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Misconduct charges filed against Presiding Bishop: The Church of England Newspaper, March 21, 2014 April 11, 2014

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A Washington-based conservative group, the American Anglican Fellowship has filed charges against the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, alleging he $30 million legal campaign against church conservatives is an abuse of office and violates church canons. The organizations website stated that on 19 December 2013, it filed “information with the Intake Officer concerning possible violations of the Episcopal Church Constitution and Canons by the Presiding Bishop … We acted only after prayer consideration, and exhausting all reasonable means of communication to the Presiding Bishop and Executive Council. Our letters went unanswered and letters from other organizations, including letters form five bishops and a petition signed by more than 5000 Christians remained unanswered. The Intake Officer will decide if the information, if true, constitutes a violation of the Canons. We await his decision.” Public comment from the national church on the merits of the charges is unlikely as the disciplinary process requires the parties to remain silent while a review is underway

Anglican Unscripted Episode 95: March 21, 2014 March 22, 2014

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Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.

STORY INDEX
00:00 The Pope a year in review
10:00 Global South adopts Diocese of South Carolina
18:10 ABC Canterbury year in review with Peter Ould
29:11 Why would anybody bring charges against Saint Schori?
38:14 R.I.P Terry Fullam
45:57 Closing and Bloopers

Concerns over archbishop’s accolades for Katharine Jefferts Schori: The Church of England Newspaper, February 14, 2014 March 20, 2014

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has applauded the news that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA, the Most. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, is to be awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity by the University of Oxford.

However, the fulsome praise offered by the archbishop has pained conservatives, who see his commendation of her “intellect and compassion” to be a slap in the face to traditionalists.

On 6 Feb 2014 the University announced that Bishop Jefferts Schori would be one of six people awarded an honorary degree at Encaenia, the University’s annual honorary degree ceremony, on 25 June 2014.

In a statement from Lambeth Palace released later that day, Archbishop Welby said he was “delighted” by the news.

He went on to say: “This award, richly deserved, reaffirms Bishop Katharine’s remarkable gifts of intellect and compassion, which she has dedicated to the service of Christ. Prior to becoming ordained, Bishop Katharine pursued a career in oceanography, and her enduring deep commitment to the environment has evolved into a profound dedication to stewardship of our planet and humankind, especially in relieving poverty and extending the love and hospitality of Christ to those on the edges of society. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said of Bishop Katharine, “In her version of reality, everything is sacred except sin.” It must be noted, too, that Bishop Katharine’s achievements serve – and will continue to serve – as a powerful model for women seeking to pursue their vocations in the church.”

Commentators questioned the wisdom of the archbishop’s penning such a statement, fearing it would alienate the overseas church and conservatives in the UK and US. However, in a post on Facebook defending Archbishop Welby’s actions, Bishop Pete Broadbent dismissed concerns that the statement reflected a shift in favor of the revisionist wing of the church by the archbishop.

“Lots of us here think that [Katharine Jefferts Schori] is thoroughly bad news for the gospel, but you’re not going to get the ABC to slag her off in a press release. It just ain’t that simple. You can’t really stick out a release saying “Congrats, but…” Most congratulatory things smarm it up a bit. You might think ABC shouldn’t have said congrats at all (knowing that Oxford have been put up to this), but once you go down the line of doing official congrats, you have to be nice. Cos that’s how Brits do it,” he explained.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 93, February 21, 2014 February 22, 2014

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Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.

Story Index
00:00 A House in Wisconsin
16:08 Interview with Bishop Salmon
24:28 Where’s Welby?
30:27 Agnostics Have Theology
44:50 The New Iron Lady
49:10 Facebook Diplomacy
53:22 Closing and Bloopers

Anglican Unscripted Episode 91, February 8, 2014 February 8, 2014

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Published on Feb 8, 2014
Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.

Story Index
00:00 The New Oxford Movement
15:44 Elephant Politics
21:42 AS Haley on South Carolina
31:00 The perfect answer for Immigration
39:35 Closing and Bloopers

Anglican Unscripted Episode 80: August 31, 2013 September 1, 2013

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Published on Sep 1, 2013

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.

STORY INDEX:
Communion Bishops go to Canterbury 00:00
Texas & South Carolina Victories 07:23
Teaching Americans how to speak English 18:11
It is Just a War 31:50
Trimming the dead branches 39:38
Closing and Bloooopers 44:21

TEC support for gay marriage ruling: The Church of England Newspaper, July 14, 2013 p 6. July 15, 2013

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The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States has applauded last month’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal law withholding national government recognition of same-sex marriages.

On 26 June 2013 the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori stated the decision reflected “the unmistakable movement toward civil marriage equality in the states over the past decade reflects the will of the people in those states to grant equal rights and dignity under the law to all married couples and families, and today’s decision will appropriately allow those families to be recognized under federal law as well.”

By a ruling of 5-4 the court struck down Section 3 of DOMA, declaring that the federal government cannot define marriage for its own laws and policies but must defer to state law definitions. The court’s ruling, however, does not affect Section 2, which provides that no state is required to give effect to another state’s recognition of same-sex marriages. The result will be that same-sex marriages will be valid in some states, but invalid in others.

Bishop Jefferts Schori noted the ruling had been hotly contested. “I am deeply aware that faithful Americans find themselves on all sides of these issues, including those who have not yet clearly discerned an effective or appropriate response.”

However she called upon all Americans to work together. “It is possible to disagree and work together for the good of the larger community.  That is the bedrock of our democratic political system.  It is also the foundation of life in the Body of Christ.  Together we can help to build up the whole community, particularly if we have the courage to listen deeply to those who hold a different view.  The Episcopal Church has an ancient tradition of attempting to hold divergent views together for the sake of deeper truth.  All are beloved of God, and the flourishing of each is what we believe God intended from the beginning of creation.  May we help to build a beloved community in which each and every person is treated with dignity, knowing that each and every one reflects the image of God.”

Diversity, not Jesus, saves says Presiding Bishop: Anglican Ink, May 20, 2013 May 20, 2013

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The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has denounced the Apostle Paul as mean-spirited and bigoted for having released a slave girl from demonic bondage as reported in Acts 16:16-34 .

In her sermon delivered at All Saints Church in Curaçao in the diocese of Venezuela, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori condemned those who did not share her views as enemies of the Holy Spirit.

The presiding bishop opened her remarks with an observation on the Dutch slave past. “The history of this place tells some tragic stories about the inability of some to see the beauty in other skin colors or the treasure of cultures they didn’t value or understand,” she said.

She continued stating: “Human beings have a long history of discounting and devaluing difference, finding it offensive or even evil.  That kind of blindness is what leads to oppression, slavery, and often, war.  Yet there remains a holier impulse in human life toward freedom, dignity, and the full flourishing of those who have been kept apart or on the margins of human communities.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Easter messages from across the Communion: The Church of England Newspaper, April 7, 2013 p 6. April 9, 2013

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Easter messages from the overseas leaders of the Anglican Communion sounded a common theme this year of hope and joy. While the archbishops of the church touched upon issues of local concern, each spoke to the victory of Christ over death and the grave.

The Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali urged Christians not to lose heart in the face of economic and political uncertainties. “There could be social pressures in the country and many people might have lost hope. Many people no longer trust fellow human beings, but let the risen Lord Jesus whose victory over death we are celebrating this Easter give us a new hope.”

He also warned of the dangers of alcohol. “I urge our people not to celebrate [Easter] by drinking. They should go to church and worship the Lord and return home. This a time to repent and make our homes, offices, schools and business places more enjoyable and suitable to glorify God who gave us the greatest gift of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ,” he noted.

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, also spoke of the joy found in life in Christ. “In his resurrection from the dead there is the glorious ‘yes’ of the fulfilment, actual and yet to come, of the promises and purposes of God. Through repentance and faith we share in his risen life and at its heart, our calling is to simply say the ‘Amen’ and glorify the God who has triumphed over sin and death.”

The GAFCON leader also urged Christians to reject the “ungodly innovations” coming from Western liberal churches which seek to “substitute human effort and speculation for divine grace and revealed truth.  It is a profound contradiction to say this ‘Amen’ and then go on, as some do, to deny the real physical resurrection of Jesus.”

When Christians say ‘no’ to false teaching it is for the sake of truth. “There can be no more positive a movement than one which gives an unqualified ‘Amen’ to the fulfilment of all God promises in Jesus Christ.”

The Archbishop of West Africa Dr. Tilewa Johnson said the Christian’s response to the sufferings was to turn towards God. “Where to start? We have tools and guidelines to hand. One of the greatest tools we have is prayer. Prayer is a means of communication with God.”

“As with so many things, it requires practice. We know what it is like when we become close to another human being – a husband, wife, brother, sister or close friend. In time it is possible to read their thoughts, and know what they are going to say before they say it. It is the same with God. To sit in the presence of God – maybe in silence; maybe with a few words – it is possible increasingly to come to know God and the will of God. Gradually we know the way to go,” the Gambian archbishop said.

The Primate of All Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said that when celebrating Easter it was “important” to “re-emphasize the incontrovertible fact that Jesus has risen from the dead and He is alive for ever. Through His resurrection power, therefore we can overcome all sorts of challenges we might have as an individual, as the Church of God and as a Nation.”

The Archbishop called on “all Christians and Nigerians as a whole to reaffirm their trust in God, and in corporate Nigeria.”

“Let us remain resolute and resilient, having our hope in the strength and power of the Almighty God. Our prayer for our country, Nigeria is that we shall overcome the present challenges of lingering insecurity: bloodshed, destruction of lives and property; poverty and political squabbles. We should keep hope alive of a corporate Nigeria,” he said.

Preaching at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of St. George the Martyr in Cape Town, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba told the congregation he had just returned from a retreat in “frozen rural North Wales”, staying in an attic room overlooking the Irish Sea in the mountains of Snowdonia.

“I was there to follow the 30-days Full Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola,” he explained “to explore what God was wanting to do in my life.”

But even found that the spiritual journey did not end there as God was leading him “to integrate all I’ve experienced and learnt into my ministry and life” –  “And I certainly came back to find an awful lot had been going on,’ he said.

“The over-riding lesson of my retreat is that God, in his redeeming love, is everywhere. Nothing is beyond his care, or his desire to bring healing and new life to you, to me, to everyone,” the archbishop said.

