South Carolina Developments (VII)—Another Local newspaper Article, Q and A with the Diocese of SC

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q: While we’re at it, define the word “diocese.” My understanding is a diocese is, by definition, part of something larger; it’s a geographical designation and regional authority within a church. Is the PECDSC technically a “diocese”?

A: We believe that your understanding of the concept of a diocese is incorrect. The proper definition is that a diocese is a district or churches under the jurisdiction of a bishop. The Diocese of South Carolina, for example, predated the existence of The Episcopal Church. A diocese is a community of parishes, in freely chosen union with its Convention, and led by its bishop. No less an authority than Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has stated that “The organ of union with the wider church is the diocese and its bishop, rather than the provincial structure ... rather than the abstract reality of the ‘national church.’ ” In other words, the organ of union with the wider church is the Diocese, not The Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

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

5 Comments
Posted November 13, 2012 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. pbandj wrote:

Wow. I am amazed at the tone used in answering these questions from the Post and Courier. “See the answer above” and “your understanding of the concept of a diocese is incorrect” don’t come across well. The newspaper handed you the opportunity to tell your story and instead of using precious column inches in telling your story, you answer the reporter as if he is a student in need of correction.

November 13, 3:03 pm | [comment link]
2. Katherine wrote:

The newspaper approached the questions with its mind already in agreement with the dissident parishes, that is, those who may in due course reaffiliate with TEC.  “Telling your story” includes correcting the faulty assumptions of the questioner.

November 14, 10:11 am | [comment link]
3. pbandj wrote:

Katherine-Don’t be so sure. The questions were very straight forward. The Post and Courier is not persecuting the Diocese of South Carolina. Adam Parker, who has done most of the reporting on these issues, has proven himself over the last few years as a reporter who seeks to understand the issues surrounding TEC. He understands the nuance of what is being communicated.

You can correct an error in fact with much more diplomacy. For instance, Ms. Hunter could have started her answer above with “A diocese is a district or group of churches under the jurisdiction of a bishop and a diocese is not necessarily part of something larger or a national church.” With this approach, you’ve not told someone they’re wrong; you’ve not scolded them by providing the ‘proper’ definition; and you acknowledged that they do have some understanding of what a diocese is.

The Post and Courier told the loyalist story first because TEC has become adept at telling their story and they have provided information to the newspaper. I heard that the questions and answers above would have been published in Sunday’s paper in the Faith and Values section but the Diocese didn’t meet the deadline for publication. As a result, they were printed on page 2B of Monday’s paper.

November 14, 10:59 am | [comment link]
4. Katherine wrote:

I am in North, not South, Carolina so of course I don’t know the reporter, pbandj.  The article began with the phrase “the breakaway diocese and the continuing diocese,” which accepts TEC’s definitions from the get-go, since the Diocese is led by Bishop Lawrence and the “breakaway” parishes wish to organize themselves under another bishop.

November 14, 1:39 pm | [comment link]
5. MichaelA wrote:

What Ms Hunter actually wrote was “We believe that your understanding of the concept of a diocese is incorrect.” and that was in answer to a question which began “My understanding is a diocese is, by definition, ...”

I didn’t feel it was confrontative, and I wouldn’t assume that the journalist would necessarily find it that way either.  He asked a straight question, and was presumably content to get a straight answer.

November 15, 1:26 am | [comment link]
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