Sunday, March 16, 2014


By Ronald Caldwell, PhD, Professor of History Emeritus

The second annual convention of the independent Diocese of South Carolina was held on March 15, 2014. As usual and not surprisingly, it was closed to the public, including visitors and the news media, so that all of its work was done in secret. So far, we have been given two press releases by DSC, a report, "Diocese Formalizes Worldwide Anglican Ties" and the Bishop's Address ( ). Let's look at the first item here.

The title, "Diocese Formalizes Worldwide Anglican Ties," is enough to stop anyone. Then, one reads the first line: "The Diocese of South Carolina has been formally recognized as a member in good standing of the Global Anglican Communion." If the title did not get one's attention, that line should. In fact, DSC has not been recognized by the Global Anglican Communion at all. It has been recognized only by a fraction of the AC calling itself the Global South (Anglican) group. See the Wikipedia article "Global South (Anglican)". It was formed in opposition to rights for homosexual persons and is composed of a limited number of  socially counter-revolutionary Third World provinces of the Anglican Communion. It has recognized the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as the rightful branch of the Anglican Communion in the U.S. It is headed by a "Steering Committee" of several primates of some the most conservatives provinces of the AC. The chair of the Committee is Mouneer Anis, Bishop of Egypt, and long-time close ally of Lawrence. Both the Global South and its Steering Committee are self-created entities devoid of any legal status, legitimacy, or authority in the Anglican Communion. They have absolutely no right to establish any oversight committee, or any other group, in the Anglican Communion.

We are told that DSC has joined the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. This is the ongoing workings of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) that began in 2008 in opposition to rights for homosexual persons. GAFCON and its offshoot GFCA are separate from Global South but the membership overlaps as both groups are committed to the same socially reactionary purposes. See the Wikipedia articles on the Global Anglican Future Conference and Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. GAFCON is another self-made association of socially reactionary, mostly Third World, Anglicans created to oppose both rights for homosexuals and the official structure of the Anglican Communion. Just as Global South, it has absolutely no legitimacy or authority in the official Anglican Communion. For the structure of the Anglican Communion, see the Wikipedia article "Anglican Communion."

Thus, what DSC has joined by vote of resolution on March 15 is a home-made group of a handful of Anglican primates. It has no legitimacy at all in the Anglican Communion. The assertion that DSC has been formally recognized as a member in good standing of the Global Anglican Communion is flatly false. In fact, it has been recognized by a few primates of the Anglican Communion only. These primates have no authority whatsoever to create bodies of the Anglican Communion. To be official, a body would have to have recognition of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Council, something that will never happen.

Farther on in the press release we are told "...this formal primatial oversight arrangement makes clear that the Diocese is officially part of the greater Anglican Church."  In the first place, there is no "greater Anglican Church." The Anglican Communion is made of independent national churches loosely held together by an official structure. There are thirty-nine independent churches that are part of this arrangement. "Officially" is nonsense too. There is nothing official about the arrangement to join an oversight council of the Global South Steering Committee. It is all self-made and completely outside the official structure of the AC.

We are also told in the press release that "a task force" has been created to explore a permanent primatial arrangement. As it turns out this is to be a hand-picked committee made directly by Lawrence alone from the DSC Council and Standing Committee. One big problem this "task force" will face is that GAFCON and Global South have recognized ACNA as the true branch of Anglicanism in the U.S. and its archbishop Duncan as a true Anglican primate (both in violation of the legitimate structure of the Anglican Communion). To be in line with their support groups, DSC will have to join ACNA. This, however, is very problematical for Lawrence, and for DSC. Obviously, Lawrence has shown reluctance to link up with ACNA, something he could have done at the moment of schism. Instead, Lawrence has kept his distance from ACNA. DSC will be in quandary of what to do about ACNA.

Lawrence and the DSC leadership have been desperate from day one to claim legitimacy for their independent diocese. They are now claiming this legitimacy by clothing themselves in a bizarre scheme to get the blessing of a small bunch of socially reactionary Anglican primates and declare this to be "official" in the Anglican Communion. It's a sham. This hastily concocted scheme of an oversight "Council" has no officiality, no legitimacy, and absolutely no legal status in the Anglican Communion. In this day of ready access to information, all of this could have been known easily to the faithful delegates of DSC before they went in to vote on the resolutions. Instead, they choose simply to trust the word of their chosen, but misdirected, leaders. One day they will look back on March 15, 2014 and realize this was not their finest hour.

In reality, the independent Diocese of South Carolina has no legitimacy in the Anglican Communion, never has had, never will have. That is the price it paid when the majority of its communicants repudiated the only legitimate Anglican province in the United States, the Episcopal Church.