Tuesday, March 10, 2015


The third annual convention of the independent Diocese of South Carolina (by law aka the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina, otherwise the Lawrence diocese, the schismatic diocese, the secessionist diocese, the orthodox diocese [insert your own term here]), meets this Friday and Saturday in Charleston. The sessions inexplicably will not be in the 1100-seat cathedral but a stone's throw away in the 700-seat St. Matthew's Lutheran Church and around the corner in the commercial venue of the Charleston Music Hall on John Street.

What should we expect in this year's convention?

For a change, the convention is open to visitors. I have registered as a visitor, as has Steve Skardon. We will be there to attend Friday's "workshop" of Mark Lawrence and Kendall Harmon on "Affiliation" and Saturday's business session. We have been informed we cannot bring in recording devices, but that the whole thing will be videotaped and presumably put online. I will take copious notes, a skill I developed a long time ago. I will post a report of the convention on this blog as soon as I return to Florence on late Saturday.

As usual, the proposed resolutions have not been published, or at least have not been posted online. It is the habit of the diocesan leadership to make up the resolutions in advance and to divulge them only at the last minute and present them as a fait accompli for instant approval of the compliant assembly. It works every time. There is no discussion, let alone debate or dissention. Resolutions are routinely passed quickly either unanimously, or nearly so. The convention is never a deliberative body, only a rubber-stamp for the ruling clique which normally runs around 20 people. My fondest wish is for someone, anyone, to actually stand up and question the wisdom of a proposed resolution before it is railroaded through. Dare I wish for this year?

Without the unseen proposed resolutions, there are three major issues at hand: 1-money, 2-affiliation, and 3-the rector's control of the local property. On the first, we are likely to hear nothing at all. The budget gives only a general figure for legal expenses. The money being raised for lawyers is being handled by a separate account called the Legal Defense Fund. It is not in the budget and has no accountability. Its records are secret. Money is likely to remain the elephant in the room. (See the post, "Money Problems...". I'll be looking for the lapel-pin wearers.) 

On # 2, affiliation, we can expect to receive a proposed resolution from Lawrence's hand-picked committee on affiliation. You can rest assured it will follow Lawrence's wish. So far, he has been allergic to the Anglican Church in North America (Steve Wood's crowd in SC). If DSC fails to join ACNA, it will be the only one of the five secessionist dioceses to do so. This leaves it with a problem of where to go. The Global South "oversight" arrangement announced last year was nonsense. It was not even explained, let alone justified.

On #3, the rector's control of the parish property, Proposed Resolution C-3, "Authority of the Rector," was introduced in last year's convention and then mysteriously tabled before a vote. The resolution would give the rector (who now serves under the singlehanded control of the bishop) authority over the local property. We will have to wait and see whether this is reintroduced, kept tabled, or brought up in another form. It is rare for a proposed resolution to be tabled; and there was no public explanation of this last year. Giving the rector control of the local property is a very serious point because the whole schism was supposedly about local ownership of the property. Rector/bishop control over the local parish property will undercut a major rationale for the "disaffiliation" from the Episcopal Church.

On another note, tomorrow marks the one-and-a-half-year anniversary of this blog. In that time, it has received 42,300 "hits," with 4,300 in the last month alone. I am still amazed at the high level of interest in the topic of the schism in South Carolina (and flattered that so many people care to read what I have to say about it). It is the goal of this blog to present as much information on the schism as possible. If the readership is any indication, it has succeeded at its goal, I am pleased to say. I hope I have added to the knowledge on this subject so that people are better able to make up their own minds about their attitudes toward what has happened in the grand old diocese of South Carolina. 

My attitude is admittedly pro-Episcopal Church. I see the schism as a disaster that should never have happened. It was the wrong thing to do, and for the wrong reasons; and I firmly believe history will bear me out. Furthermore, I do not believe this counter-revolution in SC is sustainable in the long run.

Some people have asked why I do not allow comments on my blog. Good question. First, I do not have time to manage them. Given the tenor of many comments out there, I would have to screen the remarks. I do not have time to do that. Secondly, there are plenty of websites available for people to express their opinions. It may come as a surprise to some, but I do have a life outside the subject of the schism. I have a large botanical garden with hundreds of shrubs, trees, grasses, perennials, bulbs, vines, palms, ground covers etc. Gardening is the best therapy in the world. I am also an avid train fan and go on numerous long distance train trips for fun (My bumper sticker says: "I'd Rather Be on the Train"). I am intentionally away from the world and my blog sometimes for days at a time. I also have a family with which I happily spend a lot of time.

I am looking forward to continuing this website into the future as long as it is useful to the public. I cannot say keeping this blog has been a pleasure (there is too much pain in this schism), but it definitely has been rewarding, helpful to me, and gratifying. Thank you for sharing your time and interest with me.