Friday, March 21, 2014


By Ronald J. Caldwell, PhD, Professor of History Emeritus

The primatial oversight scheme for the independent Diocese of South Carolina approved in their recent annual convention is remarkable in many ways. Here are the salient facts as we know them now:

1-Bishop Lawrence and Bishop Mouneer Anis are longtime close friends and conservative allies. Anis is the chairman of Global South, an alliance of socially reactionary Anglicans committed to opposing rights for homosexual persons. Global South is closely associated with GAFCON and its offshoot the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. All of these groups were formed to oppose rights for homosexuals.

2-The Global South Primates Steering Committee suddenly issued a statement on February 15, 2014 inviting DSC into a primatial oversight arrangement. This was four weeks before the DSC convention.

3-The Steering Committee is composed of the Anglican primates of: Egypt, Indian Ocean, Myanmar (Burma), Southern Cone, Burundi, South East Asia, Sudan, and Nigeria. All signed the Feb. 15 statement except Nigeria, the largest Anglican province in the world. The signers represent many of the smallest provinces in the Anglican Communion. The Global South Steering Committee does not represent anywhere near a majority of the AC. Many provinces have refused to join as Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea.

4-In the statement of Feb. 15, not one detail was presented for this "Primatial Oversight Council." Who is to be on the Council? How many members will be on it? How are they to be chosen? How long will their terms last? Is the primatial oversight for DSC to be by committee or by an individual primate? If by individual, how is he to be selected? What powers will he have? What will be the relationship between the Council and the primate? How much is DSC to pay this Council? 

5-R-3 says DSC can withdraw from the Council arrangement as it chooses. How is the Council to exercise power over a diocese that does not have to obey its will?

6-The "Rationale" with R-3 says this offer is God's Will ("providential"). However, there is to be no set time limit because they do not want to "box in" the Holy Spirit. This business of proclaiming God's Will is truly astonishing and should go without comment except to say that in the past Bishop Lawrence has declared events to be God's Will.

7- The offer was rushed through the convention. The proposal for the oversight Council was presented immediately to the DSC for vote with the directive that it was "providential." There was very little time to consider it. In a newspaper article (P & C, March 15, 2014) one delegate complained that "There was no time to sit and have an examination with the laity of the whole diocese." This has become the habit of DSC in quick succession: decision from the top, passed on the Standing Committee and Council for unanimous approval, passed on to clergy, passed on to diocesan convention. Along the way little or no public discussion. Little or no room for differences of opinion let alone dissenting positions.

8-R-2 and R-3 passed unanimously. The offer of primatial Council got not one negative vote. This demonstrates the complete bond between diocese and bishop.

9-Bishop Lawrence does  not know the details of the primatial Council offer. He said in a video interview on March 19 that "as I understand it" there will be one primate. (  Anglican TV Interviews Bp Mark Lawrence," 18 min.). He cannot say for sure what the arrangement will be.

10-Lawrence is to appoint personally and solely a "discernment" committee. They will come from the Council and Standing Committee. This gives him complete control over the discernment process. Can there can be any doubt that the "discernment" will be his choice?

These are the conclusions I reach from all this:

---DSC and Lawrence are desperate for legitimacy. For the last 16 months the DSC has had no identity and no legitimate status. They are not the Episcopal Church in lower South Carolina and they are not in the Anglican Communion. So, what are they? Where are they?

---DSC and its leaders have a jarring way of declaring to know God's Will. This implies that any differentiation is not God's Will. It is presumptuous to dare to speak for God.

---An authoritarian process has settled into the life of DSC. The DSC convention was little more than a Duma that rubberstamped decisions already made. Two votes were unanimous, the rest "overwhelming." DSC is solidly under its leadership.

---The DSC has put absolute faith in its bishop. The diocesan conventions have surrendered all rights to the bishop who now has authoritarian power to govern DSC (see the other resolutions). He alone can interpret the Constitution and Canons. Vestries and standing committees have been reduced to insignificance.

---The primatial Council is entirely uncertain. Its relationship to DSC is equally unknown. The history of the relationships of the other splinter groups from the Episcopal Church with overseas primates is not good. There is no reason here to think otherwise.

