“A breath of fresh air,” was how the Rev. Louise Weld, Associate Rector at St. James, Charleston, described the 224th annual Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina, which was held in Charleston, March 13-14, 2015. “I felt like there was a big emphasis on evangelism and sharing your story,” said Weld, “in the Bishop’s address, in presentations, in video clips. There was a new thrust - a breath of fresh air. We’ve moved on and are about the Lord’s work!”
Workshops and Worship
The convention kicked off Friday afternoon with six workshops open to the public offered at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church.
The workshop on Anglican Affiliation led by the Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall S. Harmon and the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence drew the biggest crowd with Harmon addressing the question, “What is Anglicanism?” and Bishop Lawrence following up describing some of the history of Anglican identity and our future options for affiliation.
Other workshops included one on the challenge to Christian Marriage by the Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll; Evangelism by Langdon Stewart; Local and Global Missions by Sharon Steinmiller; Christian Formation by the Very Rev. Dr. Peter Moore and Peter Rothermel and Youth Ministry by Dave Wright.
The Rt. Rev. Rob Martin, Bishop of Marsabit, Kenya, who served as the guest preacher Friday evening stressed that we, in both dioceses, face persecution and trials. He asked that our diocese remember them in prayer just as they remember to pray for us. Several churches in both dioceses have begun to partner with one another. Two new sanctuaries have been built in Marsabit so far for former "tree churches" with more expected this year. The service of Holy Eucharist, held at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul, featured music of different genre’s – with the majority of the music offered by a full choir with organ, timpani and brass and communion music provided by a contemporary music team led by worship leaders from different congregations.
Bishop Lawrence’s Address
Bishop Mark Lawrence urged clergy and delegates to focus outward with a missional, rather than attractional church model in his address to the Convention. “As our society becomes increasingly secular, pluralistic and multi-cultural, we as the church, the Body of Christ, can no longer assume that people will seek us out and join us if we just ‘do church better.’ He said, “As I often tell vestries or parishioners at Bishop’s Forums, “ “Jesus never told the world to go to church. He did, however, tell the church to go into the world.’”
The Bishop also outlined plans for developing leaders by investing in education for both clergy and lay leaders.
Read or listen to the Bishop’s address. Read a report on the Bishop’s Address.
The Convention adopted, by an overwhelming majority, three resolutions related to marriage and sexuality put forth by the Marriage Task Force. Resolution R-2 asked the Standing Committee to work with the Task Force on Marriage to develop marriage and employment policy recommendations to be acted upon, as needed, at the 2016 Diocesan Convention. Resolution R-3 charged the Task Force to develop educational resources for parishes regarding marriage and gender identity also to be presented at the 2016 Diocesan Convention. Resolution R-4 called for the adoption of a clear doctrinal Standing Resolution regarding the nature of Christian Marriage as practiced by this Church.
The Convention also updated the canons regarding the bonding of Treasurers and rescinded a standing resolution regarding the University of the South since Sewanee no longer affords us the privilege of the election of Trustees.
View the resolutions as amended and passed.
Welcoming New Congregations/New Clergy
The convention welcomed two new mission congregations, which have joined the Diocese since our last convention: Resurrection, North Charleston, led by the Rev. Matthew McCormick and St. James, Blackville led by the Rev. Russell Reed, assisted by Deacon Tom Cuny.
Eight new clergy have joined the Diocese since the last convention: the Rev. Gary Beson, the Rev. Rags Coxe the Rev. Tom Cuny , the Rev. Stephen Davis, the Rev. Donnie McDaniel, the Rev. Luke Rasmussen, the Rev. Russell Read and the Rev. Jamie Sosnowski.
During Saturday’s business meeting the following individuals were elected to serve in Diocesan offices and positions:
Standing Committee (three-year term): The Very Rev. Craige Borrett (Christ-St. Paul’s, Yonges Island), The Very Rev. David Thurlow (St. Matthias, Summerton); Alonzo Galvan (Cathedral, Charleston) and Susan McDuffie (Holy Comforter, Sumter)
Diocesan Council (three-year term): The Rev. John Burwell (Holy Cross, Sullivan’s Island), The Rev. Jamie Sosnowski (St. Johns, Johns Island);
Andrew Warfuel (St. Johns, Johns Island), Margie Williams (St. Jude’s, Walterboro).
Diocesan Trustee (six-year term): The Rev. Marshall Huey (Old St. Andrews, Charleston);
Ecclesiastical Court (three-year term): The Rev. Brian McGreevey (St. Philip’s, Charleston); Ted Guerard (Christ Church, Mt. Pleasant),
Advancement Society (three-year term): The Rev. Matt McCormick (Resurrection, N. Charleston); Charles Echols (St. Matthews).
2016 Convention Announced
Bishop Lawrence closed the Convention with a prayer and blessing. The 225th Diocesan Convention will be held March 11-12, 2016 at the Church of the Holy Cross in Bluffton, SC.
Additional Convention Resources
Listen to Bishop Martin's Convention sermon.Hear the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis' presentation explaining the rationale behind the development of the marriage resolutions.
Read the report from the Task Force for Provincial Affiliation
Read about the upcoming Evangelism workshop presented by Langdon Stewart.
View Jill's story, a video on Youth Ministry presented by Dave Wright, Diocesan Coordinator of Youth Ministry.
View a video on the Barrier Island ministry presented by the Rev. Bob Lawrence, Rector of St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center.
View a video message from the Rev. Martha Horn about two upcoming Women's Retreat.
View a video promoting Grandcamp.
View Open-up-the-Bible, a promotional video on scripture reading presented by Dave Wright,