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Diocese of South Carolina Wins Again Against Episcopal Church PDF Print E-mail

For the Second Time, Court Rejects Efforts to Expand Lawsuit

St. George, SC, December 30, 2013 – South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane S. Goodstein today denied efforts by The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) to expand its lawsuit by adding claims against four diocesan officials.

The judge, who had only a few months ago rejected efforts by the national Episcopal Church to drag literally all of the diocese’s officers into the suit, said there was no reason to single out the specific members of the clergy for acting consistent with the wishes of the Diocese as approved by literally thousands of members of the diocese.

In November, TECSC had asked the judge to expand its suit to include Bishop Mark Lawrence and three other clerics, alleging that actions they took to withdraw the diocese from the denomination were outside the scope of their legal authority and violated state law.  In denying the motion, Judge Goodstein briefly referenced a last minute TECSC affidavit that asserted an early conspiracy to leave TEC. The Very Rev. Paul Fuener, a priest named in the affidavit, observed, “I am confident that his recollection of our interview is seriously in error, if not worse.”
A Christmas Message from Bishop Lawrence PDF Print E-mail
December 23, 2013
Dear Friends in Christ,

My mother died last year shortly before Christmas.  It was a gentle death and so for her perhaps the best of Christmases.  I recall, however, that during my childhood and early adult years, she was always hoping for the perfect Christmas Eve.  It was a misplaced hope from the beginning.  Sometimes the failure exceeded human control—the lemon pies didn’t set up, the meat was tough, the turkey dry.  On one occasion the culprit was my father having stayed too long at a local watering hole.  Sometimes it was my brother Porter who was the spoiler—high on drugs one Christmas, in prison for two, and dead on a third.  One year it was her son, Mark, who played the troubler of Israel—declaring himself an agnostic and having no interest in attending the midnight service.  So far as I know my mother’s perfect Christmas Eve never came in this mortal life. 
New Church Plant: Grace Parish, North Myrtle Beach PDF Print E-mail
Bishop to Visit New Church Plant in North Myrtle Beach

North Myrtle Beach, SC, November 5, 2013 – Bishop Mark J. Lawrence, the 14th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina will be in North Myrtle Beach on Sunday, November 10 for the official launching of a new church.

Grace Parish is the newest congregation in the Diocese of South Carolina. Bishop Lawrence, will commission the church plant team and perform a service of confirmation at 3 p.m. at the J. Bryan Floyd Community Center at 1030 Possum Trot Road in North Myrtle Beach.

“We may be small,” says Vicar Linda Manuel, who leads the parish locally, “But our God is big, and we believe that small things done with great love will change the world!”

Manuel found herself leading the small group of worshippers when they were left without a church home.  Most had belonged to St. Stephen’s, North Myrtle Beach but didn’t feel comfortable staying with it after the church voted to separate from the Diocese of South Carolina and stay with the theologically liberal Episcopal Church.

At first the group began meeting in homes. Then they were offered the use of a chapel in Lee Funeral Home. “They were wonderful at Lee, but we decided we needed additional space to grow and wanted to be able to offer Bible Studies and outreach events during the week,” says Vicar Manuel.

The Community Center is surrounded by condos, and a golf course. “The space is working great for us,” says Manuel. “Everyone is pitching in, bringing items from home. Other churches have been helpful, too. Prince George – Winyah in Georgetown has been wonderful to us. They’ve given us altar linens and hangings,” says Manuel.

In addition to Sunday worship at 9 a.m. Grace offers a co-ed weekly Wednesday Bible Study from 3:30 – 5 p.m. in the Community Center rotunda.  “We’re beginning to reach out,” says Manuel, “focusing on evangelism and sharing our faith. In all that we do, we pray we will exalt the Risen Lord Jesus, and offer to others the place of acceptance, love, hope and forgiveness that we have found.”

This coming Sunday, November 10, they will not be having their regular 9 a.m. service instead asking everyone to come at 3 p.m. for the Bishop’s visit.

“I am gratified by the progress Grace Parish is making,” says Bishop Lawrence. “This is what we need to be about as a diocese—growing existing congregations and planting new ones.  This commissioning service will focus on the chief work that lies ahead for this new congregation, to grow Christ’s church with transformed souls not merely transferred members.”
Bishop Lawrence Writes from Marsabit, Northern Kenya PDF Print E-mail
Allison with friends at Archers Post Anglican ChurchWhile the Imam’s call to prayer sounded earlier just below my full consciousness, it was the buzzing of a thick-bodied Wood Boring Bee that finally awakened me and ushered me into the various morning sounds of Marsabit—bird songs, cock crows, the wind in the trees outside my window, a faint voice or two from the town in the distance, and the ringing of the church bell.  Six o’clock.  I get up and freshen myself, make a cup of instant coffee and say Morning Prayer in the quietness of the house.  How I’ve missed this time alone with You, Lord, this past week [while at GAFCON].

Now after a pleasant breakfast with Bishop Rob, his wife, Sue, and Allison, I sit out on their porch enjoying the garden and the cool late morning breeze and scrawl a few sentences in this journal.  A white breasted Pie Crow caws from a tall thin-leafed tree where I notice a nest in the upper branches and a slightly moving head of a mother bird apparently brooding over her eggs or young.  Is this emblematic of Your Holy Spirit this morning brooding over us—I wonder?  The red bougainvillea beside the yellow-green flax,  the cane brake, and the purple and white Inpatients against the red earth might just as well be the Southwestern United States—but, “No”, I tell myself, “this  is Northern Kenya” and the tall, colorfully beaded women I saw yesterday at worship in Archers Post Anglican Church, stunning in their vibrant song and dance; the six various tribes and tongues represented in the small yet crowded church; the young African children delighting in our presence and reaching out their hands to greet us—even laughing as Allison put her white arm parallel with their black ones; the long arduous drive on the dirt road, the Land Rover jostling us about for hours; the herds of sheep, cattle and camels we passed along the way with the young African boys shepherding them, and the occasional warrior in colorful fabrics and feathers, dramatic against their lean bare black shoulders and chests, walking in stately stride with their weapon of choice at their side; all somewhat dream-like in my memory, yet calling me back to gratitude and prayer.

Read it all.

GAFCON II: "We are not alone." A Brief Q & A with the Rev. Bob Lawrence PDF Print E-mail

“They know us and pray for us: We are not alone”

The Rev. Bob LawrenceA Brief Q&A with the Rev. Bob Lawrence on day two of GAFCON II in Kenya

Q: I understand you traveled with Bishop and Allison Lawrence and Greg Snyder. How did the four of you find traveling together, any interesting travel moments or incidents?

A: Travel together was fun. We had layovers in both Boston and Amsterdam with opportunities to share meals, explore a few shops, and to guard one another's luggage while waiting.  In Amsterdam we ran into quite a few folks that were also en route to GAFCON so that provided a great opportunity to greet old friends and make new ones.
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