Thursday, 15 March 2007

South Carolina election voided

Updated Friday morning

The Diocese of South Carolina has published a statement:

Consents for New South Carolina Bishop’s Election Ruled Insufficient; Diocesan Leadership Confident About the Future

I received a phone call late this afternoon from the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori giving notification that she was declaring null and void the election of The Very Rev. Mark Lawrence to be bishop of The Diocese of South Carolina. Although more than a majority of dioceses had voted to consent to Fr. Mark’s election, there were canonical deficiencies in the written responses sent to us. Several dioceses, both on and off American soil, thought that electronic permission was sufficient as had been their past accepted practice. The canons which apply are III.11.4(b), pp. 101-102 in the newly published 2006 Constitutions and Canons that require the prescribed testimonial to the consent be signed by a majority of each standing committee.

I have also notified Fr. Mark of her decision. We offer our deepest condolences to Fr. Mark and his wife Allison who have navigated this time of process with class, dignity and courage. I know that it is toughest on Allison who has had to watch her beloved spouse suffer so many indignities. We hope that they will agree to continue to be a part of the Diocese of South Carolina’s pursuit of securing our next Diocesan. Fr. Lawrence has modeled exemplary patience and calmness by enduring a level of scrutiny and persecution that is without precedent in The Episcopal Church (TEC).

Our Chancelor, Nick Ziegler has been suffering with bad health for several months. Currently our acting Chancellor, Wade Logan, is out of the country. He is scheduled to return within ten days. Upon his return we will convene both the Chancellor and acting Chancellor to discuss our options within the canons of TEC. The Standing Committee will then plot a course of action for the near future. In the meantime the Standing Committee will continue our partnership with our acting Bishop, the Right Rev. Edward Lloyd Salmon in tending to the needs of our diocese as we have for over the past 8 months. Bishop Salmon will represent us this week at the House of Bishop’s meeting to be held in Camp Allen, Texas.

I hope that this tragic outcome will be a wake up call to both clergy and lay through out TEC as to the conditions in our church. I have been blessed and encouraged by the many clergy and lay people throughout the world that have worked tirelessly on Fr. Mark’s behalf making phone calls and communicating through the electronic media in an effort to secure a majority of consents.

As I write this release I am reminded of Christ’s words in Luke 9:62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Our hand is to the plow, and in faithfulness to our Christ, we will not look back.

—The Rev. J. Haden McCormick
President of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina

The Episcopal News Service has issued South Carolina election voided due to canonical deficiencies in responses - Lawrence invited to participate in second search process. This explains what happened in more detail. In particular it says:

Canonically adequate ballots were received by South Carolina from 50 diocesan standing committees. Several other standing committees were reported to have consented, but no signatures were attached to their ballots, or the ballot itself was missing from South Carolina’s records, Jefferts Schori reported. Any committee that did not respond is considered to have voted no.

Elsewhere, Kendall Harmon has stated on his blog titusonenine that in total 57 consents were notified to the Standing Committee, the last two of which were Colombia and Venezuela.

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Comments

"I hope that this tragic outcome will be a wake up call to both clergy and lay through out TEC as to the conditions in our church."

WTF???

[i.e., I guess, compared to Rev. McCormick---and on the 4th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq---I have a different scale of "tragic outcomes"!]

Frankly, I count this press release from Dio SC (the ones really responsible for this mess in the first place, in the EXTREMITY of their episcopal slate) as the *preliminary framing*. I await the Real Deal from the PB and the Episcopal News Service...

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 1:55am GMT

Was there intense scrutiny? Yes. There were many attempts to get clear, unambiguous answers to basic questions like, "Will you keep yourself and your Diocese in TEC?" Clear and unambiguous answers would likely have resulted in enough consents to outnumber the invalid ones.

Was there persecution? Gimme a break.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 2:19am GMT

Hot Dawg! Dang, next thang ya know, them thar LGBT Christians are gunna be gett'n hitched-up at Church.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 2:47am GMT

OK. This is ridiculous. Ignoring the question of Lawrence's true willingness to accede to the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of TEC, throwing out the election on a technicality is an operation of civil law as understood in the US and UK.

