Shelton Called as next Rector of St. John’s, Johns Island
The Rev. Jeremy Shelton has accepted a call to serve as the next Rector of St. John’s Parish Church, Johns Island. In a message to the parish Shelton wrote, “Serving here the last four years has been a tremendous blessing. Serving with Fr. Gregory Snyder has been the best learning experience of my life. Learning from and pastoring the people of St. John’s has truly been God’s calling on my life and our family. …God has called us to here, at this point in time, for His greater purposes. I am certain that God has great things in store for Johns Island. My first Sunday as rector will be July 17, 2022. This will also be the first worship service of St. John’s Parish Church to be held at Haut Gap Middle School. I can’t think of a better way to begin this ministry and life as rector.”
As we take steps in response to the recent ruling of the South Carolina Supreme Court, we ask you to keep in mind that every property, every circumstance, every congregation, every timetable is unique. We covet your prayers for our leaders, our congregations, our legal teams, and all involved as each seeks to listen for God’s direction and respond in ways that both glorify God and build up the church.
The convention elected the following individuals to serve in the diocese:
Standing Committee: The Rev. Gary Beson, the Very Rev. Peet Dickinson, Wynne Boone and Judy McMeekin
Diocesan Council: The Rev. Chance Perdue, the Rev. Matthew Rivers, Janis Brazeale and Gill Frierson
Diocesan Trustees: Alonzo Galvan
Ecclesiastical Court: The Rev. Jeremy Shelton, the Rev. Greg Smith and the Rev. Nelson Weaver, Rick Adams and Seth Whitaker
ACNA Provincial Council: The Rev. Bob Lawrence (delegate), the Rev. Tyler Prescott (alternate), John Benson and Justin Johnson (delegates), Johnny Wallace and Dave Wright (alternates)
Missions Transition to Parish Status:
Congratulations to The Well, Myrtle Beach and Holy Apostles, Barnwell
One of the highlights of the convention was the welcoming of two missions which transitioned to parish status: The Well, Myrtle Beach and Holy Apostles, Barnwell. The clergy and representatives of the two churches received a standing ovation for their new status.
Do you have any final thoughts on the state of the Church? State of the diocese?
I would say that if we prevail, if the parishes prevail in this lawsuit, I think there will be an explosiveness of energy that we’re capable of experiencing. I think it can unleash a great season of missional and ministry ventures that has been put on hold. And along with that, we’ve been on hold because of COVID so most people don’t know where they will be on the far side of that.
If you had one book, not the Bible, you think every person, laity and clergy read, what would it be?
One book? I’m not sure I think in those terms. But if I could only have three books for the rest of my life in addition to the Bible, I’d say a good Introduction to the Old Testament, an Introduction to the New Testament and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. I would hope everyone could read The Confessions of St. Augustine before they die, but I’m not going to say that I want everyone to read that.
What’s the hardest thing about being the bishop?
For me, the hardest thing about being a bishop is not being rooted in a congregation.
You see, there are different styles of teaching and preaching. The kind of teaching I like best is expository teaching through the Bible or a book of the Bible, teaching a sequential class in a congregation on theology, basic Christian theology, or teaching a class on the history of the Church in England or history of the Anglican Church.
The laity are now more confident in expressing their faith, and there is “strong evidence” of a change in culture, according to a progress report on the implementation of recommendations made five years ago.
In a debate in the General Synod on Wednesday afternoon, members told stories of encouraging initiatives from around the country before voting overwhelmingly to take note of the report.
Introducing the progress report, the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, said that the implementation of the Setting God’s People Free initiative, commissioned by the Archbishops’ Council and presented to the Synod in February 2017 (News, 27 January 2017), had helped the whole Church to focus on its identity. Every baptised Christian was a unique follower of Christ, irrespective of their background, ability, or age, she said: “It is about who we are.” Nor was it simply about greater social action. “That’s really important, but only part of it.”
After a short film telling stories of what faith meant to a handful of Christians in different contexts around the country, Dr Nick Shepherd, the project director spoke. The aim of Setting God’s People Free was better enabling the whole people of God to live out their faith, he said; and this was becoming “a firmer reality”.
