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November 8, 2012

The Diocese of South Carolina has been completely open about the concerns it has with the direction of the Episcopal Church (TEC) in areas of theology (the uniqueness of Christ and their understanding of the authority of scripture), morality (especially in issues pertaining to sexuality) and polity (and the self-governance of individual dioceses).  We have expressed those concerns clearly and in good faith and have explained in detail the actions which led to the disassociation of the Diocese from the Episcopal Church.  

So it was extremely disturbing to learn that on Wednesday afternoon, November 7, 2012, a majority of the clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina received an email that pretended to be from the Diocese of South Carolina but in fact was not.  The sender of the email was not identified beyond an email address registered to an organization in Florida named “Domain Discreet Privacy Service”.  The corresponding web page is hosted by a San Francisco organization stating: “This temporary landing page will be replaced when you publish your site.”

The email was an invitation to a “Clergy Day for the Diocese,” to be hosted at Holy Communion, Charleston and presided over by Bishop. Charles von Rosenberg (A retired bishop from Tennessee).   

There are several crucial facts that need to be addressed regarding this announcement.  

First, this message did not come from the Diocese of South Carolina.

The sender intentionally impersonated the diocese with an unauthorized use of our Diocesan seal and by stating that the sender was the Diocese of South Carolina.

Also the Rector of the Church of the Holy Communion, where the meeting was to be held, stated that he had been led to believe that it was for a small group of clergy who had already decided to reaffiliate with TEC.  “Neither I nor anyone at Holy Communion sent that email,” said the Rector. “I have notified the sender that we will not be hosts.”

According to TEC, Bishop Lawrence is still the Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina even though TEC contends his ministry has been restricted (which is not recognized by this Diocese).  Therefore, Bishop Von Rosenberg would have no authority to convene or preside at any meeting in this diocese and to do so would put him in violation of TEC’s canons.  

Whoever called such a meeting had no authority to do so or to use the Diocesan seal in any fashion.   All of this is further evidence of the necessity for the precautions this diocese has taken during the past several years. It seems TEC does not follow its own canons, while repeatedly insisting in the past that the Diocese of South Carolina do so.   

The next gathering of the Diocese of South Carolina will be the Special Convention, Saturday, November 17 at St. Philip’s Church in Charleston.


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