The operative principle at canon law should be that "justice consists of living honestly, doing no harm, and handing over to each his own" as in the Institutes. Now, admittedly the Standing Committees were obligated by positive law to provide notification in a certain way. I'm a student. I know that if I submit a paper electronically and it says on the syllabus that such submissions are not acceptable, I'm at the mercy of the professor and may receive no credit for the paper. But no third party suffers thereby. What belongs to Lawrence apparently are the necessary consents to his election. It's not his fault that he lacks them. Therefore, if the Presiding Bishop were confident that the relevant majorities had consented in some form known to her, she should have had the authority to waive the provisions of the Canon. But apparently, she decided to follow the common law and not the equity normally demanded in canon law. This bodes very ill.

Posted by: Caelius Spinator on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 3:14am GMT

The incredible thing is that Lawrence would not have been acceptable to the Diocese of South Carolina and the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1807 and 1907.

He calls himself Father, holds ritualitic views and also agrees to the ordination of women.

Thus showing that Anglican orthodoxy is as pick and choose as Liberalism.

In fact at least the liberal agenda is clear.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 6:29am GMT

"Although more than a majority of dioceses had voted to consent to Fr. Mark's election, there were canonical deficiencies in the written responses sent to us."

But the trouble is that some were not written responses.

McCormick explains "Several dioceses, both on and off American soil, thought that electronic permission was sufficient as had been their past accepted practice”. However, this statement conflicts with Canon III.11.4 (b) (pp. 101-102 in the Constitutions and Canons 2006 ed.), which does not talk of “electronic permission” but requires the written Consents to be s i g n e d by a majority of each Standing Committee.

It’s the Standing Committee of the electing Diocese which handles the Consents procedure, making it less than uniform. On the HOB/D mailing list someone says her experience is that written Requests sent out from various Standing Committees vary a lot in form and content.

In the S Carolina case the Requests were mailed by the Standing Committee on November 9, making the 120 day consent period end on March 9, when a three-day "grace period" was added by the Presiding Bishops Office to allow for postal delays (!), pushing the deadline forward to March 12.

Canonically adequate ballots were received by South Carolina from 50 Standing Committees, but several others had no signatures attached to them, or the ballot itself was missing altogether from South Carolina's records!

In an e-mail from the HOB meeting at Camp Allen to ENS the Presiding Bishop writes "In the past, when consents to Episcopal elections have been so closely contested, the diocese has been diligent in seeking to have canonically adequate ballots submitted, asking Standing Committees to resubmit their ballots when necessary" and concluded "It is certainly my hope that in future any diocese seeking consent to an election will use all possible effort to ensure that ballots are received in an appropriate form and in a timely manner."

What one must ask oneself is whether all this is simply the usual disdain for the “technicalities” of form and procedure of self-proclaimed Overlords or, in fact, intentional – destined to create more spin, lies and havoc to allow the SC Standing Committee to take the Diocese out of the Church.

In either case, it seems to me that the Diocese of South Carolina must get itself a new Standing Committee before she holds another election.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 8:49am GMT

TEC - you are looking good to the rest of the AC!

Posted by: NP on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 8:59am GMT

"I'm a student. I know that if I submit a paper electronically and it says on the syllabus that such submissions are not acceptable, I'm at the mercy of the professor and may receive no credit for the paper."

Here's a better analogy. I've just handed back a set of student papers. I invite but do not require rough drafts. Those submitted I read carefully, mark, and return to students with suggestions for improvement. Students usually make the suggested changes and earn a higher grade than they would have otherwise.

What if I accepted drafts, looked at them, and send them back without comment? The students then hand in papers rife with errors. Whose fault would be the resulting poor grades? Certainly part of the fault would be mine.

As has been noted, it was the responsibility of the Standing Committee to check for compliance with canons when they got consent documents. Seeing flaws, they should have returned the faulty consents with directions, asking them to comply with canonical requirements. The tone of the reference to the canons in the statement from SC makes it sound as if they shouldn't be held closely to 'new' rules. Sorry - that's their job - to make sure the electtion and consents are done by the book.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 10:24am GMT

Good decision. Now, let's have the necessary rejection of the homophobic conditions expected of TEC and move forward.