“If you truly want to know what Easter is all about, look at the places where there are tough challenges, difficult issues, hard wrestling, painful contexts – and where God’s people nonetheless dare to go, and to stay for as long as it takes, witnessing to light and hope and life.” Archbishop Makgoba said.

In in his final Easter message before he retires in July the Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen reflected on his tenure in office. “As I think on my time as Archbishop, naturally I look back and try to judge myself – not with much success!” he says. “Like you, I have a real judge. Think how much more God, who knows all the secrets of our hearts, must be able to hold me to account. It should make us tremble.”

But Easter filled him with hope. “What happened at the first Easter reminds me of the love of God. Through the death of Jesus even I, and all of us, can have forgiveness as we turn to him in sorrow and trust him for our lives” he says.

“Our failures are not the last word over our lives. And, through the resurrection of Jesus I have a great and undeserved hope of my own resurrection and future,” Dr. Jensen said.

Archbishop-elect Philip Richardson of New Zealand reminded Kiwi Christians that “life comes out of death; the horror of crucifixion bears the fruit of redeemed and renewed humanity; the worst that we are capable of becomes the access way to that intimacy of relationship with God that Christ makes possible; it is in the bowl and towel of the servant that true power is expressed; it is in losing ourselves that we are found.”

The “heart of the message of Easter,” he observed was not the “passion or the suffering, but the resurrection.”

“As Martin Luther King rightly reminded us, ‘Hate begets hate, anger begets anger, killing only begets more killing. The only thing that can turn an enemy into a friend is the power of love’,” he said.

In a joint message released with the leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada celebrated the bonds of friendship between the two denominations and also urged Christians to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori the Episcopal Church stated: “Easter celebrates the victory of light and life over darkness and death.  God re-creates and redeems all life from dead, dry, and destroyed bones.  We are released from the bonds of self-obsession, addiction, and whatever would steal away the radical freedom of God-with-us.”

At Easter “our lives re-center in what is most holy and creative, the new thing God is continually doing in our midst,” she said, “practicing vulnerability toward the need and hunger of others around us” thereby cultivating “compassionate hearts.  We join in baptismal rebirth in the midst of Jesus’ own passing-over.”

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, writing from Juba where he was standing holy week with Archbishop Daniel Deng of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, wrote: “This Easter I am looking back,” he said – “I am asking, ‘What does it all mean?’ Whether in Juba or in Pittsburgh – and wherever you find yourself – what I testify is that the Gospel is my strength and my song, and that Jesus has become my salvation.”

“Easter is the day that lights and gives meaning to all the others, wherever I – we – spend it and with whomever I – we – spend it.  The tomb is empty.  The world, the flesh and the devil are defeated.  Jesus is alive.  In Him, the alien becomes familiar, loss becomes gain, sorrow becomes joy, and death becomes life.  This Easter I am also looking around and looking ahead,” Archbishop Robert Duncan wrote.

The Archbishop of Armagh Dr. Richard Clarke said what Ireland need this Easter was “confidence – a full–blooded confidence – that we actually want to allow Christ to run loose and dangerous in the world around us. We need to recover that spirited confidence to assert that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is not our private property as churchy people, but is truly for the whole of society and the entire world.”

Dr. Barry Morgan the Archbishop of Wales in his Easter sermon preached at Llandaff Cathedral stated that: “If you wanted to sum up God’s work, He is a God who is in the rescue business.  That is the root meaning of the word ‘salvation’ – it means being saved from something or someone.”

“Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we too as members of His body, are rescued from sin, despair, meaninglessness, disaster, and death,” he said, adding that “this offer of rescue, of salvation, by Jesus, is for all people not just for the select few – a bit like being rescued by a lifeboat.   When a life-station receives a distress signal, no enquiry is made about the social status of those who need rescuing, or whether they can pay for the service, or whether they are at fault for having got themselves into danger in the first place by being careless in going out without life jackets when a storm was forecast.  Lifeboats simply go to the rescue.”

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane stated: “We greet with joy the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We look forward to welcoming many people to worship in our churches at Easter.  We hope and pray that they will experience joy and hope in our congregations.

“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are people of the resurrection.  We are Easter people – shaped in our baptism through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We feel deeply the pain of the world and its people.  We bring compassion and care to the ministry which we exercise in our service of others.  We have a passion for justice.  We are also people of hope.  Because of the resurrection, we believe that good will triumph over evil and life over death.”

Overseas Anglican applause for Francis: The Church of England Newspaper, March 24, 2013, p 6. March 26, 2013

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Anglican leaders around the world and joined with Archbishop Justin Welby in applauding the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires as the next Pope and 226th Bishop of Rome.

The Bishop of Argentina and former primate of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, gave Francis high marks as a champion of the poor and critic of government corruption.

In a note released after the election of Cardinal Bergoglio who has taken the name Francis on 13 March 2013 Bishop Venables wrote: “Many are asking me what Jorge Bergoglio is really like. He is much more of a Christian, Christ centered and Spirit filled, than a mere churchman. He believes the Bible as it is written. I have been with him on many occasions and he always makes me sit next to him and invariably makes me take part and often do what he as Cardinal should have done. He is consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man. He is no fool and speaks out very quietly yet clearly when necessary.”

“I consider this to be an inspired appointment not because he is a close and personal friend but because of who he is In Christ. Pray for him,” Bishop Venables said.

Other Anglican leaders have also praised the election of Pope Francis. Archbishop Peter Jensen, in a statement released just after the election, said “The papacy continues to have huge global significance in testing times for humanity.  We join those who pray that Pope Francis will use the office to further the gospel of Jesus Christ for the sake of all humanity.”

The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church welcomed “the election of Pope Francis. He is known for his simplicity of life and his compassionate humility. The church in South America expresses vigorous life and a deep commitment to justice for the poor. God has called him to this ministry at a time when its demands seem overwhelming. We pray that God will equip him with the grace which he needs to fulfil the task. We also pray that his many gifts and his experience will enable him to lead the church forward in mission and service.”

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said, “We welcome and assure Pope Francis I of our prayers and our best wishes for his future ministry. We hope he will bring an ecumenical perspective to the role, a desire to work with Christians of all traditions and a goodwill to people of other faiths.”

Dr. Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland wrote: “In company with millions of men and women throughout the world of different Christian traditions to his own, I assure the new Pope of our prayers as he begins his new ministry. An Argentinian of European parentage, he brings together in his own person the cultures, hopes and spiritual needs of the first world and of the developing world, so much to be valued amidst the complexities and apprehensions of our globalised earth. He has been a champion of the needs of the poor and dispossessed, and, in the simplicity of his own lifestyle, he has sought to reflect the life of the much–loved saint whose name he now carries in the future, Saint Francis.”

“As the Church of Ireland’s Archbishop of Armagh I extend also to Cardinal Seán Brady, to Jesuit friends throughout the island and to all the Roman Catholic people of Ireland, our best wishes, with the hopes and prayers of many fellow–Christians, as Pope Francis now embarks on the ministry to which he has been called,” Dr Clarke said.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz of Canada noted: The new Pope comes from humble beginnings and he is known to have lived modestly throughout his entire ministry.  In taking the name of Francis after Francis of Assisi he has already given us some indication of the holiness, simplicity, and courage of gospel conviction he will bring to this new ministry.”

“As the new Pope endeavours to call people back to the Faith, to rebuild the Church and to strengthen the integrity of its witness to the Gospel in very diverse global contexts, we join our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers in upholding him our prayers,” he said adding “for Latin Americans this is a particularly proud moment — a moment of great rejoicing!  For from the church there the new Pope carries a passion for evangelism, a stance of solidarity with the poor and a posture of perseverance in the pursuit of peace and justice for all people.”

The presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Katharine Jefferts Schori was less effusive. The Episcopal Church will pray for the new Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis I, and for the possibility of constructive dialogue and cooperation between our Churches.”

Anglican accolades for Francis I: Anglican Ink, March 13, 2013 March 14, 2013

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The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has offered his congratulations to Francis I, the first Latin American and first Jesuit pope.

Francis’ election is “of great significance to Christians everywhere, not least among Anglicans. We have long since recognised—and often reaffirmed—that our churches hold a special place for one another. I look forward to meeting Pope Francis, and to walking and working together to build on the consistent legacy of our predecessors. May the love of Christ unite us, and intensify our service in a genuine and fruitful ecumenism that can be a blessing for the Body of Christ throughout the world,” Archbishop Welby said.

The presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Katharine Jefferts Schori was less effusive. “The Episcopal Church will pray for the new Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis I, and for the possibility of constructive dialogue and cooperation between our Churches.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Disloyal Episcopalians are murderers and terrorists, Jefferts Schori claims: The Church of England Newspaper, February 10, 2013 p 7. February 14, 2013

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Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has denounced her opponents in South Carolina as terrorists and murderers, saying those who opposed her view of church order were “wolves” and false shepherds leading the flock astray.

The 26 Jan 2013 “outrageous” remarks have changed the game in the South Carolina diocesan fight, her critics charge.  What had been a dispute over property has become an ideological war with those who do not conform now being branded as evil.

Speaking to national church loyalists at a special convention held 26 Jan 2013 at Grace Church in Charleston, Bishop Jefferts Schori began her remarks with the story of a glider pilot who had entered restricted airspace in South Carolina and found himself harassed by local officials.

“I tell you that story because it’s indicative of attitudes we’ve seen here and in many other places. Somebody decides he knows the law, and oversteps whatever authority he may have to dictate the fate of others who may in fact be obeying the law, and often a law for which this local tyrant is not the judge,” she said.

“It’s not too far from that kind of attitude to citizens’ militias deciding to patrol their towns or the Mexican border for unwelcome visitors. It’s not terribly far from the state of mind evidenced in school shootings, or in those who want to arm school children, or the terrorism that takes oil workers hostage,” the presiding bishop said.

Bishop Jefferts Schori also denounced what she saw as the arbitrary and capricious usurpation of power by local church leaders stating: “Power assumed by one authority figure alone is often a recipe for abuse, tyranny, and corruption.  That’s why Jesus challenges us to think about how the shepherd acts.  The authentic ones don’t sneak over the wall in the dead of night.  They operate transparently, and they work cooperatively with the gate-keeper himself.”

Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council stated  her remarks were “just over the top,” Canon Ashey said, adding that her “anger was not in keeping of any leader of any Christian church.”  He called upon the presiding bishop to apologize for remarks.

