Dear St. Jude’s Parish Family,
On Monday, October 15, 2012, Bishop Mark J. Lawrence, the 14th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, was notified by the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, that on September 18, 2012 the Disciplinary Board for Bishops had certified Bishop Lawrence’s abandonment of The Episcopal Church. The charges against Bishop Lawrence were initiated by twelve laypersons and two clergy within the Diocese whose identity remains unknown to the Bishop. [Careful blog readers will know that these names are now public but they were not when this was written–KSH]
Bishop Lawrence was notified of these actions taken by the Episcopal Church between two meetings, one held on October 3 and one to be held on October 22, which Bishop Andrew Waldo of the Upper Diocese of South Carolina and Bishop Lawrence had set up with the Presiding Bishop to find a peaceful alternative to the growing issues between The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina. The meetings were to explore “creative solutions” for resolving these issues to avoid further turmoil in the Diocese and in The Episcopal Church.
This action by The Episcopal Church triggered two pre-existing corporate resolutions of the Diocese, which simultaneously disaffiliated the Diocese of South Carolina from The Episcopal Church and called a Special Diocesan Convention. That Diocesan Convention will be held at St. Philip’s Church, Charleston, on Saturday, November 17, 2012. St. Jude’s’ convention delegates and I will attend the Special Convention.
St. Jude’s held a Parish Meeting on August 1, 2012 where we discussed the real possbibility that The Episcopal Church would initiate disciplinary action against Bishop Lawrence and that, in respone, the Diocese of South Carolina would disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church. That scenario has now come to pass.
Tomorrow, (Friday, October 19, 2012) I will attend a meeting of the clergy at St. Paul’s, Summerville, where the impact of these actions on St. Jude’s and all the churches in the Diocese will be discussed. I will then meet with the Vestry on Monday evening.
These events will continue to unfold in the days ahead and the Vestry and I will keep you informed as they do.
Bishop Lawrence is the finest, godliest man I have ever had the privilege to serve under. I am sad that The Episcopal Church has chosen to act against our Diocese and Bishop Lawrence during a good faith attempt to resolve differences in a peaceful way. But, I am also hopeful and confident that the Lord will provide for St. Jude’s and the Diocese as we move forward.
Yours in Christ,
–(The Rev.) Bob Horowitz is rector of Saint Jude’s Church, Walterboro, South Carolina