Monday, November 19, 2012

South Carolina leaves The Episcopal Church

Bishop Mark Lawrence

The Diocese of South Carolina has left The Episcopal Church ... or has it? South Carolina says it has (there's a video of Bishop Lawrence's convention speech at Fr Michael Gallop's blog - warning: it is about 45 minutes long ... if you'd rather save yourself the time, & don't mind a 'spoiler,' he says they have left. Gone. That's all folks). But Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says they haven't, because they can't (wasn't she the same person who said Mark Lawrence wasn't really the bishop of South Carolina anymore? I guess they weren't listening in the Palmetto State when she said that).

Despite what PBKJS says, it seems that SC has left & that TEC will be putting in place what is effectively a new Episcopal diocese parallel to the old one quite soon - just as they have already in California, Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois. And no doubt there will be all kinds of legal disputes: about the validity of TEC's attempts to boot out Bishop Lawrence on abandonment charges; on whether the diocese really can leave or not; & of course who gets to hang on to the property if it turns out that they can. 

While we're waiting to see how all that works out, what's going on in TEC gives those of us on this side of the pond  a few things to think about. Is something like this what's coming down the tracks for the Church of England and it's current wrangling over women bishop's? And what about the Church of Ireland, which, even though there seems to be a bit of a lull at the moment, still has a lot simmering under the surface on the issue of sexuality? What will the outcome be if it all boils over? Or should that be when? Are we in these islands next in line for further schism?

Couldn't happen 'here' in dear Old Blighty or in the 'Auld Sod? I bet that's what they used to say in TEC. 

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