South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence told The Church of England Newspaper the presiding bishop’s remarks were not likely to help matters.

“One of the things I said to the Presiding Bishop when last we spoke is that if she and I could refrain from demonizing one another, regardless of what others around us are saying, we might get somewhere. Based on the words and argument of her recent sermon for the New TEC Diocese in South Carolina, I guess she wasn’t able to do it,” Bishop Lawrence said.

A spokesman for the Presiding Bishop declined to elaborate on the speech stating “As for the Presiding Bishop’s sermon, she did not identify any group in her sermon.”

Legal win for breakaway American diocese: The Church of England Newspaper, February 3, 2013 p 6. February 7, 2013

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The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina scored a significant victory in its fight with the national Episcopal Church last week after a South Carolina court issued a Temporary Restraining Order forbidding the national church and its allies in South Carolina from using the name, symbols or seal of the diocese.

The 23 Jan 2013 order handed down by Judge Diane Goodstein of the First Judicial Circuit Court blocked the national church from holding a rump meeting of the diocese on 26 January, forcing loyalists to gather as the “Episcopal Church in South Carolina” rather than the “Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina”.

Canon lawyer Allan Haley noted that Judge Goodstein’s order had been “granted ex parte as a matter of urgency, and holds in place only until the Court can hear argument on a preliminary injunction pending trial of the matter” and will expire on 1 Feb 2013.

Mr. Haley stated that he expected the national church’s attorneys to offer a vigorous challenge to the TRO at the 1 Feb hearing. “But it would appear that the court has already found most, if not all, of the case against them,” he added.

On 4 Jan 2013 the trustees of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and 15 congregations filed suit against the national church alleging that its agents had committed identity theft by using its name, symbols and seal and by holding out the Presiding Bishop the “steering committee” of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina as the lawful diocesan ecclesiastical authority.  The complaint further alleged the national church had slandered the title to diocesan and congregational property by stating it held an interest in all church property in South Carolina.

An amended complaint filed on 22 Jan, which added 16 additional congregations as plaintiffs, also asked for a TRO from the court.  In its request for the TRO the diocese alleged that at the loyalists special convention Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her supporters “intended to make unauthorized corporate changes” to the diocesan constitution and canons, thereby causing the diocese harm.

The diocese stated by this order: “The judge effectively prevents TEC, a voluntary association, and the parishes who support it, from claiming to own or operate the Diocese of South Carolina, an entity that it insists it owns but whose very existence predates The Episcopal Church.”

Bishop Charles vonRosenberg, who was elected at the special convention to lead those Episcopalians in South Carolina who would remain with the national church, told the Church of England Newspaper: “Our intention is to carry out our duties on behalf of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina when we meet at the special convention, and at the same time, we intend to continue to take care in using language which might be offensive to others.”

However others in the loyalist faction called the judge’s decision “bizarre” and suggested improper influence may have been used to sway her decision. The diocese’s lawsuit to protect its name and assets was “unprecedented”, “vindictive” and “mean spirit[ed]” it said, adding that Bishop Lawrence was unfit to serve in the Christian ministry and denounced the majority factions as being “the anti-gay diocese.”

The loyalist faction turned their ire on the judge as well. “Andrew Platte, an attorney for several of the plaintiff congregations and the PECDSC Incorporated, is a recent law clerk for Judge Goodstein and has taken a important role in the recent legal attacks on Episcopalians in the Diocese. He is an associate in the firm of Speights and Runyon, which played a significant role in convincing parishes in the Diocese that the Episcopal Church might be preparing to take their property away.”

Bishop vonRosenberg, however, took an irenic approach to the conflict.  Speaking to the State newspaper, the provisional bishop-designate for loyalists in South Carolina said there was hope for reconciliation. “While we have diverged at this point in history on our paths, one day those paths will converge once again,” the bishop said.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 64: February 3, 2013 February 4, 2013

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In this week’s episode of Anglican Unscripted your host discuss the adventure (misadventures) of Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori as she descended onto the city of Charleston last week. Allan Haley examines the legal details of the preemptive strike launched against TEC and Schori and how this battle was won. There is also much international news with stories on Egypt and Nigeria and no AU is complete without a story from Canterbury with Peter Ould – this time he talks about the coming wave of Same-Sex Marriage in England . Tweet #AU64 Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com

Presiding Bishop denouces schismatics as terrorists and murderers: Anglican Ink, January 29, 2013 January 29, 2013

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A spokesman for Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has denied suggestions that her sermon denouncing as terrorists and murderers those who did not share her views on the polity of the Episcopal Church was directed at Bishop Mark J. Lawrence or the members of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

Speaking to national church loyalists at a special convention held 26 Jan 2013 at Grace Church in Charleston, Bishop Jefferts Schori characterized her opponents as “wolves” and false shepherds.

She denounced the arbitrary use of power in church affairs, stating: “Power assumed by one authority figure alone is often a recipe for abuse, tyranny, and corruption.  That’s why Jesus challenges us to think about how the shepherd acts.  The authentic ones don’t sneak over the wall in the dead of night.  They operate transparently, and they work cooperatively with the gate-keeper himself.”

The presiding bishop also shared a story of a glider pilot who had entered restricted airspace in South Carolina and found himself harassed by local officials – a situation not unlike the dispute between the diocese and the national church she observed.

“I tell you that story because it’s indicative of attitudes we’ve seen here and in many other places. Somebody decides he knows the law, and oversteps whatever authority he may have to dictate the fate of others who may in fact be obeying the law, and often a law for which this local tyrant is not the judge. It’s not too far from that kind of attitude to citizens’ militias deciding to patrol their towns or the Mexican border for unwelcome visitors. It’s not terribly far from the state of mind evidenced in school shootings, or in those who want to arm school children, or the terrorism that takes oil workers hostage,” the presiding bishop said.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Settlement reached in Episcopal misconduct cases: The Church of England Newspaper, January 20, 2013 p 6. January 25, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Ecclesiastical Trials, Ecclesiology, Fort Worth, Quincy, The Episcopal Church.
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A settlement agreement has been reached in the disciplinary proceedings of 9 American bishops accused of misconduct for holding and propounding contrary views on church history and polity to those of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Last week representatives of the accusers: Bishops C. Wallis Ohl, Jr., and John Buchanan, met with representatives of the accused: Bishops Peter H. Beckwith, Maurice M. Benitez, John W. Howe, Paul E. Lambert, William H. Love, D. Bruce MacPherson, Daniel H. Martins, Edward L. Salmon, Jr, and James M. Stanton, three observers from the House of Bishops: Mary Gray-Reeves, Edward S. Little, Michael Milliken to sign a “conciliation” agreement.

The nine had been charged with fraud, financial misconduct, teaching false doctrine and failing to inform on their fellow bishops who held opinions on church order contrary to those advocated by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.  The form the misconduct took was in having endorsed an amicus brief filed in the Texas Supreme Court in the Diocese of Fort Worth case and signing an affidavit in the Diocese of Quincy case.

The text of the settlement agreement — mediated by Prof.  John Douglass of the University Of Richmond School of Law following a 8-9 Jan 2013 meeting — has not been released so far as it must be signed by all parties and received the imprimatur of Bishop Jefferts Schori.

A statement from the national church’s press office noted the proceedings were closed and no news bulletins would be released by the parties, however sources at the meeting report the final document is an “amicable” resolution to the dispute.

Court blocks loyalist convention for Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina: Anglican Ink, January 23, 2013 January 24, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, Property Litigation, South Carolina.
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Diane Goodstein

Judge Diane Goodstein

The First Judicial Circuit Court in South Carolina has issued a Temporary Restraining Order forbidding any “individual, organization, association or entity” from using the name, symbols or seal of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina – save for Bishop Mark J. Lawrence and the trustees of the diocese.

The 23 January 2013 order handed down by Judge Diane Goodstein effectively blocks the Episcopal Church and its allies from electing a bishop and standing committee for the minority faction loyal to the national church for the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

However, canon lawyer Allan Haley notes the ruling does not prevent those in the diocese who wish to remain affiliated with the national Episcopal Church “from meeting, but they will have to adopt a different name.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Restraining Order filed against Episcopal Church in SC case: Anglican Ink, January 23, 2013 January 23, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, Property Litigation, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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The First Judicial Circuit Court in South Carolina has issued a Temporary Restraining Order banning Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her allies from using the name, symbols of identity of the “Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina”.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

15 more parishes join lawsuit against the Episcopal Church January 23, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, Property Litigation, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence

The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina reports that 15 further congregations have joined it in their 4 Jan 2013 lawsuit against the national Episcopal Church.

The 22 Jan statement reported that of the dioceses congregations, 31 had joined the lawsuit against the national church, 13 congregations were supporting Bishop Mark Lawrence and the diocese against the national church but had not yet joined the litigation, nine missions and two parishes had not declared how they would act, while eight parishes and eight missions had indicated they would remain affiliated with the national Episcopal Church.

“We are saddened that legal action is necessary to protect our members from an organization that uses the threat of legal action as a cudgel to keep its parishes in line,” Bishop Lawrence said.

First printed in Anglican Ink.

South Carolina dispute goes to court: The Church of England Newspaper, January 13, 2013 p 6. January 17, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, South Carolina.
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The Diocese of South Carolina has filed a lawsuit against the Episcopal Church seeking a ban on the use of its name and seal by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her allies, and asking the civil courts to confirm that it had lawfully withdrawn from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

The 4 Jan 2013 complaint filed in the First Judicial Circuit Court in Dorchester County by the trustees of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and 16 parishes asks the civil court settle the legal and ecclesiological question of the locus of authority in the Episcopal Church.  Since taking office in 2006, Bishop Jefferts Schori has argued authority in the church is vested in the General Convention and her office, rejecting the traditional view that authority resides in the dioceses with limited powers delegated to the national church.

The 65-page complaint addresses similar issues before the Texas Supreme Court which is reviewing the case of the Diocese of Fort Worth and lower courts in California and Illinois addressing the secession of the dioceses of San Joaquin and Quincy.

The pleading alleges three causes of action by the diocese against the national church. It alleges the national church has claimed the “right to ownership and possession” of $500 million of diocesan and congregational property; the national church has unlawfully used the diocese’s name and registered service marks; and that the national church “persons under its direction and control” had appropriated the diocesan seal.

