Episcopal Confusion

NATIONAL CHURCH BATTLES SOUTH CAROLINA OVER CONTROL OF ITS DIOCESE “Whose diocese is it anyway?”  And will this South Carolina “secession” turn out better than the last one? As the head of the national Episcopal Church Katharine Jefferts Schori (above) prepares to stage a convention in Charleston, S.C. next month,…


“Whose diocese is it anyway?”  And will this South Carolina “secession” turn out better than the last one?

As the head of the national Episcopal Church Katharine Jefferts Schori (above) prepares to stage a convention in Charleston, S.C. next month, a battle continues to rage over control of the Lower Diocese of South Carolina (officially known as the “Diocese of South Carolina”).  This, of course, is the confederation of churches that seceded from the national Episcopal Church last month over a dispute regarding the blessing of homosexual unions and the ordination of openly gay clergy.

The national Episcopal Church favors both practices, while the South Carolina church does not.

The schism – news of which broke exclusively here on FITS – continues to consume Episcopal leaders across the country.  Meanwhile Episcopal leaders in South Carolina’s Upper Diocese (which covers Columbia, S.C. and the Upstate regions of South Carolina) are torn between the national church and the state diocese, led by  Bishop Mark Lawrence.

So far, national Episcopal leaders refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Lawrence’s secession.  In fact when Schori comes to Charleston, S.C. next month she will host her convention under the auspices of Lawrence’s South Carolina diocese.

Needless to say, that’s not sitting well with the Bishop.

“They are certainly free to gather and meet, but they are not free to assume our identity,” Lawrence said in a statement.  “The Diocese of South Carolina has disassociated from the Episcopal Church, we’ve not ceased to exist. We continue to be the Diocese of South Carolina …  of which I remain the Bishop.”

Lawrence could have the upper hand in the increasingly likely event this case finds its way to court.  After all, the formation of the South Carolina diocese predates the formation of the national Episcopal church – which it later joined.

As we’ve stated from the beginning of this debate, we don’t care if churches sanction gay marriage – or if they let homosexuals preach from their pulpits.  We don’t support either practice – but we believe such decisions should be left to individual congregations.

Bottom line?  South Carolina Episcopalians who support the national church’s views on homosexuality should worship in congregations supportive of those views, while those who object to the national church’s views should be free to worship in congregations which reject those views.

In fact we suspect this is how things are ultimately going to shake out …


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Isotope Soap December 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Here we go again with this stupid religious shit.

The Colonel December 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm

“Religion shit” not “religious Shit”.

Don’t make me get out an American flag and trample on it!

? December 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm

lmao @ Colonel

Sawyer, Tom December 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Thanks, Col.

djk754 December 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Colonel is a fool.

toyota Kawaski December 15, 2012 at 11:26 pm

time for that bath again

BigT December 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm

It’s funny: Anytime Christians want to follow the Bible instead of pop culture dictates…FITS characterizes it as a battle…

Yet he criticizes self-called Republicans, who go along w/ Leftwing Government, as RINOs..

Get your head out your @$$, FITS…this is a Courageous move by the people in Charleston to hold to Truth and Principle…

Your inability to discern Right from Wrong, shows that you are the confused, waffling Dumb@$$ I define you as..

This is about religious Freedom….And it Truly OUTS the Tyrants and Bulliesof a Rigid Liberal Theocracy….

Jan December 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

You truly don’t have a clue what you are talking about. This has nothing to do with religious freedom. I would try to explain it to you, but you lack the education to understand. Please mind your own business. With the hate you spew constantly you have enough to answer to god for. Stay out of the private religious affairs of others.

Unless you think it is ok for me to come into your church and tell you what is unchristian about your religious beliefs. Because I think there are quite a few.

? December 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm

$10 says this “battle” is really over who owns what(property) after said secession.

tomstickler December 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm

That was a major factor in the split at All Saints church in Pawleys Island several years back, a case that predates the Lower Diocese squabble.

This was also over ordination of gay clergy, and the opponents of the national Episcopal policy were successful in arguing that, since their parish predated the formation of the national body, they retained title to the property.

Phonebooth Bob December 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm

You are correct sir!

It's a Fact December 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm

What this is about is the damn queers and lesbians won’t be satisfied until they have a law that makes all the rest of humanity accept their chosen lifestyle. They can not just live and let live. They know their lifestyle cuts against the grain of society and the only way they can clear their conscience is to force society to accept/acknowledge their way of life. Once they have full acceptance by the law the MBLA will have been sanctioned and will then be able to openly recruit thereby increasing their numbers.

