Mary Frances Schjonberg has written this really excellent summary and review of the ongoing mess in South Carolina. If you didn't even know there WAS a mess in South Carolina, this is the place to find out all about it.You can read the rest here. And I hope you will. But if you're asking yourself why it's necessary to basically lead with a "disclaimer" that these charges are not coming from the Presiding Bishop it's because the not-even-remotely-loyal-opposition have been positioning themselves to become the victims of +Katharine Jefferts Schori since just about precisely the minute she was elected. (Can't resist adding here my all-time-favorite-+Katharine-photo:)
South Carolina bishop investigated on charges he has abandoned the Episcopal Church
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence told his diocese Oct. 5 that "serious charges" have been made that he has abandoned the Episcopal Church.
The allegations are being investigated by the church's Disciplinary Board for Bishops. Communicants in the Diocese of South Carolina filed the information with the board, according to the Rt. Rev. Dorsey Henderson, board president. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the House of Bishops were not involved in making the claims, Henderson said in a fact sheet.
"Therefore, the matter is not being handled by the Presiding Bishop's office or anyone in the employ of the Episcopal Church Center," Henderson said in the fact sheet.
As noted over at Episcopal Cafe:
Clarity is important in this case because certain groups and bloggers that are critical of the Episcopal Church would like to hold this up as a supreme example of persecution while portraying themselves as victims.No matter how you "spin" it it is a very sad situation -- and all the sadder because it was so not-surprising if so long-in-coming.
Ironically, one of the complaints against Lawrence is that he and the Diocesan Convention tried to distance themselves from the very disciplinary canon that may give him the fairest possible hearing because the new Title IV is designed to be measured and careful process.
It is as easy to spin this story as laity exercising their last resort to curb the arbitrary actions of a runaway bishop, as to paint it as the liberal national church cracking down on a conservative victim of conscience. Maybe more so, since the bishop's response to having a complaint filed against him by lay people in his diocese is to schedule a closed door meeting with his clergy. But we have seen none of the first kind of spin, and plenty of the latter.
It is a sad fact of the last decade-or-so of the history of the Episcopal Church that the Schismatics have spent half their time insisting that their criterion for being included is being agreed with ... and the other half of their time crying about how they've been excluded from a banquet they've refused to attend because they don't approve of who else in on the guest list.
These folks are a version of what my rector describes as "ouches waiting to happen" ... only they're "victims waiting to happen." And now they're going to turn up the volume on their would-be victimhood in an effort to continue to undermine the Church they've failed to re-create in their own image -- the Church that has refused to throw out the baby of Anglican comprehensiveness with the bathwater of global Anglican politics.
So do pray the mess in South Carolina. Pray for the would-be victims of their own determined insistence that they and they alone have sole possession the Absolute Truth ... and for the actual victims yearning for the Good News of God's inclusive love and unable to hear it over the static of entitled schismatic hysteria.
Pray and stay tuned for the next episode of "As the Anglican World Turns" ... coming soon. (You can count on it!)