Mr. Thomas Tisdale, Bishop Jefferts Schori’s attorney in South Carolina, declined to comment on the pleadings.  A spokesman for the presiding bishop told the Church of England Newspaper “the Episcopal Church has not received the legal papers in any such lawsuit in South Carolina and therefore cannot comment at this time.”

The pleading asks the court to step into the dispute between South Carolina and the national church following months of skirmishing that have included the 17 Oct 2012 suspension and subsequent dismissal of Bishop Mark Lawrence from the ministry by Bishop Jefferts Schori, the 15 Nov 2012 secession of the diocese, and the creation of a loyalist group in the diocese, acting under the authority of the presiding bishop, that has claimed the name, rights, property and interest of the diocese.

In a press statement reporting the news of the lawsuit, the diocese said it acted to prevent the national church from “hijacking” its name and assets.

“Like our colonial forefathers, we are pursuing the freedom to practice our faith as we see fit, not as it is dictated to us by a self-proclaimed religious authority who threatens to take our property unless we relinquish our beliefs,” Bishop Lawrence said.

The Rev. Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary of South Carolina stated “many of our parishes are among the oldest operating churches in the nation.  They and this Diocese predate the establishment of The Episcopal Church. We want to protect these properties from a blatant land grab.”

“We have existed as an association since 1785. We incorporated in 1973; adopted our current legal name … in 1987; and we disassociated from the Episcopal Church in October of 2012. The Episcopal Church has every right to have a presence in the area served by our Diocese – but it does not have a right to use our identity.  The Episcopal Church must create a new entity.”

Tentative settlement reached in the Fort Worth 7 and Quincy 3 cases: Anglican Ink, January 9, 2013 January 10, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, House of Bishops, Property Litigation, The Episcopal Church.
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A tentative settlement has been reached in the “Fort Worth 7”  and “Quincy 3” cases, sources close to the proceedings report.  Details of the agreement will not been released until all parties endorse the agreement, the sources report, but the disposition of the dispute is being characterized as “amicable” AI has learned.

If the agreement is ratified, the settlement will conclude the largest mass disciplinary proceeding launched against bishops of the Episcopal Church.

In emails dated 2 and 19 Oct 2012, the Intake Officer for the House of Bishops and aide to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Rt. Rev. F. Clayton Matthews informed nine bishops they had been charged with fraud, financial misconduct, teaching false doctrine and failing to inform on their fellow bishops who held opinions on church order contrary to those advocated by Bishop  Jefferts Schori.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 62: January 6, 2013 January 7, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church News, Anglican.TV.
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Just when you thought it was safe to watch online Videos again… In this week’s Episode Kevin and George give some behind the scenes information regarding the next Gafcon. They also talk about invisible Christian Persecution this Christmas season and the Anglican World before and after the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson. Peter Ould discusses the recent Church of England news about Bishops in Civil Partnerships and Allan Haley tackles the real effect of the latest news from the Diocese of South Carolina. Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com Tweet #AU62

South Carolina fires first salvo in legal battle with TEC: Anglican Ink, January 5, 2013 January 5, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, Property Litigation, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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Bishop Mark Lawrence

A South Carolina court has been asked “Who and what are Episcopalians and how is that church organized?” after the Diocese of South Carolina filed a lawsuit yesterday against the national Episcopal Church.  The 65-page complaint asks the court to issue an injunction banning Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her allies in South Carolina from using the name or presuming to act on behalf of the diocese and further asks the court to affirm the legality of the diocese’s secession from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America.

Filed on 4 January 2013 in the First Judicial Circuit Court in Dorchester County by the trustees of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and 16 parishes, the complaint asks the civil courts to adjudicate the same general questions currently before the Texas Supreme Court in the Diocese of Fort Worth case. South Carolina has asked the court to legal scrutiny Bishop Jefferts Schori’s claim the Episcopal Church of the United States of America is a hierarchical body with final authority vested in the national church.

Yesterday’s action follows a generation of sparing between liberals and conservatives in the Episcopal Church over issues of doctrine and discipline.  However, the legal and ecclesiological issues of diocesan autonomy and national authority arose in 2006 after Bishop Jefferts Schori was elected presiding bishop. Unlike her predecessor Frank Griswold who told the Diocese of Louisiana that ultimate authority rested in the diocese, Bishop Jefferts Schori has argued that ultimate authority resides in the General Convention and in her office.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Anglican Communion ignores Mark Lawrence’s deposition: Anglican Ink, December 20, 2012 December 21, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina

The leaders of the Global South coalition of Anglican provinces have written to Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina stating they do not recognize the validity of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jeffert Schori’s purported deposition of him from episcopal office and the ordained ministry.

In a letter dated 14 December 2012, Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean, Bishop Mouneer Anis of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, Presiding Bishop Tito Zavala of the Southern Cone, Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo of Burma, and Archbishop Bolly Lapok of Southeast Asia said:

“We want to assure you that we recognize your Episcopal orders and your legitimate Episcopal oversight of the Diocese of South Carolina within the Anglican Communion.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

South Carolina schism descending into farce: The Church of England Newspaper, December 16, 2012 p 6. December 13, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has defrocked the Bishop of South Carolina, writing on 5 Dec 2012 that she had accepted the “voluntary renunciation of ministry” of Bishop Mark J. Lawrence.

However, Bishop Lawrence has responded that he felt no “need to argue or rebut” the accusations and actions as they were ridiculous.

In her press release announcing the move, Bishop Jefferts Schori said that acting under the terms of Title III, Canon 12, Section 7 the Presiding Bishop “has accepted the renunciation of the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church of Mark Lawrence as made in his public address on November 17 and she has released him from his orders in this Church.”

Bisho Lawrence responded: “Quite simply I have not renounced my orders as a deacon, priest or bishop any more than I have abandoned the Church of Jesus Christ—But as I am sure you are aware, the Diocese of South Carolina has canonically and legally disassociated from The Episcopal Church. We took this action long before today’s attempt at renunciation of orders, therein making it superfluous,” the bishop said.

The announcement released by the church’s press office, the Episcopal News Service, said “pastoral outreach to Lawrence had been ongoing for a period of several years, including up to the time he announced his intentions” to withdraw from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

“Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori along with members of her staff took steps to work with Lawrence.  In addition, repeated attempts by the Bishops of Province IV and notably Bishop Andrew Waldo of Upper South Carolina were made to discuss the situation with Lawrence and to offer help in achieving a resolution.”

Bishop Lawrence’s oral statement to the 17 Nov 2012 meeting of his diocesan convention that: “We have withdrawn from that Church that we along with six other dioceses help to organize centuries ago;” and “We have moved on. With the Standing Committee’s resolution of disassociation the fact is accomplished: legally and canonically;” was evidence of his having abandoned the ministry of the Episcopal Church.

However, the presiding bishop’s claim to have received the renunciation of Bishop Lawrence is at odds with the language of the canon.  The canon used to depose the bishop without trial states: “If any Bishop of this Church shall declare, in writing, to the Presiding Bishop a renunciation of the ordained Ministry of this Church, and a desire to be removed therefrom, it shall be the duty of the Presiding Bishop to record the declaration and request so made.”

Canon lawyer Allan Haley observed that “Bishop Lawrence (a) did not address any writing to the Presiding Bishop; (b) did not renounce his ordained Ministry; and (c) did not request to be removed from that Ministry. The elaborately crafted press release from the Public Affairs Office is simply a poor attempt to cover over a huge, public lie.”

That “huge, public lie has been told simply for the sake of the Presiding Bishop’s and ECUSA’s own convenience,” he said.

Members of the Presiding Bishop’s Council of Advice supported the use of the abandonment canon against Bishop Lawrence even though he met none of the criteria for its use.

The ends of removing Bishop Lawrence from the ministry of the Episcopal Church justified the means taken by the presiding bishop, Bishop Dean Wolfe of Kansas told The Church of England Newspaper. “I believe, and Canonical experts confirm, this (along with a variety of other statements made by Bishop Lawrence) constitutes renunciation,” he said.

On 8 Dec 2012 a group of national church loyalists in the Diocese of South Carolina known as the “steering committee” reported that Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori would “convene” a special meeting of the diocesan convention to elect a “provisional bishop” to replace Bishop Lawrence.

In their press statement, the steering committee explained that “Episcopalians in the diocese are without a bishop after the Presiding Bishop accepted the renunciation of Mark Lawrence on December 5 and released him from ordained ministry. The announcements by local church leaders that they have left The Episcopal Church has left the Diocese with no Standing Committee, which normally would lead a diocese in the absence of a bishop.”

This assertion, however, has been rejected by the diocese. South Carolina civil law and the canons of the Episcopal Church do not permit the presiding bishop to “declare” a standing committee to be vacant.

Under South Carolina civil and canon law, a quorum of clergy and lay delegates to the convention must be present for its actions to have legal force.  If only those 5 to 12 congregations who have expressed reservations about the withdrawal of the diocese form the national church attend the convention, any action taken will be void under civil and canon law.

However, appeals to the rule of law and church order have so far not halted the presiding bishop’s campaign against conservatives in the Episcopal Church. Objections to similar “rump” conventions held in Fort Worth, San Joaquin and Quincy and extra-canonical defrocking of bishops have gone unheeded by the wider Episcopal Church.  However, the Texas Supreme Court is expected to rule shortly on the legality of the loyalist group in Fort Worth claiming it is the true Episcopal Diocese.

Canonical legerdemain and unlawful usurpation of authority by the presiding bishop in the aim of a political agenda were a sad commentary on the moral state of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Lawrence observed.

The presiding bishop would go to any lengths to exterminate dissent and would twist words to achieve her purposes. “She and her advisers will say I have said what I have not said in ways that I have not said them even while they cite words from my Bishop’s Address” to the South Carolina special convention, he said.

But Bishop Lawrence reported that he was “heartened” by the support he had received by the “vast majority” within the diocese and from the “majority of Anglicans around the world” who have “expressed in so many ways that they consider me an Anglican Bishop in good standing and consider this Diocese of South Carolina to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. “

“So we move on—onward and upward,” Bishop Lawrence said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Mediation plea for South Carolina crisis: The Church of England Newspaper, December 9, 2012 p 6. December 12, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, South Carolina.
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The Episcopal Church’s embattled conservatives have called upon Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishop Mark Lawrence to engage in mediation to resolve the impasse over the secession of the Diocese of South Carolina.

