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The Rev. John Foster, IIIThe Rev. John Foster, III
September 30, 1957 - December 21, 2017

Please keep the family and loved ones of the Rev. John Foster in your prayers. John died in his sleep early the morning of December 21. The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, December 28 at Sawmill Baptist Church, 1167 Willamette Drive in Bennettsville.

Foster was ordained to the Vocational Diaconate December 1 2012 at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston and served at St. Bartholomew's in Hartsville and at St. Matthew's in Darlington.  He was an Associate Professor of Religion; Director for Diversity, Interfaith, and Inclusion Education at Coker College in Hartsville.

I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord;
he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live;
and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
 
I know that my Redeemer liveth,
and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth;
and though this body be destroyed, yet shall I see God;
whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold,
and not as a stranger.
 
For none of us liveth to himself,
and no man dieth to himself.
For if we live, we live unto the Lord;
and if we die, we die unto the Lord.
Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
 
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord;
even so saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labors.


Book of Common Prayer, The Burial of the Dead: Rite One

The Congregational Reporting  (a.k.a. parochial reports) process is about to begin for the churches in our diocese. The process will be changing, now that we are part of the ACNA.  For starters, these reports are due March 1st.
 
This year, those portions of the annual reporting dealing with Finances and Membership will all be addressed by the ACNA Provincial report.  That report can be completed entirely online (though a PDF version is available if preferred).  The Diocesan portion of the report (Parochial Contact Information and Generational Ministries Information) will be provided via fillable PDFs supplied by the Diocese.
 
How Do I Get Started? 
Basic information on all the congregations of the Diocese has been pre-loaded into the Provincial website as an initial start.  The person responsible for creating your report will need to sign in to access the page and complete your report.
 
The Provincial website has a  Quick Start Guide that will lead you through the steps to get going: www.acna.org/quick-start
 
Once that process is completed and you have a password, log in here to begin entering parish data: http://www.acna.org/r/sign_in
 
A Province wide communication will go out on January 15 to announce the process, but the system will be open as of January 1 for those who want to get a head start.
 
Why Does This Matter?
This reporting is important because it:
  1. Ensures the proportional representation of your congregation and diocese in the councils of the Church.
  2. Helps our Diocese and Province get beyond anecdotal information in order to evaluate larger trends within our Church.
  3. Is an opportunity to update vital contact information for yourself and your   congregation for the diocese and potential visitors.
 
How Does This Report Help Visitors Find My Congregation?
The online reporting software is the foundation of the new provincial website and parish finder, and your congregation’s particular page will be a point of contact for those looking for an Anglican church in your area. Although the reporting season will end on March 1st, you have access to this system year-round in order to be able to update information about your parish (worship times, programs, etc.) and highlight your ministries for prospective visitors.
 
Is there a hard copy of the report?
Yes, the Provincial report is available as a PDF.   The Diocesan forms will be distributed shortly after the New Year as a fillable PDF.  Some congregations prefer to hand out sections of the PDF to the relevant ministry leaders (ex. the “Worship” section goes to the Rector, “Stewardship” section goes to Treasurer, etc.) have them fill it in on paper first, and then add it to the online system.
 
What if I Need Assistance?
  1. The website has both video tutorials and a FAQ section where you can find answers about the Provincial portions.
  2. You can contact me at jlewis@dioceseofsc.org and if I know the answer I will be happy to help you, particularly regarding the Diocesan portions.
  3. There is also a “Support” tab on the website, where a volunteer is available to assist you. (Please understand that there will be thousands of people using the system, but there are only a few support staff. If you don’t get someone via live chat right away, you can leave a message and they will get back with you as soon as they are able.)
 
As the clergy of your parish, I invite you to please share this message with the appropriate ministry leaders in your congregation.  I’ll be following up with you prior to January 15 to provide the informational PDFs needed for the Diocesan reports.  Everything else can be done online. 
 
Thanks in advance for your part in helping make this important process go smoothly.

It is with the weight of decision but conviction of heart and mind that I write to tell you the Standing Committee, after prayerful deliberation, and with my full support, has voted unanimously to proceed with a petition for a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. I remind you that this long process first began with our stand for Gospel truth—holding firmly to the faith once delivered to the saints. All too soon, we were thrust us into a battle for Religious Freedom. As Justice Kitteridge has aptly stated about the State Supreme Court’s recent denial for rehearing “…to disallow a full court from considering the rehearing petitions is deeply troubling and, in my opinion, raises constitutional implications as the Court has blocked a fair and meaningful merits review of the rehearing petitions.” So we have before us our commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ to which we are unwaveringly wedded; a civil concern for religious freedom for ourselves and others; and a public duty to petition for constitutional due process to be upheld. Any of these might justify taking the next step down this legal road. Together they make a three-fold cord not easily broken.

Read the full statement. 

COLUMBIA, S.C. (November  18, 2017) – Today the Diocese of South Carolina (Diocese) was informed by mail that the South Carolina Supreme Court denied its motions filed for Rehearing and Recusal in its ruling in Appellate Case No. 2015-000622.  Doing so finalized a sharply divided ruling that could deprive at least 28 parish churches of their right to properties some have held for over 300 years.
 
Statement by the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis:  
“We are deeply disappointed the Court did not see fit to recuse Justice Hearn.  Her personal interest in the outcome of this litigation, beyond the normal matters of law, has clearly influenced its outcome. That is unfortunate not only for the Diocese but for all the citizens of this State with concerns for a fair and impartial judiciary. We also find it disturbing that the weight of the Constitutional concerns raised was not given further opportunity to be addressed. Church property ownership in South Carolina is now gravely complicated.

AMICUS BRIEF CALLS FOR REHEARING IN SUPPORT OF DIOCESE OF SOUTH CAROLINA


Misapplication of neutral principles of law leads to constitutional conflicts and property rights confusion.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (November 13, 2017) – Friday, a diverse group of 106 South Carolina religious leaders, representing 52 cities and many denominations, filed an amicus curiae brief in the South Carolina Supreme Court supporting the Petition for Rehearing filed by the Diocese of South Carolina (Diocese) and 29 parish churches regarding the South Carolina Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Appellate Case No. 2015-000622. Among the amici are representatives of Baptist, Presbyterian, Christian, United Methodist, REC, Nazarene, Holiness and non-denominational churches, as well as the Executive Director of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.  The amici are represented by attorneys with Winston & Strawn as well as Michael W. McConnell, who is the Richard and Frances Mallery Professor and Director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. The brief addresses the Court’s misapplication of “neutral principles of law”, which presents both a serious threat to religious liberty and “leaves this state’s Church property law in disrepair and confusion.”

Statement by the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis:  

“Friday’s brief illustrates well two essential problems with the current ruling of the Court. Because there is no legal consensus among the Justices, the ruling as it stands is, as stated in the brief, a “recipe for endless litigation.” As a consequence of misapplying neutral principles of law as intended by the U.S. Supreme Court, it violates rather than preserves, the First Amendment protections of religious liberty they are meant to ensure. Resolving these significant issues merits rehearing by the Court.”

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Death of the Rev. John Foster, III
Thu, December 21, 2017

The Rev. John Foster, III
September 30, 1957 - December 21, 2017 Please keep the family and loved ones of the Rev. John Foster in your prayers. John d [ ... ]

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Wed, December 20, 2017

The Congregational Reporting  (a.k.a. parochial reports) process is about to begin for the churches in our diocese. The process will be [ ... ]

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