Frequently Asked Questions About the Assault on the Diocese of South Carolina

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What actions were taken against Bishop Lawrence?

On Monday, October 15, 2012, the Bishop was informed of the actions of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops (a feature of the Title IV changes to the national Canons which our Diocese rejected because they are contrary to the TEC Constitution). They had apparently voted a month earlier to “certify” that he had abandoned the Church.

What does that mean?

To this Diocese, as explained below, it has no canonical meaning or legal effect. However, TEC believes his actions amounted to renouncing the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Church. The TEC canons require the Presiding Bishop promptly to notify the Bishop. It appears that did not happen. She informed him verbally nearly a month after the ostensible date of this certification. Even now we do not know when the certification was signed. All this after beginning a conversation in the interim about the potential for a negotiated settlement of our differences.

Read it all.

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

Posted October 24, 2012 at 11:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Ralph wrote:

What’s the status of clergy working outside of DioSC, who have been canonically resident in DioSC?

The FAQ talks about clergy contributing to the CPF until they are deposed. Who would have the authority and power to depose DioSC clergy?

A few DioSC clergy claim that they are still part of TEC. I guess that means that they have left the diocese. Who is their bishop?

October 24, 3:34 pm | [comment link]
2. Karen B. wrote:

Excellent and helpful.  A very clear, unemotional and very informative document.  Well done to all who had a part in drafting this.  I’m sure it is appreciated by many throughout the DSC.

All y’all continue to be in my prayers.

October 24, 5:38 pm | [comment link]
3. David Hein wrote:

“For the foreseeable future, we will remain who we have been since our founding in 1785. We are the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina. Our relationships across the Anglican Communion are numerous and strong.”


October 24, 10:09 pm | [comment link]
4. Milton Finch wrote:

Don’t know where to put it, but this comes from The Living Church.

October 25, 5:51 pm | [comment link]
5. Cennydd13 wrote:

While it’s commendable that they want to remain independent, I have to wonder how long that independence will last.  I think that at some point in time, they’ll need to make a decision as to whom to affiliate with.

October 25, 9:05 pm | [comment link]
6. "Peter in the pew" wrote:


October 25, 10:08 pm | [comment link]
7. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Good questions.  I can’t answer the clergy questions as I am laity.  Those clergy who want to remain in TEC (and there will be some who do), there is no Bishop for them at the moment. I doubt it will be long though given this interesting piece of information/announcement from St. Stephen’s website. If this does not take you to the announcement’s page, look under communications then announcements. You will see this letter from their rector. Read this letter carefully and you will see that plans are already under way via a “transitional committee”.

Their rector admits that at this moment (for them) there “is no bishop”. So for the remnant who stay in TEC, yep- no bishop. Give ‘em time but I doubt it will be long before the PB appoints someone. For those of us who remain part of the Diocese of South Carolina, +Mark Lawrence is our bishop.

October 26, 7:35 am | [comment link]
8. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Cennydd and all, I don’t know if you realize it but there is precedence for this decision in the history of the diocese.

Here is some background from the book: The Episcopal Church in the United States: 1789-1931.

At the time of the civil war, many southern dioceses decided to come together to form another entity- The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America. That did not happen overnight. From July 3rd, 1861 when representative of several southern dioceses met in Montgomery, AL to consider forming another church to when the constitution was adopted by seven or more dioceses who had ratified the constitution (Sept. 19,1862) over a year had lapsed.

It is instructive to compare the attitude of “TEC” then vs. now.  During the time that The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America existed (1862-1866), The “northern” church (for lack of a better term) had the attitude that schism had NOT taken place. Here is quote from the above mentioned book:

Of far more significance for the future of the Church than action taken was the action which was not taken (italics in the original). No move was taken to acknowledge the schism in the Church or to accept it as a completed fact. On the contrary…...(clip),so General Convention acted as those the bishops and deputies from the South were only temporarily absent. ......(clip) Their seats, so to speak, were kept waiting for them.

All the above is from Chapter 13 (XIII) in the above mentioned book.

October 26, 8:13 am | [comment link]
9. Cennydd13 wrote:

I’m familiar with the history of the Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America, since I’m a Civil War buff and historian.  However, the difference between the Episcopal Church’s leadership of those years and the Church of today is a very wide gulf.  Today’s leaders are entirely in line behind a woman who is acting as if she’s a female Pope who demands absolute obeisance from everyone in holy orders, or she will toss them out.  This “conciliation” is designed solely to give them a choice: “TAKE BACK WHAT YOU SAID AND DID WITHOUT MY PERMISSION, and apologize, or you are through as bishops.”  The Episcopal bishops didn’t force their Southern brethren to do anything of the sort in 1866.  The difference is as great as the difference between night and day, and I seriously doubt that those PECUSA bishops of yesteryear would’ve tolerated such a thing.

October 26, 11:56 am | [comment link]
10. CSeitz-ACI wrote:

I believe there were indeed several prominent northern Bishops who wanted to ‘punish’ the southern Bishops after the war. The ECCSA had developed its own C/C and its own sense of self-identity. This irked their counterparts in the North. Some thought they ought not to be reconciled and that the ECCSA ought to remain on its own. *That is, not sued and forced to stay, but relinquished and cut loose.* And some in the South heard this for what it was and were not anxious to return. But a reconciliation was achieved because this was, in the end, not the larger mood on either side.

The deterioration we are now viewing—including a 60s CPE styled ‘conciliation’ re: the amicus Bishops—has its own heinous character and is difficult to compare with the aftermath of the Civil War. The vast sums of money spent to take to court individual dioceses and Bishops is grotesque on its face and has no Civil War analogy. As AS Haley has pointed out, we have Bishops sitting on the DBB who have no accession clauses in their diocesan documents, and the Title IV materials (which are of course under review by decision of GC 2012) themselves forbid involvement in proceeedings if one has been made aware of evidentiary findings.

Kangaroo Court is too mild a characterization.

October 26, 12:06 pm | [comment link]
11. Cennydd13 wrote:

“Kangaroo Court is too mild a characterization.”  Precisely, and “Star Chamber” is much more appropriate here.  Accusers, judge, jury, executioner, and no right of discovery or appeal.

October 26, 12:42 pm | [comment link]
12. Milton Finch wrote:

No less than bullying.

October 26, 12:51 pm | [comment link]
13. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Dr. Seitz,
You are so very correct. That should not be surprising to anyone here at T19. Do you know the names of those northern bishops? This book does not give names of the bishops who wanted to punish the southerners.

Here is another quote from the same book:

There were evidently two sets of extremists (note: of bishops at the General Convention in the fall of 1862)- those who wanted to condemn the leaders of the church in the South in violent terms (bold is mine) and those who deprecated any utterance at all, on the grounds that Church was not concerned with civil affairs. In the end, the House of Deputies refused to denounce the bishops and other members of the Church in the Confederate States for committing “sins of rebellion,sedition, and schism”.(quotes are in the original)

Reading this book has been very good in furthering my understanding the history of the church. It is amazing how attitudes have changed.

October 26, 1:32 pm | [comment link]
14. CSeitz-ACI wrote:

I was working from memory, sorry. I suspect the source material can be found without much trouble.

October 26, 3:54 pm | [comment link]
15. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Dr. Seitz, Where would such information be found? Perhaps the records of General Conventions?

October 28, 5:26 pm | [comment link]
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