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Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina Calls for a Day of Prayer+Fasting on August 30

To this end, I also want to give you an update on where things are within the Diocese of South Carolina. Since I last wrote regarding the recent South Carolina Supreme Court ruling I have met with the Standing Committee and our lead counsel, and, as perhaps you have already heard, we have decided to seek a rehearing from the state court. The filing for rehearing is due on September 1, 2017. Subsequent to this filing, it is assumed The Episcopal Church and its local diocese will then be granted time by the court to respond to our filing. So I want to remind you that this litigation is not over. There are several options for us to pursue and we shall consider them prayerfully and strategically. Please keep our legal team in your daily prayers. Their work is as demanding as it is vital.

Earlier in August our lead counsel, Mr. Alan Runyan, and I met with all the clergy of the diocese at a Special Clergy Day at St. Paul’s, Summerville; then, this last week Canon Lewis and I met with the active priests in each of our six deaneries for in-depth conversations. Your priests are aware of various possibilities and are key resources for you in understanding where we presently stand. But know they also face many challenges. Some of these rectors and vicars (and their spouses and children) live in church housing, as do Allison and I. Many that do not live in rectories are making payments on mortgages. So too, are the lay staff in our congregations and diocese. Some of our congregations are in the midst of capital campaigns or hold debt on their buildings. Frankly, each congregation of the diocese is in a distinct position regarding how this ruling may or may not affect their common life and future. While this is also the case for each rector, vicar or assistant, I have been amazed at the remarkable resilience of our clergy as they face the uncertainty of the future.

Certainly, this ruling has the potential to disrupt their lives and ministry, as well as the ministry and mission of the congregation they serve. Most face questions regarding whether they will lose their church buildings. Yet in the face of these challenges, they have been almost to a person stalwart, steadfast and trusting of God, even as they prayerfully explore the various options before them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Spirituality/Prayer

A Message from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina

August 7, 2017

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina, having met together with our bishop, The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, in Charleston this day, sends to all of our brothers and sisters of the diocese our love and our greetings in the name of Jesus Christ. We are so profoundly thankful for all who have fasted and prayed for our diocese and our Standing Committee during the past week from across South Carolina, throughout the Anglican Church in North America, and among all the faithful in global Anglicanism.

We have spent this time together in prayer and discussion regarding the decision by the South Carolina Supreme Court last Wednesday. In light of the conflicting opinions issued by the court, we met with the legal counsel for our diocese and have approved a strategy on how we go forward seeking clarity. We want you to know this: the legal process continues. We will be filing a motion for a rehearing from the Supreme Court, the deadline for which is September 1st. We are convinced there are compelling reasons to make this motion. There will be other avenues along with and following that action.

Finally, while we cannot tell you what tomorrow brings, we want to reiterate three things that you already know. First, again, the legal process continues. Second, we are stronger together. Third, we will continue in all circumstances our God-given mandate of making biblical Anglicans for a global age. Know that we love you, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and that we remain,

Yours in Christ Jesus,

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina

The Rev. David Thurlow, President
The Very Rev. Craige Borrett
The Rev. Karl Burns, Vice-President
The Very Rev. Peet Dickinson
The Rev. David Dubay
The Rev. Marcus Kaiser
Mr. Alonso Galvan
Mr. Gerry Graves
Mrs. Susan McDuffie, Secretary
Mr. Foster Smith
Mrs. Anne Walton
Absent:
Mr. Brandt Shelbourne

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

South Carolina Bishop Lawrence Writes his Diocese Following the recent Supreme Court Ruling

Today, thousands of Christians around the world are holding you, the congregations of the diocese, as well as our clergy and bishop in prayer. Even more specifically, yesterday Anglicans on this continent were lifting us in constant prayer. As you may know, we recently voted as a diocese to affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America, and this summer their Provincial Assembly joyfully received us as full members therein. What a comfort it is to know that our Archbishop, the Most Reverend Foley Beach, asked the bishops, clergy and laity of the ACNA to pray and fast yesterday on our behalf.

Many of those praying and fasting have in the past walked away from their church buildings, buildings they built and maintained, and in some cases, where their families worshiped for centuries. Some left by choice; others after years of litigation. I do not mention the latter, however, as if the legal issues in our case are fully resolved. They most certainly are not, though they are clearly challenging. Rather, I want you to know the sort of Christians who are praying for us; and while holding us in prayer, many are fasting. They have paid a price to follow their Lord. We are part of a provincial body of Anglican Christians and they are walking this hard road with us. Their fellowship at such a time is greatly comforting to me and I hope it is for you.