Anonymous December 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

That might be the ugliest woman I have ever seen

? December 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm

She reminds me of Peter Sellers.

djk754 December 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm

She is a high priestess.

hhuuhh?? December 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm

What does this have to do with “SC Politics”?

Legare Rhett, XII December 14, 2012 at 9:38 pm

You have obviously not looked at the parish roles of St. Phillips, St. Michaal’s or Grace Episcopal Churches in Charleston.

Had Enough December 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Damnable, Liberal bullshit! We’ll never get back to God with these left wingers taking over everything. Nothing but racist white people…God, help us all!

Just Sayin December 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Arrrghhh – can you imagine waking up to that every morning?

Phonebooth Bob December 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm

No man ever would. As I have been told, she is strictly a tongue-in-groove sort of gal, if you know what I mean.

BigT December 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Liberals already have a god…called Obama…

Why must they try to pollute the real God????….

Our God will be here LONG after Obama is but an absurd joke in a history book…

Had Enough December 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm

That’s right!

notagain December 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Obama is going for a third term.

Chris Memminger December 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I agree with ? It is my understanding that the national church owns all the property.

Phonebooth Bob December 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm

That is what The Episcopal Church (TEC) would like you to believe. The problem is that many of the low country parishes predate TEC, and I think the diocese does also. I think this was already settled in a court, and the parish (I think either Pawley’s or John’s Island) won.

I am Episcopalian, and I would personally hate for this to come to my parish. I hope the national church puts itself back on the right course, and either changes the rule to allow gays to be clergy and be married, or not. I don’t like how they are just making it so by fiat.

Again, personal opinion, I think gay clergy and marriages should be allowed. But lets change the rules if a majority agree, don’t just ignore them.

And BigT, before you get started, this is none of the business of you “Four-Square snake handling, every one is a sinner but you bastards.”

Bemused December 15, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Under a U. S. Supreme Court ruling, issues of property rights related to churches must be determined on the basis of ordinary real estate law to the extent possible. The legal circumstances may vary from parish to parish, and for other church facilities. So, it is likely that this will not be one legal case, but many, and there could be variations in outcome.

The whole notion that the colonial churches were “owned’ by the diocese prior to joining the national church is another interesting issue. After all, those churches were established by the Church of England and overseen by the Bishop of London prior to the Revolution (all episcopal churches must have a responsible bishop, it is the nature of the beast). Perhaps if the U. S. Church loses its claim to some of the property, control might revert to the Bishop of London. That would be amusing.

ugg lee December 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm

That woman fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Damn.

That’s the problem with them people — they can’t tell a bishop from a queen.

south mauldin December 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I thought that was a Hallowen picture of Mark Sanford dressed up as Queen Elizabeth.

Crooner December 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm


Lambeth December 14, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Technically, as head of the Anglican Communion, and as the Defender of the Faith, Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the Episcopal Church. God save the Queen.

Bemused December 15, 2012 at 1:19 pm

No, Lambeth, the Anglican Communion is not a unified administrative whole. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury has only advisory importance in leading the Communion. The Queen is the head of the Church of England, but not the Anglican Communion.

mph December 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm


You are exactly correct. The Episcopalians in Charleston were going to bolt a few years back, and wanted to join the Nigerian Anglican Communion, – I kid you not – but discovered they would lose those lovely old Colonial and Antebellum churches. Ultimately they decided they’d rather put aside their “principals” so they could stay in those buildings. Pretty pathetic.

? December 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm

lol…can’t say I’m surprised to hear that.

They always talk of disdain toward “earthly treasures” but where the rubber meets the road…eh…not so much.

Gotta have those nice buildings and other goodies because no one wants to steer the sheeple from quonset huts or cinder block building.

I’ll bet 90% of those leading churches would have failed the Indiana Jones chalice test.

9" December 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm

The disproportionate number(compared to general pop.)of gays in the clergy of most religions make this such a joke.If you want some homo lovin’,go to church;you’ll get lucky.

Bet Fits will eventually support gay marriage,when one of his kids comes out…

? December 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm

We might be splitting hairs, but I don’t think he’s against gay marriage:

“we don’t care if churches sanction gay marriage – or if they let homosexuals preach from their pulpits. We don’t support either practice – but we believe such decisions should be left to individual congregations.”

So I’m thinking he’s not supporting or denying “gay marriage”, which is kind of a defacto “supporting” of the right to it for churches(unitarian for example) OK with it.

Kind of a good stance in my opinion. Maximum liberty/choice type deal even though he personally doesn’t like the idea.

tomstickler December 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Hey, 9″. Better have a doctor take a look at that avatar.

