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South Carolina Episcopalians
July 23, 2018
His Episcopate in Shambles, Lawrence Rallies to Stem Defections; Legal Reality Sets In for Breakaway Parishes
Lawrence backer: "Evangelicals are leaving; ancestor worshipers are staying"
A week after S.C. Bishop Skip Adams stepped up efforts to promote reconciliation in his deeply-fractured diocese, ex-Bishop Mark Lawrence announced today he’ll be launching his own campaign to disrupt those efforts over the next two weeks.
Beginning next week, Lawrence will take the hustings to stem to tide of rumored clergy and laity among his former supporters who are eager to move beyond Lawrence's failed schism get on with their Christian ministry, even if they have to do it in the Episcopal Church.
Lawrence is planning five Refocusing-the-Mission events around his former ‘diocese’ to “speak to some of the current events that sap our strength, answer questions and reflect on how to re-focus and build a Kingdom and Gospel.”
However, the announcement leaves no doubt the real purpose of the meetings has little to do with the Gospel and everything to do with bashing the Church and Bishop Adams: “Among the current challenges to mission for some is the promotion of congregational division by TEC and its local advocates. Helpful resources available for your use are Why The Battle, Litigation Facts and the video witness of the Rev. Matt and Anne Kennedy to their experience with Bishop Adams at Good Shepherd, Binghamton."
Adams upbeat after Diocesan 'Conversations'
While he is not disclosing their number or nature, Adams seems pleased with the increase in communications generated by his diocesan tour to engage people on both sides of Lawrence's schism.
SC Episcopalians has heard from our friends in Lawrence parishes in and around Charleston that at least five or six Lawrence clergy have reached out to Adams to discuss ways in which they might come back to the Episcopal Church. According to our source, "You will be very surprised who they are."
Lawrence schedule announced
Lawrence plans to speak at the following locations in the next two weeks.
July 31 - 7 p.m. at Holy Comforter, Sumter
August 2 - 7 p.m. at St. Jude's, Walterboro
August 7: 6:30 p.m. at St. Luke and St. Paul, Charleston
August 8 - 6:30 p.m. at Trinity, Myrtle Beach
August 9 - 7 p.m. at Saint James, James Island
The choice of locations is interesting.
Since Lawrence became Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina in 2008, the five parishes at which he will speak have lost a combined total of 36% of their membership. All have experienced significant financial challenges.
All five were among the 29 determined to be part of the Episcopal Church by the state Supreme Court in August 2017. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Lawrence that allowed the state court ruling to stand.