---The logical future course for DSC is to join the Anglican Church in North America. All of the other four seceding diocese joined it. For some unknown reason Lawrence refuses to join ACNA. This leaves DSC in a quandary of where to go as an "Anglican" diocese. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


By Ronald Caldwell, PhD, Professor of History Emeritus

In October of 2012, I was one of a hundred attendees at a local parish forum with Bishop Lawrence. He had just been "restricted" by the Presiding Bishop. Lawrence opened the meeting by declaring boldly, "I am no longer an Episcopalian!" The adoring audience murmured its approval. An hour later, after hearing everything that was wrong with the Episcopal Church, one man arose to ask a final question, "Shepherd, where will you lead us from here?" It was the best question of the day, simple and direct. The crowd grew still in expectation of some great words of wisdom from their esteemed leader. Lawrence responded hesitatingly, well, maybe here, maybe there, or perhaps over there. He failed to give a coherent answer to a simple question. It did not matter to the crowd. They gave him a standing ovation. In a nutshell, that is the history of the independent Diocese of South Carolina in the past few years. Neither here nor there. The DSC has a major identity crisis. Its bishop does not.

As the DSC convention of the 15th was closed to the public, we still do not have a full picture of its proceedings, only three pieces of information: a press release by the "administrator," Lawrence's address, and a newspaper article (P & C, 3-15). I think we can safely assume that all of the proposed resolutions passed easily and without discussion, as R-3.

Earlier posts here have described the resolutions. They fall into three categories:  1-primatial oversight. Lawrence and his good friend Anis have concocted a strange scheme to give DSC a "council" of primates, but with the provision that DSC can back out whenever it wishes. This is a transparent charade meant to convince the good people of South Carolina that they are authentic "Anglicans";  2-authoritarian control. The bishop alone can: -appoint the members of the "Discernment" committee, -remove a parish or mission from the diocese, -dictate what liturgies can be used in churches, -appoint and dismiss clergy at will, -control all parish properties through the rector who was given "authority" over the properties, -require worship to follow only the Episcopal Church services. There is much more to these resolutions than meets the eye.

For reasons still not apparent, Lawrence refuses to join the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). All of the other four departing dioceses have joined ACNA and are dioceses in it. He and Bob Duncan, the archbishop of ACNA, have a long and close history going back more than two decades when Lawrence was a rector in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Duncan was canon to the ordinary then bishop of the diocese. Lawrence's refusal to join ACNA certainly does not stem from unfamiliarity. And perhaps that the point--too much familiarity. It is interesting to note than one of the resolutions, C-5, required that only Episcopal Church liturgies be used in DSC services. Others have to have the express approval of the bishop. This precludes use of the newly published book of services of the ACNA. Is this a slap at Duncan and Keith Ackerman, head of the committee that drew up the new liturgies?

In the convention, apparently there was no talk of the 800 pound elephant in the room, litigation. Even so, it is entirely possible that this is in fact the issue propelling everything going on in the DSC these days.

Given the recent court rulings on church properties, there is a good chance that the Episcopal Church and its diocese will regain the church properties now held by DSC. In spite of all their bluster about the Dennis Canon being dead in South Carolina, the DSC leadership is obviously anxious about their legal future. The supreme courts in nearby Virginia and Georgia have overwhelmingly recognized the Episcopal Church and its dioceses as the owners of church properties, even of ancient parishes. This is bound to impact on South Carolina.

Lawrence knows very well that DSC will be in for a major crisis if the courts finally rule for TEC. In the first place, a certain number of DSC communicants will stay with their ancestral shrines and family graveyards. In the second place, the wayward clergy can easily return home as they have been only released and not defrocked. When the DSC leaders are removed from the presently occupied churches, they will have a whole new set of daunting problems.

This returns us to the original problem, identity. What the DSC convention was all about was building identity. Lawrence's peculiar arrangement of a primatial "Council" run by the Global South, but at the discretion of DSC, is meant to develop a patina of legitimate Anglicanism. It will not work. On the other hand, refusal to join ACNA will not build Anglican identity either. That begs the question of what will work.

The DSC has been separate from TEC for well over a year now. In that time two co-dependent factors have become clear: it has joined no larger group, and the bishop has expanded his authoritarian power.

It is crucial for the future of the independent diocese that it develop a distinct identity. This is the only way it can survive the shock of losing in court. However, Lawrence is not succeeding in making a certain identity for his diocese. So we return to where we started. "I am no longer an Episcopalian!" Okay. A year and a half later the good people of South Carolina are still awaiting a coherent answer to their pertinent question, "Shepherd, where will you lead us from here?"

