On Sunday October 16, nearly 300 of you filled the sanctuary of St. Michael’s to hear the latest news regarding the charges against our Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence. As you may know, On September 29 the Bishop received communication from the National Episcopal Church that ‘serious charges of abandonment of the Episcopal Church’ have been alleged against him and he is being investigated under the Title IV disciplinary Canons of The Episcopal Church. The revised Title IV Canons became effective on July 1, 2011. As a diocese, as a result of actions taken by the Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina, we claim that we are not subject to the newly revised Title IV.
Of note, the allegations against our Bishop include several actions taken by the Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina. The 63-page document of allegations received by Bishop Lawrence cites, among other things, the diocesan convention’s decision in October 2009 to “begin withdrawing from all bodies of the Episcopal Church that have assented to actions contrary to Holy Scripture, the doctrine, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them, until such bodies show willingness to repent of such actions.” You may view the entire 63-page document on the diocesan website at www.dioceseofsc.org.
To help explain this complex situation, we held a 90 minute parish meeting with a panel who spoke on specific topics:
I gave the big picture and Biblical foundation for the day
Senior Warden Ann Hester Willis spoke on how we got to such a place as this.
Junior Warden Bill Lyles spoke about what’s at stake and the scenarios that could very well play out.
The Rev. Dr. Peter Moore spoke on what this issue is and isn’t about.
Diocesan Chancellor and St. Michaelite Wade Logan spoke about how prepared we are as a diocese and parish for such a time as this.
Questions and answers followed.
If you weren’t there, please download the handout from the Sunday, October 16 Parish Meeting. It explains in full what the real issues are.
What might happen? The short answer is that we don’t know. However, it is possible that the National Church could claim to depose (remove) our Bishop by Christmas, and our diocesan Standing Committee (leadership body) thereafter. Please support Bishop Lawrence by specifically praying that God will give him: Wisdom, Clarity, Conviction and Courage. Please know this: your clergy and vestry leadership stand behind the Orthodox faith of our Bishop!