Thinking Anglicans

South Carolina episcopal election

Updated Wednesday evening

South Carolina is an ECUSA diocese that is part of the NACDAP or Anglican Communion Network, and one of those that has recently requested “alternative primatial oversight”. It is one of the fastest growing dioceses in ECUSA. There are 48 parishes and 27 missions with a total of 28,703 baptised members, and 105 active parish clergy.

The previous diocesan bishop, who had been in office since 1990, reached mandatory retirement age in early 2006. The episcopal election for his successor was originally planned for 2005, but was caught by the moratorium on approvals of elections that was imposed by the House of Bishops in its initial response to the Windsor Report. Last Saturday the election finally took place. Mark Lawrence from the diocese of San Joaquin was elected on the first ballot.

The diocesan press statement is here. The ENS report of this can be found at San Joaquin priest elected Episcopal bishop of South Carolina and explains the slightly unusual lay delegate election procedure.

The local newspaper has published a report of this election under the headline Bishop vote reflects schism. One of the persons interviewed, John Burwell, has strongly repudiated the quotations attributed to him.

You can however get a good flavour of the nature of this diocese by reading its own profile prepared for the election process, and available as a PDF file here. This includes the results of a survey of the diocesan clergy. You can also see the exact form of the survey document and read the answers of Mark Lawrence by going here (also a PDF file). His answers to other questions (mentioned in the ENS report) are here. Other remarks are here also.

The consecration of Mark Lawrence is scheduled for February 24, 2007. First, the consents of a majority of both bishops with jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees must be obtained: some resistance is likely. It is unclear who will preside at this service.

Update Here is the Living Church report.

Update Tuesday
Fr Jake has published Consents and Covenant Considerations in which he discusses why some of Mark Lawrence’s statements will give concern to others in ECUSA.

Update Wednesday
Tobias Haller has also discussed this issue of consents in Consenting Adults.

There is a further news article by Associated Press Election of S.C. bishop could further divide Episcopalians

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
20 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Aaron
15 years ago

Beyond the scary slant of the questions, it’s appalling that a diocese would boil itself down to a multiple choice questionnaire at any stage of selecting a bishop. “Agree with us on these issues or else.”

Prior Aelred
15 years ago

Surely I am not the only person who is baffled at how a candidate for high office in The Episcopal Church can in conscience swear to obey the Constitutions and Canons while at the same time supporting Alternative Primatial Oversight (which has no practical meaning since the Presiding Bishop has no primatial authority but is a rejection of the authority of those same Constitutions and Canons through which the Presiding Bishop was elected and approved by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church).

John Henry
John Henry
15 years ago

I fully concur with Prior Aelred when he writes: “Surely I am not the only person who is baffled at how a candidate for high office in The Episcopal Church can in conscience swear to obey the Constitutions and Canons while at the same time supporting Alternative Primatial Oversight (which has no practical meaning since the Presiding Bishop has no primatial authority but is a rejection of the authority of those same Constitutions and Canons through which the Presiding Bishop was elected and approved by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church).” It reflects poorly on the integrity of aspirants… Read more »

Marshall Scott
15 years ago

Will it be here? Will this be the election where the issue comes up, the issue that bounced among deputies at General Convention: does a predilection to take a diocese out of the Episcopal Church constitute a “manner of life [that] presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion?” Some will see that as a silly question, but I assure you it was a major topic of discussion. It is not, perhaps, a “manner of life” in the same sense as being GLBT, or even having multiple divorces and remarriages. On the other… Read more »

Steve Lusk
Steve Lusk
15 years ago

Speaking of the new bishop’s answers (the PDF file linked above), how can he disagree with BOTH questions 8 and 30? His answer to 8 suggests that he believes the Holy Spirit retired in 367, and his answer to 30 implies that he thinks Mark 10:11-12; 1 Cor 7:12,27; 1 Ti 3,2,12; and Ti 1:6 are no longer operative at this point in time.

David Huff
David Huff
15 years ago

While I’m as puzzled as the good Prior, what would one really expect from the Diocese of South Carolina ? It’s not Kendall Harmon’s home turf for nothing, you know…

But sad, yes – *terribly* sad.

John Henry
John Henry
15 years ago

One of the greatest Cantuars ever, William Temple, would have flunked South Carolina’s ‘litmus’ tests.

Too, the outcome of last year’s papal election would have been entirely different had a ‘litmus’ tester from South Corolina applied the same questions to Dr. Joseph Ratzinger’s University of Tuebingen lectures, published as Introduction to Christianity (1970).

drdanfee
drdanfee
15 years ago

Imagine seeking TEC consents for your election at the same time you are seeking APO. Just the tip of the realignment iceberg folks, so stay tuned.

Until ACC and GC consider and establish APO, it ain’t. No matter what dicey new definitions try to talk it into absolute, eternal existence.

