Wednesday, October 17, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: South Carolina Shoe Finally Drops

Readers of this blog will recall last month when I wrote about what Mitt Romney and Mark Lawrence had in common here. (No, it wasn't a binder full of women -- it was a "secret plan" that we should trust him on.)

Well, time ran out on that one for Mark Lawrence today as Episcopal Cafe is reporting: "Disciplinary Board for Bishops certifies that South Carolina Bishop has abandoned the church"
The Disciplinary Board for Bishops has advised Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori that the majority of the 18-member panel has determined that Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina has abandoned the Episcopal Church “by an open renunciation of the Discipline of the Church.”

Following complaints of 12 adult members and two priests of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina, the determination was made under Canon IV.16(A).

The 18 member board – composed of 10 bishops, four clergy, four laity – issued a letter dated September 18. Following the assembly of numerous documents, the Presiding Bishop received the letter in her Church Center office on October 10; the letter was received via U.S. Mail.

On Monday October 15, the Presiding Bishop called Lawrence and, speaking directly with him, informed him of the action of the Disciplinary Board. She also informed him that, effective noon of that day, the exercise of his ministry was restricted. Therefore, under the canon, he is not permitted to perform any acts as an ordained person.
This is SUCH "breaking news" that there was an update to the ecafe story between the time I started typing this and went back to snag the link ... so stay tuned for updates.

Do keep the good people of South Carolina in your prayers as this sad saga continues. Our friends in San Joaquin and Fort Worth can testify to the fact there is life after schism and rebirth and renewal are both possible. Remember that individuals can leave the Episcopal Church -- dioceses and parishes cannot.
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquillity the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Joe said...

[My learned opponents say that church] property in Texas belongs to the people who remain loyal to the larger church. That wasn't the rule when the Episcopal Church left the Church of England in 1789; the members who didn't remain loyal took all the property. That wasn't the rule when the Church of England left the Church of Rome in 1534; the members who weren't loyal took all the property. The Episcopal tradition is just the opposite of what they say it is, and that's the kind of distortion that is the reason we require rules regarding property to be in writing.

Elaine C. said...

Well, when the English broke off from the Church of Rome -- it was part of a long drawn out process of breaking ties with the Holy Roman Empire and further forming the nation-state of England and the Church was then made part of the English state. When the former colonists broke off from England to become a separate nation -- that very separation meant they could no longer be part of a church that was part of the government of England. In the case of those leaving now, the Episcopal Church is not part of a government with whom a bond has been broken. It isn't the same situation.


Actually, in Schismatic World View Land they are very clear that "a bond has been broken." We have broken it. We have rent asunder the fabric of the Communion, we have abandoned the Faith Received from the Fathers, we have embraced heresy and apostasy and have rushed headlong down the slippery slope of copping out to the culture and replaced traditional Christian Values with Secular Humanism.

Just to name a few.

Bottom line: The Episcopal Church has rules. The Bishop of South Carolina doesn't like the rules. And court case after court case after court case has affirmed that The Episcopal Church actually GETS to make the rules.

And it's all very sad, costly and antithetical to getting the actual work of the church done.

Matthew said...

RE: Joe. If you have armies to enforce your will, as Britain did, you keep what you want. It was not just that Rome did not get the buildings, but anyone who has been to Ireland notes that all of the really pretty old historical churches and cathedrals are Anglican, not Roman. Why? Because Britain took them, still a sore spot for Irish Catholics. Thankfully we have the rule of law now.


From "the Chapman Memo" on down this is yet another orchestrated move by a committed cadre of schismatics to continue in their efforts to split the church they have failed to recreate in their own image.

It is a sad but not surprising thing that it has come to this point with the Diocese of SC. But blaming the Disciplinary Board or the Presiding Bishop -- or Stacy Sauls or Gene Robinson or anybody else -- is like a man who kills his parents blaming them because he's an orphan.

