TEC Diocese of Upper South Carolina to allow for Same Sex Blessings Under Certain Conditions

Read the whole letter to Christ Church Episcopal, Greenville here. It is interesting that given a choice the rector of the largest parish in the diocese will not allow such blessings in the parish in which he serves.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

39 comments on “TEC Diocese of Upper South Carolina to allow for Same Sex Blessings Under Certain Conditions

  1. Sarah1 says:

    For those who won’t be staying in the Diocese post-formal permission, and who will be looking for churches, it would certainly be nice if a stable, functional, healthy, sane diocese like the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina would extend mission outreaches within TEC dioceses who have bishops who don’t believe the Gospel and are avidly promoting heresy.

    Otherwise you have more people leaving TEC for non-Anglican churches — which is just sad.

  2. Sarah1 says:

    I should add that nobody informed is surprised over Bishop Waldo’s intrinsically-dividing decision, despite the clever little nine month delay to avoid the annual stewardship time right after post-General Convention, and all the pious verbiage about “unity” which, being translated, means “I want to be able to affirm and bless gay sex and I want everybody who disagrees with that stance to be unified with me.”

    I do what I want to do — and the 3/4 revisionists of the clergy in the diocese get to do what they want to do — but there should be no consequences to the diocese.

    A nice idea, if one can get it. ; > )

  3. Ralph says:

    I’m surprised it’s taken this long for him to get around to it. There was never any doubt. I wonder if he will authorize the full demonic ritual, or the abbreviated one that Georgia has.

    Given the litigation in progress, I don’t think we really know how stable the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina is, but I do think it would make sense to explore affiliation with them. Wherever they end up going, it would be good to go with them, and support them.

    I think their departure from TEC is entirely legal from the viewpoints of both church and state, but the TEC lawyers have won in some areas (e.g., Virginia) where I didn’t think they would. Nonetheless, conservative parishioners and their conservative clergy (what few there are), need to be making careful plans for a move.

    Interesting that this letter should announce the bishop’s shameful decision. There’s nothing about it at the diocesan website.

    I wonder how long before he ordains practicing homosexuals. The diocesan website says that 4 deacons were ordained yesterday.

  4. Blue Cat Man says:

    I am glad their rector’s letter was quite plain about his decision. That decision is fully within the long tradition of faithfulness of Christ Church, Greenville. Not that many years ago, there would have been no one saddened by the rector’s decision. I gather now there are many who will be. That itself speaks volumes about Christ Church’s lurch to the left.

    Ralph, The Diocese of South Carolina is quite stable even if we don’t have a new affiliation within the Anglican world. In the mean time, it is simple enough for those living in the eastern parts of the Upper Diocese to find a Diocese of SC parish. Alas, any true church planting efforts in the upstate would probably be considered “border crossing” and used against us in some way so don’t look for that to happen soon.

  5. Blue Cat Man says:

    DRAT! sorry that was me, SC Blu Cat lady. Hubby is at work.

  6. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    Having had a bit of time on the outside of the Episcopal church, I read stuff like this and it makes me feel like I am looking through a mirror into some alternate L. Frank Baum reality.

  7. Sarah1 says:

    RE: “I gather now there are many who will be.”

    Actually no — that’s just standard boilerplate. ; > ) There’ll be the same old crew, sans those who left back in 04 when they realized CC was more conservative as a parish than they had left.

    RE: “Ralph, The Diocese of South Carolina is quite stable even if we don’t have a new affiliation within the Anglican world.”

    Actually, I think it’s far more stable without an affiliation than with, and the moment it *does* affiliate is the moment it becomes less stable, because then its identity and future is tied with a larger entity that is anything but stable, healthy, functional or sane [and I include any one of a number of possible affiliations].

    RE: “Alas, any true church planting efforts in the upstate would probably be considered “border crossing” . . . ”

    It’s not “border crossing” though if you’re not in TEC anymore!