On 14 Nov 2012, 12 bishops released a statement expressing their grief over “recent developments in the life of the Episcopal Church, specifically in the Diocese of South Carolina” called “upon all concerned to seek a non-juridical solution to these difficult matters, and not to be limited by our canonical procedures.”

“Our hope, indeed our prayer,” the Communion Partners coalition said, was “that this painful moment in the life of the church will lead us to new and creative ways to discover Christ’s reconciling love, and to live together in one Body in the midst of our differences.”

In a paper released last week, the Anglican Communion Institute urged the parties to take up the conflict resolution programme created by the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG).

Formed by the Archbishop of Canterbury following his Advent Letter to the Primates in December 2007, Dr. Rowan Williams asked the WCG to advise him how best to implement the recommendations of the Windsor Report, how best to carry forward the Windsor Process in the life of the Communion, and to consult on the “unfinished business” of the Report. At the Lambeth Conference 2008, it offered a series of initial Observations to the meeting to facilitate conversations.

The ACI stated the WCG recommended that in cases of theological dispute between a diocese and province “a provisional holding arrangement” for the diocese be crafted that would “enable dialogue to take place and which will be revisited on the conclusion of the Covenant Process.”

The ACI argued that there was a window of opportunity open to resolve the crisis. In his address to the South Carolina special convention which affirmed the diocese’s withdrawal from the General Convention, Bishop Lawrence said he remained open to meeting with Bishop Jefferts Schori to “seek new and creative solutions.”

“We suggest that the concept already proffered by the Windsor Continuation Group and accepted in principle by the Communion’s Instruments (and by TEC’s Presiding Bishop) might offer one possible creative solution,” the ACI said. “Litigation could be avoided, those dissenting in the diocese could receive immediate pastoral care from the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, the current status quo in South Carolina would be recognized and contained, and hope for eventual reconciliation not completely abandoned.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s office has declined to respond to queries about the split in South Carolina, but sources report that Dr. Williams and Bishop Justin Welby have been in contact with the principals in the dispute.  Neither South Carolina nor the national church offices have responded publicly to the proposal so far.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Jefferts Schori to convene a special convention for South Carolina: Anglican Ink, December 8, 2012 December 9, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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Katharine Jefferts Schori

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has called a special convention of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina for 26 January 2013 to elect a provisional bishop.

On 8 Dec 2012 the “steering committee” of South Carolina, a group of lay and clergy members of the diocese loyal to the national church announced that Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori would “convene” the gathering at Grace Church in Charleston.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 59: December 7, 2012 December 7, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Anglican.TV, ARCIC, Church of England, The Episcopal Church.
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This first week of Advent George and Kevin discuss the latest news from the Diocese of South Carolina and the unlawful actions of the Presiding Bishop. Your two favorite commentators also tackle the final Advent letter from Archbishop Rowan Williams and they share some sage advice for Bishop Justin Welby. Sadly, our third story was removed during editing in reaction to the tragedy today in London with the suicide of the Kate Middleton’s Nurse. Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com #AU59

Also: Please keep AU Contributor Allan Haley in your prayers this week as he and his family are grieving the death of Allan’s sister.

South Carolina’s sorrow and pity for Katharine Jefferts Schori: Anglican Ink, December 5, 2012 December 6, 2012

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The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence

The Bishop of South Carolina has received the news of his removal from the ordained ministry with sorrow, and a little pity. On 5 Dec 2012 the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church announced that she had accepted the voluntary renunciation of the ministerial orders of the Bishop of South Carolina.  However, Bishop Mark J. Lawrence reports the presiding bishop’s actions have no canonical significance.

On the fourth anniversary of her deposing Bishop Jack Iker by the same canonical maneuver, Bishop Jefferts Schori announced she had deposed Bishop Lawrence. The Episcopal News Service reported that pursuant to Title III, Canon 12, Section 7 the Presiding Bishop “has accepted the renunciation of the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church of Mark Lawrence as made in his public address on November 17 and she has released him from his orders in this Church.”

However, the presiding bishop’s claim to have received the renunciation of Bishop Lawrence is at odds with the language of the canon.  The canons states:

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 58, December 2, 2012 December 2, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican.TV, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Property Litigation, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church, Zimbabwe.
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This week Kevin and George talk about the Artificial Ecclesiastical Diocese of South Carolina (AEDOS) and some of the miscommunication between it’s leadership. They also talk about International stories from Canada and Egypt. And what episode won’t be complete without a story about Legal Violence in Zimbabwe? #AU58 Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com

Presiding Bishop taking charge in South Carolina: Anglican Ink, November 29, 2012 November 29, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori

A gathering of national church loyalists has learned that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is backing their move to claim the mantle of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

The presiding bishop’s attorney told the 15 Nov 2012 meeting of TEC loyalists   the national church had been preparing for the fight with Bishop Lawrence and the majority faction in the diocese for some time.  However assertions made at the meeting that the former Bishop of East Tennessee will be intervening on behalf of the presiding bishop supplant Bishop Mark Lawrence were unfounded.

The Rt. Rev. Charles vonRosenberg told Anglican Ink his officiating at public worship as a priest in the jurisdiction of the Diocese of South Carolina was permitted under a license he held by Bishop Mark Lawrence, while his actions as a bishop were of a pastoral nature. The retired bishop said the had been given “no special or particular authority” to exercise episcopal office in South Carolina.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Congo call to prayer issued by church leaders: Anglican Ink, November 28, 2012 November 28, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of the Congo, Anglican Ink.
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Archbishop Henri Isingoma

Anglican leaders across the globe have joined the call for prayer for the Congo and a peaceful end to its civil war.

The Congo Church Association (CCA), with the support of Archbishop Isingoma Kahwa of the Anglican Church of Congo, issued a call for a week of special prayer for the Congo, asking Christians to pray from Monday, the 26th of November to Sunday the 2nd of December. “We hope individuals, groups and churches will commit to pray afresh for a resolution and definitive end to the conflict, violence and atrocities, and for a new era of peace, as well as for the needs of all those affected.”

A UK-based support group for the Church in the Congo and other Francophone regions of Africa, the Congo Church Association has released a fact and prayer sheet outlining the needs of Africa’s largest country.

“More than 500,000 people have been displaced in the east, including 60,000 into Uganda and Rwanda, following M23 violence against civilians and fighting with the national army,” the CCA wrote.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

South Carolina withdraws from the Episcopal Church: The Church of England Newspaper, November 22, 2012 November 26, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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The Diocese of South Carolina has withdrawn from the Episcopal Church of the United States.

Delegates to a special meeting of the diocesan convention held on 17 November at St Philip’s Church in Charleston voted to affirm the disaffiliation of the diocese from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church taken last month by the Standing Committee and its bishop, the Rt Rev Mark Lawrence.

The split comes after years of theological and political disputes between the conservative diocese and the liberal hierarchy of the national Church over issues of human sexuality, the nature and person of Jesus, and the doctrines of marriage. Issues came to a head at the 77th General Convention last July when the diocesan delegation and Bishop Lawrence withdrew from the Convention after it adopted provisional rites for the blessing of gay marriages.

Writing to the diocese on 15 November, US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said the Convention had no authority to remove the diocese from the General Convention. “The alteration, dissolution, or departure of a diocese of The Episcopal Church requires the consent of General Convention, which has not been consulted,” she said.

However, the Church’s constitution and canons are silent on this point, and the question of diocesan secession is currently before the state courts of Texas, California and Illinois.

Saturday’s vote is the second time the diocese has withdrawn from the General Convention. During the American Civil War the diocese left the Episcopal Church to join the Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America. In 1868 the diocese rejoined the Episcopal Church of the USA – the last “Confederate” diocese to do so.

However, Bishop Mark Lawrence told his diocese that this time round the diocese would not affiliate with any other Anglican body, but for the time being would be an extra-provincial diocese of the 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,” Bishop Lawrence told the diocese.

“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,” he reported.

Bishop Lawrence told The Church of England Newspaper he had been in conversation with bishops of the Church of England who were “eager to help in various ways.” However, he declined to say more, noting it was best to say nothing more at this time. But South Carolina Episcopalians were conscious they were “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses praying for us, supporting us, interceding on our behalf with the martyrs,” the Bishop said.

A quorum present, three resolutions were brought to the convention for action. The first affirmed by voice vote the disaffiliation from the national Church taken by the standing committee and bishop. The second approved by voice vote amendments to the diocesan constitution removing all references to the national Church.

A third resolution that amended the diocesan canons to remove references to the national Church was approved by a vote by orders with 71 clergy in favour and three abstaining, while in the lay order it was passed with 47 in favour and five abstaining.

Those abstaining told CEN their congregations had not yet decided on what course of action to pursue. Approximately 12 congregations were not present at the meeting and of those, some are known to be active members of the faction loyal to the national Church.

In a press conference held at the close of the meeting, the canon to the ordinary, the Rev Jim Lewis said: “For the sake of clarity, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina is our legally incorporated identity. We have been the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina and remains so.”

First printed in the Church of England Newspaper.

Anglican Unscripted: November 24, 2012 November 25, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican.TV, Church of England, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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This week Kevin and George talk about the Diocese of South Carolina and the response to their vote to leave the Episcopal Church. Peter talks about the recent vote for Women Bishop in the Church of England and Allan Haley discusses the legal ramifications facing the Diocese of South Carolina and the Episcopal Church. And as always there is much much more in Episode 57. #AU57 comments to anglicanunscripted@gmail.com — Thanks to all who sent money for George’s new camera — sadly Kevin told George the wrong settings for HD…

Overseas Anglican plaudits for the next Archbishop of Canterbury: The Church of England Newspaper, November 18, 2012 p 5. November 21, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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Anglican leaders have welcomed the news of the appointment of Justin Welby as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.  The plaudits for the Bishop of Durham, however, have been mixed with advice and pleas for leadership from Canterbury for the factious Anglican Communion.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop David Chillingworth welcomed the appointment writing that Justin Welby  and added that he hoped the new archbishop would support the Indaba process – a conversation project between liberals and conservatives in the communion backed by the Anglican Consultative Council.  Bishop Chillingworth said he “enjoyed and valued my contacts with [Bishop Welby].  In the early stages of what has become Continuing Indaba – a movement of honest conversation across difference – his wide knowledge of the Anglican Communion, particularly in Africa, was of great importance.”

The leader of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala also praised the appointment, but noted that for Anglicans in the developing world, a common faith was more important than a common ecclesiastical structure.

