Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Letter to St. James Santee


Dear St. James Santee Family and Friends,

            By now you may have seen newspaper headlines and received emails from the Diocese about what is happening with Bishop Lawrence.  Below is an attempt to shed a little light on a complex situation.  My “editorial” comments are in italics.

The Bishop:

1.  Un-named persons (two clergy and twelve lay) in the diocese have accused Bishop Lawrence of “Abandonment of Communion.”  This means that they believe he has departed from the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of the Episcopal Church.    Usually, this is the charge when a Bishop has departed the Episcopal Church and joined another denomination which has not happened in his case.

2.  A committee of TEC (the national church) has agreed with their accusations and formally charged him.

3.  The Presiding Bishop has issued an order that he not be allowed to function at the present time as a Bishop, Priest or Deacon in the Episcopal Church.  The charges  against the Bishop will be “tried” in an Ecclesiastical Court at some point.  The date is not known at present.

The Diocese:

1.  The Standing Committee (like the Vestry or a governing board) of the Diocese had put into place two resolutions which would “trigger” action if the National Church did move against Bishop Lawrence.   The first resolution disassociates the Diocese of SC from the National Church, and the second calls for a special convention which will be held on Nov. 17th.

            At this point, it is unclear to me what the practical implications of all these actions may be for St. James Santee. Personally, I continue to have great affection and respect for Bishop Lawrence and hope that a way can be found for him to continue serving as the Fourteenth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of SC.    The clergy of the diocese will gather tomorrow, and I will be glad to make a report to you on Sunday.  Until we have more information, I would encourage you to be calm, prayerful, and to continue in the worship and servanthood ministries of St. James Santee Episcopal Church.

                                                       Your sister in Christ,



PS.  For more information and relevant documents, please see the Diocesan website at