Thinking Anglicans

Mark Lawrence answers

There has been a great deal of discussion concerning the confirmation of Mark Lawrence as Bishop of South Carolina. See, for example, here.

He has written a document, addressed to bishops and standing committees of ECUSA dioceses, containing his answers to various questions that have been put to him.

You can read this document in full here.

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Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

He certainly is long-winded and pompous. That should suit some places. He seems to think we need to ‘obey’ Windsor. Glad he is not headed our way.

JCF
Guest
JCF

Well, that settles it, I’m afraid.

I’ve been consistently neutral on Father Lawrence, but in reading his responses, it all becomes clear:

Consents Denied.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Fr Mark Lawrence makes some interesting and thoughtful observations He concentrates on his dilemmas on how we live together with such divergent views. If, as he says, the elasticity of TEC has passed the breaking point for him in 2003 then it is a strange matter that he should now be seeking episcopal orders within that church. Stranger still in that he wants the elasticity to prevail in the case of his ordination and that means not wanting the Presiding Bishop to be chief consecrator – although he will presumably accept her delegate. Although there is much that is good… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

This is 4693 words and I don’t know what he is saying.

NP
Guest
NP

seems like a reasonable, faithful man – like I have said bere – an ordinary Anglican

Leonardo Ricardo
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Leonardo Ricardo

I prayed that my “instincts” were wrong about Fr. Lawrence as I read his earlier/carefully chosen words/answers as candidate for Bishop of South Carolina. Then I prayed that if I was in “denial” about the Bishop elect Lawrence I would see ANY treachery because I had over wished us to be a happier and more friendly, spiritually/emotionally healthier Episcopal Church Family. I now read/see clear and deceptive double-speak and note a cheerie toned/edged flavour of smugness of “I know better” and the twisting of words into a pending treachery. Withold consent please so “we all can be one” within OUR… Read more »

Kurt
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Kurt

I agree with JCF; Consents Denied.

NP
Guest
NP

Leonardo – pls go for it, forge this unity in a TEC Global…….

liberals have too scared to make their own organisation (because it will be small?) for so long……

I am hoping we are seeing the birth of TEC Global for everyone’s peace of mind (on both sides)

David Huff
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David Huff

Well, at least he was somewhat honest in his answers, tho’ they were surrounded by a sea of “Episcobabble” (conservative variety).

It’s now abundantly clear that Fr. Lawrence has absolutely *NO* business being a bishop in TEC…

Prior Aelred
Guest

Nothing new here, I think.

I have all along that I simply do not understand how anyone can take an oath with any integrity when one has already promised to violate it.

Consent should be withheld.

Richard Helmer
Guest

Mark Lawrence+ writes: “I too am a member of a diocese that has asked for Alternative Primatial Oversight. . .” Yes, namely The Diocese of San Joaquin, which just took a first vote overwhelmingly in favor of effectively seceding from the Episcopal Church. I cannot help but wonder how Mark Lawrence voted. He avoids answering the hypothetical question #2 — one asking simply if he would support The Diocese of South Carolina if they voted to secede — by hedging against a “future crisis that could send any of us into a conundrum of canonical contradictions.” The future is now,… Read more »

Jim Pratt
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Jim Pratt

He has one definite characteristic of a bishop in today’s heated environment: the ability to speak and write fluently in double-speak and fudge.

My initial opinion was that he was validly elected and the clear choice of the diocese, and should be confirmed. Now, I think he would be just one more can of gasoline on the fire, and should be moved away. (of course, the very act of denying consecration is another incendiary act, but possible the lesser evil).

John Hnery
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John Hnery

Consents denied, what will happen? Outrage on the part of the usual suspects. A knight in shining armor, a GS primate, will come to the rescue, and consecrate Mr. Mark Lawrence as Bishop of South Carolina, with the Network bishops as co-consecrators.

After all, Constitution and Canons don’t matter anymore. All that matters is biblical orthodoxy and the support of the imagined majority of the Anglican Communion.

Tobias Haller
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Tobias Haller

I agree, and it saddens me, that Fr. Lawrence persists in the misrepresentations of the Preamble to the Constitution, and uses that as an excuse for his inability to commit to the discipline of this church. To use his faulty marriage analogy in the right way, nothing in the marriage vow suggests one has the power over the faithfulness of one’s partner, only one’s own faithfulness to that partner. This is part of the meaning of “for better, for worse.” Lawrence seems here to want to make a conditional promise: I will remain faithful until either my own judgment, or… Read more »

Wade
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Wade

Father Lawrence’s response can be summarized with this statement: “I shall commit myself to work at least as hard at keeping the Diocese of South Carolina in The Episcopal Church, as my sister and brother bishops work at keeping The Episcopal Church in covenanted relationship with the worldwide Anglican Communion.” If we look carefully at this statement, I think we can find the answer to the question of his loyalty. He is first loyal to the AC. For him, TEC is a distant second. Here is the problem with that: The AC is not and never has been a church.… Read more »

