican and unseemly,”

Nuff said.

July 12, 12:58 pm | [comment link]
2. SC blu cat lady wrote:

I am glad that my diocese continues to differentiate itself from the rest of TEC as long as we are clear that such statements won’t make a bit of difference to the revisionists and the rest of the pew potatoes in TEC.  Such a true and godly witness!

July 12, 2:27 pm | [comment link]
3. Karen B. wrote:

I don’t know if this has been posted elsewhere, but I just came across Cherie Wetzel’s post about South Carolina at Anglicans United, where she posts an excerpt of +Mark Lawrence’s testimony on the floor of the HOB prior to the A049 vote on authorizing the SSB liturgy (July 9).

http://www.anglicansunited.com/?p=13618

In the discussion, House of Bishops on July 9 prior to the vote on A049 gay blessing liturgy, Bp. Mark Lawrence said the following, “40 years ago, I was backpacking in the High Sierras and we were above the timberline.  There was no trail and as the sun set, we realized that we had to make camp and settle in for the night.  We could not see and did not know where we were.  In the morning, when the sun rose, we saw the landscape and saw the danger we would have been in had we continued.  We knew then that we did the wise thing in waiting for morning.  The Light of Christ is like the sun and the Word of God puts forth the landscape that we are to see.  In His light, we know what to do.  Marriage is described in Scripture as the Feast of the Lamb: Christ and his bride, the Church.  We don’t want to loose that.  For more than 2000 years the Church has stood steadfast on this.  This vote and this issue is not about if God loves all people.  It is about what we as a Church say about this issue.  William Temple urged the church to be clear in their public pronouncements.  This will not help.”

It is this beautiful statement to which Jim Naughton tweeted
sarcastically something along the lines “Mark Lawrence is lost
somewhere in the High Sierras”  Sigh….

July 12, 7:05 pm | [comment link]
4. Alta Californian wrote:

Thanks for that quote, Karen. That is one of the most elegant statements on the subject I’ve yet seen.

I wonder if this will be the breaking point for DSC. I certainly hope that it isn’t. I have come to believe that they are a far more effective witness for orthodoxy inside TEC than they would be outside (I don’t mean to start a debate with my ACNA friends, merely to express my own opinion). They give many of us hope. But this we know, whatever +Lawrence and DSC do, it will be carefully and with much deliberation and prayer. In that prayer many of us will be joining them.

July 12, 8:36 pm | [comment link]
5. Sherri2 wrote:

Karen, thank you for posting that.

July 12, 9:20 pm | [comment link]
6. MichaelA wrote:

“It is this beautiful statement to which Jim Naughton tweeted sarcastically something along the lines “Mark Lawrence is lost somewhere in the High Sierras”.”

Oh dear, poor Jimmie Naughton doesn’t like people thinking differently from him!  This is the man who seems incapable of conducting any coherent analysis of TEC on his blog…

July 12, 9:24 pm | [comment link]
7. MichaelA wrote:

Alta Californian, that is certainly true. 

On the other hand, the folks in ACNA are able to carry on with their work of church planting and evangelism without the mill-stone of TEC’s public image dragging down their witness. 

There are pluses and minuses to each way.  But in the end, I believe a person who is in either TEC or ACNA should be where they are because they feel that is where the Lord is calling them to witness.

July 12, 9:27 pm | [comment link]
8. sophy0075 wrote:

May God protect all of the faithful in the Diocese of South Carolina from the Satanic onslaught that is likely to follow after your brave adherence to the historic Christian faith.

July 12, 11:44 pm | [comment link]
9. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Sophy, Thanks for the prayers of protection. There are many faithful laity and clergy in other progressive dioceses that need prayers of protection from Satanic onslaught more than we do. They are the ones who have to fight deadly Satanic influences every time they go to church (if they still do).

July 13, 1:28 am | [comment link]
10. Scatcatpdx wrote:

The quest would what happens next. Will Diocese of South Carolina be the next dioceses to pullout of the Episcopal Church.

July 13, 12:09 pm | [comment link]
11. Cennydd13 wrote:

10.  They say they won’t, but anything is possible.  I believe that people can pushed and shoved only just so far before they finally snap and say “Look, enough is enough…...we’re outta here!”

July 13, 1:22 pm | [comment link]
12. SC blu cat lady wrote:

I am not making any predictions! Nuff said!

July 13, 2:33 pm | [comment link]
13. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

...“Mark Lawrence is lost
somewhere in the High Sierras”...

Yeah, but that’s better than being absolutely lost on Brokeback Mountain.

July 13, 8:29 pm | [comment link]
14. hbunce wrote:

The (c)hurch has become apostate.  I have watched creeping secular humanism, situational ethics, political Socialism (now called Progressivism), and outright sin take over the worldly organization, my Episcopal Church.  The body has died.  Let us not grieve over the corpse.
There is much to do in God’s world.  We need not waste time with the Pharisee Class.  They are unrepentant destroyers of the word of Jesus Christ.  Like all “us sinners,” they should be at the alter rail on their knees asking forgiveness of their sins.  Instead, they are Hell bend on destroying God’s work.
We have let this happen.  As Father Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil.  God will not hold us guiltless.  Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”  We were silent.  We are guilty.  We did not act.  We must move on and bypass this road kill on our sacred highway.
My hope is that South Carolina differentiates itself by leaving.  A better headline would read “South Carolina Disassociates” itself from the unrighteous.  The (c)hurch has no understanding. They do not seek after God.  They have all turned aside and become unprofitable.  They do no good.  Their throat is an open sepulcher.  With their tongues they have used deceit.  The poison of asps is under their lips.  Destruction and misery are their ways.  There is no fear of God before their eyes.
With such great sadness, I renounce this (c)hurch and leave.

July 14, 1:12 pm | [comment link]
15. Milton Finch wrote:

The camp can may receive donations at the diocesan site to offset any boycott a liberal may decide to impose upon us.  Telos, my brothers and sisters!  (Telos is Greek for end, tax or impost…which is where we got our word for imposition, I guess.)

http://www.postandcourier.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120729/PC1204/120729258/1165/sierra-club-boycotts-episcopal-diocese-over-gay-rights-national-environmental-group-will-stop-using-camp-st-christopher

July 29, 6:49 pm | [comment link]
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