“I want to encourage members of Synod: this works. It doesn’t cost anything. Anyone can use it. And it is as encouraging to the encouragers as for those coming for the process. The important dynamic of being called and sent is central to the model.” https://t.co/HRguMLLpsc
Incarnate God, who didst grant the grace of eloquence unto thy servant Dorothy to defend thy truth unto a distressed church, and to proclaim the importance of Christian principles for the world; grant unto us thy same grace that, aided by her prayers and example, we too may have the passionate conviction to teach right doctrine and to teach doctrine rightly; We ask this in thy name, who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever.
The Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) has published material intended to initiate conversations about “issues of culture, power and abuse” within its constituency.
The materials, published on Wednesday, are “designed to help Evangelical churches review, repent and reshape their cultures on the back of the recent Thirtyone:eight independent reviews into two prominent Evangelical churches and their leaders”, a press release says.
The reviews to which it refers are those of Emmanuel Proprietary Chapel, Ridgway, in Wimbledon and the Revd Jonathan Fletcher (News, 26 March), and the Crowded House, a non-denominational Evangelical church in Sheffield, at which “some instances of emotional and/or psychological abuse took place as a result of persistent coercive and controlling behaviour”.
The resources include an introductory film and a “liturgy of lament” for churches to use. There is also a booklet, Church Cultures Review Questions, which contains more than 100 questions for churches.
The resources include an introductory film and a “liturgy of lament” for churches to use. There is also a booklet, Church Cultures Review Questions, which contains more than 100 questions for churches.https://t.co/geCD1RMfdj
I’m pleased to tell you that the Very Rev. Chip Edgar was elected Bishop Coadjutor of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina today during a special Electing Convention held at Christ Church in Mt. Pleasant. Pending approval by the Anglican Church in North America’s College of Bishops, who will meet in January 2022, Reverend Edgar will be in line to succeed Bishop Mark Lawrence who has served as the Diocesan Bishop since January of 2008.
You can read the official announcement from the Diocese HERE.
While it stings a bit that I was not selected, I’m thrilled that I will continue with my beloved Holy Cross. It is a joy and honor to be your Rector and I’m very hopeful about what’s ahead for us. The best is surely yet to come.
Given that this has been a long and taxing process, I’m excited to say that Catherine and I will be taking a few days vacation to recoup and pray. When we return, we’ll continue making disciples who make disciples of others.
–The Rev. Chris Warner is rector, Holy Cross, Sullivan’s Island, SC
Earlier this month, Archbishop Beach announced that, at the request of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest, the Province would undertake oversight of the independent investigation into allegations of abuse within the diocese, ensure that pastoral care for survivors is offered, and conduct a review of diocesan structures and processes. Below are some recent developments in that unfolding situation:
Executive Committee expresses sorrow, calls for prayer, and approves formation of Provincial Response Team
Meeting on Monday, July 26, 2021 the Executive Committee of the Anglican Church in North America responded to the concerns raised by survivors of abuse in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest. The members of the Committee expressed “deep sorrow for all survivors who have suffered harm and pain as a result of abuse and/or misconduct and for their families and loved ones,” approved the formation of a Provincial Response Team, and called for “prayer for healing and justice for all affected by this tragic situation, for wisdom for those dealing with it, and for a spirit of grace, humility, and repentance throughout our Church.”
The Executive Committee is the Anglican Church in North America’s Board of Directors and is made up of clergy and laity elected from across the Province. Read more from the Executive Committee here.
Archbishop Beach appoints Bishops Miller and Atkinson to assist Diocese
Safeguarding Sunday, will be introduced to churches nationally, a new initiative aiming to raise the profile of safeguarding.
The Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs, gave a Safeguarding update to Synod.
Dr Gibbs, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, told Synod the church is “entering a season of action” in which “there is far more to be done.”
“Our aim is to help people see safeguarding as an integral part of the mission of the church,” he said.
“Safeguarding is partly about stopping bad things happening and about how we respond when they do, but it is also about enabling our churches to become places where people are enabled to flourish and grow into the fullness of life that God intends for us all.”
The Wedding Dress; And Why I Tithe….
By Susan Clarkson Keller, St. Philip’s Church, Charleston
I began tithing sometime after college, when I began my first job. Despite being a young believer, I understood that tithing was a way to show God how much I trusted Him to provide for me.
