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.

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