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 11:01am GMT

On T19, Kendal Harmon said that the last two consents were from Columbia and Venezuela. It seems that some of dioceses did not adequately document a rightly "convened" meeting of the standing committee with the necessary majority signatures showing approval. Faxes are acceptable for this purpose but E-mails are not. This is not a new requirement. SC did not provide the minimum documentation necessary. Why??? There are those even at T19 who will admit that the standing committee was not diligent enough. Why? Harmon even states that 815 was very helpful in verifying consents!!! The Standing Committee did not do its job. McCormick's announcement is phrased to cause the most amount of confusion as to what really happened, casting the least amount of blame on themselves and trying to make it look like caprice on the part of 815.

It is unfortunate that the election played out this way. I'm sure South Carolina will pull itself together and re-elect Lawrence.

Posted by: C.B. on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 12:43pm GMT

I have to say, it leaves a bad taste in one's mouth that (so they say) 57 standing committees clearly demonstrated an intent to consent, even if they didn't technically follow the rules. I am, of course, not saying I approve of Mark Lawrence's views - I think I blasted him on this board, and I definitely emailed my Diocese's standing committee and asked them to prayerfully consider not consenting.

I've noted a considerable amount of vitriol on the comments boards, among the liberal posters. Göran asks if perhaps SC's standing committee is spinning the issue so they can leave the church.

This is unbecoming. If nothing else, it looks bad. Remember, SC will hold another election, and they have every right to re-select Lawrence. Frankly, he seemed the most moderate of the candidates, so I hope they do. Let's not gloat, because it distracts us from the real issues.

Posted by: Weiwen on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 1:19pm GMT

It has been suggested (by "conspiracy theorists"?) that the extraordinarily incompetent handling of this matter by the diocesan Standing Committee was in fact intended to invalidate Fr. Lawrence's election precisely so they could "prove their point" (just as some "conservative" retired bishops BOAST of voting for ++Katharine to "force a crisis").

I think it shameful that enough standing committees are trying to "be nice" when an entire diocese intends to leave the church unless its requirements are met. You would think that after Schofield & Iker & Duncan they would have learned.

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 1:36pm GMT

Yes Weiven, this looks bad and leaves a bad taste in one's mouth.

But the real issue is the establishment of the new North American Province, which has been in the making for most of 15 or 20 years now.

There is no reason the consenting process (how many times have episcopal elections been consented to since 1789?) should founder like this.

There is no reason the Requests should have been sent out so late, there is no reason the Bishop elect should not have answered the questions put to him in the affirmative, there is no reason the Standing Committee should not have checked and double checked the incoming Consents, there is no reason...

... other than foul play. Sorry.

(and remember I'm not an Anglican - I don't havee to pretend ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 2:06pm GMT

"But the real issue is the establishment of the new North American Province, which has been in the making for most of 15 or 20 years now."

Really? This is all just church politics?

Posted by: Chris on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 2:19pm GMT

The Rev. McCormick said, "Fr. Lawrence has modeled exemplary patience and calmness by enduring a level of scrutiny and persecution that is without precedent in The Episcopal Church (TEC)."

Oh, please. Could we turn down the volume on the hyperbole just a bit ? While this was a close vote, Fr. Lawrence has had to endure *nothing* like the calculated, vitriolic criticism & conniving leveled at Bp. Robinson.

When you have to wear a bullet-proof vest to your investiture - *then* come talk to me about "persecution."

Posted by: David H. on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 2:52pm GMT

Please note as well that a subsequent press release reveals that only 50 of the 57 consents were valid. Given that Faxes were acceptable, this failure must be attributed in lage part to the lack of competence on the part of the SC Standing Committee -- even given the three day extension. Even a round-robin fax circuit to a sufficient number of members of each consenting standing committee would have worked. "Original documents" are not required, but signatures are. I assume a scanned PDF would also have worked.
Remember, they had 123 days -- including a three day "grace period": the church officials bent over backward to allow consent to happen.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 3:15pm GMT

It is a little strange that in the election of a bishop, for conservatives the rules really don't matter. Bishop Gene Robinson and Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori were duly, legally elected, yet we are told somehow that doesn't matter. But with Fr. Lawrence, even though the rules weren't followed we are still supposed to recognize his election.