Then a speaker came to St. Philip’s in the mid-1980s, whose message greatly impacted my thinking about giving. I was challenged not only to tithe, but to see everything I had as God’s and to realize what a blessing it would be to give more and more to the work of the Kingdom, in and out of the church. I decided then to start tithing my gross income… which was a big step for me. Since that time, I have experienced the faithfulness of God in providing for me in some truly remarkable ways….
So I took a risk, and said, gently, “Imagine eternity from God’s point of view. Imagine God having all that love pent up like you have right now. But the difference is, God’s got that love all pent up potentially forever. God’s like you. God’s thinking, ‘Where’s my love to go?’ So God creates the universe. But God’s got still more love to give. So God creates life, and makes humanity, and calls a special people. But that’s still not enough. God’s got yet more love to give. So God comes among us as a tiny baby. God’s question ‘Where is my love to go?’ is perhaps the most important one of all time. Half the answer is the creation of the universe. The other half is the incarnation. On Christmas Day we find out why the universe was created. It was created for us to be the place where God’s love could go.”
In case I hadn’t made myself clear, I added one more suggestion. “So when you ask yourself, ‘Where’s my love to go?’ you’re getting an insight into the very heart of God.”
The pandemic has been about many things, but one above all: powerlessness. It’s been an intensification of life’s fragilities and limitations. We’ve felt fearful, lonely, and disappointed. Where is our love to go? We’ve not been getting an easy answer to this question. We’re getting something else instead: the discovery of what it’s like to be God, who asked the same question and came among us to complete the answer. What the pandemic’s given us is an opportunity to dwell in the very heart of God.
(CC) Samuel Wells on 1 man's question in 1 group on one particular day https://t.co/58bsAiN9HU (CC BY-SA 3.0 Duke Chapel) '“Love,” I said. “It’s all abt love..Don’t talk to me about love…How’s that supposed 2 relate to me?“ Where’s my love to go now?..Tell me That"' #theologypic.twitter.com/eVrZmTiz9p
The Pandemic—what an inspiring video clip put together by our staff and folks from St. Helena’s documenting how our churches have continued to minister during what has seemed like a Kafkaesque dream for some of us. Our churches without exception have found ways to minister with creativity and care. Ordinations, confirmations, baptisms, marriages, funerals have continued often by exercising a remarkable resourcefulness: Zach Miller ordained in his family’s back lawn on Johns Island, Chip Bateson at a drive in style service at Resurrection, Surfside and Bill Clarkson under a tent in the parking lot of St. Matthew’s Fort Motte. The work of the gospel and the ministry of the Church has gone on. We have seen small congregations have a big reach, and local churches minister globally in ways rarely seen before. I showed up recently for visitations at congregations even as small as Advent, Marion and they all have their I-Phones there to broadcast the service and sermon online. Congregations in the Pee Dee have not only reached their members with inspiring and sustaining worship through praise, word, and sacrament, but in many cases, they have a growing “virtual congregation” faithfully viewing their worship from as far away as Virginia, California and the U.K. Those in the Beaufort deanery have told me of viewers in Sweden and Tanzania. Our rectors and vicars have people from across the country who now consider them and even refer to them as their pastor. Just yesterday, I was talking to one of our priests who told me that he has people throughout the southeast joining in on a bible study that he offers virtually. Several are members of other churches but they now call him “my pastor.” I asked him, “What are their churches doing?” He said, “I don’t know.” I told him, “Over and over I hear this story all over the diocese.” Many offer virtual services of Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline as part of the rhythm of their lives—the rhythms of grace for their isolated members. Our larger congregations have invested in developing or upgrading their capacity to live stream or professionally record their worship services. In some cases tailoring these services primarily for those who partake only in home worship. While our smallest congregations have found ways to offer high pastoral touch in this low touch world. I want to pause in the midst of this convention to celebrate our clergy—rectors, vicars, assisting priests, and deacons and their lay members for your extraordinary ministry during these extraordinary times! Not only that but for how you have helped and learned from one another building up the body of Christ. I have thought for years that we are a remarkably unique place in the Anglican world. For years, we had visitors coming to Charleston for our Mere Anglican Conferences and various offerings. I pray that we shall have that once again. But for now, we are broadcasting via the internet and social media the vibrancy of the life in Christ among our congregations both great and small through worship and word in ways many of us never imagined. While I am offering kudos, I don’t want to forget what Bob Lawrence and his staff have accomplished in keeping St. Christopher in the game, or the Men’s Ministry with their zoom Summit, and the Anglican Women with their fall retreat. Well done good and faithful servants!
