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.