I wish the conservatives would just drop their pretense and honestly say that rules and elections don't matter. All that matters is that the "right" person be installed. This is a major difference between progressives in TEC and the conservatives - frankly in cynical moments I wonder if it goes to character. We progressives have to follow the rules even when we don't like the results (I have to accept and recognize Bishop Stanton - he even confirmed my son). But for conservatives, well, elections only matter if they win. If they lose, then just ignore the results and claim persecution when the results are enforced.

Question for conservatives: If Fr. Lawrence is eventually installed as bishop after another election and consent process, could those in South Carolina who don't like him petition for a "Diocesan Vicar"?

Posted by: Dallas Bob on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 3:20pm GMT

I appreciate Cynthia Gilliatt's analogy, especially in light of the ENS item on this issue. It appears that the Presiding Bishop could not be sure of the decisions of 7 Standing Committees because of poorly executed or missing paperwork. While I believe the Standing Committee of South Carolina was making an honest count, they deserve some criticism for allowing 7 consents to be on their honor. We hope and trust in the name of the Lord, all others should provide proper documentation.

We shall see what they do. I think Weiwen is right. They should hold another election and re-elect Lawrence. I wish him well if he is honest.

Posted by: Caelius Spinator on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 3:37pm GMT

I don't know what McCormick means by "past accepted practice."

I DO know that the requirements for properly certifying a standing committee's consent have long been clearly prescribed. They can be checked at Canon III.16.4(a)[2003] or III.11.4(b)[2006]. (The numbering has changed but the text is the same.) The prescribed form may be submitted by post or fax, but it must always be "signed by a majority of all the members of the Committee."

This is far from being a technicality. It is the crucial documentation needed to demonstrate that a valid vote to consent was in fact taken. It is the church's equivalent of election monitoring, an absolutely necessary defense against ballot-box stuffing and other irregularities.

In order to submit a valid consent, all a standing committee need do is gather the required signatures and send 'em in. If they can't manage to do this in the four months provided, we have every right to be sceptical of any claim that such a vote was taken. If, as McCormick implies, such protections have been ignored in the past, I for one am thankful that they are being enforced now.

Posted by: Doug Simonsen+ on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 4:19pm GMT

Caelius,

Canons are essential to the life of the church; no human organization--including the church--can proceed here below without procedural fairness. As you surely know, the church has a long tradition of turning to canons in its common life, especially in times of controversy. Canons become important in times of controversy in part becuase they set up standards for what counts as fair and unfair that factions which would otherwise be tempted to treat each other unfairly can agree to live by. To my knowledge, Lauwrence and SC agreed to live by those rules when they went into the election process. The rules were not hidded; they were public.

Thus, Laurence cannot credibly claim he was treated unfairly--he could at most claim that the rules were not bent to his favor as he would have liked. To his credit, he has not at this time said that he was entitled to see the rules bent until he got a result that felt right to him. He is not, of course, entitled to seeing the rules bent, and the Episcopal Church is not obliged to bend the rules on his behalf.

What special good do you think would be achieved by bending the rules on his behalf that would justify accepting procedural unfairness, Caelius? Surely you must have a manifest goos in mind, as you think the actual outcome is "ridiculous."

Do share.

Posted by: The Anglican Scotist on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 4:23pm GMT

The procedure was followed, more or less. There was quite a bit of effort by the leadership (even to the point of bending the rules) to get this consent done, mostly out of fear. Better to act from principle than from fear. SC now has two options. The better course is to accept that the election is null and void, elect someone who can give the rest of us sufficient assurances that he will keep his vows as a bishop of the Episcopal Church, and get on with their lives. The other course will only prove that we were right about Fr. Lawrence all along.

It's sad that it had come to this. But the Standing Committee of SC seems to have handled this in a grossly incompetent manner. Every grace was extended. If they really think that a miscarriage of justice was made, let them reelect Lawrence and secure the consents in a canonically valid way. I would vote no, but I'm not on a Standing Committee. If he were elected and valid consents were given, he would be the Bishop of SC, but not before. I don't think we've seen an assurance from Fr. Lawrence. The initial clarification was defiant. The eleventh hour statement was too little, too late.

Posted by: Bill Carroll on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 5:07pm GMT

Canon Mark Lawrence held the confirmation process literally in his own hands.

How? Two simple statements from him:

(1) "I will not lead the Diocese of SC out of the Episcopal Church"

(2) "I invite the Presiding Bishop to serve as chief consecrator if my election is confirmed."