Havertys December 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm

The Episcopal priesthood, especially here in Columbia is full of closeted Homosexuals who are prowling for sex. The gays long ago took over the Church, but it also happened with the Lutherans, Methodists and other mainstream Protestant denominations. That is one reason why the non-donomindational mega-churches are thriving these days.

BigT December 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Children murdered and these Gays, who want to be called Christians, are attacking a church w/ Obama’s help…

God help us…

9" December 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I don’t won’t to be called ‘Christian’.Religious mania is destroying the USA.It started with that senile old man,Reagan and his rabid supporters.Now paranoid ‘conservatives’ are fucking EVERYWHERE,rambling on about socialized medicine,crony capitalism,and all the other tired cliches..I do hope God helps you,though.

Southern Baptists have the most queers,BTW.Why don’t you go get a BJ?

BigT December 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Then repent…

jeffy01 December 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm

She has all the looks of an eckstrom girl

Lance Riprock December 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm

There was a lawsuit several years ago about ownership of All Saints in Pawleys Island between the national church and the dissenting members. I can’t remember how it turned out. Anybody?

James River Blues December 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm


I appreciate your intention to cover this issue, but you are profoundly ignorant of the legalities and procedural issues at hand.
1. There is the Diocese of SC, and then there is the Upper Diocese. The vast majority of the churches engaged in this conflict are in the Diocese of SC. The Upper Diocese is largely composed of Yankee-founded Churches in Spartanburg and Greenville, in addition to mission churches in the Piedmont and foothills which are socially unacceptable to Upcountry Presbyterians.
2. There are a mere handful of actual churches in the Charleston-Georgetown-Beaufort area (read prior to the Church Act of 1706) which are beholden to no superior legal or ecclesiastial entity. These churches/congregations are free to “take the property and run”. See the All Saints Waccamaw decision of the SC Supreme Court. All others are presumably subject to the Dennis Canon and/or have collateralized their particular churches’ property to secure a pension, or get a mortgage, etc., etc. All the other churches have serious issues as to ownership of their property, and frankly, this appears to be the most important issue for individual congregations posturing on the issue of whether to break away or not.
3. I am informed by credible sources that the Diocese of SC has, or will, declare a truce as to all those congregations wishing to leave the National Church(TEC), and not pursue recovery of property, provided that (A) the Bishop’s home/dioceson offices remain with TEC; (B) Camp St. Christopher (Seabrook Island) is surrendered to TEC; (C) churches not subject to the Dennis Canon conform to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, which reflects an agreement certain pre-Diocese of SC Congregations cut with TEC in the 1980’s.

mph December 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I do find it funny that Billy is against gay marriage and gay ministers, presumably because it’s immoral or icky, but this blog can scarcely go a week without boasting about some puntang he got in the 1990s or balling the current Governor, who is married.

Ken Starr Where Art Thou? December 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm

I was thinking the same thing.

Then again despite his occasional protestations,he is a Republican.

They always overlook their own hypocrisies!

notagain December 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm

More people have been killed in the name of religion than for any other cause. Maybe it’s time to rethink the role religion has played in the history of mankind. It hasn’t necessarily been positive. Should we kill all those who do not believe as we do? Seems so.

Jock Stender, Charleston December 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm

“Lawrence could have the upper hand in the increasingly likely event this case finds its way to court. After all, the formation of the South Carolina diocese predates the formation of the national Episcopal church – which it later joined.”

Thanks for this small but critical fact, of which I was unaware. Bishop Lawrence is very bold (aggressive, assertive, passionate — all adjectives apply here) in this “departure” or “schism” or “secession.”

A good friend, a member of Grace Episcopal, told me she’s convinced that Bishop Lawrence “had this schism in his mind when he accepted the bishopric and moved here from California” and that “this was his mission from the beginning.”

Just today I received an e-mail from the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis of the “Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina” at the mother church in Charleston about the next Diocesan Convention which will be held March 8-9, 2013 in Florence.


I have to make some phone calls to find out.

Worthwhile reading / listening:

All Things Considered
“Torn”: Living As An Openly Gay Christian
December 09, 2012 4:26 PM


Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate–Christians-Debate/dp/1455514314/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355526132&sr=1-1&keywords=torn

— Jock Stender, Charleston

Knights Templar December 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm


—and so forth

Knights Templar December 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm

She does resemble a British actor (not Peter Sellers) but I can’t think of his name at this moment.