  8. Bill Cavanaugh says:

    This is a courageous statement by the Rector of that fine parish (we sang the Robert Powell Eucharistic settings in church this morning). In my last parish, I was a conservative ‘Cardinal Rector’ in a Diocese moving leftward as quickly as it could. It was not fun–he needs our prayers.

  9. Undergroundpewster says:

    He hopes we can remain united despite our theological diversity.
    1) How far can you stretch unity when it is stretched because of theological diversity?
    2) How much theological diversity will be tolerated when the diversity in question is of the orthodox variety?

  10. Blue Cat Man says:

    #8, Bill Cavanaugh, my wife and I met and married in that fine parish. We sang in the choir and Robert Powell is a dear friend of ours. The Rev. Mr. McLeod has our prayers as well as do our other friends who are still there. We are thankful that he is standing firm.

  11. Blue Cat Man says:

    Sarah wrote

    Actually, I think it’s far more stable without an affiliation than with, and the moment it *does* affiliate is the moment it becomes less stable, because then its identity and future is tied with a larger entity that is anything but stable, healthy, functional or sane [and I include any one of a number of possible affiliations].

    Perhaps but I think the stability of any diocese depends more on internal workings than external affiliation. Since not much has changed within the diocese, the day to day workings of the diocese remain the same and is still very stable. True a few people had to be replaced when they decided to remain in TEC but otherwise little has changed. The more unstable entity is the new TEC diocese as they are just getting started.

    Yes but Sarah, They will consider it “border crossing” as it could be useful in the litigation against us.

  12. SC blu cat lady says:

    DRAT! did it again. sorry.

  13. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) says:

    #1 could easily be taken as tongue-in-cheek; BUT, the powers-that-be have always viewed the border-crossing-thingy as a turd in the punch bowl; and, sadly, of course they will just let people leave, because those people don’t have the “correct ideas” and Those Who Embrace The New Thing don’t want to extend missionary outreach to those they consider “exclusive” or “bigoted”. Yes, it is sad, because Exodus of the Wrong Ideas has never been a concern, nor have empty pews, buildings, or Scorched Earth.

    It’s an old Navy axiom–each captain of two ships is supposed to do anything he/she absolutely can to avoid collision, even if that includes breaking maritime rules. If they are on a collision course, with both captains thinking their course is correct, someone will have to give or they will both sink to the bottom of the ocean knowing that they are dead right. In this case, one side would be willing to compromise with missionary outreach but not the Gospel(which is reasonable and understandable). But the other side would rather be uncompromising and dead right, and that’s probably what will happen.

    Yet the reality is, with less money, less people, more space in the pews, and/or empty buildings, the bottom line is, eventually they’ll be “dead left” and the Gospel will thrive elsewhere.

    Prayers for CCG…Stand for Scriptural Authority, and you won’t fall for anything.

  14. David Wilson says:

    My friend the Rev Brad Wilson, a very learned man and a committed evangelical, was duped by Bishop Waldo to serve on the Bishop’s sham of a task force to study the question of SSMs. When he soon realized his role was simply window dressing to appear to endorse Waldo’s pre-ordained and pre-determined decision to move forward with SSMs, he resigned from the task force. Apparently the rector of Christ Church Greenville hasn’t drunk the unity kool-aid either and is publicly willing to state as much. Hopefully his courageous action will encourage other to act as boldly. I remember the words of Bob Duncan during the ACN days :”Courage breeds courage”

  15. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) says:

    And to pile on to my #13, I believe the plan outlined in the DeS Communique would have worked, had at least two bait-and-switch, corrupt individuals not sabotaged it. In essence, it set up an international plan for “alternative oversight”, a macrocosm of what is outlined in #1. I don’t believe either will come to pass in the near future. Rather than make effort to compromise and get along, some simply need to be “dead right” and thus Queens of a Graveyard. To quote the courageous female engineer as she spoke to the criminally insane Nazi officer in the movie Schindler’s List, I also say, “YOU WILL NEVER WIN THIS…”

  16. dwstroudmd+ says:

    This is the only allowable result under the current regime. Watch for abandonment of communion charges, ensure, defrocking and holding retirement funds illegitimately – sure to follow based on previous demonizations of opposition (which the PB certainly believes in based on her actions, regardless of her inadequate sermonic conceptualizations of late).