With that said and celebrated, I want to sound a word of concern. Chalk it up, if you must, to the world view of a septuagenarian, a curmudgeon with an Anglican bent, born in the exact middle of the past century, the son of a WWII vet and survivors of the Great Depression, who himself remembers all too well the cold war, and who as a young man took graduate courses in Marx and Soviet Thought. As I said, I feel at times that I am living through a Kafkaesque dream, concerned about things many others are not. We have entered a masked, isolated, atomistic world controlled or at least being shaped by that, which is erasing, deleting, unfriending, or cancelling a culture that once shaped our understanding of self and society. Certainly all the once was was not good; not every handshake, kiss or hug came from heartfelt conviction; and not every Easter or Christmas worship was glorious and resounding; but they were formative, and shaped earlier generations. Now, from what I have seen more of our older members have returned to in-person worship in numbers greater than the young. Generation Z those born after 1998 according to reliable research is the most unchurched generation in American history. These are their formative and perhaps in many ways their defining years. The axiom we have used in the past of “Every Congregation Engaging Every Generation” has never been more challenging nor more critical than it is today. There are few sustaining replacements for family life and lively worship in the midst of the family of God made up of “all sorts and conditions of men.” These need not be in large gatherings; yet as our Lord revealed to his first followers and was (at the risk of their lives) the irrefutable experience of the early church; it does need to be incarnational. There is much that I would like to say about this but now is not the time; I shall save it for my upcoming gatherings with the clergy. Just know I will shortly be assembling a team to consider updated guidance regarding how we chart the course to whatever normalcy may lie ahead.
Stewardship—I mentioned in my last address the need for us to strengthen our practice and teaching on stewardship at every level throughout the diocese—to parishioners, congregations, and diocesan initiatives. I have been encouraged by how many have stepped up. Our parishioners continue their generosity and giving to their congregations, our parishes and missions have to our diocesan work as well—even increasing in several cases. Stewardship, to paraphrase Henri Nouwen, is always a call to conversion. “And this call comes to those who seek funds and to those who have funds.” It is, as Nouwen says, a form of ministry, “…a way of announcing our vision and inviting other people into our mission. Vision and mission are central to life of God’s people … and give us courage when we might want to remain silent.” We in the Church need to overcome our reluctance to ask for the resources to carry out our God given vision and mission for the kingdom of God. Yet if we ourselves are not practicing it, it becomes the place where conscience doth makes cowards of us all.
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In considering what he owes his successor, the Bishop outlined his plans for meeting with, “shoring up and strengthening” the diocesan staff and leaders of Diocesan ministries; the Diocesan Council; those who oversee the discernment, call and training for ordained ministry; and the Deans and Standing Committee.
Before reflecting on what he owed the Diocese, the Bishop praised the clergy and the congregations for how they had pressed on despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, celebrating the many ways “creativity has abounded, and the work and ministry of the churches have gone on.”
“I want to pause in this convention to celebrate our clergy – rectors, vicars, assisting priests and deacons and their lay member for your extraordinary ministry during these extraordinary times!” he said. “Not only that but for how you have helped and learned from one another building up the body of Christ. … Well done good and faithful servants.”
He did express a word of caution noting “more of our older members have returned to in-person worship in numbers greater than the young.” “Generation Z those born after 1998 according to reliable research is the most unchurched generation in American history. These are their formative and perhaps in many ways their defining years.” The Bishop stressed that though we need not meet in large gatherings the church “does need to be incarnational.” He will be assembling a team to consider updating guidance regarding the way forward.
While thousands of South Carolinians who are newly eligible for the coronavirus vaccine struggle to get an appointment, a Charleston church and pharmacy found a way to immunize members of their East Side community on a walk-in basis.
They were regular attendees and people who’d never before seen the inside of Ebenezer AME Chruch’s education building, Nassau Street neighbors and suburb residents who crossed rivers get to the event. But they hoped, by the end of the day, to have one thing in common: a Johnson & Johnson vaccine in their arms.
