July 18, 2018
Bishop Adams Upbeat about Reconciliation Initiative in Conway, Bluffton, & Charleston
'Three Conversations' to help heal broken Diocese were well-attended and productive, in spite of efforts of Lawrence clergy and hardliners to ridicule and undermine him
The Rt. Rev. Skip Adams became the leader of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina believing his mission was to create conditions for healing and reconciliation. After two frustrating years of courtroom wrangling and delay, he is now free to do what he feels God has called him to do.
This week Adams launched what promises to be a long road to re-engage people hurt, displaced, or otherwise alienated from the Church by the Lawrence schism in the work of the Gospel.
Approximately 450 people showed up at the three events this week to hear from Adams, argue, ask questions, and talk about the future of the Church in eastern South Carolina. In all three instances, participants engaged in wide-ranging conversations, especially over theology and liturgy. The mood was consistently positive, open, and upbeat.
Participants at all three events represented a cross section of current and former Episcopalians affected by Lawrence's schism. Many were loyal Episcopalians who'd been forced out of their home parishes in 2012 by pro-Lawrence factions hoping to wrest parish property away from the Church.
However, others were from parishes that tried and failed to leave the Church with Lawrence. Their final legal effort to leave with their parish properties was squashed by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 11th. Adams insists that he is working to restore a robust ministry and proclamation of the Gospel in each of those parishes.
Adams and the Rev. Bill Coyne, his Missioner for Returning Parishes, welcomed the groups without asking anyone to identify which side of the schism they were on or the parish to which they belonged. In Bluffton, participants were forthcoming anyway about the identities of their home parishes, and seemed eager to get back to a kind of normalcy they have not known for years.
At the beginning of each session, Adams shared a new video of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry with his prayers and encouragement for those committed to reconciliation.
For the next hour, the audience would circulate among four tables staffed by clergy and lay people to discuss processes for former pro-Lawrence parishes to return to the Church, concerns about worship and faith, practical matters like finances and insurance, and communications.ed in Jesus.
After five years of Lawrence propaganda, many in the former breakaway parishes wanted to know if Episcopalians believed.
Others said they looked forward to a return to worship that was more joyful. Said one former Lawrencian, "We've heard the same angry sermon every Sunday for five years... and it wasn't even a good one."
Several people were seen at the end of each event smiling, hugging, and shaking hands.
Pharisees Rip Reconciliation Efforts
Sadly, this week Adams was the target of a nasty cyber-smear campaign apparently coordinated by what is left of Lawrence's high command with angry about-to-be-unemployed clergy. Ugly signs, obviously intended to harass Adams before his 'conversation' at The Citadel, were anonymously placed near the site of the meeting. Pro-Lawrence rectors from Summerville and Edisto, posted an unflattering and misleading online account of Adams episcopate in the Diocese of Central New York on their websites.
Hardline Lawrence supporters in downtown parishes in Charleston were spreading rumors that Adams wanted control of their historic buildings so he could tear them down, while Cursillo participants at Camp St. Christopher were told the Town of Seabrook Island plans to refuse to allow any Episcopalians to come onto the island when they take back control of St. Christopher.
From the Book of Common Prayer
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Offered by Bishop Skip Adams in Conway
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