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.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


by Ronald Caldwell,  PhD, Professor of History Emeritus

The independent Diocese of South Carolina (DSC) will hold its second annual convention at Christ Church in Mt. Pleasant on March 14-15. Proposed resolutions have just been published. For now, let's look at Resolution R-3. We'll consider the others later. R-3 states:  the Diocese of South Carolina accept the offer of the newly created Global South Primatial Oversight Council for pastoral oversight...during the temporary period of discernment...we reserve the right to revisit this decision... . In the following "Rationale," we are told this is an act of God:  we believe the timing Providential and   we choose to see it as a providential provision. But, we are told there is no certain time frame for this because  We do not want to box the Holy Spirit in. (The "Rationale" with the Resolution actually says that. As if someone could "box in" God!).

When I first read this resolution, I was stunned. Then I was puzzled and I wondered, What in the world is going on in the independent "Diocese of South Carolina"?

Here are the salient facts about R-3. 1-the DSC would not have a single primate but several in something called the "Global South Primatial Oversight Council," 2-DSC would be in "discernment" to choose a permanent primate, 3-DSC could remove itself from the Council at will. 

Many questions pop into mind immediately. For instance, What is the Global South Primatial Council? We know it was created just a couple of weeks ago by the "Global South Primates Steering Committee." The chairman of the committee is Mouneer Anis, the Bishop of Egypt and head of the Anglican province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. He is a long-time friend and close conservative ally of Lawrence. In 2010, Lawrence made a long sojourn to Egypt as Anis's guest. Anis was the first to jump to Lawrence's defense when the Episcopal Church removed Lawrence from the post of bishop in 2012. In 2009 the DSC set up the "Anglican Communion Development" committee headed by Kendall Harmon. He has "coordinated" this arrangement with the Steering Committee. The "Global South" is a self-created association of certain highly conservative Anglican leaders to the "South" of the U.S. and U.K. The primates of the "Global South" are mostly in Africa and southern Asia. They represent several provinces, mostly small, of the thirty-nine in the Anglican Communion. (The primate of Nigeria, the largest Anglican province, refused to endorse the Feb. 2014 statement). They do not include many other Anglicans in the southern part of the globe such as Australia and New Zealand. Many members of the "Global South" are also in GAFCON, a larger self-made Third World-based organization of Anglicans committed to highly conservative social policy, particularly on homosexuality. Neither "Global South" nor GAFCON has any official standing in the Anglican Communion. Indeed, GAFCON has made itself a rival to the traditional structure of the AC headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. GAFCON has condemned and has broken communion with the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada because of their stands for rights for homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions. It has recognized the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as the rightful Anglican province in North America and has welcomed its archbishop, Robert Duncan, as a primate. The stated goal of ACNA is to replace TEC as the official branch of the Anglican Communion in America.

Since Global South and its Steering Committee have absolutely no official standing in the Anglican Communion, they have absolutely no authority or right to create a "Primatial Council" in the AC. To have legitimacy, such a "Council" would have to be approved by the Anglican Consultative Council, something that will not happen. Thus, this "Primatial Council" will have absolutely no legal or legitimate status in the worldwide Anglican Communion. The people of South Carolina should recognize this fact before they approve this resolution.

The Feb. 15 statement of Anis's Global South Steering Committee said simply    We decided to establish a Primatial Oversight provide pastoral and primatial oversight to dissenting individuals, parishes, and dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion. No other information was given about this Council. To keep them within the Communion? Who is on the Council? How were they appointed? What are their terms, powers, rights, responsibilities? What obligations will DSC owe to the Council? If DSC can withdraw at will, what power will the Council have over DSC? The people of the DSC are being ask to buy a pig in a poke. They ought to ask a lot of questions about that pig before they buy it.

The Steering Committee created this Council at the last minute just before the DSC diocesan convention and it was done by a close ally of Lawrence. South Carolina will have absolute discretion to obey this Council. It is hard to believe that any of this was accidental. Whether it was "providential," only God knows. DSC is trying to have it both ways, to be in the Anglican Communion but remain a sovereign diocese that can decide its own way. This was precisely the mindset that got DSC into trouble with TEC. Should anyone think it will go better with the Council?