The Kenyan archbishop said he hoped the new archbishop would rethink the current structures of the common and accept the African church’s view that “the chair of the Primates Meeting should be elected by the Primates themselves” and not go to the Archbishop of Canterbury by right.

“Our proposal, while not intended to deny the honour due to Canterbury as an historic see, is an expression of the truth we hold as vital, that our identity as Anglicans stems first and foremost from adherence to the faith we confess. It is this which gives substance and integrity to our bonds of affection and our efforts to relieve poverty and promote development.”

The new archbishop may have won over the Church of Uganda, which has withdrawn from inter-Anglican affairs since the 2008 Lambeth Conference..

“We are pleased to hear that he is an evangelical and will pray for him to lift up Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life,” and to set the Word of God written as the authority for our common faith and morality,” Ugandan provincial secretary Canon George Bagamuhunda wrote.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said she was “delighted” with the news, but added she expected Bishop Welby would have rough going as archbishop. “I give thanks for his appointment and his willingness to accept this work, in which I know his gifts of reconciliation and discernment will be abundantly tested.  May God bless his ministry, shelter his family, and bring comfort in the midst of difficult and lonely discernment and decisions.”

Conservative American pressure groups like the American Anglican Council have urged the new archbishop to hold the line on gay blessings and clergy, but liberal American groups have asked the new archbishop to listen to them instead.

The Chicago Consultation, a politically influential liberal pressure group, welcomed the news noting the new archbishop was “known for his pragmatic approach to conflict resolution and his personal courage as an agent of reconciliation.”

They added they were “heartened that Archbishop-elect Welby decried homophobia in his opening press conference, and we hope that he will listen with an open heart to the voices of the millions of faithful lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians across the Anglican Communion.”

The leader of the Anglican Church League in Sydney, Dr. Mark Thompson, wrote that “conservative Evangelicals could see a “great deal that is wonderfully hopeful in this appointment. Bishop Welby self-identifies as an evangelical. He is able to communicate clearly and winsomely.”

However, Dr. Thompson said the test would come in the new archbishop’s actions, not through is words.  As Bishop Welby “prepares to take up this challenging role at a very challenging time, one characteristic that has not been attributed to him is ‘courage’.”

Will Bishop Welby “stand up” to the Episcopal Church? Will he “call to account” Anglicans who have moved away from a Scriptural faith? Will he “stand” with the Global South “in the task of proclaiming Christ to a lost world?” Will he fire “Canon Kenneth Kearon and the others in the Anglican Communion Office who have manipulated the ACC agenda over the past decade in extraordinarily unhelpful ways?”

Will he “challenge” the British government over gay marriage? Will he support evangelicals in the Church of Scotland, in Canada and in the U.S. as well as Christians in the Muslim majority world who are being “persecuted” because of their faith.  And will he stand with members of the Church of England who in good conscience cannot accept the oversight of a woman bishop?”

“With such courage, and by God’s grace, respect for his office and health for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion might indeed return,” Dr. Thompson said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Communion sponsored mediation proposed for South Carolina: Anglican Ink, November 21, 2012 November 21, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church, Windsor Continuation Group.
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The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi

Resolution of the South Carolina standoff would best be served by an international intervention of the type proposed by the Anglican Communion’s Windsor Continuation Group, the Anglican Communion Institute (ACI) said last night in a paper released on its website.

The American-based church think tank has proposed the national Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina take up the recommendations of the Windsor Continuation Group formed by Dr. Rowan Williams.

The ACI stated the WCG recommended that in cases of theological dispute between a diocese and province “a provisional holding arrangement” for the diocese be crafted that would “enable dialogue to take place and which will be revisited on the conclusion of the Covenant Process.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Church coup in South Carolina: The Church of England Newspaper, November 18, 2012 p 7. November 19, 2012

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The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has backed an ecclesiastical coup against the Diocese of South Carolina and has purported to have prorogued the standing committee of the conservative evangelical diocese. A “Transitional Committee” in South Carolina loyal to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has formed a “steering committee” to act in the place of the diocese’s officers – its ecclesiastical authority – and has pledged to “continue” the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

On 11 Nov 2012 the steering committee announced that it was now in charge. “We write to assure you that The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina is continuing,” under the authority of a “steering committee of faithful Episcopalians” who will “reorganize our continuing Diocese over the next few months. This committee will serve as the broad-based group in the Diocese that communicates with the Presiding Bishop during this period when the Diocese has no functioning ecclesiastical authority.”

The loyalist faction, writing in the name of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and acting under its seal,  said that at a March convention they would “begin the work of selecting a bishop, a new standing committee, and forging ahead with our missions and ministry.”

Last month Bishop Jefferts Schori suspended South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence with the intent to depose him from office within sixty days.  By using the church’s “abandonment canon”, created in the Nineteenth century to remove from the church’s roster clergy who had “gone over to Rome”, Bishop Jefferts Schori need not bring Bishop Lawrence to trial or prove the charges.

The diocese, however, does not recognize the authority of the church’s new disciplinary canons introduced last year. It also adopted a “poison pill” amendment to its constitution and canons so that if the national church attempted to remove its bishop for political reasons, the diocese would automatically withdraw from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.  The 15 Oct 2012 announcement by the presiding bishop that she had suspended Bishop Lawrence, under South Carolina civil law, removed the diocese from the General Convention.

National church loyalists in South Carolina have been working in concert with New York and two retired bishops living in South Carolina: Charles vonRosenberg of Eastern Tennessee and James Buchanan of Western Missouri.

On 3 Nov, an advertisement affixed with the diocesan seal was placed in two newspapers by the clergy and vestry of two congregationsstating the “Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina” “will continue” as part of the Episcopal Church with “new leadership and a new Bishop.”

On 7 Nov the same group, claiming now to be the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina wrote to the clergy of the diocese inviting them to attend a “clergy day” with Bishop vonRosenberg where they would receive a report from “the Steering Committee.”

A spokesman for the presiding bishop’s office told the Charleston Post & Courier it was in her authority to act as Bishop Lawrence had been suspended and she had removed the standing committee removed from office.

However, in a paper released on 11 Nov, the Anglican Communion Institute noted the actions taken by the presiding bishop and the loyalist group violated civil and canonical law.  The Episcopal Church has “no canonical basis for the actions that the Presiding Bishop and pro-TEC local parishes appear to be taking.”

The ACI further stated the “absence of any canons authorizing what the Presiding Bishop and others are doing is proof that TEC is operating under a profoundly flawed understanding of the church’s polity.”

Canon lawyer Allan Haley has argued this latest action may be a step too far, as the national church’s actions cannot be defended by reference to civil or church law. The South Carolina Supreme Court has repudiated the church’s national property canon in the state, he notes and the “Dennis Canon is as dead as a doornail in South Carolina, and so are any thoughts of an implied trust on diocesan property based on other Church canons and past relations”

“Moreover, the Diocese of South Carolina is organized as a corporation under South Carolina law. That fact guarantees its own independent, legal identity in the State’s courts and before all of its executive and legislative bodies, officers and agencies. For the Bandit Bishop and her minions to try to appropriate that identity for their own nefarious purposes is fully akin to what would be called ‘identity theft’ in any other context,” he said.

Bishop vonRosenberg told The Church of England Newspaper the loyalist faction would meet on 15 Nov – two days before the diocese gathers in a special convention to respond to the suspension of their bishop.  He denied that his support for the dissident group was fomenting schism or a violation of canon law. “A group of loyal Episcopal priests felt the need to gather, for mutual support.  They asked me to offer a homily during the liturgy they will share.  I had previously been licensed in this diocese by Bishop Lawrence.  I certainly felt able to respond to the invitation affirmatively, and I look forward to being with that group.”

“I imagine that things will become clearer soon.  I hope so, because there is much confusion at this point,” Bishop vonRosenberg said.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

South Carolina quits the Episcopal Church: Anglican Ink, November 19, 2012 November 19, 2012

Posted by geoconger in 77th General Convention, Anglican Ink, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence

The Diocese of South Carolina has withdrawn from the Episcopal Church.

On 17 Nov 2012 delegates to a special meeting of the convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina endorsed resolutions affirming the withdrawal of the diocese from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church made last month by the Standing Committee and adopted resolutions amending the constitution and canons to delete reference to the national church.

“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,” Bishop Mark J. Lawrence asked the convention. “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,” the bishop said, saying it was now time to “move on.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Presiding Bishop asks Mark Lawrence to recant: Anglican Ink, November 15, 2012 November 15, 2012

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The Rt. Rev. Daniel Martins

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has told the Bishop of Springfield she has not declared the ecclesiastical authority of South Carolina to be vacant.  However, she has conceded her staff has been working with dissidents in the diocese to appointment new members to replace those no longer recognized as exercising legal authority over the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina by the national church.

A spokesman for the diocese said she was unaware of any current vacancies on the board.

Writing on his blog, Confessions of a Carioca, the Rt. Rev. Daniel Martins stated he had been “contacted by “the Presiding Bishop” concerning his call for a halt to hostilities between the national church and the Diocese of South Carolina.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Fort Worth 7 indicted on charges of failure to inform on other bishops: Anglican Ink, November 13, 2012 November 13, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, Canon Law, Fort Worth, The Episcopal Church.
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The episcopal defendants in the Fort Worth 7 case have been charged with fraud, financial misconduct and failing to inform on their fellow bishops  who held opinions on church order contrary to those advocated by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

In an email dated 2 Oct 2012 seen by Anglican Ink the Fort Worth 7 were informed of the specific canonical violations they had committed by filing an amicus brief in the Fort Worth case before the Texas Supreme Court.

The intake officer for the House of Bishops, the Rt. Rev. F. Clayton Matthews told the seven:

“The complaints were filed by the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Fort Worth and Mr. Paul Ambos, a member in good standing of Christ Church, New Brunswick, New Jersey and a Deputy to the 77th General Convention from the Diocese of New Jersey.  They allege you violated Canons IV.3.1, and Canons IV.4.Sec1(c),(e),(g),(f),(h)(6),(h)(8), and possibly IV.4.Sec.1(h)(2).”

The canonical violations enumerated by Bishop Matthews were:

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Upper South Carolina calls for cease fire in Charleston: Anglican Ink, November 12, 2012 November 13, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, Property Litigation, South Carolina.
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Bishop Mark Lawrence

The Standing Committee of Upper South Carolina has urged the Presiding Bishop to abort the national church’s legal campaign in South Carolina and wage peace with Bishop Mark Lawrence.