Marshall Scott
Guest

NP, I don’t know what “an ordinary Anglican” is anymore. Don’t get me wrong: I know the arguments about the “consensus” of the larger Anglican Communion, but I know the variety of shades of opinion, and of church-person-ship within the American church, and I expect, based on my theological anthropology, the same basic spectrum in pews across the larger Communion. Reasonable? He is certainly rationale; and if he tone expresses a certain frustration, he doesn’t lose it in ad hominem attacks. He is clear, and has arguments for his position. Faithful? Undoubtedly. I disagree profoundly with his opinions about “disregard… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Well TEC is already global, because we are all already global. Hence, in our global village, everybody else should all be able to agree to disagree with Bishop Lawrence – he must have freedom to practice his markedly conservative Anglican religion, not least by making dubious or forced conformity demands on the rest of us; but he has no equal obligation to agree to disagree with us while we think and live, alternatively to his particular conservative Anglican ways. He does not have to continue to worship with us, let alone let us attend and participate as baptized believers in… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

It’s hard to imagine the diocese actually wants consents. What’s the point afterall if you find yourself in – complete – disagreement about what Anglicanism and hence TEC constitutes. This has got to be a set-up.

Kurt
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Kurt

“Consents denied, what will happen? Outrage on the part of the usual suspects. A knight in shining armor, a GS primate, will come to the rescue, and consecrate Mr. Mark Lawrence as Bishop of South Carolina, with the Network bishops as co-consecrators.

“After all, Constitution and Canons don’t matter anymore. All that matters is biblical orthodoxy and the support of the imagined majority of the Anglican Communion.”– John Henry

We couldn’t possibly be so lucky, could we John Henry? I mean that would allow us to can the whole lot, wouldn’t it?

Robert Christian
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Robert Christian

I would think if elected an Episcopal Bishop you would most certainly be loyal to your church and to your leader even if you disagree on issues. As a country we love this United States because it is ours. Even though we might not like our President or state senators, we don’t get up and leave. Ex. I’m not a Bush supporter but I have to respect the office and that he is the lawfully elected president. I don’t sell him out to say, the Nigerians. I’m not sure I’ve made the point clear but I thought IMHO is was… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Of course he should be refused. I too long for TEC Global!

Martin Reynolds
Guest

We are all “ordinary Anglicans” as far as I am concerned. And part of that ordinariness is that in this part of the local Church that makes up part of the Anglican Communion people like Peter Akinola would never get approval of Holy Synod here even if by some miracle he was elected. Also certain of a Holy Synod’s thumbs down would be the bishop Schofield and his ilk, Peter Jensen and his sort, and – now I think of it – most of the Primates of the Global South. Also not getting approval (for the next two years) would… Read more »

Wade
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Wade

I agree with Robert Christian. It’s like saying you are loyal to the USA but only if the USA remains part of NATO. It is a qualified commitment. The ordination vows require more than a qualified commitment.

NP
Guest
NP

People – please realise that there are higher priorities than TEC or its rules – or particular groups agendas.

TEC and its status quo should not be anyone’s primary allegiance

Pisco Sours
Guest

NP: “TEC and its status quo should not be anyone’s primary allegiance.”

NP, you are so right! Which is why Mark Lawrence, if he wishes to serve a higher calling, probably ought to find another church within the Anglican Communion where he will not be tempted or encouraged to break his episcopal vows.

NP
Guest
NP

perhaps Pisco – he will have have a home in the AC for sure but will TEC?

Kurt
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Kurt

[P]erhaps Pisco – he will have have a home in the AC for sure but will TEC?– NP

I think the more relevant question, NP, is will the AC continue to exist at all? If significant national Churches such as Canada and the United States depart, an internation fracturing/fragmentation will not be far behind. Even the UK will not be immune.

ruidh
Guest

NP, I’ve seen nothing but the deranged fantasies of a few that think that TEC will not be in the AC. TEC existed before the AC. When push comes to shove, the CoE will stick closer to its Western partners and several international partners will choose Canterbury over Abduja. At the moment, there *is* no facility to eject a member from the Communion. The only group which has a process to accomplish that is the ACC which involves amending its Constitution which will require a 2/3rds vote. Don;t hold your breath there. If it means that Nigeria and a few… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

The repeated fraught choice between living TEC and living worldwide AC is false, at bottom. It depends on the very range of varied definitional/presuppositional differences which are the crux of our disagreements. That is not to say that institutional forces, including the overt realignment campaign, are not in play. The false choices being pushed as our only choices are like being in a family, and being asked to choose between your straight brothers/sisters and your non-straight siblings. Best discernment asks me to inquire further into why, exactly, I have to choose, and cannot just continue to prayerfully let each walk… Read more »

Dallas Bob
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Dallas Bob

Prediction: One day the Anglican Communion will consist of the western Churches (TEC, Canada, Austraila, England, etc.) while the Nigerias and Southern Cones of the world split off to form their own group. Bishop Akinola and friends will not be subservient to the Rowan Williams’s of the world forever. The American conservative extremists will then be in the funny position of having to “walk apart” from the Anglican Communion in order to stay with their new friends and avoid the leper TEC. And walking apart from the Anglican Communion is supposed to be the unforgivable sin. Just wait and watch….