I guarantee these two statements would have brought in dozens of confirmations – maybe even 80-90%!

It was entirely and completely up to him.

Of course, the Standing Committee of S.C. might even have boned up on their canon law. That would have helped! (Note: the canon governing the confirmation processes was NOT "new".)

Bishop Jefferts Schorri had no "personal" decision to make. She was merely the voice canonically required to announce the outcome. It was NEVER simply up to her. In fact, the generous and charitable decision to offer an extra three days could be viewed itself as having already charitably "bent" canon law in Lawrence's favor.

Posted by: John-Julian, OJN on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 5:22pm GMT

"I'm a student. I know that if I submit a paper electronically and it says on the syllabus that such submissions are not acceptable, I'm at the mercy of the professor and may receive no credit for the paper."

Or another analogy . . . I am a priest. During my ordination process I had to jump through many hoops and I had a canonical checklist that needed to be complete for the ordination to take place. There was a file in the diocesan office with my name on it that held all of those items. The Commission on Ministry had the job of not only interviewing me personally, but making sure that my checklist was current and correct. But it was MY job to make sure that all of that stuff was current and correct before every meeting so that my ordination process wouldn't be voided.

South Carolina is in the same boat. When dealing with paperwork of this importance, they should have been more diligent in ensuring that their i's were dotted and t's crossed. It's no different than had I said, "Oh yes, I received an "A" in New Testament, but I don't have the signed grade sheet. Won't you take my word for it?"

Blaming the outcome on a technicality is hogwash. Everyone in this business knows the importance of getting your paperwork right and that you are responsible for making sure it's done right. The DOSC Standing Committee, whether you agree with Fr. Lawrence or not, did him a grave disservice.

Posted by: Reverend Ref on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 6:19pm GMT

The big red flag that went up in my mind is that the chancellor of the Diocese of South Carolina was out of the country during the final days of the election consent process. The second even redder flag is that the proper form for securing the consents had not been followed to the letter.

After all the hullabaloo about canonical this and canonical that concerning who does what, where, when, why, and how in re the ordination of gay men and Lesbians, or the blessings of their relationships, it seems to be that the least thing that can be done is to follow each jot and tittle should be followed to the letter. The old notion of what is sauce for the goose comes to mind.

We Anglicans spare no expense at the consecrations of our bishops. The hoopla is second to none. The least thing that can be done in the election and consent process in The Episcopal Church is to spend a bit more attention and cash to see that the consent process is followed to the letter.

Posted by: James Edward Mackay on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 6:55pm GMT

I will admit that seeing the ENS story changed my opinion of the case. I was under the impression that some Presidents of Standing Committees had given notice by e-mail or something contrary to the Canons, which require forms to be sent out and mailed to New York. This is why there are so many lawyers on Episcopal governing boards. Attention to detail is important.

The Scotist asks a fair question. Why did I say that the Canons should be bent if the Presiding Bishop had sufficient though non-canonical evidence that the necessary consents were received? First, I was assuming that Lawrence had suffered injury at the hands of the Standing Committee in that his election was voided on account of canonical requirements I believed it was not his responsibility to fulfill. I.e., he had clean hands. Reverend Ref proposes a fair analogy to the ordination process. Thus, provided his analogy holds, Father Lawrence suffered no injury.

Second, I was assuming that relief of Father Lawrence would do no harm. If there had been some competitor for bishop and there was a race for consents or something, the race should go to the first to file properly.

Third, I was assuming that the people of the Diocese of South Carolina were a party whose good and wishes were worthy of my respect. Provided that the will of the larger Church was truly though non-canonically expressed in confirmation of their discernment, they suffer injury by the strict letter of the canons. They lack a bishop to lead them in the coming years for the moment. Even if we are so uncharitable as to characterize them as a group misguided by schismatical characters, it doesn't change how anxious they must be for the future. Now, they have to go through the time and expense of another election. The Nominating Committee now has to go through the work of putting together a new slate. I'm sure many of them would enjoy serving their parishes or spending time with their families. To what extent should the administrative work hinder the working of the Gospel?

Posted by: Caelius Spinator on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 10:21pm GMT

The tone of this thread is very disappointing.

