What one South Carolina Parish Wrote Bishop Mark Lawrence During General Convention 2012

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Monday, July 09, 2012

Dear Bishop Lawrence:

Just prior to our vestry meeting this evening we learned that the House of Bishops approved the Same Sex Blessing Resolution A049 (as Amended in Committee). We, the vestry of Christ-St. Paul’s agree with the Standing Committee of our Diocese that the House of Bishop’s approval, and the expected approval tomorrow of the House of Deputies, is “contrary to the unequivocal mandate of Holy Scripture, the historic Christian faith, Anglican doctrine, and the pronouncements of the four instruments of Anglican unity.”

We believe the actions of this General Convention require the Diocese of South Carolina to respond to the overwhelmingly approved resolution at our 2009 Special Convention authorizing “ the Bishop and Standing Committee to begin withdrawing from all bodies of the Episcopal Church that have assented to actions contrary to Holy Scripture, the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them, the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference which have expressed the mind of the Communion, the Book of Common Prayer and our Constitution and Canons, until such bodies show a willingness to repent of such actions “ We therefore urge you and our Deputies to this convention to publicly separate us as a Diocese from these actions.

For our parish this decision brings significant pastoral problems. Already, long standing members have begun withdrawing from the parish. There is a growing despair and loss of confidence because our Diocesan leadership has not followed through with the called for withdrawal. The continued “persistent movement of the General Convention away from orthodox Christianity “ is a significant hindrance to our mission and ministry. It is imperative that we “not walk” with them down this road.

As our Bishop, we want you to know that you have our love, our prayers, and support. We are blessed to be a part of the Diocese, and to be under your leadership. It is our heartfelt desire to remain so. However, not separating ourselves more completely from TEC as a Diocese leaves very few options open for us. We strongly encourage action to clearly separate us from this drift away from our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Word.

Our prayers tonight have been offered for you, our deputation and our Diocese.

Faithfully Yours in Christ,

The Vestry
Christ-St. Paul’s Parish
Yonges Island, SC

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

Posted August 2, 2012 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Milton Finch wrote:

Dear Lord, we cry to You.  Send forth your Spirit and may we be created anew in You.  May Your strength come forth and be in us.  Your yolk, may it be lightened as helium in a ballon, carrying us to You.  We cry to You, oh Lord!

August 2, 7:59 pm | [comment link]
2. MichaelA wrote:

Prayers for +Lawrence and his team are definitely required. 

This parish wants the diocese to separate itself further from TEC, which may well precipitate some sort of action by TEC to depose the bishop and other clergy.  Ms Schori doesn’t seem to have the support to do that at present, but any sort of institutional separation may provoke more TEC bishops to support an action.  Still, at least the parish has told the bishop in writing what their position is.

On the other hand, I expect there are other parishes in Dio SC who don’t want to separate any further, and possibly even a few who are liberal.  Not easy for a bishop to make a decision in these circumstances so we pray that the Lord will guide him along the right path.

August 2, 8:56 pm | [comment link]
3. Jill Woodliff wrote:

From the 2007 primates meeting in Dar es Salaam— If Rowan had established the council as agreed upon, the dioceses of Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, and Ft Worth might well still be formally part of the Anglican Communion.

The Primates will establish a Pastoral Council to act on behalf of the Primates in consultation with The Episcopal Church. This Council shall consist of up to five members: two nominated by the Primates, two by the Presiding Bishop, and a Primate of a Province of the Anglican Communion nominated by the Archbishop of Canterbury to chair the Council.  . . . We acknowledge and welcome the initiative of the Presiding Bishop to consent to appoint a Primatial Vicar. . . . Once this scheme of pastoral care is recognised to be fully operational, the Primates undertake to end all interventions. Congregations or parishes in current arrangements will negotiate their place within the structures of pastoral oversight set out above.

August 3, 12:00 am | [comment link]
4. Mario Gonzalez wrote:

The sentiments in this letter are representative of the kind of “grassroots” restlessness people feel about the carnival of chaos that has become TEC.  It originates in acute embarrassment and frustration at the glaring discrepancy between orthodox Anglican Christianity and what TEC’s leadership persistently parades as the Christian faith.  These are things every orthodox Episcopalian must feel acutely.  However, we must carefully examine our own motives in calling for “disassocation.”  Do they include the fear that other orthodox believers might wrongly assume we condone TEC’s manifest and manifold error?  That somehow our parish, our family, will be sucked into the maelstrom?  If these motives are lurking in our hearts, our desire for “disassociation,” in whatever form or degree, is really a desire to lessen our own discomfort, not a desire to stand for the gospel.
Were Christ-St. Paul’s part of a revisionist diocese, their expressed desire for disassociation could represent a courageous stand for the truth.  However, as part South Carolina, it seems more likely to express the acute discomfort we all feel as part of TEC, and the urgent desire to “do something!” that acute discomfort often produces.

August 3, 1:35 pm | [comment link]
5. SC blu cat lady wrote:

I wonder when this letter show up on either the Episcopal Forum of SC blog’s as more “proof” that the “diocese is leaving” or SC Episcopalians blog. Can’t wait for those *analyzes*. sigh.

August 3, 7:07 pm | [comment link]
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