Augustine of Canterbury December 14, 2012 at 7:38 pm

The Episcopal Church has been in a free-fall since it ceased to be the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America in the 70s; scrapped its beautiful 1928 Book of Common Prayer (BCP) in favor of the 1979 “BCP for Idiots”; and ordained women into the Sacred Order of the Priesthood. Sadly, The Episcopal Church (TEC) has become a social experiment gone awry and church membership has declined by millions of people. What was once a powerful and thriving church is now insignficant and of little consequence in American and in the Worldwide Anglican Communion. It is a only a matter of time before the TEC is thrown out of the Worldwide Anglican Communion.

Granny McCall's Nephew December 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm

The 1979 so-called BCP was known by many of us former Episcopalians as the “Jolly Green Giant” from the color of the cover of the provisional edition. Its passage was quite spurious, and certainly not unanimous. It, like many of the recent versions of The Bible, has forsaken the beauty of the English language with the formal use of the second person (Thee and Thou) in speaking to God. Makes it unique, thank you.

After all this mess in the Episcopal Church, I eventually became a Presbyterian – just in time for “Reunion” (a better term would have been “resplintering”) between the old Southern Church (Presbyterian Church in the United States – PCUS) and the Northern Church (United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America -UPCUSA). This quickly became the marginally functional “Presbyterian Church in the United States of America” (PCUSA), and it almost immediately began to fractionate nationally. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) and the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) quickly became active competitors of the “national” Church, and many congregations left, notably, First Pres in Columbia joining the 1860s era Associate Reformed Church (ARP), and reportedly swelling that denominations rolls by 10%.

After 30 plus years of strife, there is no apparent hope for peace and/or reconciliation. The traditionalists (like me) will continue to vehemently object to the pollution of traditional values. The non-traditionalists will continue to advocate same-gender marriage, homosexuality in the priesthood, and other acts and policies that are at best destructive of “religion” as we have known it for 20 centuries. Both the Episcopal Church and the “umbrella” Presbyterian Church have lost several million members over the last 30 years. The resulting loss of funds due to diminished membership has sorely reduced the real “work” of the church – Mission Outreach – to the point that there is now only a fraction of the domestic and foreign missionaries and mission programs (health clinics, church-operated schools, etc.) previously doing the inspired work of God.

I would suggest that the best solution is for the individual churches be allowed to retain the individual church buildings that they now occupy; that the commonly-owned facilities such as camps, schools, colleges, nursing/rest/retirement ‘homes’,offices (Diocesan, Presbytery, and Synod) be resolved into corporations operated by a committee or elected ‘Board” of the “former” operating entity (e. g., Synod of the South), and allow the individual churches decide which group the wish to associate with.

I personally like the way that All Saints’ at Pawleys Island was handled, and completely abhor the way that a large church (don’t remember, but think Presby) had to literally “buy” its property back – to the tune of over a million dollars – after having paid for it once already.

No wonder parishoners/members are leaving in droves and “voting with their pocketbooks” in withholding funds.

Granny McCall's Nephew December 15, 2012 at 12:37 pm

EDIT; ‘they’ insteasd of the in next to last line in 4th paragraph.

EDIT; I omitted that the “large church” in the 5th paragraph was located in Tulsa, OK.

OhNoNotAgain December 15, 2012 at 1:28 am

Reports in the Associated Press about
Lawrence and h national church divide predate you report by months, FITS, and called it a schism. Don’t get why you’re claiming h “exclusive.”

mph December 15, 2012 at 10:17 am

Yeah, letting women in the priesthood – outrageous!

The Episcopal Church decides to treat homosexuals as human beings – outrageous!

Th bigots can leave the church. Good riddance.

Granny McCall's Nephew December 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I do not mind women in the priesthood – matter of fact, there is a female Associate at the church I attend.

Also, do not mind ministering to homosexuals, or having them attend church. All of us are sinners.

Flounder December 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Someone just reminded me of the “Pawleys Island secession” wherein the Episcopal Church there withdrew from the local diocese and “took the church property with them.” That is, they “kept the church.”

Church property requires a lot of costly maintenance, and the older the church, the more cost.

I don’t know if the “Pawleys Island decision” will hold with all these other churches that last month seceded (St. Philips, St. Michaels, St. Luke & St. Paul, etc.), but if so, the statement someone wrote above, “I’ll hold the door for them” would be changed to, “I’ll mail you the master key to the master lock, and promise not to visit again.”

Yes, let’s all go out and roll some gays tonight.

