Local Paper page 3—The Episcopal Church Abandons South Carolina Bishop and Diocese

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anglicans have been worshiping in South Carolina since its establishment as a British Colony. From the beginning, they have defended and upheld the doctrine, discipline and worship of the faithful generations who came before them. That freedom is now under direct assault.

As a founding Diocese of the Episcopal Church, we have taken steps in recent years to defend our freedom of worship and order of gathering. On Monday of this week (October 15), the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence (14th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina) was informed by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church that a disciplinary board had certified that he was guilty of abandonment of the communion of the church – that he had, in effect, by his words and actions, left the church. We believe that these actions of the Episcopal Church are both invalid under the Constitution of the Episcopal Church of this Diocese and violations of rights and freedoms which all Americans hold dear. We emphatically reject them, as well as the attempted restriction upon the ministry of our Bishop.

Read it all and the copy is here.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* South Carolina

Posted October 19, 2012 at 9:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Milton Finch wrote:

Very good and true.

October 19, 12:31 pm | [comment link]
2. Cennydd13 wrote:

“The Constitution of the Episcopal Church of this diocese” versus the Constitution of The Episcopal Church.  Which came first…..the Constitution of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, or the Constitution of The Episcopal Church?  And I think that what we have here in TEC’s news release is the fact that they recognize that the diocese has in fact actually left.  TEC’s chances of seizing the properties are just about nil, given the SC Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of the diocese.  Will Schori drop the case and move on?  Her ego won’t let her, but I don’t see how she can’t.

October 19, 1:41 pm | [comment link]
3. Milton Finch wrote:

cenny, This is the Diocese of South Carolina news release.

October 19, 2:22 pm | [comment link]
4. Cennydd13 wrote:

It is, of course, but the action is Schori’s.

October 19, 2:28 pm | [comment link]
5. Milton Finch wrote:

Yes.  Up to her what happens next.  As Alanis Morrisett sang, “the sound of pretenses falling all around.”

October 19, 2:42 pm | [comment link]
6. CharlietheCook wrote:

Canonically speaking, what role did the national church have in his ordination as a bishop?  If they played a role at all, why was this necessary given what is being asserted?  Is Bishop Lawrence considered a member of the House of Bishops?  If he is, then he presumably is subject to disciplinary actions of that body, right?  If not, why not?  Has he ever attended a House of Bishops meeting?  Seated as a Bishop in the Church?  Was he just an observer at HOB meetings?  Simply extended a courtesy as a Bishop in what is asserted now as some sort of autonomous diocese?  I don’t get any of this. 

To say that they have made a mistake canonically speaking is one thing.  To say they don’t have any authority seems to be to be quite another.  I’m a supporter of the man’s theology, but there is a whole lot about the assertion that TEC has no authority that strikes me as totally illogical.

I’d be MORE THAN HAPPY, to be convinced otherwise. Please, somebody, help me out here!

October 19, 2:45 pm | [comment link]
7. CharlietheCook wrote:

Perhaps he would have sent a clearer message if he refused ordination as a bishop by saying he felt such an apostate “church” lacked the authority to ordain a bishop in the Catholic church in the apostolic tradition in the first place?

October 19, 2:48 pm | [comment link]
8. Ralph wrote:

Communion Partners, where are you?

Anglican Communion Institute, where are you?

Who in TEC is going to stand with this bishop and his diocese?

In another era, the operant quote was, “We’ll fight them, sir, ‘til hell freezes over, and then, sir, we will fight them on the ice.”

October 19, 3:20 pm | [comment link]
9. Milton Finch wrote:

Charlie, he has voiced his opinion about the reality of Costituional Crisis brought about by Gaeneral Convention decisions.  Each of those decisions has taken us further from who ECUSA (TEC) used to be.  Each time GC has made decisions undermining the Constitution, the diocese has stepped further back from the situation that TEC has become.  These changes of GC have been major steps in his tenure.  He has voiced his opinion and is being punished for excersizing his first amendment right of free speech.  That is a Constitutional Crisis.

October 19, 3:44 pm | [comment link]
10. Ralph wrote:

#6, when what’s now called TEC was formed, the founding bishops didn’t like or trust each other. As a result, the TEC constitution and canons don’t provide for an archbishop who rules over the other bishops.

Unlike Roman Catholicism, no bishop in TEC has authority over another bishop.

If KJS, the Presiding Bishop, were to fly in to South Carolina, she could not serve in a worship service without permission from the Bishop of South Carolina.

Yes, +Mark was ordained a bishop by other TEC bishops. Yes, he was seated in the HOB. Yes, he is “subject to disciplinary actions of that body.” However, he has done nothing wrong - the disciplinary canons appear to be inconsistent with the constitution (and thus are not recognized in the Diocese of South Carolina), and, the matter has not come up before the HOB. Everything that has been done so far has NOT involved the HOB.