Why does not DSC just join the ACNA? After all, it is led by Lawrence's old friend and close ally, Robert Duncan. The two have a long history together fighting against TEC. Duncan has certainly courted Lawrence for a long time as the entrance of DSC would be a major boost for ACNA. Nevertheless, Lawrence has kept a distance from ACNA for reasons not apparent. Even as far back as 2009, Lawrence gave an interview to Anglican TV showing hesitation about ACNA. Perhaps there are hard feelings over St. Andrew's of Mt. Pleasant. Lawrence defeated Steve Wood, the powerful rector of St. Andrew's, for the post of bishop in 2007. Then, in 2010, before the schism, Wood led his, the largest parish in DSC, out of the diocese, property in hand, and joined ACNA. Soon thereafter, Wood became the bishop of the ACNA "Diocese of the Carolinas." It is hard to imagine that Lawrence would want to merge DSC into that diocese that already has a bishop who just happens to be an old rival. That leaves a quandary of how DSC would unite with ACNA.

Of course, DSC could adhere to another Anglican primate, such as the Anglican Mission in the Americas's Chuck Murphy of All Saints, Pawleys Island, did with Rwanda. That relationship did not go well to say the least. Murphy and the Rwandan primate had a very public and embarrassing falling out. Then, All Saints split 2-1 as the majority voted to leave Murphy's AMiA (and Rwanda) for ACNA. AMiA and ACNA split apart. Thus, the splintering history of All Saints could hardly be a guide for the future of DSC.

In other ways too, things are not going well for Lawrence's independent Diocese of South Carolina. Revenues are declining as shown in the new budget (see at That budget does not include legal fees. A separate committee has been formed to raise millions to pay dozens of lawyers. The bewildered communicant-in-the-pew is being pressed to pay up. Membership is falling too. Across the diocese, people are having second thoughts about their choices and quietly slipping out of the breakaway churches to return to the real Episcopal churches. On top of everything else, DSC is also challenged to boost sagging morale.

Lawrence and the diocesan leadership assured their people before and after the schism that they were the Episcopal Church in the Low Country and that they were in the Anglican Communion. At first people commonly accepted this. They wanted to believe what they were told. Actually neither was true; and in time people began to realize the truth. Despite names, signs, advertisements and the like, the parishes that went with Lawrence are not the Episcopal Church. In fact, they do not belong to any larger denomination. Lawrence claimed that DSC was an extra-provincial diocese of the Anglican Communion. Nonsense. The only isolated dioceses (except for the unique case of Cuba) in the AC are directly under the Archbishop of Canterbury which DSC certainly is not and will never be. The simple fact is that DSC is not in AC. And that's the point of R-3. It is to give DSC a shred of legitimacy by linking it to official Anglican primates. But in the end it's just another unworkable hair-brained scheme coming down a well-trod pike.

The lesson of all this is that it is much easier to leave home than to find a new one. It is easier to tear down than to build up. South Carolina has been in TEC since 1789 (except for the Late Unpleasantness). For years the disgruntled leadership clique in DSC had fought to cut the anchor rope and sail away from their ancient ancestral home port. Their persistence finally succeeded. Without anchor, they sailed away. Once at sea, however, they revealed that they had no idea of where to go. Their only plan had been to get away. The anchorless ship drifted in the middle of nowhere going nowhere. After more than a year lost at sea, signs are now showing that the passengers on board are beginning to question the wisdom of the captain and crew who are now racing about looking for something, anything to use as an anchor. Not all ideas that sound good at first turn out to be good (we've all been there). Not all voyages are meant to be. Not everything one likes is "providential." This venerable old ship belongs to its passengers, not to its hired hands. It has become obvious that the captain and crew are lost at sea. It is time for the long-suffering passengers to muster up the courage to take over their own vessel from the misguiding leaders and return it to its ancestral home.


By Ronald Caldwell,  PhD, Professor of History Emeritus

In Part I of this question, we started looking at the resolutions being offered for approval at the upcoming annual convention of the independent Diocese of South Carolina (DSC). We considered the strange and problematical Resolution in which DSC would give temporary recognition on its own terms to a primatial "Council" of legitimate Anglican primates under Lawrence ally Anis, head of the province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Eight other resolutions are being offered.