BigT December 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Obama flip-flops and now wants to FORCE Christian churches to go against Scripture, “Evolve” and celebrate homosexuality…

Sorry: Your god-Obama may be able to blow w/ the wind…

But The God is Eternal…not a pop culture idiot…like your master…

Leave the Church alone….quit forcing your religion on Christians…

Isotope Soap December 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm

But it’s okay for Christians to force their religion on everyone else? Silly shit nonetheless you far right asshole. If you’re the face of Christianity, then send me to hell…

I thought you considered Obama a Muslim, anyway…

BigT December 15, 2012 at 3:02 pm

You have freedom of choice. You can choose God, and I pray you will…

Or you can keep persecuting Jeseus, like this National cult…

But thank God for America…even if Obama decrees it…God is not shaken….He is sovrein oover his kingdom, as Obama will ROT in his…

toyota kawaski December 17, 2012 at 8:15 am

dont worry your headed there

Beach Balls December 17, 2012 at 10:40 am

Ahem! Don’t worry, you’re headed there. A little early for you, smartass?

djk754 December 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm

The USSA is falling apart.

toyota kawaski December 17, 2012 at 8:14 am

what will all the kids do who play U trip baseball if its falling apart

toyota kawaski December 17, 2012 at 8:14 am

edit: what will they do if U trip falls apart

Beach Balls December 17, 2012 at 10:45 am

Edit: What will they do if U Trip falls apart? You can totally kill a joke…

Symbolum Nicaenum December 16, 2012 at 7:57 am

Non-Episcopalians are unaware that The Episcopal Church has a General Convention, made up of a bicameral legislature and a Head of State: the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, and a Presiding-Bishop, and that recent actions taken by that General Convention and its Presiding-Bishop “mark a distressing departure from the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has accepted them.“

(For you non-Episcopalians, the legal governing authority of The Episcopal Church was drafted and approved by the same “Founding Fathers” who established the United States of America after the Revolution. Like the United States, the Episcopal church has a General Convention (bicameral legislature), an Executive Branch headed by the Pre-siding Bishop, and a Judiciary. The “Founding Fathers” established The Church through Biblical teachings and theology, but also ensured the rule of law through its Constitution. The Church is governed by Canons which are the Code of Law.)

As this assault on the Church develops, The Bishop of South Carolina has written, “What does being faithful to Jesus Christ look like for this Diocese at this time? How are we called to live and be and act? In this present context, how do we make Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age?”. So, what is the role of a denomination that ignores the rule of law and thousands of years of Biblical Teachings? What is next for The Episcopal Church in this feel good era?

This is not about gays or the gay agenda, this is about a denomination that ignores its Constitution and picks and chooses what Canons are followed or ignored in order to promote a liberal doctrine. Much that the national church has done in recent years is in stark contrast to and in violation of the procedures established through church Canons by the General Convention.

Yes, there are many conservatives who vocally and quietly support progressive and equality initiatives such as gay rights in the Church structure; yet we have a problem with a Presiding Bishop and a National Church that misuses its authority in order to punish dioceses such as the Diocese of South Carolina.

Many of the actions taken by The Episcopal Church against the Diocese of South Carolina are not legal within the structure of The Episcopal Church and in the past few years the General Convention of the Episcopal Church has enacted policies “that are in direct conflict with the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ,” in order to conform to modern political leanings.

The Episcopal Church needs to decide if its going to be Biblical-based or bow to the whims of popular culture in what is rapidely becoming a non-secular society. As one Bishop wrote nearly 70 years ago “The church needs to be clear in its public teachings so it can be very pastoral in its applications.”

Granny McCall's Nephew December 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I totally agree. We [new? (moved from the Episcopal Church 32 years ago)] Presbyterians also need to do so.

I’m too old to change denominations again, so I will stay and man the ramparts, armed with the Sword of the Holy Spirit [see Paul to the Romans].

I am perfectly happy with the dissidents packing up and leaving God’s Church to God, rather than try to continue debasing it. They are welcome to establish the Rainbow Center of the Pink and Purple Feathers, if they so desire, but leave the Christian church to its long-established canons and teachings.

Booyah December 16, 2012 at 3:43 pm

You don’t need formal Churches, only your faith and your Bible.

If you need a structure of MEN between you and God, that says your faith is weak and you fear to stand alone.

1389AD December 16, 2012 at 5:47 pm

If you are looking for a genuinely traditional Christian church in South Carolina, you might want to visit one of these parishes.

Reply April 9, 2013 at 12:05 am

what church is the presiding bishop pictured in? i like the christus rex

Reply April 9, 2013 at 12:05 am

what church is the presiding bishop pictured in? i like the christus rex


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