That’s why people are saying that TEC is in a constitutional crisis.

October 19, 4:04 pm | [comment link]
11. Milton Finch wrote:

Thank you, Ralph.

October 19, 4:25 pm | [comment link]
12. padreegan wrote:


I can only speak for myself as a Communion Partner Rector in that I have been and will continue to pray for all orthodox biblical Christians who remain in the TEC.  As for my bishop, Bishop Love, he is currently ppout of the country.  We received an email that +Love will be responding to what is happening soon.

October 19, 4:27 pm | [comment link]
13. Milton Finch wrote:

From Right Reverend Daniel Martins in Springfield:

October 19, 4:39 pm | [comment link]
14. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re #7
That’s the best comment I have seen posted on this topic here or any other forum so far.

October 19, 4:49 pm | [comment link]
15. Milton Finch wrote:

#14,  if that had happened it would leave 37,000 people wanting to do the right thing without a godly leader.  I am thankful to God he was ordained our Bishop!

October 19, 5:04 pm | [comment link]
16. CharlietheCook wrote:

Thanks to everybody who responded to my posts.

October 19, 5:14 pm | [comment link]
17. MotherViolet wrote:

One can only hope that TEC appoint Charles E. Bennison as the interim bishop of whatever becomes the shadow diocese in SC.

October 19, 6:08 pm | [comment link]
18. CharlietheCook wrote:

I wonder what Bishop Lawrence’s plans are for this coming Sunday.

October 19, 6:27 pm | [comment link]
19. Milton Finch wrote:

To preach the Gospel that the Holy Spirit Compels of all those He touches.

October 19, 6:40 pm | [comment link]
20. Ralph wrote:

Thanks, #13. Bp. Martins pulls some punches in the statement, but that’s probably wise right now. It still impresses me as being strong, and I hope the other conservative bishops also take a public stand.

The full statement is here:

#18. That’s a good question. If DioSC is still in TEC, and if +Mark is still in TEC, then he can exercise all authority and power of his office, since DioSC doesn’t recognize the Title IV process. If the diocese and bishop are now in separate entities, then I don’t know what authority and power he would have, although the Standing Committee (which would have ecclesiastical authority) could invite him to preside, etc. In either case, I rather doubt he will stay at home in bed, with the covers pulled up, trembling in fear.

#17. A fine idea! He would be perfect for the traitorous Forum folk.

October 19, 7:37 pm | [comment link]
21. "Peter in the pew" wrote:

To #7 and # 14 with respect, please read article 26 of the 39 articles in the book of common prayer and perhaps rethink your judgement of +Mark Lawrence.

October 19, 8:08 pm | [comment link]
22. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re # 21
I will see your articles 26 and 39 and raise you Canons 45 & 46 of the Apostolic Canons as also Canons IX and XXXIII of Laodicia later confirmed by the 5th and 6th Ecumenical Councils. I think they stand in higher authority.

October 19, 8:32 pm | [comment link]
23. Charles52 wrote:

As an outsider (Roman Catholic), I have no comment to make on the situation, except to say that my prayers are with the faithful folk of South Carolina, especially Bp. Lawrence, Canon Harmon, and the clergy (with their families) facing uncertainty at this time. God bless you all.

October 19, 9:14 pm | [comment link]
24. Sarah wrote:

RE: “Perhaps he would have sent a clearer message if he refused ordination as a bishop by saying he felt such an apostate “church” lacked the authority to ordain a bishop in the Catholic church in the apostolic tradition in the first place?”

Yes, yes—if only he’d left The Episcopal Church and in fact, not been an Episcopalian at all, and instead converted to whatever version of Christianity that CharlieTheCook deems appropriate—all would have been well!

; > )

Too rich.

At any rate, to comment on topic—I’m so glad this ad is out there.  I wish whoever put it in the lowcountry newspapers would please put the same ad in the Greenville News and The State.  It’s important that everyone in the state understand the facts of what has happened, since the leaders of the national church will “live into who they are” and lie like a rug.

October 19, 9:22 pm | [comment link]
25. mbgentsch wrote:

It’s a helluva thing.  National Church bookkeepers who are only interested in money and property; what the Protestant Episcopal Church USA devolves to, a once-glorious institution.  IMO, it ain’t any better in ACNA, whatever the nascent triumphalism on the electron boards; challenges aplenty over here.  ...Best to you all in SC.