  17. dwstroudmd+ says:

    “en-suit” NOT “ensure”

    Well, at least nobody has to pretend they don’t know “where’s Waldo” – least of all Waldo. That must have been tiring for so long for him, keeping up the pretence of orthodoxy. Thank the zeitgeist he can be openly heterodox now.

  18. Chancellor says:

    The DUSC and ECUSA will of course sue any DUSC parish that leaves to join the DSC, to be sure, even though the Dennis Canon is dead in South Carolina. Such parish should be certain to follow all the proper steps to amend its articles and bylaws first, just as All Saints’ Waccamaw did.

    But there won’t be charges of “border crossing” against Bishop Lawrence, if that is the parish’s own decision. ECUSA already has a plateful of charges against him already, and such a claim would add nothing to them. The claims of “border crossing” were made by +Schori back when +Venables used to come to visit the dioceses that affiliated with his province, and then were made against +Schori herself when she swooped into the same territory to call a “special convention” for the remnant. All that, however, was just bishops protecting their territory. It doesn’t translate into a claim in a lawsuit, because as a claim founded on religious polity, the civil courts could not enforce it.

  19. Sarah1 says:

    Thanks Chancellor — I hadn’t been able to think of any lawsuits between TEC and dioceses/parishes that involved accusations about “border crossing” but you know best about all of that.

    I don’t expect any TEC parishes to leave Upper South Carolina. But I’ll repeat my hope from above: it’s time that the lower diocese move forward in mission and ministry, and that includes to those who believe the Gospel and who currently reside in other TEC dioceses, particularly the border ones surrounding it. I know that a number of people from the Diocese of Georgia and from my diocese have transferred their memberships to parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. There’s no reason why the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina can’t have a far expanded geographic region into the midlands and upstate of the state, as well as elsewhere.

    Georgia, East Carolina, Florida, and Upper South Carolina have masses of Episcopalians who would appreciate affiliation with the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. And all four of those dioceses have bishops who don’t share the same gospel as many of their parishioners.

  20. SC blu cat lady says:

    Umm, just because it is not announced here does not mean that there are no missionary efforts by the Diocese of SC in SC. There are. However, nothing stops anyone up there (or anywhere else for that matter) from individually affiliating with an existing DSC parish. Or you could try forming a parish and then asking for admittance to our convention…. no guarantees, though……

    Recently talked to the person who runs the SC-ACN and something like 20% of those who are signed up to get SC-ACN e-mails are from outside the Diocese of SC. WOW! I had no idea!

    Just because a charge would add nothing to the present litigation does not mean that TEC-SC would not try to use it against +Lawrence and the Diocese of SC. Not trusting of these types. nope…

  21. Sarah1 says:

    RE: “Or you could try forming a parish and then asking for admittance to our convention…. no guarantees, though……”

    Yup — that’s exactly what I’m talking about.

  22. Milton Finch says:

    Serious question here. Is this a bridge too far, or are you going to remain and fight from your bridge within TEC or are you going to be in movement towards The Diocese of SC? I can only imagine how painful this last Waldo thing is for so very many of you up there.

  23. Sarah1 says:

    Hi Milton — if Bishop Waldo announced that he’d been led by the Spirit to enact the sacrifice of young virgins on the parish altars, it would not *necessarily* be “a bridge too far.”

    I’ve never ever had a “line in the sand” about departure from TEC because I think of its current leadership with about as much respect as I do young kittens playing with a ball of yarn, and because I recognize the Church is not a man-made organization, no matter the pretensions of its leaders.

