Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Diocese of South Carolina Fed up with General Convention

News flash: the bulk of the deputation to the House of Deputies from the Diocese of South Carolina has left General Convention one day early, following the actions of the Convention thus far to (a) add transsexual persons to the list of people who cannot be denied work at any level in the Episcopal Church (USA); (b) adopt a rite for the blessing of same-sex unions, in violation of both the Book of Common Prayer and the ECUSA Constitution; and (c) refuse to act at this time on the proposed Anglican Covenant.  The deputation  issued the following statement:
Due to the actions of General Convention, the South Carolina Deputation has concluded that we cannot continue with business as usual. We all agree that we cannot and will not remain on the floor of the House and act as if all is normal. John Burwell and Lonnie Hamilton have agreed to remain at Convention to monitor further developments and by their presence demonstrate that our action is not to be construed as a departure from the Episcopal Church. Please pray for those of us who will be traveling early and for those who remain.
Bishop Mark Lawrence is also leaving the House of Bishops to return home tomorrow, after addressing the House on a point of personal privilege to explain his reasons for departing early. Other bishops report that their attempts to change his mind failed.

[UPDATE late 07/11/2012: Thanks, Alexi -- I fixed the report t show that Bishop Lawrence addressed the House of Bishops on a matter of personal privilege today, to explain to them why he could not stay at Convention.

And to round out the day in the House of Bishops, word has been received that the Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb, former bishop of my diocese, suffered a series of small strokes while at the Convention earlier today. He is in the hospital in Indianapolis, can talk and move, is stable, and is resting comfortably. He is attended by his wife, Jane, and by Bishop Barry Beisner, his successor as the diocesan in Northern California. Please include him in your prayers.]

I shall not speculate on the response(s), if any, that those in ECUSA's leadership might make to this development. (I have done that once too often, and they have always managed to equal or exceed my worst expectations.) I shall note here only that there is no Church Canon, or Constitutional provision, mandating a Diocese to participate willy-nilly in the proceedings of General Convention, or mandating a Bishop to attend sessions of the House of Bishops. 

It is evident that it is far more important to the leaders of the Diocese of South Carolina to attend to their dispirited flocks than to signal that everything remains normal, after such extraordinary and illegal moves by the Church's General Convention. Many other Bishops may not be aware of it just now, but they are going to face plenty of storms in their own dioceses after they return.

This is not like General Convention 2003, when people had to read the news about the confirmation of V. Gene Robinson to be Bishop of New Hampshire in their newspapers, and then wait until their deputations returned home to get more details. Episcopalians this time were able to follow all of the debates of General Convention on streaming video, and there is no better medium in which to perceive, at first-hand, the Church's liberal faction dominating the entire show.

In addition, many of the gays, lesbians, transsexuals and similar persons who flout their orientations in public appeared online in demonstrations, interviews and other publicity stunts designed to attract attention to their agendas, which are wrecking the Church from within while they nonetheless gleefully pursue them -- all indifferent to (or in total denial of) the external consequences.

The resulting spectacle, and its legislative products, have proved revolting to many traditional Episcopalians.

God help the Episcopal Church in the United States of America.


  1. In the last 36 hours, I have heard from 3 people I knew in my final TEC church, which I left 6 years ago. Guess what they wanted to talk about?

  2. No one is wrecking anything, Sir. Are people upset? Yes! Are they all going to raise hell with their bishops? No. Are any parishes going to see startling changes in their usual modes of operation tomorrow? No.

    I realize that ACNA loves this and hopes to use this as a lever to get more recruits, but I suspect it is not going to be as simple as they had hoped.

    The single biggest problem the SC delegation had was a lack of anything positive to contribute to the discussion on Same Gender Blessings.

    What might they have done instead? How about proposing a simple one paragraph universal blessing for use before Eucharist for all loving mature relationships focusing on the growth of both partners in Christ? Clearly NOT marriage - no rings, no vows, simply a public akcnowledgment of a thoughtful, Christ oriented relationship between two adults. SC might have found a great deal of support for it and been winners.

    I know this is hard for folks, particularly those who take a literalist read of Scripture and Tradition, but perhaps finding new ways to engage opponents is a silver lining to be found? Thoughts?

  3. The people I have all talked to and communicated with are angry at all the things being done in their name, SFitC (and on their pocketbook, too).

    Of course I could be wrong, but I believe that the coming days and weeks will prove that your attempt to say "Can't we all just get along?" will not fly in many of the smaller parishes and dioceses any more.

    Can't answer you more than that just now, but there is lots more to say. It may require a series of posts, in fact. Stay tuned!

  4. SFiC, The biggest problem is that the liberals don't want to get along. Why would liberals in various dioceses send in charges against their bishop if they were so tolerant and the mantra was "we all should just get along." So i would say you are a bit out of the loop. They don't want to get along- get it??

    We could just as easily have said to the liberals. Gees, it is real simple you are wrong see just read the bible. It is explained here and here.....

    I heard David Thurlow+ and he was extremely positive in that he explained what he believed and what the minority believed.

    Face it, you all are not Christians and definitely NOT Anglicans and should be excommunicated from the WWAC. That would be the simplest solution- face reality and go your own Unitarian way. That is the most positive way I can put it.

  5. "Iknow this is hard for folks, particularly those who take a literalist read of Scripture and Tradition, but perhaps finding new ways to engage opponents is a silver lining to be found?"