October 19, 10:18 pm | [comment link]
26. "Peter in the pew" wrote:

Re 22,
Thank you for the reminder of our heritage in the Episcopal Church and it’s “western orientation” to it’s sisters in the east.
Does making something more difficult make it harder to approach? Yes. As proved by all the “laws” that Israel was burdened with and were subsequently and once for All “razed” by Christ’s atonement. As the church began it then began to again burden itself with canon law, necessarily, because of heresies. And politics?
Does the sin of the father fall on the son by virtue of their association? Does the fact that my priest faces north as he celebrates the eucharist render it useless?
As a protestant episcopalian speaking to a presumably orthodox catholic it seems I would be entering your house, which I would not presume to do, and offend you by accepting the “Host” so I won’t, out of respect for your beliefs. My point simply was that +Mark Lawrence ordination was not irregular because of the “heretical nature” of some of those present because of the 26th article of the 39 in the BCP.

October 20, 6:13 am | [comment link]
27. SC blu cat lady wrote:

#18 CharlieThe Cook,
Agree with Milton Finch, Bishop Lawrence will be about his duties preaching, teaching, and confirming people. He will not be at home in bed trembling with fear this coming Sunday or any other sunday. His schedule of visitations is published on the diocesan website for all to see. I do know where he will be on Oct. 28th.

October 20, 9:15 am | [comment link]
28. SC blu cat lady wrote:

#24 Sarah,
Great idea about having the ad placed in the State and the Greenville paper. I suggest contacting the diocesan office as the ad was paid for by the Diocese of South Carolina.  My advice would be to ask for Joy Hunter, Director of Communications for the diocese.

October 20, 9:26 am | [comment link]
29. CharlietheCook wrote:

I understand that the Diocese of SC has diassociated itself from the national church.  What, then, is the need for any response to TEC?  That would seem to give deference where none is required.  Silence can make a strong statement.
In one of my first posts on this board, under and old login name I actually no longer even remember, I was encouraged NOT to leave TEC under the theory that it ‘needed me’ and others like me with conservative views.  It was better to witness from “inside.”  With the debacle concerning ACNA and all the rest I actually agree with that now.

All that said, may I assume this advice is no longer operative?  I guess if and entire and historic diocese can pull up tent stakes then all bets are off, right?
If we all leave then Ms. Schori will have gotten exactly what she wants.

October 20, 9:58 am | [comment link]
30. Sarah wrote:

RE: “All that said, may I assume this advice is no longer operative?”

Who knows, but as CharlietheCook asserted back in 2011 that he was long gone from TEC, I’m assuming that that’s simply an odd rhetorical question.

October 20, 11:25 am | [comment link]
31. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

Ms. Schori will have only gotten what she wants if she gets to keep the property and the pledges. All else is episcopal adiaphora.

October 20, 6:36 pm | [comment link]
32. Cennydd13 wrote:

31.  “Keep the property and pledges?”  I don’t think that’s going to happen, given what the SC Supreme Court said about the Dennis Canon.  She can write this one off.

October 20, 7:34 pm | [comment link]
33. Frank van Halsema wrote:

What’s that line from the 1970 movie “Love Story,” something like “Love means never having to say you’re Schori”?

October 20, 10:06 pm | [comment link]
34. Cennydd13 wrote:

I’m not sure about others, but it looks to me like there will be a formal announcement of disassociation between the diocese and TEC soon, and that being the case, I wish Bishop Lawrence and the faithful people of the Diocese of South Carolina well in the knowledge that they are pursuing the work of Christ and His Church.  They are in good hands.

October 20, 10:40 pm | [comment link]
35. Hakkatan wrote:

We really should not make the argument that Bp Lawrence is being denied his right of free speech under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.  If we made that argument, we would render all Christian denominations incapable of exposing heresy and of removing those who taught heresy.  We fault the Episcopal Church for having allowed Bp Pike and Bp Spong to spout theological nonsense - but under the First Amendment, that is their right.  The First Amendment had better not have the last word, or the right of self-discipline for all religious bodies is gone.

October 23, 11:36 am | [comment link]
36. Cennydd13 wrote:

“The right of self discipline” is fine, but when the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church takes it upon herself to deprive the bishop of a diocese to exercise his right of free speech and to punish him for daring to defy her, then that right of self discipline vis-avis the Church and the bishop is being abused.

October 23, 3:37 pm | [comment link]
37. Br. Michael wrote:

Well technically the first amendment is a limitation on the power of government.  As TEC is not government and the PB is not a governmental official, the first amendment does not apply.

October 24, 4:01 pm | [comment link]
38. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Well…..  while technically true, The Episcopal Church is a corporation under NY state law.  As far as I know, first amendment rights have not been totally destroyed by the state of NY. Certainly not here in South Carolina.

October 26, 1:41 pm | [comment link]
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