Thursday, March 2, 2017


FYI, here are a few notes readers may find interesting. I continue to be amazed by the number of people who regularly read this little blog, nearly 500 so far today alone. I am trying my best to keep you informed of what has happened and what continues to happen in the unfortunate schism in South Carolina. 

First, I must say thank you to the many kind people who e-mailed me to wish me well in my medical treatments. Your comforting words mean a great deal to me. Although I will be undergoing a regime of treatment for several months, the doctors assure me of the high probability of success. Thank God for the miracles of modern medicine. And, thank you for your well wishes and prayers.

Second, I can report the forthcoming publication of my book on the history of the schism in South Carolina. A notable publishing company has agreed to publish the entire manuscript as a two volume work in paper (rather than an e-book). It will be about 500 pages of text and another 100 of notes, bibliography, and index. That way I do not have to carve away any more of the manuscript. I had already pared down 100 pages. I am working now on final editing and formatting to send in to the publisher. I hope the two volume set will be available to the public in the fall. For more details on the book, see the blog entry on "Manuscript Outline" of March 1. I consulted 2,000 sources and cited 800 of them in 1,905 footnotes.

I had been waiting on the South Carolina Supreme Court to issue a decision in the church case before publication in order to give closure to the story, but I have given up waiting. No one has any idea when the court will rule. It could be months more. Besides, the federal case is going back to Charleston for the district court to adjudicate. That could take many more months whether the state court rules or not. Closure on the legal fronts may be many months, possibly years, away.

I have written as thorough a history of the schism as I can. I believe I have examined all of the publicly available documents and made reasonable conclusions based upon them. I was trained in the old Scientific School of history by top-notch historians from Paris, Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Chicago and so forth. Florida State U. had a first-rate history department in the 1960s and I was very fortunate to learn from the best. They accepted nothing less than exhaustive research and rigorous logic.

As I mentioned earlier, I will not be reporting from the DSC convention at St. Paul's of Summerville, Mar. 10-11. I have been excluded from the meeting, as have all people outside the diocese. I doubt that I could have attended anyway.

There are people out there who think I am too critical of DSC. Well, let me say that I, and I think everyone else, should applaud two things DSC is doing right. One is a workshop at the convention, on Mar. 10: "Racial Reconciliation: Bridging the Cultural Divide" with a panel of three white and two black clergymen. This is a most encouraging sign of "horizontal" religion that has been sorely needed in what is otherwise a relentlessly "vertical" diocese. I say, thank you, leaders of DSC for finally paying attention to making a better society all around us. Let's have more of this. Actually, I think both sides could make better balances between vertical and horizontal religion. One does not work well without the other.

The second positive move is the ordination to the priesthood of a second woman (the first was Martha Horn in 2015). Catharine Moore Norris will be ordained at Holy Cross on Sullivans Island, March 17. However, Bishop Lawrence will not be doing the ordaining, just celebrating the Eucharist. The ordination will be by Bp Hobby, of the Anglican Dio. of Pittsburgh. Since he became a bishop in 2008, Lawrence has ordained only one woman to the priesthood, Horn. At least Norris's ordination is a small step in the right direction. Let's hope we see more of this. Thus, we should all be encouraged by two positive steps in DSC.   

Unfortunately for a more just future, DSC is about to join the Anglican Church in North America which is a male chauvinist bastion. Only men can be bishops in ACNA. The bishops have a virtual monopoly on the power under the constitution and canons of ACNA. Women will be all but ignored.

Nevertheless, let's give credit when credit is due. DSC should be applauded for showing glimmers, however small, of horizontal religion and social equality.

Time moves on, and sometimes in surprising ways. And, through it all I believe we are all here doing the best we can to love God and our neighbors. It is just that sometimes we have different understandings of what those things are.