The 2 Nov 2012 letter urging a cease fire in the war between the national church and South Carolina may well be too late to avert a crisis.  A group claiming to be the true Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina has formed and through its “transition committee” has announced that they believe the members of the South Carolina standing committee have impeached themselves, and have taken up the legal name and seal of the diocese as their own.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Episcopal leaders offer prayers for the victims of Hurricane Sandy: Church of England Newspaper, November 11, 2012 p 1 November 13, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief, The Episcopal Church.
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The Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies – the co-leaders of the Episcopal Church – have urged Americans to respond to the call to aid those in need in the wake of the devastation brought by Hurricane Sandy.

The unseasonal hurricane has “wrought havoc northward hundreds of miles from its first Caribbean landfall, killing and injuring dozens of people in Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, the Bahamas, United States, and Canada,” Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Rev. Gay Jennings wrote on 3 Nov 2012 from ACC-15 in New Zealand.

“The destruction left in its path has deepened the misery of those still recovering from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti as well as hurricanes earlier this season.  It is always the poorest who are most affected, although the news media have shown only a little of that reality.  The impact in a principal metropolitan area of the United States has brought an unimagined level of destruction, and suffering that will long continue in the mid-Atlantic region,” the two said.

The storm came ashore on the coast of New Jersey in the early hours of 30 October causing massive destruction of coastal towns and cities in the Mid-Atlantic.  Seventy-one people were reported dead in the Caribbean, and an equal number are feared dead in the U.S. where disaster relief continues.  A week after the storm power hit New York, the power is out in parts of lower Manhattan and Staten Island and the subways remain flooded.

“This is a time for reaching out to neighbors next door as well as farther abroad with solidarity and offers of basic human hospitality – food, water, electrical connections, showers and shelter – as well as money to assist the lengthy recovery that will be required everywhere this storm has moved.,” the Episcopal leaders said.

“Our Anglican neighbors gathered in New Zealand for the Anglican Consultative Council have been profligate with their prayers and expressions of concern.  We know that God is with us in the midst of this suffering; you can help others to discover that reality through your own response.  May the light of Christ shine through you, and may his light shatter the darkness.

Diocese of South Carolina kicked out of the Episcopal Church: The Church of England Newspaper, October 28, 2012 p 6. October 31, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Property Litigation, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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The Diocese of South Carolina has been pushed out of the Episcopal Church of the USA. The involuntary secession of the 29,000-member diocese comes as charges have been brought against its bishop, the Rt Rev Mark Lawrence for “abandoning” the communion of the Episcopal Church.

On 17 October 2012 a statement printed on the Diocese’s Website said that two days earlier Bishop Lawrence had been notified by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori that on 18 September 2012 “the Disciplinary Board for Bishops had certified his abandonment of The Episcopal Church.”

Two retired priests and 14 lay members of the diocese, who are also members of the pro-national church pressure group the Episcopal Forum of South Carolina, brought three charges against Bishop Lawrence.  The Disciplinary Board of Bishops found that Bishop Lawrence had failed to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church.”

The bishop was accused of not ruling out of order a motion presented to the 2011 diocesan convention to amend the diocesan constitution; not dissenting from their adoption by the convention; and  advocating their passage in his pastoral address to the convention.

Rather than bring Bishop Lawrence to trial and allow him to present a defence or legal challenge to the complaint, the board used a Nineteenth century canon designed to remove clergy from the ministry without trial after they had joined the Catholic Church.  However, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has used the abandonment canon to discipline bishops who do not share her interpretation of the church’s doctrine and discipline — abandoning the communion of the church now meant being in disagreement with the presiding bishop.

Canon law expert Allan Haley notes the first two charges brought against the bishop raises the issue of double jeopardy as they were heard by the disciplinary board in 2011 and rejected.  Mr. Halley added the third charge “shows how the Board has erased the distinction between the individual acts of a Bishop and the corporate acts of a Diocese. The real complaint is with what the Diocese did, and not with someone who spoke in favor of the resolutions.”

The diocese reported that Bishop Lawrence had been in talks with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori after the Disciplinary Board had returned its verdict of guilty on 18 September to “find a peaceful alternative to the growing issues between The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina.”

The diocesan statement noted: “We feel a deep sense of sadness but a renewed sense of God’s providence that The Episcopal Church has chosen to act against this Diocese and its Bishop during a good faith attempt peacefully to resolve our differences. These actions make it clear The Episcopal Church no longer desires to be affiliated with the Diocese of South Carolina.”

South Carolina’s diocesan constitution and canons do not recognize the authority of the disciplinary canons inaugurated by the national Church in 2009. The diocese had adopted a “poison pill” defence against the contingency of a theologically motivated attack by liberal clique currently controlling the Church’s offices in New York.

The diocese is also protected by South Carolina law. The state’s Supreme Court has struck down the national Church’s property rules, the “Dennis Canon”, holding they have no legal effect in the state.  While the national Church has set aside a $3million war chest to fund litigation, canon law experts tell The Church of England Newspaper it is unlikely to prevail in a fight to seize church property.

The diocese noted “this action by The Episcopal Church triggered two pre-existing corporate resolutions of the Diocese, which simultaneously disaffiliated the Diocese from The Episcopal Church.”

On 19 Oct 2012 Bishop Lawrence met with his clergy in private session to discuss the charges brought by New York.  A spokesman for the diocese told CEN a statement would be released shortly on the meeting, while Bishop Lawrence declined immediate comment.

A special convention has been called for 17 November 2012 in Charleston.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Shock budget proposed for TEC: The Church of England Newspaper, July 1, 2012 p 5. July 3, 2012

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Citing canons that authorize her to take a leadership role in the affairs of the Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has presented an alternate budget to the church less than two weeks before the start of its General Convention on 5 July 12.

The rival proposal seeks to supplant the budget produced by the Executive Council over the past year and re-order the church’s spending priorities according to categories derived from the “five marks of mission” adopted by the Anglican Consultative Council [ACC]. However, the ACC is one of biggest losers in Bishop Jeffert Schori’s budget with funding for the pan-Anglican body to be cut in half.

The new budget came as a surprise to the President of the House of Deputies – the co-equal leader of the church’s General Convention.  President Bonnie Anderson declined to comment on the budget and told the Episcopal News Service said she would “study what she has come up with when I get home.”

Under the current rules, the church’s executive council is required to give the Program, Budget and Finance Committee a proposed budget four months before the opening day of the triennial meeting of General Convention.  After publication the proposed budget is offered to the wider church for review. It is amended by the committee at the start of the meeting and then given to the convention for adoption.

In an eight page covering letter the presiding bishop stated her budget sought to create a “a more theologically based and strategic process” that was “spiritually enriching rather than depleting.”

While the present canons require the budget to be organized under the categories of canonical, corporate, and program expenses, these constructs “no longer adequately [serve] the Church in responding to a world very much in need of our partnership,” she said.

Her budget was organized along the “spiritual” priorities of mission, governance and administration.  However, critics of the presiding bishop’s budget note that the theological budgeting constructs created by the presiding bishop strained good faith and was an exercise in “flim-flammery.”

Canon lawyer Allan Haley said the presiding bishop’s budget invited skepticism as “it allocates so many millions of dollars for show-window causes, without specifying how and by whom—other than by the [presiding bishop] herself—the money will be spent.”

The budget was fundamentally unsound he said and had been “calculated to appeal to the leftist ideology (think: social justice and world betterment) and twisted theology of both those at 815 and who will form the great majority at Indianapolis” attending the General Convention.

One loser in the new budget was the ACC.  “Although the Executive Council had proposed a reduction in the Church’s support for the Anglican Communion Office from the past triennium’s $1,160,000 to $850,000, the PB now proposes to give the ACO just $500,000. At the same time, she proposes to use the savings in what would have been given to the ACO to enlarge the budget of the Church’s own Anglican Communion office by some $500,000 over what the EC had proposed for it,” Mr. Haley said.

“This will be touted as ‘a greater commitment’ to the Anglican Communion, but it is all in moneys to be spent by the PB in adding new staff and in entertaining visiting primates and other Communion dignitaries,” he said.

The chairman of the budget committee, Mrs. Diane Pollard welcomed the Presiding Bishop’s input.  “The budget submitted today by the Presiding Bishop is yet another form of information for the Program Budget and Finance Committee.  The process for shaping the final draft document will begin with the hearings held at our upcoming General Convention,” she said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

TEC wars claim another casualty: The Church of England Newspaper, June 3, 2012 p 7. June 4, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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Bonnie Anderson

The Episcopal Church’s political wars have claimed their highest profile casualty.  The President of the House of Deputies has announced that she will not seek reelection at this summer’s General Convention in Indianapolis.

In a statement released on 23 May 2012, President Bonnie Anderson said that after serving as president of the House of Deputies – one of the two co-leaders of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church – since 2006, she wanted to “to spend more time with my family.”

While Mrs. Anderson’s decision to step down has been couched in personal terms – many church watchers see her exit as the end move in the political battle between the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies.  Declining income and membership, a bloated bureaucracy and committee structure and a clash of ecclesiological visions has prompted bitter in-fighting in the higher echelons of the church.

“My husband, Glen, is retired. I want to be with him more. Our amazing son, Justin, lives with us and reminds us every single day, by his very existence, that God is a generous miracle maker. I want to celebrate Justin’s life by being with him every day. I want to bake cakes with my grandchildren and go to all their band concerts, soccer games and school plays. I want to have leisurely phone conversations with my daughters. You get the picture,” she wrote.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said she was “grateful for the service Bonnie Anderson has given to the Episcopal Church over many, many years.”

“She has been tireless in her advocacy for lay persons in the life and governance of this Church — a distinctive part of our identity. I understand something of the personal cost of her ministry, and pray that her retirement from this office will be a source of deep blessing for her and her family.  Well done, good and faithful servant,” the presiding bishop said on 23 May 2012.

An eight term deputy from the Diocese of Michigan, President Anderson’s decision to step down came as a surprise to many church watchers – but also comes in the wake of a series of battles over the polity and governance of the Episcopal Church.

While sharing many of the social and theological views of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, President Anderson has clashed publicly with the Presiding Bishop’s clericalization of the church – objecting to the centralization of power in the office of the presiding bishop.