The Diocese of SC has made "being agreed with" the criterion for their inclusion in the Episcopal Church -- a profoundly un-Anglican approach at best. The fact that the Episcopal Church has disagreed with them on the full inclusion of all the baptized in the work and witness of the church is not the issue that causes the strain on communion -- it is the insistence by the Diocese of SC that their sole possession of The Absolute Truth entitles them to ignore the canons and make up their own rules. I know they believe they "answer to a higher authority." I also know that they are the ones who have chosen to walk apart -- and no amount of spin will change that fact.

Makes the heart sad.

Joe said...

"But blaming the Disciplinary Board or the Presiding Bishop -- or Stacy Sauls or Gene Robinson or anybody else -- is like a man who kills his parents blaming them because he's an orphan."

Perhaps Susan, you have forgotten that ECUSA is the one who acknowledged that the consecration of Gene Robinsion would tear the fabric and then went ahead and did it anyway.

The conservatives did not consecrate Gene Robinson and did not want him consecrated. But it was "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead".

ALL of this (lawsuits, lawyers, defrocking, etc.) could have been avoided with not doing one simple thing.

You refused.

You need to look inward and see the damage that you have caused to the church as a whole through your actions - damage which you acknowledged would be done when Frank Griswold signed the communique in October of 2003.

I hope it was worth it.

Elaine C. said...

A few months of the year, my parish includes a snowbird couple -- a vestry member of a large SC parish and her "retired" deacon husband. This pair encourages dropping all ties to "The Episcopal Church" from parish materials and legal documents -- it is what they have participated in while in SC. He asks to preach when they are here, and while I try to be open to all opinions, having such doctrine and related political opinions on BCP & School prayer preached from the pulpit here in Ohio -- doesn't go over with me. It's quite a tension, seeking to be within the sense of the Elizabethan comprehension ...


Not buying what you're selling, Joe.

The responsibility for the divisions within the Communion belong at the feet of those who insisted on schism in spite of every best effort to draw the circle wider to include all -- the burden lies with those threatening to leave if the gay and lesbian baptized were fully included in the church, not with those committed to staying in the church in spite of being marginalized and scapegoated for a schism that had far more to do with patriarchy than it did either sexuality or theology.

Same arguments were made in the 70s over the ordination of women -- the sky would fall, the world would end, the faith of the apostles was being abandoned. Gene's election was just the excuse to try again -- in a very in-Anglican way -- to pull off the split they couldn't manage in the 70's. Bishop Lawrence has made his bed -- what he doesn't get to do is blame somebody else for the fact that he now has to lie in it.

And it all does -- as Kendall would say -- make the heart sad ... for the missed opportunities for mission and ministry, for the wasted resources and energy, and for all the collateral damage done to the lives, vocations and relationships of LGBT people who asked only to serve their God and their church and to live happily ever after with the love of their life -- things their straight brothers and sisters take for granted.

Joe said...

"The responsibility for the divisions within the Communion belong at the feet of those who insisted on schism"

Which would be you, right?

"If his consecration proceeds, we recognise that we have reached a crucial and critical point in the life of the Anglican Communion and we have had to conclude that the future of the Communion itself will be put in jeopardy. In this case, the ministry of this one bishop will not be recognised by most of the Anglican world, and many provinces are likely to consider themselves to be out of Communion with the Episcopal Church (USA). This will tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level, and may lead to further division on this and further issues as provinces have to decide in consequence whether they can remain in communion with provinces that choose not to break communion with the Episcopal Church (USA)."


Like I said, Joe. Not buying what you're selling. Yes, the Primates did their Chicken Little/Sky is Falling thing. Over and over and over. See also this is less about sexuality than it is patriarchy.

Thanks for taking time to comment.

IT said...

"Oh if only those awful homosexuals would stay in the closet and be quiet like before, none of this would have happened!"

Thought we had moved beyond it but some people seem stuck in the past.