South Carolina Bishop Accused of Abandoning Episcopal Church
On October 14, 2011 At 10:05 am
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The ongoing saga concerning gay marriage and ordination of gays continues in the Episcopal Church, the Post and Courier reports.
According to the Post, unnamed accusers stated that conservative Bishop Mark Lawrence, of a South Carolina Episcopal Diocese, abandoned the doctrine, worship, and discipline of the Episcopal. The process supposedly does not allow him to know who his accusers are, until the Disciplinary Board of Bishops looks into the matter and decides if the allegations of abandonment are founded.
“It is at that procedural point that the bishop responds to the certification of abandonment, and it is at that point the bishop certainly deserves to know the identities of those providing the initial information,” Bishop Dorsey Henderson said.
The Disciplinary Board of Bishops contacted Lawrence and told him that church members informed them that he abandoned the church and they are investigating the accusations. The investigation is procedural and at this point, no charges made against Lawrence.
“Based on what has happened in other dioceses, a deposition of the bishop would be followed by attacks on the diocese and the parishes. The picture painted was an ugly one of expensive litigation, confrontation and acrimony in which all involved significantly lost,” the diocese said Wednesday in a statement.
The South Carolina diocese distanced itself from the Episcopal Church, supposedly because of its stance on gay marriage and ordaining gay clergy. The diocese made a statement that the Church “is in a constitutional crisis” with no means of resolving differences.
“The question is not whether we can stay; it is whether they will let us stay and follow what we believe,” the Rev. Jeffery Miller, a past president of the diocesan standing committee, said during the meeting. Standing Committees advise bishops and consent to the election of bishops, approve candidates for ordination and handle the fiscal affairs of a diocese.
Lawrence stated he has no intention that the diocese departs from the Episcopal Church, but supposedly, South Carolina diocese passed a resolution that they are a “sovereign diocese”.