I also want to tell you what our next steps are. First, this Monday, August 7, the Standing Committee and I will meet with our lead legal counsel, Mr. Alan Runyan. I assure you that our legal team is looking at the various options before us. Second, this Wednesday I will meet with the deans of the various diocesan deaneries, and that afternoon, Mr. Runyan, Canon Lewis and I will meet with all the clergy of the diocese. Please keep us in your prayers. Many important decisions are before us and we want to be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ and walk in step with the Holy Spirit.

Read it all (his emphasis).

Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

AS Haley–Massive Conflict of Interest Taints South Carolina State Supreme Court Ruling

In her concurring opinion, Justice Hearn went out of her way to castigate Bishop Lawrence and the role he played as chief pastor of his Diocese — ecclesiastical matters which, as her colleagues pointed out, had no business being addressed in a secular judicial opinion. In doing so, she only advanced, and acted as a spokesperson in black robes for, the sectarian interests of the Episcopal Forum to which she still (presumably — the organization no longer publishes the names of its members) belongs. At the same time, she contradicted her own precept that South Carolina courts should stay out of Episcopal Church matters and defer to its “ecclesiastical determinations.”

Further, according to the minutes, Justice Hearn’s husband, George, was one of the duly designated delegates to the special convention of ECSC called in January 2013 by ECUSA’s Presiding Bishop to replace Bishop Lawrence. That convention elected Charles G. vonRosenberg as Provisional Bishop of ECSC, who promptly brought suit against Bishop Lawrence in federal court and countersued in the State court action — eventually seeking the recovery of all the properties of each of the 36 separate parishes involved in that litigation. George Hearn also was a deputy to the first regular convention of ECSC held in March 2013.

One would think that Justice Hearn, given her membership in the organization that initiated the disciplinary proceedings against Bishop Lawrence, and given her husband’s role in enabling the litigation now before her, might have considered recusing herself from the 2015 appeal by her own diocese (ECSC) and church (ECUSA) to her Court, which placed directly at issue the actions of Bishop Lawrence and his Diocese that removed them from ECUSA. But one would be wrong. She not only stayed on the case, but she displayed a disgraceful bias in her own church’s favor during the oral arguments in September 2015.

Fast forward now to the current year. The appeal by Justice Hearn’s church and diocese has been languishing for 15 months because the five justices have been unable to form a consensus on how to resolve it, and are still circulating draft opinions. At some point in the process (perhaps just a few months ago, or perhaps it was right after the oral argument in September 2015), it has become clear that there are two votes (Acting Justice Pleicones, and, naturally, Justice Hearn herself) to apply ECUSA’s Dennis Canon full bore to the withdrawn parishes.

Read it carefull and read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

Diocese of SC Statement the recent South Carolina Supreme Court Ruling

A sharply divided court reverses portions of the lower court ruling

COLUMBIA, S.C. (August 2, 2017) – In a 77 page opinion, the South Carolina Supreme Court today reversed portions of an earlier lower court ruling. In February 2015, circuit court Judge Diane Goodstein ruled that the Diocese of South Carolina, its trustees and the 50 parishes — representing 80 percent of the members — that disassociated with the Diocese successfully withdrew from The Episcopal Church (TEC) in 2012, taking all their property, including churches, symbols and other assets. The ruling was the result of a three-week trial in 2014.

That court found that “the Constitution and Canons of TEC have no provision which states that a member diocese cannot voluntarily withdraw its membership.” This ruling found that had there been such a provision, it would have violated the diocese’s “constitutionally protected right” to freedom of association. “With the freedom to associate goes its corollary, the freedom to disassociate,” Judge Goodstein wrote.

In a complicated ruling consisting of five separate opinions, the S.C. Supreme Court today ruled that parishes which had “acceded” to the national church’s ‘Dennis canon’ are subject to a trust interest on their property by the denomination. Eight congregations that had not so acceded were judged to have full rights to retain their property.

The dissenting justices expressed concern regarding the long term implications of this decision. Former Chief Justice Jean Toal stated that the court should have relied on “over three hundred years of settled trust and property law… I believe the effect of the majority’s decision is to strip a title owner of its property…” on the basis of actions that do not create a trust interest under South Carolina law. In concurring with Justice Toal, Justice Kittredge observed of other church properties where there is affiliation with a national organization, based on this ruling, “if you think your property ownership is secure, think again.”