    As far as pain . . . the pain was in watching the clergy of this diocese, 3/4 of which are revisionist activists, elect Bishop Waldo in 2009 and lie to their laity about him. His actions since then, because of the gospel we all recognized that he believed, have been entirely unsurprising. He’s a nice guy — it’s just that conservatives and revisionists don’t share the same faith, and we all happen to be in the same organization together, with the same sort of conflict as it would be if a tennis club suddenly had a band of skeet shooters as members shooting skeet next to their tennis courts every single day, 24/7.

    Ultimately, those who hold the mutually opposing faiths will be in separate organizations. That’s simply a given, because it’s in keeping with the laws of the universe — the way things work. People who hold mutually opposing and antithetical foundational worldviews and values don’t ultimately hang out together in serious organizations that actually have substantive goals [though they certainly may go to movies and go hiking together and do other less serious things that don’t require common vision, goals, values, or philosophies].

    So the only question that remains with regards to the organization known as TEC has always been about how and when the mutual separation takes place — under what circumstances, and where everybody will go.

    I expect Bishop Waldo still maintains a delusion about that last, but come it will, like the tides of the ocean.

    So my answer to your question is “not at all.” I quite enjoy being a part of TEC, since I don’t equate its current leadership with the organization itself, and God has not called me elsewhere. I’ve experienced great peace and joy over the past several years, and have a level of detachment from TEC as a whole that allows me all sorts of fun and friends. ; > )

  24. Ralph says:

    It wouldn’t be difficult for folks in parts of Upper South Carolina or Georgia to commute to an Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina parish for Sunday services. It would be harder for them to get involved with weekday activities. This is already happening, of course.

    Georgia got a wake-up call when Bp. Benhase consented to the Glasspool election, and again when he authorized SSBs in the diocese, although in a highly edited ritual. ACNA and the other breakaway groups have long had a presence in the ultra-liberal Diocese of Atlanta, and are now entering the fertile mission fields of Georgia. The parishes that have recently left DioGA have left empty buildings behind. Empty buildings with upkeep expenses. I’ve heard that the Christ Church Episcopal congregation in Savannah is doing OK financially, but I’m not sure that any of the others are.

    I know laity and clergy in the southeast who are wrestling with whether and how to affiliate with DioSC, but I don’t personally know anyone who has taken action on that.

    As far as I know, Bps. Benhase and Waldo have not been ordaining homosexuals as clergy. Hopefully, Stand Firm bloggers will keep eyes and ears open. That action, which I think is inevitable, will add fertilizer to the soil of the 2 dioceses.

    Amazing that Bp. Waldo’s letter still hasn’t come out. I’d he was astonished that the courageous Fr. McLeod pre-empted the announcement with his letter.

  25. Sarah1 says:

    RE: “As far as I know, Bps. Benhase and Waldo have not been ordaining homosexuals as clergy.”


    If not, I’m not certain [i]why[/i] not. It hasn’t occurred to me that they wouldn’t. They approve of sexual activity between two men or between two women. Why wouldn’t they approve of people engaging in such activity as clergy?

  26. Ralph says:

    I think the ordination of practicing homosexuals in DioUSC, DioGA, and whatever the nebulous TEC entity in South Carolina is, is inevitable. It’s the next step on the agenda of the homosexual activists. If it hasn’t happened already, it would be because they’re afraid that the laity of their dioceses will pull their pledges and/or move on. (These steps have to be taken slowly, after all.) Certainly not because they think that there’s anything wrong with extramarital sexual activity or homosexual practice.

    I also haven’t heard a clear call to leave TEC. Not yet. When I retire, maybe we’ll move to Charleston…

  27. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) says:

    Yes, unfortunately #26, I seriously doubt you’d end up with any form of “alternative oversight” or affiliation with a bishop in line with your theology, unless you pull chocks and move to a diocese with such a bishop; or have something of a dual-address, “snowbird” arrangement. We’ve had similar–a couple in our northeastern parish attended because the rector did not espouse The New Thing(they did that until the revisionist bishop and the recalcitrant parish subtly “helped” the rector on his way) and said couple also had a home in Charleston. As an aside, the northeastern parish(which had grown from ~ 140 ASA to 200 ASA under that traditional rector, most of that growth being young families) now has a revisionist rector trying to float The New Thing and 85 ASA. ‘Nuff said. Big prayers for you in any of your discernment…

  28. tjmcmahon says:

    Check out the survey taken prior to the last episcopal election- scroll down to questions 17-22.
    Methinks that either (a) a whole bunch of people left after GC2012, so the bishop thinks it won’t matter much, or (b) a whole bunch of people will soon be leaving or (c) thousands of people have been convinced, since 2009, of the sanctity of same sex marriages. I kinda doubt that (c) is all that likely.