Resolution R-1 "Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans." This gives DSC adherence to and endorsement of the Jerusalem Declaration of 2008 that was drawn up by GAFCON (Global Anglican Futures Conference) in Jerusalem on the eve of the Lambeth Conference of 2008. GAFCON was a self-made group without any legitimacy at all in the Anglican Communion. It was organized and led by distinctly socially conservative Anglicans, mostly of the Third World, that condemned the TEC and Anglican Church of Canada's stands on rights for homosexual persons. The Declaration (Statement) lists fourteen points. The two critical ones are #8 that condemns homosexuality and #13 that rejects the validity of TEC and ACofC because they supported rights for homosexuals. Bishop Lawrence attended GAFCON and warmly endorsed the Declaration even though he had sworn an oath of allegiance to TEC only a few months earlier. GAFCON I (2208) and GAFCON II (2013) rejected TEC and recognized the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as the legitimate branch of the Anglican Communion (AC) in North America and accepted its archbishop, Robert Duncan, as a constituent primate. GAFCON is now a shadow government of the AC in competition with the traditional structure of the AC headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC). The common bond of GAFCON is opposition to rights for homosexual persons.

By passing this resolution, DSC will be giving tacit recognition to ACNA and Duncan.

R-2, "Discernment of Provincial Affiliation," states that the bishop will appoint a joint committee of members of the Council and Standing Committee to "decide our means of affiliation" with an Anglican province. They are to make a recommendation to a future diocesan convention. The Council and Standing Committee are now, and have been for years, solidly controlled by the leadership of DSC. They routinely vote unanimously. The fact that the bishop will appoint the members of this "discernment" committee guarantees his control of the whole discernment process. By this, can there be little doubt that DSC will wind up affiliating with the bishop's choice?

Six resolutions change the canons of DSC. C-1, "Regarding Clergy of the Diocese," gives the bishop single and authoritarian control over all clergy, including appointing and dismissing them ("The ordination process in the Diocese shall be under the direction of the Ecclesiastical Authority... Clergy may be removed from the the Ecclesiastical Authority...") This only increases the rising authoritarian control in the office of the bishop of DSC that has been developing for several years. Power is being concentrated in the hands of one person.

C-2, "Of Parish Membership," states that "Membership shall be in only one congregation." This precludes anyone from membership in DSC and TEC congregations concurrently.

C-3, "Authority of the Rector," is the most important of all the canonical changes. It states "...the Rector shall have authority for...real and personal parish property..." As the rector serves at the discretion of the bishop, this gives the bishop and the rector full power over the property of a parish. The vestry would have no right to control the assets of money, lands, furnishing etc. of the parish. This is ironic since Lawrence and the DSC have greatly emphasized local ownership of property. In fact, Lawrence issued quit claim deeds to all parishes in 2012, the crux of the matter that got him removed as an Episcopal bishop. This resolution would give the bishop and rector virtual ownership of all local properties. This would mean, for instance, that if the vestry voted to return the parish to TEC, it could be blocked by the rector alone, or by the bishop through the rector.

C-4, "Removal of Congregations from Union with Convention," gives the bishop the right to remove a parish or mission from union with DSC, another elevation of authoritarian power.

C-5, "Of Worship in the Diocese," says that "Worship in the Diocese of South Carolina shall be those liturgies as described by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer..." This continues usage of the standard TEC liturgies and worship thus demonstrating that the break of DSC from TEC was not about religion. In fact, DSC is continuing the very same religion from TEC. The break, then, had to come from other factors, the most important of which was homosexuality. The oft-made argument from DSC that "It's about God not gays" is simply not true as clearly demonstrated in C-5.

C-6 "Of Lay Pensions in the Diocese," concerns a relatively minor issue of pension coverage for lay employees.

So, what should one make of these proposed resolutions? As we have seen R-3 is a  hastily, poorly constructed and unworkable scheme. It is doomed to failure. The rest of the resolutions basically continue a trend of several years to concentrate power in the hands of the bishop. Early on Bishop Lawrence established a working relationship of decisions unanimously confirmed by the Standing Committee, sent on to the clergy and to the diocesan convention for approval. The proposed resolutions at hand simply solidify this authoritarian trend. This is ironic considering that DSC leaders loudly criticized the Title IV revisions as giving too much power to the Presiding Bishop (presumably to use against Lawrence) and that DSC had issued quit claim deeds so that local parishes would have clear control over their property. Central power is the opposite of local rights. Authoritarian hierarchy is the opposite of congregationalism.