This current litigation became necessary when TEC attempted to wrongly remove Bishop Lawrence, and the Diocese, in response, elected to disassociate from TEC. At that time a small group of TEC loyalists who had been preparing for this attempted removal began an intentional campaign of using the Diocesan Seal and other service marks of the Diocese. They began to function as if they were the Diocese of South Carolina. To maintain its identity required that the Diocese defend that identity.

Lead counsel for the Diocese, Alan Runyan, said the lead opinion and concurring’s decision is inconsistent with South Carolina and long-standing United States Supreme Court precedent involving church property disputes. Legal counsel continues to review a lengthy and complicated ruling comprised of five separate opinions.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

South Carolina Supreme Court on Diocese of South Carolina/TEC Diocese in SC Dispute Ruling is Out

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(The Star) A profile of the new Bishop of Sheffield, Pete Wilcox

Bishop Pete grew up in India, where his father was a missionary. Aged 13, he had already set his sights on becoming a priest, and after studying modern history at Durham took the necessary training in Cambridge.

Ordained in 1987, he completed his first stints as a curate and vicar in the North East – he’s a staunch Newcastle United supporter – before postings in the West Midlands led to the Liverpool job.

“I came from a believing household. I can pinpoint the moment I was converted, at 12 or 13, but before that faith was just the wallpaper.”

He could easily have balked at the prospect of following his father into the church, he agrees.

“Sometimes it works the other way. If your dad wears a dog collar it’s the easiest thing to rebel against.”

Read it all.

Posted in Books, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Marriage & Family

Brian McGreevy to join St. Philip’s, Charleston, South Carolina staff in a full-time capacity

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Food for Thought from CS Lewis–‘A sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about his digestion’

As long as we are thinking only of natural values we must say that the sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal, or two friends talking over a pint of beer, or a man alone reading a book that interests him; and that all economies, politics, laws, armies, and institutions, save insofar as they prolong and multiply such scenes, are a mere ploughing the sand and sowing the ocean, a meaningless vanity and vexation of spirit. Collective activities are, of course, necessary, but this is the end to which they are necessary. Great sacrifices of this private happiness by those who have it may be necessary in order that it may be more widely distributed. All may have have to be a little hungry in order that none may starve. But do not let us mistake necessary evils for good. The mistake is easily made. Fruit has to be tinned if it is to be transported and has to lose thereby some of its good qualities. But one meets people who have learned actually to prefer the tinned fruit to the fresh. A sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about his digestion; to ignore the subject may be fatal cowardice for the one as for the other. But if either comes to regard it as the natural food of the mind – if either forgets that we think of such things only in order to be able to think of something else – then what was undertaken for the sake of health has become itself a new and deadly disease. There is, in fact, a fatal tendency in all human activities for the means to encroach upon the very ends which they were intended to serve

–CS Lewis the Weight of Glory (New York: HarperOne, 1980 ed. of 1949 original), p. 163 (emphasis mine)

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Martin de Porres+Rosa de Lima

Merciful God, who didst send thy Gospel to the people of Peru through Martin de Porres, who brought its comfort even to slaves; and through Rosa de Lima, who worked among the poorest of the poor; Help us to follow their example in bringing fearlessly the comfort of thy grace to all downtrodden and outcast people, that thy Church may be renewed with songs of salvation and praise; through Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Peru, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Ignatius of Loyola

Teach us, good Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labour and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do Thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Jesus said to them, “Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?

–Mark 12:24

Posted in Theology: Scripture, Uncategorized

(Economist) Women alone are driving a recovery in workforce participation in the USA Economy

If there were a list of common complaints about America’s economy, the fact that too few people work would be near the top. Though unemployment is low—only 4.3% in July—the figure does not include those who are jobless either by choice, or because they have given up looking for work. The proportion of those aged between 25 and 54 in work is 79%—lower than in France, where the unemployment rate is more than twice as high. So it is a relief that over the past two years, as the labour market has improved, Americans aged 25 to 54 (prime-age, in the jargon) have been joining the labour force in greater numbers. What is remarkable, however, is that this turnaround has been driven almost entirely by women.

When people think about America’s hidden reserves of labour, they usually point to prime-age men, who have participated in the labour market at ever-lower rates since the 1960s. Things have been particularly bad for less educated men, who have suffered as technological progress and trade have killed off manufacturing jobs. More than one in five prime-age men with a high-school diploma does not work, compared with fewer than one in 11 men with a bachelor’s degree….the top end of the labour market is increasingly promising for women. Even in 2010, America’s working women were about as likely to be managers as men; elsewhere, they were only half as likely. They were also more likely than men to be professionals. Women are now a majority among new college graduates, make up more than half of law students, and are equally represented among freshmen at medical schools. Women in their late 20s and early 30s are responsible for nearly 40% of labour-force growth since prime-age participation bottomed out in August 2015.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology, Women

(Telegraph) Marijuana company buys entire California town for ‘hospitality destination’

One of the largest marijuana companies in the US has bought a California desert town, promising to turn it into a “cannabis-friendly hospitality destination.”