In a three-hour sprint on March 13, Ebenezer AME and Focus: Meds Pharmacy & Wellness hoped to vaccinate as many people as possible, Rev. William Swinton Jr. said. As part of the strategy, they decided to make the event a first-come, first-served, avoiding the online registration process that’s befuddled many South Carolinians in Phase 1B.
St. Michael’s Launches PODZ: Parish Outreach Dedicated by Zip Code
The COVID-19 outbreak presented all leaders with far more than a problem to solve. It gave us a dilemma. You can’t really “solve” a dilemma but you can flip it. Bob Johansen, author of Leaders Make the Future defines dilemma flipping as reframing an unsolvable challenge as an opportunity. At St. Michael’s we reframed the COVID challenge with an opportunity for PODZ – Parish Outreach Dedicated by Zip Code.
On June 19, 2020, Judge Edgar Dickson issued a ruling interpreting the 2017 S.C. Supreme Court decision with its five separate opinions. Integral to that interpretation was his determination that the Episcopal Church had no trust interest in the Diocesan properties or those of its parishes. TEC and TECSC have appealed that interpretation, and the Supreme Court has once again taken jurisdiction of the case. On November 12, TEC and TECSC filed their initial brief, presenting their legal arguments for vacating Judge Dickson’s determinations. Last Friday (February 12, 2021), legal counsel for The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina filed our respondent’s brief, in support of Judge Dickson’s ruling.
Counsel for TEC and TECSC will now make a final reply to our arguments. The case will then be wholly in the hands of the Supreme Court. God has providentially brought us to this place, for which we should give thanks. Please keep the Supreme Court and its justices in your prayers as they deliberate our case, that God will be glorified in the outcome and His Church be blessed.
With hardly a week going by with one of our clergy and or parish staff not having been exposed to someone with Covid-19 therein necessitating the cancellation of Sunday services and even Christmas Eve services, and with cases in many parts of the diocese still numerous or on the rise, we have made the decision for our spring 2021 Diocesan Convention to be held virtually. This gives our diocesan staff and your elected delegates not only clarity but time to make needed plans. While this is disappointing to our diocesan team and to me, we realize that to postpone the decision another month to see if the environment changes for the better only puts a greater burden on all to adequately coordinate and execute an effective online meeting. Therefore, this year’s Diocesan Convention on March will again be held online enabling not only broader participation from our congregations but also assuring all of greater safety and peace.
Bishop Lawrence’s Annual Visitation schedule has just been released. In order to allow time for the Bishop Coadjutor’s selection, election and consecration, the calendar has been extended through the first of March 2022.
In lieu of this year’s cancelled Clergy Conference—Bishop Lawrence held two smaller gatherings October 19-21, the first held for Rectors and the second hosting Vicars, Associates & Deacons. The theme of the retreats was “Seeing Covid-19 as a Season of Exile.” The brief gatherings included teachings from Jeremiah—his life and writings and from insights gleaned from Eugene Peterson’s book, Run With the Horses: The Quest for Life at its Best, small group discussions, fellowship, and personal time for reflection on the call of God.
Some of the questions they considered included:
1. How has Covid-19 been for you, your family, or your congregation?
2. How is your congregation adapting to this exilic environment?
3. Where are you in need of such a renewal and new commitment now?
4. What has God appointed you to do or be—to what work has he given you now?
5. When Jeremiah bought the field at Anathoth he was buying into God’s promise. During this time of Covid-19 and social unrest how is God calling you to buy into what you believe?
“It was time well spent!” said the Rev. Karl Burns, Rector of Church of Our Saviour, Johns Island, “The Bishop’s teaching from Jeremiah was relevant and it was just good to be with my fellow rectors in a relaxed environment. Just to be able to sit and share in the atmosphere of where we are was very good.”
THE PALMS PROJECT is an album of worship songs we (former camp staff) chose to reflect the last decade of worship at St. Christopher. It was recorded in the Chapel of the Palms in hopes of capturing the sonic qualities that make us all feel so at home. The microphones, set up around the room really capture the worship experience. Sadly, there was not a room full of campers to join in that worship and the chapel yearned for their chorus. We worked hard with the time and resources available. We hope you can find joy and peace in this album!