The SC of SC put forward this man, and the consent was withheld by our church in a heated political climate. A few 'hanging chads' does not disguise that a large number of SC denied consent to the man called by this diocese. And much of that denial was due to candid answers that didn't say he'd take this diocese out of TEC, but did not bow and scrape to TEC's wandering from the Communion. It wasn't so long ago that VGR was consecrated with many of these same SC and bishops arguing that he was called by the dicocese rightly, and they should not stand in the way of that diocese. Why does the 'inclusive' church not treat an orthodox calling with the same even hand?

Let's show a bit of charity, please, for a man who has endured much simply to serve God. And for a diocese that is growing and thriving while preaching the Gospel as best they can, and admirably even if you don't agree with their theology.

Posted by: Harvard Man on Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 1:20am GMT

"When you have to wear a bullet-proof vest to your investiture - *then* come talk to me about "persecution." "
David, excellent point.

My chaplain offered me a different interpretation of Lawrence's election being voided. ++KJS has put her foot down (she was technically correct to void Lawrence's election, I never disputed that). Now, SC has to make two choices. Either play by the rules of the rest of the church, or secede. If they invite Iker, Duncan, Schofield or some combination thereof to do an irregular consecration, then they're ALL in really hot water. If they play by the rules, then we at least have a chance of some sort of civil resolution.

Posted by: Weiwen on Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 2:27am GMT

If, as Doug reports, the requirements for lodging a standing committee's assent have not changed for some time, can anyone recall a standing committee's assent being ruled out of order before? I am not saying this has not happened, but it would be good to know that the application of the rules have been consistent.

Posted by: obadiahslope on Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 2:47am GMT

Even if we are so uncharitable as to characterize them as a group misguided by schismatical characters, it doesn't change how anxious they must be for the future.

Posted by: Caelius Spinator on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 10:21pm GMT with reference to the South Carolina Standing Committee and Diocese

And how anxious are gay people in Nigeria and the 39 other countries that execute gays, and the many that imprison? How anxious are gay people in TEC,Canada and sround the AC in the present climate of primate driven hatred ? How anxious was New Hampshire and Gene Robinson and his family --and how anxious are they today?

How anxious does Jude Morton feel having just had to leave the Episcopal Church over this? How did I feel at having to separate myself from the false teaching and deplorable anti-gay actions of the C of E after having squandered 'the best years of my life' on it ?

How does the PB feel at being ambush by Williams and the boys own primates' group and Duncan ? How does she feel being labelled a heretic, and indeed by some (cf T19 etc) not a Christian at all. Also, that dreadful and irredeemable thing (in their eyes) --a woman .......

Could not the anxieties of we 'misguided ones' be better accommodated by the virtuous ones ?

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 5:22am GMT

Harvard Man, if South Carolina had handled this matter competently, they would have a new bishop right now and Lawrence would have a pointy hat.

This doesn't have as much to do with Lawrence's so-called "orthodoxy" as it does with the failure of the folks in Charleston to get on the phone and make arrangements with the dioceses that sent in the unsigned consents.

Posted by: JPM on Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 7:59am GMT

"...had given notice by e-mail or something contrary to the Canons, which require forms to be sent out and mailed to New York. "

No, they are sent to the Standing Committee of South Carolina which, having checked and double checked them, forwards them to the Presiding Bishops (who is not a Primate) Office.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 8:08am GMT

Harvard Man wrote: “The SC of SC put forward this man, and the consent was withheld by our church in a heated political climate. A few 'hanging chads' does not disguise that a large number of SC denied consent to the man called by this diocese.”

Consents are based on both proper procedure having been followed by the Search Committee and on the presence of personal suitability.

No diocesan Bishop or Standing Committee is under any obligation to consent. Consents are active, positive, which means they must be given. No consent is no consent. Only given consents count. They must be 50% + 1.

“And much of that denial…”

Consents are – I repeat – positive. No Consent is not denial. It’s a non Consent.

“It wasn't so long ago that VGR was consecrated with many of these same SC and bishops arguing that he was called by the diocese rightly…”

He was. All procedures were honoured. Whereas in the South Carolina case, the Search Committee kept its work secret, having nominated themselves + 3 others then had to withdraw themselves, leaving the 3 others ;=)

No nominations from outside the Search Committee were allowed.

“… and they should not stand in the way of that diocese.”

