Thursday, August 09, 2007

Mark Lawrence Re-elected in South Carolina

Old news, but some folks seem interested in talking about it, so here's a thread for that conversation.

Here's the Episcopal Life story. Note this part:

...On March 8, Lawrence again wrote to the Standing Committees of the Episcopal Church to clarify his position about the diocese's continuing membership in the Episcopal Church.

"I have been told that some diocesan Standing Committees have graciously offered to reconsider their denial of consent to my election as the XIV Bishop of South Carolina, if they only have assurance of my intention to remain in The Episcopal Church," he wrote. "Although I previously provided assurance of my intention, this has not been sufficient for some Standing Committees, which are earnestly seeking to make a godly discernment."

"As I stated at the walkabout in Charleston on September 9, 2006, and again in a statement written on 6 November 2006, I will make the vows of conformity as written in the Book of Common Prayer and the Constitution & Canons, (III.11.8). I will heartily make the vows conforming ' the doctrine, discipline, and worship' of the Episcopal Church, as well as the trustworthiness of the Holy Scriptures. So to put it as clearly as I can, my intention is to remain in The Episcopal Church."
South Carolina has been very careful this time around to do everything by the book. Note that they did not send a representative to the last Network meeting. That is significant. They really want this man as their bishop.

The current interest in the supposedly non-canonical Virginia consents for Bp. Johnson is a red herring, it seems to me, and really doesn't do South Carolina's cause much good. It reinforces the "militant rebel" image, which gives good reason to refuse consents. The Lawrence consents lacked signatures. Quite different from lacking proper wording. Apples and oranges. Note that that argument did not come out of SC, but San Joaquin. I cannot recall anyone from SC pushing it.

If you are interested in learning more about the consent controversy, including the wording of the various consents, Lionel Deimel offers us a thorough examination of this matter here.

During his attempt to get consents last time, Lawrence danced around the question of his loyalty to TEC. That cost him the consents. However, note the quote above. He made a very clear statement. He declared his loyalty to TEC, and stated that he wouldn't take SC out of TEC.

Now that he has said that, the only way to refuse consents is to believe that he is a liar. Personally, I'm not ready to make such a claim.

Having read some of his writing, and followed some of the stories about him, I do not see any comparison between Mark Lawrence and Don Armstrong as being valid. Lawrence seems to be a good priest. Very conservative, yes. Network even. And there is a good possibility that eventually SC will leave TEC, and Lawrence will go with them. But that is not an absolute. I see no reason to give that diocese an extra push, do you?

But, leaving or not leaving is speculation. Looking at the facts as presented, I cannot see any solid reasons why Mark Lawrence won't get the consents this time. I'll be very surprised if he does not.


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