NP
Guest
NP

oh right….so, a tiny minority in the AC rebels and everyone else is going to leave the AC in protest…….you guys read Windsor? It is not saying what TEC has done is reasonable, fair, proper, acceptable….good….TEC does not have the moral high ground having deliberately torn the fabric of the communion when asked not to do so. I don’t think the ABC wants to be the man who took the AC from 77m to 5m …….. so I think we will see the AC continue with 90%+ of existing members and without many of its revisionist rebels and TEC Global… Read more »

kieran crichton
Guest
kieran crichton

Why does NP equate liberal theology with poor congregational attendances? I think this view is flawed. Two examples from my town may help to illustrate. One of the best attended churches in Melbourne is a bastion of *post-Christian* “theology” (it happens to be Uniting Church – result of a union of the former Methodist, Congregationalist & Presbyterian groups for those not in the Australian scene); it has a high turnover of members, but at the end of the day it certainly has posteriors in constant contact with pews. It has virtually no outreach program, the standard of the worship is… Read more »

Bill Carroll
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Bill Carroll

The consent should be denied on the grounds that he doesn’t intend to keep his vows. The destructive dynamics at play within the Anglican Communion will come to a head one way or another, no matter what is decided about this consent. The bishops and standing committees should focus on the discernment required of them in the canons. I said the same thing about the Robinson consent, which should have been given and was given. The only relevant question is whether there is a known impediment to his ability to take the vows and execute the office. There was none… Read more »

Kurt
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Kurt

“[S]o I think we will see the AC continue with 90%+ of existing members and without many of its revisionist rebels and TEC Global will be born – if liberals are finally brave enough to go it alone and are not afraid of being a small organisation.”– NP

Hey, NP, do you roll that stuff with tobacco, or just smoke it straight?

Pluralist
Guest

The process of change could be the introduction of a Covenant. In order to try and encompass many, in order to recognise the “gap” historically and culturally regarding the creeds (said Rowan Williams, recently) the Covenant will not be strong enough for some Anglican Churches and they would introduce their own. Others would then develop their own light touch Covenant. Some Anglican Churches by and large will pick the light touch Covenant, with some parishes dissenting, like US, Canada, Scotland, Wales; the opposite process with others; and something like the Church of England might be all over the place. So… Read more »

ruidh
Guest

“I don’t think the ABC wants to be the man who took the AC from 77m to 5m ……..” I don’t know where you are getting your figures. The commonly quoted number of 77 million Anglicans wouldwide counts the CofE at 25 million, Nigeria at 15 million and the Episcopal Church up in the top 10 of 39 provinces. Most provinces are tiny with Southern Cone, home of Windsor non-compliant archbishop Venerables, at a few tens of thousands. Losing Nigeria, Rwanda and the rest of the Usual Suspects will carve out 20 million from the 77 million at most. But… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

Martin Reynolds —

Excellent post about “ordinary Anglicans.”

Mark Chapman pointed out that the Church of Engliand’s separation from Rome was justified on the basis of “provincial autonomy” & having that ecclesial vision grow into a world wide group (of automonous provinces) is pretty much a guarantee of sowing the seeds of one’s own destruction.

Prior Aelred
Guest

Pluralist — Am I mistaken in understanding that for the Church of England itself to sign an Anglican Covenant that was in any way binding would take an act of Parliament? I have also been told by someone who has more contacts with the C of E than I (OK, not hard) that about 1/3 of the C of E bishops have told ++Rowan privately that they support The Episcopal Church & wil go public if TEC is ostracized. As to numbers — TEC is already international & has never been more than 1.5% of the American population — numbers… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

Prior Aelred — only when the “autonomy” of all becomes “hegemony” of a few.

Dallas Bob
Guest
Dallas Bob

The Anglican Communion has an excellent chance of splitting into “western” and global south churches. Rowan Williams or his successor will be powerless to stop it – It will not be their decision to make. The global south wants to “run things”. Why should they report to an evil European? One year ago the London Times ran an article that should open everyone’s eyes. Today it is the USA and Canada. Tomorrow it will be England. Check out this excerpt: “Church of England evil, say archbishops By Ruth Gledhill Rowan Williams’s views on homosexuality are under attack THE Anglican Church… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

kieran crichton – the reason I equate liberalism with small, shrinking congregations is that every year we have to spend millions of pounds on English synods to pay for the housing, wages and pensions of “liberal” vicars who “include” fewer people in their churches all the time- also, note how TEC is not self-confident enough to say, “Network, go and take your property” – even when the Network churches built property themselves – TEC knows it will be needing all the assets it can keep to fund its decline going forward – or they would be in line with the… Read more »

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“…but you can see the ABC did not let the CofE splinter for the sake of the agenda of a few liberals.”— NP

You don’t “get it” do you, NP? Williams won’t be able to prevent the fracturing of British Anglicanism, either. It will be part of a world-wide disruption of the Communion’s unity. These splinterings have a dynamic of themselves that, ultimately, no one can control. Not me, not you, not Rowan Williams.

Nick
Guest
Nick

which are more important, Episcopal vows, or the scripture?