Special Convention Approves Canonical and Constitutional Amendments Regarding Disassociation
On, Saturday, November 17, 2012, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina met in Special Convention at the “mother church of the Diocese,” historic St. Philip’s Church in Charleston. There, an overwhelming majority passed three resolutions. (View the Resolutions.)
The first, by voice vote, affirmed the act of disassociation taken by the Bishop and Standing Committee of the Diocese, in response to actions of The Episcopal Church.
Amendments to the Diocesan Constitution
The second resolution, also by voice vote, passed on first reading. It approved amendments to the Diocesan Constitution removing all references to the Episcopal Church.
Amendments to the Diocesan Canons
The final vote, which was by orders, was for approval of amendments to the diocesan canons, likewise removing all such reference to the Episcopal Church. It passed with an overwhelming vote of 96% (71 clergy) in the clergy order, with 3 abstaining. In the lay order, the vote passed with 90% in favor (47 yes with 5 abstentions).
“We’ve moved on!” says Lawrence
“Ask yourself, "How long do I want to spend my time, my soul and my energy in a resistance movement that has proven so fruitless?'” Lawrence said in his address. “Is it not time to get on with a ministry of Jesus Christ to a broken world?... We have spent far too many hours and days and years in a dubious and fruitless resistance to the relentless path of the Episcopal Church.”
“No, we shall turn the page with hearts wide open… We shall move on. Actually, let me state it more accurately. We have moved on. With the Standing Committee’s resolution of disassociation the fact is accomplished: legally and canonically. The resolutions before you this day are affirmations of that fact.”
The Bishop called those gathered to look forward. “I will be calling together a task force to link stronger parishes with congregations and missions in the diocese that may suffer the loss of members due to this departure from the Episcopal Church. If a smaller parish has lost 10, 20 or 30 percent of its membership it may not be able to afford a full time priest. So while continuing to keep the door ajar for disaffected parishioners to return, we need to find ways to enable that congregation to continue to support their rector or vicar; and not merely in order to keep ply wood from the windows but in order to reach their community for Christ and to grow his Church. That is what it is about. Let’s get on with it."
The Bishop added, “We need to explore new ways of preparing young men and women and even middle-age ones for ministry; especially those who know how to travel light. It is a new day and new ways of proclaiming the old truths need to be adopted.”
“Finally,” he said “I turn to our place in The worldwide Anglican Communion…We have heard from Archbishops, Presiding Bishops, and diocesan bishops from Kenya to Singapore, England to Egypt, Ireland to the Indian Ocean, Canada to Australia. They represent the overwhelmingly vast majority of members of the Anglican Communion and they consider me as a faithful Anglican Bishop in good standing and they consider this diocese as part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Ah friends, this has got to comfort us… We are not alone. Greater are those with us than any who may be against us.”
The Bishop's address is available in both video and audio forms.