The struggle between the competing visions of the church made a rare showing last January in a clash of budget priorities between the Presiding Bishop and President Anderson.

Meeting in Linthicum Heights, Maryland from the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church received a proposed budget from the presiding bishop and her Chief Operating Officer, the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls.  The presiding bishop’s budget asked that diocese’s contribute 19 per cent of their income to the national church, and projected a $5.9 million cut in income over the coming three year.  The cut in income projected income would be coupled with a matching cut in expenses.

President Anderson’s budget called for a 15 per cent contribution from the dioceses and forecaste a $19.3 million reduction in income and a matching cut in expenses – including personnel cuts at the national church offices in New York.

After three days of meetings, the Executive Council adopted a budget, but declined to state which budget it adopted, noting only that it had passed the information on to the church’s Program, Budget and Finance Committee for further action.

The following week President Anderson wrote in an email to the Deputies of General Convention that she had “received word from the General Convention Office that the Presiding Bishop, via the Office of Communications, had directed that office to forward a video message from the Presiding Bishop to all deputies. I had neither seen the video nor been consulted about it and so I told the General Convention Office to hold it.”

“In my nearly 25 years as a deputy” President Anderson said on 29 January she did not “ever recall” a presiding bishop “corresponding directly with deputies outside of the General Convention, without the knowledge of, or in collaboration with the President.”

She noted that she had spoken to the presiding bishop and expressed her disappointment “about what’s happened in the last few days and asked that we proceed toward General Convention with collegiality and a cooperative spirit even—especially—when we disagree. I also told her that I am concerned about the use of church wide resources to lobby General Convention on only one side of a legislative issue.”

President Anderson remains in office until the close of this year’s General Convention on 12 July 2012.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Conservative applause for Katharine Jefferts Schori: The Church of England Newspaper, April 13, 2012 p 7. April 17, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Israel, The Episcopal Church.
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Conservative groups in the United States have applauded Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s rejection of divestment from Israel, saying they hope her words guide the churches’ debates on boycotting Israel.

In a 25 March 2012 speech in Los Angeles, Bishop Jefferts Schori stated “the Episcopal Church does not endorse divestment or boycott.”  She told those attending a “Middle East Peacemakers” luncheon that “a two-state solution with a dignified home for Palestinians and for Israelis” and for “deeper engagement, people of different traditions eating together, listening to each other’s stories” was the way forward for peace in the region.

“It’s not going to be helpful to endorse divestment or boycotts of Israel. It will only end in punishing Palestinians economically,” the presiding bishop said.

The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani told the luncheon that he hoped Anglicans would continue to show their solidarity with their compatriots in Israel and Palestine.  Building Christian institutions was a major goal of the diocese, he said, as “we are losing so many young families and young people who leave and look for a better future outside our land,” the bishop said.

Jerusalem must “remain open for all,” the Bishop said, adding, “We need your support to work for peace and justice.”

Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East, a pro-Israel lobbying group, applauded the Presiding Bishop’s comments.

“We are totally supportive of Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori,” said the Rev. Bruce Chilton, Professor of Religion at Bard College and Fair Witness Executive Committee member.  “Fair Witness has long held that if the American Church can play a role in ending the occupation and bringing peace to this region it will be by helping to build up a viable sovereign Palestinian state through economic investment, while simultaneously avoiding boycott and divestment to allay the parties’ fear and distrust so they can find their way back to the negotiating table and a just two-state solution.”

“Prophetic Christian peacemaking is not a particularly easy venture,” he said, noting that “far too often we fall into the trap of simplistic blame casting, accusing either the Palestinians or the Israelis of not wanting peace and seeking to punish whichever party we perceive to be in the wrong.  But that approach only hardens leaders on both sides and makes it less likely that they will take the brave step of returning to the negotiating table and making the necessary compromises.”

“I am pleased and proud to see my church take such a highly principled and productive stand,” Dr Chilton said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Sudan breaks with the Episcopal Church: The Church of England Newspaper, December 23, 2011 p 6. December 26, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The American Episcopal Church’s support for gay bishops and blessings has led the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) to ban Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori from visiting the church.  The dis-invitation to Bishop Jefferts Schori follows a vote by the ECS House of Bishops last month to swap its recognition of the Episcopal Church for the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as the legitimate expression of Anglicanism in the United States.

In a letter dated 15 December 2011, Archbishop Daniel Deng, writing on behalf of the House of Bishops stated that while the ECS acknowledged Bishop Jefferts Schori’s “personal efforts” to support the ECS, “it remains difficult for us to invite you when elements of your church continue to flagrantly disregard biblical teaching on human sexuality.”

At the 14-16 November 2011 meeting of the ECS General Synod, the church’s House of Bishops adopted a statement reaffirming the stance taken at the 2008 Lambeth Conference which rejected “homosexual practice as contrary to Biblical teaching and can accept no place for it within ECS.”

The bishops said they were “deeply disappointed” by the Episcopal Church’s rejection of the counsel of the wider Anglican Communion on these issues, and for its consecration of a second “gay” bishop, the Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool, Suffragan Bishop of Los Angeles.

“We are not happy” with the Episcopal Church’s “acts of continuing ordaining homosexuals and lesbians as priests and bishops as well as blessing same sex relations in the church by some dioceses in TEC; it has pushed itself away from God’s Word and from Anglican Communion. TEC is not concerned for the unity of the Communion.”

As such, the ECS had no choice but to recognize the ACNA as a “true faithful orthodox Church.”  While breaking with the Episcopal Church as a national institution, the ECS said it would continue to “work with those parishes and dioceses in TEC who are Evangelical orthodox churches and faithful to God.”

The break with the Episcopal Church over its stance on human sexuality by the Sudanese church follows the 2009 expulsion of an American missionary, a lecturer at a theological college in Renk, who had claimed the ECS was not opposed to the innovations of doctrine and discipline of the Episcopal Church.  The Sudanese House of Bishops has consistently rejected gay bishops and blessings, and at the 2008 Lambeth Conference Archbishop Deng called upon New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson to resign.

Anglican Unscripted, November 21, 2011 November 23, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, AMiA, Anglican Church of Rwanda, Anglican.TV, Church of England.
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Kevin and George discuss Dr. Jeffert-Shori’s denial letter and AMiA’s role the 2008 Rwanda Canons. Also in this week’s episode Peter Ould discusses the on going saga of the Church of England and women Bishops; and AS Haley gives his time slot to the latest news from Georgia and the Diocese of South Carolina. Oh… and there is important news at the end of Episode 19 too.

Anglican Unscripted.

Anglican Unscripted, Episode 18, November 14, 2011 November 15, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, AMiA, Anglican Church of Rwanda, Anglican.TV, CANA.
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http://blip.tv/play/g5Ijgt3_dQI.htmlhttp://a.blip.tv/api.swf#g5Ijgt3_dQI
Kevin and George bring more news from Rwanda/ Pawleys Island and shed light on Documents they have received.. They also discuss the end to the Anglican Covenant and the Parable of the Talents. Allan Haley talks about Penn State and how it is handling last weeks tragic news. Also this week there is an interview with Bishop Dobbs.

Cover up questions dog presiding bishop: The Church of England Newspaper, November 11, 2011 p 7 November 10, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England Newspaper.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The president of the Catholic League – an American Roman Catholic pressure group – has denounced Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for receiving into the priesthood of the Episcopal Church a man dismissed from the Roman Catholic priesthood for having being a sexual abuser.

On 7 November 2011 Bill Donohue of the Catholic League issued a statement saying: “[Bishop] Jefferts Schori, knew about the sexual abuse activities of a homosexual candidate for the Episcopal priesthood, did nothing about it, and indeed allowed him to become a priest.”

Mr Donohue complained that it was “surreal” that activists from the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) were protesting against the conduct of the Rev Bede Parry – the former Catholic turned Episcopal priest — outside the Roman Catholic Church’s Cathedral in Kansas City. “Why wasn’t it in New York City, home to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States? She’s the issue,” Mr Donohue charged.

The protests over Mr Parry came after a statement signed by the retired priest that confessed to his misconduct was posted on the Internet. The confession alleged that Parry’s superiors in the Catholic Church knew of his misconduct as did Bishop Jefferts Schori.

However, The Church of England Newspaper could not confirm the veracity of the confession. Mr Parry’s legal counsel, Joseph Paul Smith, told CEN he had no knowledge of the 7 May 2011 confession and would have to ask his client about the document.

Two charges contained in the document, however, appear to spell trouble for Bishop Jefferts Schori – the bishop who in 2004 received Parry in to the Episcopal Church. The confession states that a copy of a psychological evaluation conducted by a Catholic monastery in 2000 was given to Bishop Jefferts Schori. In his confession, Mr Parry stated the evaluation found he had a “proclivity to reoffend with minors” and was considered grounds for refusing him admission into a California monastery.

Mr Parry also stated the Abbot Gregory Polan of Conception Abbey “would later share the information with” Bishop Jefferts Schori. The Diocese of Nevada had until this time denied any knowledge of this report and has denied its relevance to Mr Parry’s reception as an Episcopal priest.

The confession also states that Parry was dismissed from the priesthood of the Catholic Church in 2002. However, in 2004 Bishop Jefferts Schori received the now laicized priest into the Episcopal Church without re-ordaining him.

A spokesman for the Presiding Bishop declined to comment on the Catholic League’s charges, and referred inquiries to the Diocese of Nevada’s July 2011 statement that a review of its files showed that all of the proper canons were followed in Parry’s process of reception into the Episcopal Church.

All of the instances of abuse committed by Mr Parry occurred when he was a Roman Catholic priest, the Nevada Episcopal statement said, and no evidence exists of misconduct during his service in the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada.

However, canon lawyer Allan Haley said the latest revelations raised the question whether “Bishop Jefferts Schori was made aware of Parry’s cooperative dismissal from his orders in the Catholic Church? And if his prior offences were grounds enough for his dismissal from orders, why were they not likewise grounds for refusing to receive him as a priest in the Episcopal Church?”

Mr Haley noted that under the canons of the Episcopal Church in effect in 2003, Mr Parry was obliged to supply “[e]vidence of previous Ministry and that all other credentials are valid and authentic.”

“How could he have met this requirement if his credentials had been declared invalid by the Catholic Church — with his cooperation and consent,” he asked, adding the “questions for Bishop Jefferts Schori just get curiouser and curiouser.”

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