Steve Waring’s article in The Living Church has prompted several requests for clarification. Let me begin by saying how deeply tragic it is that trust levels are so badly damaged in this church that whether or not a diocese used this or that “form” becomes such an issue. One of my favorite Chesterton quotes is: (to paraphrase) The pessimist is not to be faulted for criticizing the world. The pessimist is to be faulted for not loving what he criticizes. Amen. I trust that none of us takes any glee or delight in finding ourselves at such a place in the life of the Episcopal Church.
It is also important I believe for me to say that neither I (nor I trust anyone in South Carolina) would have felt the need to say anything about this at all save for the fact that Mr. Beers and others had made the statement in print that South Carolina used the same “short form” as Virginia. That is verifiably not the case. What seems to be a matter of curiosity is how it came not to be the case.
We seemed to have had in our election files, as apparently did many other dioceses, the now infamous “short” form. In receiving information from Bishop Matthew’s office, he simply cautioned us to check the language very carefully, and to make sure that our language complied with the standard. His assistant, Lindy Emory very kindly sent us the correct form, which as I stated before, we simply cut and pasted into our consent request letter (I verified these details with Bishop Salmon’s assistant on Monday to insure that I remembered them correctly. She faxed me the “boiler plate” we had received from Ms. Emory and indeed, we used the correct form).
It is also extremely important for me to add that in offering advice to “keep us out of the ditch” Bishop Matthews and his staff were in every instance respectful, kind and helpful. We were grateful that they kept us from making a mistake. Why the Diocese of Virginia “didn’t get the memo” is unclear.
So on the day that Mark Lawrence was elected, the request letters, in the proper form, sat addressed and ready to go. They sat for 60 days or so while we waited for the “green light” from Canon Gerdau. The delay was in the requirement for the second psychological exam. Fr. Lawrence had to go from Bakersfield to UCLA, and the physician was painfully slow in getting the results to 815. According to Fr. Lawrence, the second exam was most cursory compared to the one done just a few weeks before, and the physician marveled that such a thing was required, given that an objective “third party” examiner in another diocese and previously employed by 815 had just completed the same test. But those were the rules and we followed them. The rest, as they say, is history.
And finally, to answer the question posed on a blog, yes, nearly all this took place during the last days of Presiding Bishop Griswold’s term in office. If my memory serves me correctly, Presiding Bishop Schori took office the same week that our consents went out. I remember this because much of the staff at 815 was absent, having gone to Washington for the ceremony.
Hope this helps clarify.
Standing Committee, South Carolina