A complaint has been made, by some members of his diocese, that the Bishop of South Carolina Mark Lawrence has “abandoned” The Episcopal Church.
See these news reports:
Episcopal News Service Mary Frances Schjonberg South Carolina bishop investigated on charges he has abandoned the Episcopal Church
…The allegations are being investigated by the church’s Disciplinary Board for Bishops. Communicants in the Diocese of South Carolina filed the information with the board, according to the Rt. Rev. Dorsey Henderson, board president. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the House of Bishops were not involved in making the claims, Henderson said in a fact sheet released by the church’s Office of Public Affairs.
“Therefore, the matter is not being handled by the Presiding Bishop’s office or anyone in the employ of the Episcopal Church Center,” Henderson said in the fact sheet.
Henderson said he has been in contact with Lawrence, whose ministry has not been restricted during this phase of the process.
Under Title IV, Canon 16, a bishop is deemed to have abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church by an open renunciation of the doctrine, discipline or worship of the church; by formal admission into any religious body not in communion with the church; or by exercising episcopal acts in and for a religious body other than the church or another church in communion with the church…
Living Church Doug LeBlanc Board Hears Case against Bp. Lawrence
The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, Bishop of South Carolina, is being investigated on accusations of abandoning the Episcopal Church, and his diocese has released a 63-page document of the evidence brought against him.
Lawrence and the Very Rev. Paul C. Fuener, president of the diocese’s standing committee wrote in a letter to members of the diocese that on Sept. 29 the bishop “received communication from the President of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops that ‘serious charges’ have been made under Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church. … Since several of these allegations also include actions taken by the Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina, after sustained prayer and discernment, it has seemed appropriate to both the Bishop and the Standing Committee to make these allegations available to the members of the Diocese.”
See these documents:
From Bishop Dorsey Henderson President of the Title IV Disciplinary Board of the Episcopal Church
Concerning the Diocese of South Carolina:
• In the matter concerning the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, information is being reviewed by the Title IV Disciplinary Board. Bishop Dorsey Henderson is President of the Title IV Disciplinary Board.
• Information was presented from communicants within the Diocese of South Carolina.
• The information was not brought forward by the Presiding Bishop’s office, or by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church. Therefore, the matter is not being handled by the Presiding Bishop’s office or anyone in the employ of the Episcopal Church Center.
• All information has been presented to the Disciplinary Board under the Episcopal Church Title IV disciplinary canons (laws of the church).
• In situations as this, the “church attorney” is an attorney who is retained by the Disciplinary Board to investigate cases brought to the Disciplinary Board. The “church attorney” is not the chancellor to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
• As a matter of law and a matter of respect to those involved, the Disciplinary Board operates confidentially and will continue to do so. As such, it would not be appropriate to discuss the details of the case in public.
• Bishop Henderson has been in conversation with Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina.
• The Disciplinary Board is comprised of Episcopal Church bishops, clergy and laity.