BANNED IN BLUFFTON
I regret to have to inform my readers that I have been banned in Bluffton. The independent diocese will hold its fourth annual convention next month in Bluffton, SC, near Hilton Head. Diocesan officials have refused to allow outside visitors to attend the meeting. Registration was limited to members of the diocese only. Registration has been closed.
Last year the diocesan-powers-that-be allowed Steve Skardon and myself to register as visitors. We did attend and both shared our observations and thoughts on the proceedings of the convention that were very popular with our readers. Apparently the diocesan leaders did not like what we wrote about them, so this year we are banned. I sent requests for admission to the communications director, the canon to the ordinary and the bishop. None would respond to my request for admission as a visitor. I will contact the media to see if newspaper, radio, TV reporters will be allowed in to the meeting.
Anyway, Skardon and I will report what we can about the meeting. Last year the proposed resolutions were not published in advance. They were presented to the delegates on the spot in order to rush them through. It did not quite work as some of them actually caused real discussion in the meeting, to my astonishment, and delight.
Unfortunately, the Diocese of South Carolina has a long history of secrecy. It started in earnest in August of 2003 when the DSC delegation returned from the General Convention of 2003 that had affirmed Gene Robinson, a non-celibate homosexual, as a bishop of the Church. The outraged diocesan leadership formed a union with the standing committee to make decisions for the diocese in secret (I have the minutes of the standing committee). Before this, the standing committee had conducted only routine, non-controversial business as approving clergy and property deals. From August 2003 onward, the bishops, canon theologian, and lawyers often met with and advised the standing committee as they made major plans of action for the diocese, almost always by unanimous vote. What the leadership did in secret is too much to detail here, but their two most important clandestine acts were to vote a conditional secession from the Episcopal Church in 2011 that was not enacted and a secession from the Church in 2012 that was enacted. The decisions were made under cover at the top by no more than two dozen people then passed down to the clergy and the communicants/public. It was a top-down process. This was a counter-revolution against the Episcopal Church from a small group delivered to the people. Indeed, when Bishop Lawrence addressed the special convention in St. Philip's on Nov. 17, 2012, he told them the diocesan "disassociation" from the Episcopal Church, i.e. schism, had already been legally enacted by the standing committee. The schism did not come from a popular counter-revolution of the masses. (The history that I have written will explain all this in detail.)
So, unless DSC lets in the credentialed media, it will continue its policy of secrecy in its annual convention next month. In time, we will learn at least what resolutions were passed, and Skardon and I will relay information to the public as it becomes available.