  29. Don C says:

    Bookworm, which northeastern diocese are in?

  30. Milton Finch says:

    TJ, my vote is on “B” being the correct reality.

  31. Mitchell says:

    #28 that is an interesting survey, even is a little confusing. I am curious as to why you exclude Question 16, which seems to be the operative question for what the Bishop is currently doing. Am I reading that wrong or did a majority of those surveyed support blessing same sex unions?

  32. tjmcmahon says:

    typo on my part (17 v 16). But no, a majority DO NOT support SSBs- although it is close- 45% for, 47% against, 8% “no opinion” when asked about “civil unions”. And that is “civil unions” not gay marriage (and the question makes the distinction clearly). 68% call for the bishop to stay within Windsor guidelines.
    So, now he is at risk of intentionally driving off the 47% who oppose civil unions PLUS every additional person among those who favor civil unions who still oppose gay marriage.

  33. tjmcmahon says:

    To add to my 32-
    Question 21 makes clear that only 28% of those surveyed agree with the bishop on gay marriage. Even given 7% “no opinion”, that leaves a clear majority opposed.

  34. Ralph says:

    What the majority “think” and what the minority “think” about homosexual practice in some survey is irrelevant. Holy Scripture is quite clear and unambiguous.

    From last Sunday’s readings:
    Galatians 1:1-12
    …I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

    But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed!

    As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!

    Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

    For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

  35. Milton Finch says:

    TJ, I think the question was possibly misunderstood, to a degree, by those filling it out. The way the question is phrased, it can almost be understood to be questioning if one is okay with civil unions. I had to read the question twice to fully understand what it was asking. At first glance, I was under the impression that it was asking if, though I may be okay with civil unions, was I also against using the word “marriage” for what they were wanting the church to bless.

  36. Undergroundpewster says:

    Milton, I didn’t have any problem when I completed that survey back then, but I was familiar with the issue. 27% or so strongly supported ssb’s so some of these were also part of the overwhelming majority who agreed that the next bishop should be supportive of the Windsor report (only a tiny, itsy bitsy minority strongly disagreed with the Windsor question), so that gives you some idea of the knowledge deficit in the sampled population.

  37. tjmcmahon says:

    While I don’t disagree with you on the preeminence of Scripture, the point I have been trying to make is that the bishop is proceeding in a course of action that appears quite at odds with the majority of people in his diocese- and that this will have consequences in the near future in this world. If the bishop himself gave any credence to Scripture, he wouldn’t be in the mess he is in. But he appears hellbent (perhaps literally) on a course of action that is almost guaranteed to substantially reduce the number of parishioners, and in short order, parishes, in his diocese.

  38. Drew says:

    There is a fine, faithful, and vital work meeting not far from Christ Church for those who leaving TEC who are looking for Anglican options. The Rector of [url=http://www.asgville.com] All Saints Church [/url], Greenville, is a good friend of mine and faithful priest.

  39. Katherine says:

    I applaud your rector’s forthright statement, Sarah, and I am happy to hear that your parish is still so strong. The only part of his statement which makes me uncomfortable is the statement at the end that “our fundamental unity in Jesus Christ is far stronger than our diversity in theological practice.” A disagreement about human nature as revealed in Scripture and endorsed by Our Lord is a pretty fundamental difference.

    I have no idea how the new canons on discipline might affect your rector or your parish, and whether disagreement on this issue can be used against him and against the parish. I hope the parish has taken what steps it can in bylaws to prevent external meddling.