225th Convention Reflects on Positives; Considers Anglican Affiliation with ACNA
The 225th Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina, hosted by the Church of the Cross in Bluffton, SC, March 11-12, 2016 highlighted progress the Diocese made in recent years toward “Making Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age,” the vision cast by Bishop Mark Lawrence in 2009 during the first Convention after his election.
“I thought the convention was fantastic,” said the Rev. Shay Gaillard, Rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Charleston. “We had such a sense of unity and excitement. Bishop Lawrence’s address really helped us see what we have accomplished and the things going on in the parishes were an incredible encouragement.”
Over 400 clergy, lay delegates and guests from 53 churches, representing 23,000 members across the southern and coastal part of the state came together for the Bluffton event.
Faithful to the Vision: Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age
In his address Bishop Mark Lawrence thanked the number of churches that have pursued active ministry relationships with provinces and dioceses that have stood with the Diocese. In the past year churches have strengthened ties with clergy and parishioners in the Diocese of Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa; Northern Uganda; Marsabit in Kenya; Kilmore, Elfin and Ardagh in Ireland; Dar es Salaam in Tanzania among many others.
He highlighted the launching of the Anglican Leadership Institute, an effort which had only been a dream the year before, but this year, thanks to a generous donation from a benefactor, brought 14 emerging Anglican Leaders from across the globe to the Diocese for four weeks of intense study, fellowship and community.
The Bishop also mentioned Mere Anglicanism, an annual conference, held in Charleston, and organized by Diocesan clergy and laity, which now attracts over 900 people from around the world to hear Christians scholars address issues of the day.
Task Force Recommends Affiliating with Anglican Church in North America
The Very Rev. Craige Borrett and Mrs. Elizabeth Pennewill, members of the Diocesan Task Force on Anglican Affiliation, gave a presentation recommending the Diocese formally affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).
Following the Diocese’s separation from The Episcopal Church in 2012 the Diocese has maintained collegial relationships with Anglicans around the world and entered into a formal relationship of provisional oversight by the Global South Primates Steering Committee in 2013, but it is not affiliated directly with an individual province.
The Task Force studied the issue for two years and recommended ACNA as the best choice going forward, noting affiliation would provide enhanced resources; expanded relationships both nationally and internationally; multiply our ability to shape emerging Anglicanism; and provide us with a formal provincial identity.
The Task Force will host deanery meetings over the next several months at which clergy and laity can learn more about ACNA and receive answers to questions or concerns they have.
To make Constitutional changes will require two additional conventions. Following the deanery meetings the Task Force will report back to the Standing Committee and Bishop and they would then prayerfully consider calling a special convention in the fall. If the affiliation goes forward the decision could be finalized at the 2017 convention.
Welcoming St. Timothy’s, Cane Bay
A group of representatives from St. Timothy’s, Cane Bay, in Summerville were received as a new mission into the Diocese at the Convention. St. Timothy’s was launched by the Rev. Gary Beson with the blessing of and a group of parishioners from St. Paul’s Church in Summerville.
The following individuals were elected to diocesan offices. Standing Committee: The Rev. Karl Burns, the Very Rev. Peet Dickinson and fulfilling an expired term, the Rev. Louise Weld, Gerry Graves and Foster Smith; Diocesan Council: The Rev. Gary Beson and the Rev. Michael Ridgill, Robin Quick and Corey Prescott; Diocesan Trustees: Denise Horry; Ecclesiastical Court: The Rev. Rob Kunes, The Rev. Andrew O’Dell, The Rev. John Sosnowski, Harry Burchstead and Francis Mack.
Educational Workshops Offered
On Friday, prior to the official opening of the convention, the Diocese hosted a mini conference on Biblical Grandparenting with Cavin Harper and a series of workshops.
One of the most popular workshops, “Inhibitors to Church Growth,” was led by the Very Rev. Chuck Owens, host Rector of the Convention. “For your church to be viable in 2050, you must change,” said Owens. “It’s not about us; it’s about Him and about them!” (referring to people outside the church.)
In addition the Diocese offered, “Church Outside the Walls,” led by the Rev. Gary Beson and the Rev. David Dubay; “Developing Healthy Men’s Ministry,” by Jay Crouse; “Remissioning the Church,” by the Very Rev. John Burwell; “Building a Healthy Marriage Ministry,” by Scott and Sherry Jennings; “Reaching Emerging Cultures,” by the Rev. Greg Smith and “Engaging Every Generation” by Peter Rothermel and Dave Wright.
Barnum Urges Worshippers to Abide in Christ
The Rt. Rev. Thad Barnum, Bishop in Residence at All Saints Pawley’s Island, gave an impassioned call for worshippers to abide in Christ during his sermon at the opening service of Holy Eucharist held at the historic church. Often Christians shift their focus from abiding in Christ to bearing fruit, said Barnum. “Abiding in him becomes the means by which we bear fruit. Our Lord is never a means to an end,” he said. “We are not defined by what we do. We’re defined by Him.” Barnum ended urging listeners to pursue ways to care for their clergy who often labor in challenging and stressful areas.
Hosted by the Church of the Cross
The Church of the Cross hosted the event at both of their campuses, with opening Eucharist in their Historic Church, and a barbeque/oyster roast held on the banks of the May River Friday evening. The workshops and business portion of the Convention were held on campus of the Cross Schools Friday and Saturday. The church is one of the largest and fastest-growing congregations in the Diocese.
“What God has done at the Church of the Cross is just a picture of what God is doing in the Diocese,” said Gaillard.