These resolutions are certain to pass, possibly unanimously. This is the trend of the past few years. At some point in time, though, the good communicants of DSC have got to begin to wonder about the direction they are going and the wisdom of their leadership. It will happen, and not a moment too soon.

Mark Lawrence will be sixty-four years old in a few days. He can retire anytime under the lucrative retirement system of TEC [!] in which he is fully vested. What then is to become of DSC?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


By Ronald Caldwell, PhD, Professor of History Emeritus

The first diocesan convention to meet after Bishop Lawrence's consecration in 2008 was presided over by Bishop Salmon. Since then Bishop Lawrence has presided over seven conventions of the Diocese of South Carolina within forty-nine months. That averages out to be a convention every seven months. When the annual convention meets this weekend, it will be the eighth convention under Lawrence within sixty-one months. 

The seven conventions under Bishop Lawrence have considered thirty-one resolutions. One was defeated, a resolution in March 2009 to "suspend" the General Convention. It was voted down by the clergy. This was the first and last resolution to be defeated in a Lawrence convention. One was tabled. It was R-5 aka the "Rubric of Love" in the October 2009 convention. That one resolved to end discrimination against homosexual persons. When this resolution was introduced, the ensuing chaos almost caused the convention to dissolve thereby ruining the unity the leadership had so well-crafted. Suddenly the resolution was "tabled" to be passed on to the next convention. The next convention voted to "withdraw" the resolution. It was the only resolution to be withdrawn in a Lawrence convention. That was the end of "Love" in the Diocese of South Carolina. The other twenty-nine resolutions won easy passage in the Lawrence diocesan conventions. Most of these dealt with differentiating DSC from the Episcopal Church, several provided for "disassociation" from TEC.

The eighth convention under Bishop Lawrence meets this weekend. Nine resolutions stand before it. That will bring the total of resolutions in Lawrence's conventions to thirty-eight. These nine resolutions also mostly address the separate course for DSC. One, curiously enough, contradicts this differentiation by continuing the religion of TEC in the Book of Common Prayer. This proves that the separation of DSC rom TEC is not about religion.

On the whole, the frequently occurring diocesan conventions have served to bond well the majority of the clergy and laity of the Diocese of South Carolina to its leadership, particularly its bishop. They have increasingly distanced the diocese from the mother church even to the point of alienation. They have increasingly vested power in the central authority of the bishop. They have increased ties between the diocese and socially reactionary forces abroad while maintaining the Episcopal Church religion at home.  This leads us back to the fact that the driving issue in all these years has not been theological but social, namely opposition to rights for homosexual persons. The result of all this is that the Diocese of South Carolina has become an independent diocese under a powerful bishop; and it is committed to opposing rights for homosexual persons and keeping the Episcopal religion. The numerous diocesan conventions have played a key role in validating all of this.  


By Ronald Caldwell, PhD, Professor of History Emeritus

On March 14, the second annual convention of the independent Diocese of South Carolina begins its two-day meeting. Several "workshops" are being offered. One is entitled "The Jerusalem Declaration: Owning our Anglican Faith & Call." It is being presented by the Rev. Dr. Canon Kendall Harmon, Canon Theologian of the Diocese of South Carolina. Harmon has been a clergyman in the Diocese for more than twenty years often holding positions of power and leadership. He has been editor and assistant editor of Jubilate Deo, the diocesan newspaper for years. He has also been very close to Bishop Lawrence. The bishop's diaries show that he communicates with Lawrence very often, perhaps more than anyone. For several years he has been head and "coordinator" of the "Anglican Communion Development" commission of the diocese. The advertisement of his workshop states "The workshop will offer historical perspective of the GAFCON document, The Jerusalem Declaration 2008 - Why is it important for the Diocese of South Carolina to commit itself to this active expression of our continuing membership in global Anglicanism."