Ditto for that oft mentioned covenant. ACN ain’t it. NACDAP ain’t it either.

Prior Aelred
15 years ago

As to what Canon Lawrence actually meant by his responses, I think the way forward might come from wise words uttered by an Anglican deacon about a century and a half ago:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”
Lewis Carroll (aka The Rev’d Charles Dodgson)
Alice Through the Looking Glass

drdanfee
drdanfee
15 years ago

Thanks to the new bishop of SC for briefly acknowledging in passing that at least some of the typical new conservative false legacy negative witness against Queer Folks is questionable. I sometimes suspect that using Queers as the most effective wedge issue is a conscious choice/effort, and that many of the more introspective and honest necon church leaders know more or less exactly what they are doing, but, hey, the godly ends justifies the dodgy means. As the Sanhedrin put it so long ago: It is fitting that some particular nobodies get sacrificed for the greater good of the chosen… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Tobias Haller
15 years ago

There is no need to call on B033 in this regard. The sole issue is whether the views expressed by the bishop-elect constitute an impediment (in this case defective intent) to taking the Oath of Conformity. Those standing committees giving consent are only required to state they “know of no impediment” to the ordination. Lawrence should be given ample opportunity to explain himself and clarify whether or not there is any impediment — on a surface reading there appears to be one; I worked with him on the legislative committee at this last Convention and perceived him to be a… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
15 years ago

Tobias I assume you refer to page 513 of the American Prayer Book:

… I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the [Protestant] Episcopal Church [in the United States of America].

This seems fairly vague to me…

Tobias Haller
Tobias Haller
15 years ago

Simon, you have a copy of the “Proposed” Book of Common Prayer! In the final version the words in brackets were removed. These are as scarce as hens’ teeth, so hold on to yours. I’ve misplaced mine, so I can’t check my memory to see if it was from this or the “Draft Proposed” that the final version changed the opening address of the episcopal ordination rite from “Reverend Father in God” to “N., Bishop in the Church of God” in order to accommodate the possibility of a woman Presiding Bishop! (These were among the very few changes between the… Read more »

Bill Carroll
15 years ago

At a minimum, discipline would include the Constitution and Canons.

Marshall Scott
15 years ago

Simon,

Some may find it vague on “doctrine,” but surely “discipline and worship” are not so vague. They must at least hold one to General Convention and the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, and to the rubrics of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. That’s what I understood when signed my name to it twice, when ordained as a deacon and as a priest.

Simon Sarmiento
15 years ago

Tobias

My “proposed” copy says “N, Bishop in the Church of God.”. Thanks for drawing our attention to the length of time that the American BCP (to which loyalty is required of all American clergy) has provided for the possibility of a female Presiding Bishop. Did conservatives raise any complaint about this change at the time of its approval?

I agree that “vague” is not the right word here. The canonical definition is helpful.

Tobias Haller
Tobias Haller
15 years ago

Thanks Simon. I unearthed my “Proposed” version which had found its way to another shelf. It now rests where it belongs, next to my copy of the “Draft Proposed.” When the “Draft” was adopted in 1976 (for the three year Proposed-use period leading up to final adoption in 1979) it was at the same Convention that gave approval to the ordination of women to all orders via the clever addition of a single amendment that simply said that wherever the canons used male pronouns they were to be understood as generic! “Reverend Father in God” created more difficulty, however, and… Read more »

ruidh
ruidh
15 years ago

This movement to deny consent looks like a disaster in the making. It would certainly cause howls from around the Communion if this bishop-elect were unable to receive consents because of a few one word answers to vague questions on a questionnaire while VGR received consent from GC. Before consent to VGR was granted, people on the other end of the spectrum asked as well how he could swear allegaince to the doctrine of this church. It will be portrayed as a proof of the claim that “orthodox Anglicans” have no room in this church because of an opressive, revisionist… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
15 years ago

The only answer to the new conservative realignment/split campaign – really – is to go way back to the beginning, affirm the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral as the continuing boundaries of Anglican comprehensiveness – and tell people they will have to figure out responsibly together how they will agree to disagree while living in peace, and continuing in common worship/witness and common Tikkun. The only way out of the dubious new conservative definitional or presuppositional boxes is to step out – you cannot freely inquire into their self-proclaimed exclusive authorities by best practices reasoning and investigating, solely from inside them. That familiar… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
15 years ago

This Questionnaire puzzles me. How could anyone think of asking an other Christian if God has created? Questionnaire 4. “The miracles attested to in Scripture actually took place as described.” “As described”? Surely this is too American, too 20th century, to be taken seriously. Questionnaire 7. “Scripture is God’s coherent revelation to us of Himself, of our nature and of His plan and purpose for human life and for salvation.” “coherent” seems to be Calvinist Integrism cum 20th century American “literalism”. The rest is best described as Neo Platonist philosophical speculation. Not in the Bible. Questionnaire 9. “The only context… Read more »

20
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x