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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.

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