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.
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.
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