American Green Inc. said it is buying all 80 acres of Nipton, which includes its Old West-style hotel, a handful of houses, an RV park and a coffee shop.

The town’s current owner, Roxanne Lang, said the sale is still in escrow, but confirmed American Green is the buyer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Rural/Town Life

(Atlantic) Jean Twenge–Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

In the early 1970s, the photographer Bill Yates shot a series of portraits at the Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink in Tampa, Florida. In one, a shirtless teen stands with a large bottle of peppermint schnapps stuck in the waistband of his jeans. In another, a boy who looks no older than 12 poses with a cigarette in his mouth. The rink was a place where kids could get away from their parents and inhabit a world of their own, a world where they could drink, smoke, and make out in the backs of their cars. In stark black-and-white, the adolescent Boomers gaze at Yates’s camera with the self-confidence born of making your own choices—even if, perhaps especially if, your parents wouldn’t think they were the right ones.

Fifteen years later, during my own teenage years as a member of Generation X, smoking had lost some of its romance, but independence was definitely still in. My friends and I plotted to get our driver’s license as soon as we could, making DMV appointments for the day we turned 16 and using our newfound freedom to escape the confines of our suburban neighborhood. Asked by our parents, “When will you be home?,” we replied, “When do I have to be?”

But the allure of independence, so powerful to previous generations, holds less sway over today’s teens, who are less likely to leave the house without their parents. The shift is stunning: 12th-graders in 2015 were going out less often than eighth-graders did as recently as 2009.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth

(NYT) In Ukraine, Could a Malware Expert Blow the Whistle on Russian Hacking?

The hacker, known only by his online alias “Profexer,” kept a low profile. He wrote computer code alone in an apartment and quietly sold his handiwork on the anonymous portion of the internet known as the dark web. Last winter, he suddenly went dark entirely.

Profexer’s posts, already accessible only to a small band of fellow hackers and cybercriminals looking for software tips, blinked out in January — just days after American intelligence agencies publicly identified a program he had written as one tool used in Russian hacking in the United States. American intelligence agencies have determined Russian hackers were behind the electronic break-in of the Democratic National Committee.

But while Profexer’s online persona vanished, a flesh-and-blood person has emerged: a fearful man who the Ukrainian police said turned himself in early this year, and has now become a witness for the F.B.I.

“I don’t know what will happen,” he wrote in one of his last messages posted on a restricted-access website before going to the police. “It won’t be pleasant. But I’m still alive.”

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Europe, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government, Ukraine

(Christian Today) Terror experts, politicians and church leaders to debate religious unity in UK cities

Senior politicians, terror experts and Christian leaders will come together for a major two-day conference discussing religious unity in British cities.

The shock of Brexit and the horror of terrorist attacks on London and Manchester have highlighted the need for Christians to take a leading role in transforming UK towns, said event organiser Roger Sutton.

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Posted in Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

([London] Times) Twitter will leave young illiterate, says prominent novelist Howard Jacobson

A Booker prize-winning novelist has warned that children will be illiterate within a generation, because of the devastating impact of Twitter.

Howard Jacobson said that the combination of social media and smartphones had changed the nature of communication so completely that even he — a man who once liked nothing better than to curl up with “300 densely packed pages” of a late Henry James novel — now craved interruption.

Within 20 years, “we will have children who can’t read, who don’t want to read”, he said. “I can’t read any more as much as I used to. My concentration has been shot by this bloody screen. I can’t do it now — I want space, I want white pages, light behind the page.”

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Children, Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth, Theology

(PA) C of E Bishops call for new approach from Government over benefits freeze

Bishops have called on the Government to urgently review its benefits freeze after a “deeply disturbing” report found poor working parents did not have the cash needed to look after children.

Low paid families are taking a “double hit” because earnings are failing to keep up with inflation and many welfare payments have been frozen, the Bishop of Gloucester said.

The struggles faced by parents on the national living wage have been laid out in a report by Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

Families working full time are 13% or £59 a week short of the amount needed to provide their children with a minimum standard of living, according to the report.

The Cost Of A Child 2017 found the shortfall for lone and out-of-work of parents was even starker.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General

Lowcountry South Carolina Solar Eclipse Coverage from the Local Paper

Read and look through it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Photos/Photography, Science & Technology