    Of course, we simpletons who are stuck in the mire of just taking a literalist interpretation of the Scripture cannot understand the higher position taken by the more intellectual, morally superior people.
    The logic expressed by the poster is something like finding a person patio, preparing to cut the legs off the family dog.
    "Stop," shouts the owner."What are you doing?"
    "Several of us want to chop your dog's legs off. He has had them too long and he needs to learn new ways."
    "Are you mad?" answers the owner.
    "Okay, okay. Let's be reasonable. Perhaps we can chop off two legs and an ear and his tail. Certainly that would be an improvement anybody could approve."
    "Look, I'm calling the police. You had better hit the road." the owner warns.
    "Oh! We are so sorry. We are the police. You are interfering in police business. You are ordered to remove yourself from this house and property, and to leave all pertinences in place. You can take a change of underwear and a toothbrush, however."

    The disingenuousness of the small farmer's argument is that if he wishes to be in a congregation where a woman could "marry" another woman, and adopt a male child to raise as a girl child, he could have easily attended the nearest Unitarian Church. But his intention is not to bridge, or find personal fulfillment, but rather to destroy something in the never ending quest to make Christianity obsolete and America as a social model a smoking ruin.

  6. "God help the Episcopal Church in the United States of America."

    And may God bless you, Mr. Haley.

  7. Um, Curmudgeon, Bishop Lawrence actually talked to the House of Bishops this afternoon. Two deputies remain behind at General Convention. I don't like assumptions but I think the rest are on their way home.

  8. I would be greatly amused and entertained to see SFiTC attempt a non-'literalist' interpretation of Matthew 5:48: "Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Or what about Psalm 119:29-31, "Your testimonies are wonderful: therefore does my soul keep them. The entrance of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for your commandments."

    I could go on and on, but I've been too long-winded lately. :-)

    I actually find that its the revisionists who demand a 'literalist' (or non-interpretive) reading of the scriptures. For example, when it comes to the 'shellfish verses' (which they always use as some sort of Ah-HA! tactic), I find that the revisionist crowd insist that I take these verses word-for-word without applying basic theology, historical knowledge, a holistic interpretation of the scriptures, or even use my brain as a thinking person. No, no...the whole 'shellfish' thing is supposed to be a conversation-ender (like the cliche 'you can't legislate morality', etc.), and when I go on after this unheeded, they look at me as if to say, "Hey, no fair. You were supposed to quit."

  9. I apologize for my poor choice of words yesterday. I did not come to gloat or be a troll. I did come here to say ALL voices are needed in God's Kingdom and that as human beings we ALL need to have the humility to see that no matter how much we like to think we have a lock on truth, we ALL fall short - myself much more than others.

    That any human being be as perfect as God, save for Jesus, is, as far as I am aware, an impossibility. And I note for Reinhardt that arguing with atheists often brings out their literalist readings of scriptures - which is

    Finally, El Gringo Viejo, most of the fundamentalists I know are anything but simpletons - and being simple is a gift as the Shakers say. That two persons want to live together within the community of the Body and want to have their commitment to one another and Christ recognized and celebrated among their peers, families and friends is not about blessing sin or destroying Christ's church (as if human beings could do that), it is about a growing family walking together...nothing more or less.

  10. 30 - 12, Reformed Person. You know what 30 - 12 is to a Texan? It's a big 10 - 4!!

    Almost every poster here writes too little. El Gringo Viejo now has a little gaggle of 10 or 12 who have to "get their fix" each evening.

    One of the few who writes too much is El Gringo Viejo himself. All Texans tend to be blowhards, it has been said.

    Ride to the sound of the 'canons'.
    El Gringo Viejo

  11. SFitC writes,

    "What might they have done instead? How about proposing a simple one paragraph universal blessing for use before Eucharist for all loving mature relationships focusing on the growth of both partners in Christ?"

    Nah, that simply won't fly. Friendship is blessed, Christian love is blessed, but THAT? Sorry, but us Bible students don't see it in there.

  12. Hey, UP! I must have missed it...where does the BCP have specific blessings for blessing friendships?


  13. By the way, Reinhardt, given Peter's vision in Acts (not to mention the insertion in Mark about the cleanliness of all foods) the whole shellfish matter is off topic...

  14. BTW, I second El Gringo Viejo's statement, "All Texans tend to be blowhards, it has been said." Howdy, from North Texas, Neighbor! LOL

  15. Alexi wrote, "Face it, you all are not Christians and definitely NOT Anglicans and should be excommunicated from the WWAC."

    It was my understanding that the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral defined Anglican Christians and I ask in humility how have I failed to support it?

    You go on to say, "...face reality and go your own Unitarian way." As I am a Trinitarian I'm afraid I'd be a poor fit for the

  16. Small,
    What is the Trinity?

    Next, explain how the homosexuality method fits into the Trinity so as to help a child understand how something so unnatural could be a Holy endowment upon humanity. Thank you!

  17. Milton,

    Some folks are Pharisaical no matter what their faith...seems to me that you're one and so are a bunch of other folks who call themselves Christians.

    If you actually gave a damn about sin you'd be more concerned about your sinning against others than about their hypothetical or actual sins - it would at least give you some credibility on the issue.

    I wish I could show you how you sound in my ears...Paul's clanging in Romans 13 has nothing on you, but it's from the same source - an absence of agape...

    God's peace and blessing upon you and yours....

  18. Well, Small, you answered my questions exactly as you needed to. Thank you for your very telling answers!