South Carolina Episcopalians
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August 24, 2017
Lawrence Issues Pastoral Letter to his Followers
Calls for a day of fasting and prayer, and urges support for his clergy

Mark Lawrence is always at his best as a pastor.  This week he issued a sobering pastoral letter to his followers as they prepare for an uncertain future in the wake of a devastating ruling from the South Carolina Supreme Court earlier in the month.

In his letter, he announced that he and his followers would hold a day of fasting and prayer next Wednesday, that his legal team would file a petition for rehearing with the Court on or before September 1st, and that his clergy, whose lives could well be turned upside down as the Court decision is implemented, are in need of support and encouragement.

While Lawrence translated the rehearing request as “this litigation is not over,” he did not mention any plans to appeal the ruling to the United States Supreme Court or attempt to delay its implementation after the question of a rehearing is resolved

He also did not mention a pending Federal lawsuit by the bishop of the Church’s continuing Episcopal Diocese claiming that Lawrence is and has been impersonating a bishop in the Episcopal Church since he announced that he was no longer an Episcopalian in late 2012.

Earlier this month the high court ruled that only seven of the 36 parishes that sought to leave the Church with Lawrence could actually do so.  In the eyes of the Court, at no point in their history had they explicitly agreed to be subject to the Constitution and Canons of the Church. 

A majority of the justices said they believed the “Diocese of South Carolina” belonged to the Episcopal Church, but would leave final resolution of the matter to U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel, who will hear the Federal case in the coming months.

Lawrence’s concern for the well-being of his clergy is surely weighing heavily on him.  When they left the Episcopal Church, they had to drop out of the Church Pension Fund, which may well be one of the best retirement plans in the world.  They also had to drop their health insurance coverage through the Church and join a plan with higher costs and less security.

In the aftermath of such devastating news, Lawrence used his letter to sound a hopeful tone by pointing to the future.  “We have humbled ourselves under the mighty hand of God (I Peter 5:6); and are confident that God shall either restore and establish us or empower us to move out in bold new ventures for Jesus Christ, his Gospel, and his Kingdom.”

 Read the entire letter heref

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