Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bishop Lawrence's Address to the Clergy

This post will remain at the top of the blog page for the present time. Any other relevant documents will be posted just below it. Please see the Vicar's commentary on Bishop Lawrence's letter posted just below.

On August 13th, our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, addressed the clergy of the Diocese of S.C. His paper was distributed, and he read it aloud word for word to the gathering. Below is the link to his paper (on the diocesan web site). It is closely argued piece of writing and bears study.

Bishop Lawrence was under an extreme amount of pressure to make a significant statement, and I believe he has done just that. In his comments to the clergy, he said it was his desire to begin a conversation with the clergy and people of the Diocese of SC, and, in his paper, he has laid out a description of the landscape as he presently sees it along with his thoughts about how to proceed from this point.

The paper has received quite a bit notice, and the reaction has been all over the map. Bishop Allison (SC XII) said during the Q & A time that "“No living bishop that I know, in my opinion, is capable of having the faith, the scholarship, the courage, the wisdom to put out this paper.”

Here are some responses from a variety of perspectives:

The Living Church -

ENS (Episcopal News Service)

From David Virtue

My hope is to offer some personal commentary and analysis shortly. I look forward to our congregational discussion Sunday (the 23rd). I will publish my commentary here after our discussion.

Yrs in Christ,

PS. I've posted David Stoney's synopsis below.


David Stoney said...

Tonight I have emailed a synopsis of Bishop Lawrence's address to the clergy. If you would like a copy but did not get one, email me at with "synopsis" in the subject line and I will send you one.

David Stoney said...

The Episcopal Life Weekly has a nice one page summary of the offending resolutions passed at General Convention.(

It outlines "two resolutions passed by the triennial meeting that affirm the openness of The Episcopal Church's ordination process (D025) and authorize wider discretion for bishops to authorize the blessing of same-sex unions in states in which such unions are legal (C056). The inserts also briefly outline reactions to the resolutions from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, House of Deputies president, the House of Bishops, and the Archbishop of Canterbury."

I'll try to bring a few copies to church tomorrow.

It appears to me that we already miss out on so much that is going on in The Episcopal Church, except that is for those things that displease our leaders. E.g., in a summary of General Convention actions ( I found forward looking resolutions about practicing energy and water conservation, encouraging our government to subsidize renewable energy, endorsing the Earth Charter, and affirming the Genesis Covenant to reduce GHG emissions from church facilities.

I for one would like to see us, like the Lutherans, agree to disagree, and get on with the business of creation care at this time of burgeoning climate crisis. Surely God is not presenting us with a choice between scriptural purity and saving civilization!?