The Jerusalem Declaration to which Harmon refers was drawn up by the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) that met in Jerusalem in June of 2008 on the eve of the Lambeth Conference. It is commonly called GAFCON I. This was a meeting called by traditionalist (aka conservative; orthodox; counter-revolutionary; reasserter) Anglican bishops to differentiate themselves from the official structure of the Anglican Communion that was about to hold its once-a-decade meeting in England. They united in opposing the "false gospel" of equality for homosexual persons that had spread in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

GAFCON I drew 1,148 attendees including 291 bishops. The representation was overwhelmingly from the Third World, particularly equatorial Africa, countries that are well-known for harsh policies against homosexuals. One attendee was Bishop Lawrence of South Carolina who had been consecrated six months earlier.

On June 29 GAFCON I issued the Jerusalem Declaration. It became a cornerstone of traditionalist Anglicanism to be noted by leaders such as Lawrence ever after. It was a list of fourteen points, most dealing with long-standing statements of Anglican identity such as the Thirty Nine Articles. One, however, plainly struck against rights for homosexuals: "...marriage between one man and one woman..." Another point directly repudiated the Episcopal Church: "We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word and deed."

Actually the Declaration was only one part of a longer "Statement on the Global Anglican Future" issued by the conference. It predictably condemned the "false gospel" that "promotes a variety of sexual preferences and immoral behavior as a universal human right." It continued that GAFCON was "out of communion" with the churches of the "false gospel" [TEC]. It also called on like-minded Anglicans to abandon the errant churches and realign with Global South Anglicans.

From Lawrence's bishop's diary we know that he was an active participant in GAFCON I attending sessions working on the statements and meeting with like-minded bishops. Shortly after the meeting Lawrence gave an interview to Steve Waring of The Living Church magazine enthusiastically declaring that GAFCON was the heir-apparent to assume leadership in the worldwide Anglican Communion: "I witnessed a new birth last month...The Global South has come to its place of maturity." In fact, GAFCON rejected the legitimacy of the Episcopal Church, broke communion with it, and called on its members to abandon it. Let us not forget that only a few months earlier, Lawrence had made a solemn vow before God and everyone of loyalty to the Episcopal Church.

GAFCON I created the "Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans" to continue on its policies. This group gave full recognition to the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and its archbishop, Robert Duncan, as a prelate. ACNA's stated goal is to replace the Episcopal Church.

Five years later, GAFCON II met in Nairobi, Kenya, (October 2013) to continue the work. It issued the "Nairobi Communique" that reiterated the Jerusalem Declaration's condemnation of homosexuality. Lawrence also attended.

GAFCON I, GAFCON II and overlapping movements such as Global South are self-made associations that have no legal or legitimate standing in the Anglican Communion that is headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC). The closest thing to a governing body of the AC is the officially established Anglican Consultative Council. In order for GAFCON or any of its allied groups to be legitimate in the AC, they would have to be approved by the ACC and recognized by the ABC. The chance that the ACC or the ABC would recognize a rival shadow government in the AC is non-existent. GAFCON, Global South and the like have no legitimacy in the AC.

Let's return to the blurb announcing the workshop on the Jerusalem Declaration: "our continuing membership in global Anglicanism." Continuing is problematical since DSC "disassociated" with TEC, the only legitimate branch of the AC in the U.S. The disassociation automatically discontinued membership in the AC. Membership: by separating from TEC, DSC removed its membership in the AC. Global is misleading as well. GAFCON and allied groups represent only certain places in the AC, notably the most socially conservative as equatorial Africa and south Asia. The AC, on the other hand, is truly global. Anglicanism is another problem. The AC is a world-wide loose association of independent churches linked by a common heritage coming from the Church of England. DSC is entirely outside the AC.

Lawrence has repeatedly asserted that DSC is an "extra-provincial diocese" of the AC. This simply is not true. It is indeed a diocese but it is disconnected from any official function of the Anglican Communion. The new proposed resolution to link to several primates of the Global South will not fix the problem. Global South has no legitimacy in the AC. It has no right to set up any sort of legitimate or legal primatial council for anyone in the AC.

The Jerusalem Declaration of 2008, so much touted now by certain leaders, had no legitimacy either in the AC and still has none. It was a statement of socially reactionary church leaders committed to opposing equality for homosexual persons. It was meant to split the AC along lines of social policy. In that regard it is working; and DSC is playing its part. We have heard over and over "It's about God not gays." If one really looks at the historical record one sees that the issue of homosexuality has been the driving force in all of this, including the Jerusalem Declaration of 2008.