This was heard from quite a few quarters at the time, but it is wrong. Consents are due both to proper procedure being honoured in the search and the election, a n d to personal suitability of the Electus.

There is no obligation to Consent. Consent is an active action. No Consent is no Consent.

“Why does the 'inclusive' church not treat an orthodox calling with the same even hand?”

Good question. Why wasn’t the search declared void? Why this “grace period”?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 8:24am GMT

Obadiahslope asked: “If, as Doug reports, the requirements for lodging a standing committee's assent have not changed for some time, can anyone recall a standing committee's assent being ruled out of order before? I am not saying this has not happened, but it would be good to know that the application of the rules have been consistent.”

I would say very probably ;=) but then, if you have the Consents, a few extra void ones don’t matter…

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 8:27am GMT

Let them reelect Lawrence and provide the proper assurances. He didn't have the consents at all until a great deal of pressure came from Stand Firm folks. If anything, we have erred on the side of grace here. Next time, if there is a next time, the canons must be strictly followed from day one, with no grace periods...120 days is enough. And the Standing Committee needs to do its job and round up the consents.

Network affiliation alone is grounds for extra scrutiny. We shouldn't pretend that South Carolina's affiliation with the ACN is some kind of innocent fact. This is an organization that has provided plenty of evidence of schismatic intentions. They have also passed resolutions in the past that indicated a willingness to secede if certain things happened. Their own behavior has brought this kind of response on their own heads. Mark Lawrence had several opportunities to diffuse the suspicion that his own words brought.

Posted by: Bill Carroll on Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 5:02pm GMT

And Mark Lawrence's latest words in the press confirm that he intends to be a wedge issue to bring schism rather than the opposite.

Posted by: C.B. on Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 7:43pm GMT

And Mark Lawrence's latest words in the press confirm that he intends to be a wedge issue to bring schism rather than the opposite.

Posted by: C.B. on Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 7:43pm GMT

Yes Mark Lawrence has made it clear that he is completely unsuitable. A useful confirmation, surely. By which I mean in particular that he already has that archiepiscopal tone of the worse prelates (think Scott-Joynt; think Nazir Ali; think Wright;think Akinola). This tone (and content) of invincible Knowledge and superiority does not augur well. This is combined with his contempt for TEC and its people.

Idea ---Lawrence would be a terrific Suffragan in say, the diocese of Chichester -- or flying bishop of the Sand-bag See (name eludes me presently)...

It is NOT completely down to Lawrence though, it occurs to me. He seems to be part of a virulent culture in the US self-styled 'orthodox' (gales of mirth!). It is very unpleasant, --often immoral--and shocking to my own evangelical sensibilities.

(You would never (have)hear(d) this kind of talk from the great John V. Taylor (of CMS fame etc), John Stott, Donald Coggan --or even Billy Graham, Snr in the USA).

Regrettably, a mild form of this embittered discourse is now emerging among 'anglican evangelicals' who purport to care nothing for anglicanism and its comprehensiveness.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 19 March 2007 at 6:54pm GMT

Correction / finer tuning : -

I should have said (above)for the sake of clarity 'some anglican evangelicals'. This I thought was implied in 'care nothing...' but on seeing it now, it lacks this clarity. Plenty of evangelical anglicans do not fit my desciption. But enough seem to.

Among some,there seems to be a lack of reason and a nasty tone that sets in. (I know none of us can be immune).I think it is brought on by fear of theological death, and the passing of a paradigm --this is where some kind of belief in life after death (or before death) or ofresurrection, would be most useful--- and steady the nerves! But I long to hear people like John V. Taylor and other wise, reasonable, biblical and thoroughly godly types, speak from Evangelical circles. I think there was a tremedous sense of fair play, also. But them what would John Taylor and others have tosay today? A new message, surely.

And I also find this quality in the writing of John Robinson whose avowed purpose was surely apologetic, and at root evangelical.
Similarly, today, Daphne Hampson writes with restraint; and a passion for truth, and the spiritual life. As have and do Don Cupitt, and other ethical explorers....

I do not see why those of diametrically opposite scholarly or intellectual views, must also be diametrically opposed. I do not see why there cannot be spiritual and intellectual fellowhip. It has to be desired ---longed for, and don't come cheap

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 19 March 2007 at 8:39pm GMT
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