Wednesday, January 10, 2018


Announcement was made yesterday of the death of the Rt. Rev. Charles Hurt Murphy III. Find it here . (reportedly died Jan. 8, of brain cancer.)

People who have lived in South Carolina a long time, or who have read my history of the schism will be familiar with the life and work of Chuck Murphy. He played a big and crucial role in the history of the dissolution of the old Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. 

Murphy became rector of All Saints Waccamaw, Pawleys Island SC, in 1982. He also became an outspoken leader in DSC against TEC's reforms in favor of homosexuals and was the original driving force of the secessionist movement in South Carolina calling and leading the First Promise session in 1997, in the aftermath of the TEC General Convention of that year which conservatives believed opened the door to the eventual blessings of same-sex unions. In 2000 he was a leader in the formation of the Anglican Mission in the Americas and was consecrated a bishop in a highly irregular service in Singapore that included retired Bishop Allison, of SC. AMiA, under the auspices of the Anglican primates of Rwanda and Southeast Asia, initiated the practice of foreign primatial intervention in America. By 2004, All Saints Waccamaw (Pawleys Is.) declared its independence from the diocese setting up the template for secession from TEC. The parish and diocese went to court, all the way to the SC supreme court. In its famous All Saints decision of September 2009, the court recognized the parish's right to independence and the property. This was a crucial precursor to the diocesan schism of 2012.

Murphy had rather tumultuous relationships with other church authorities. He had a falling out with his primate, of Rwanda and left (find it here ). AMiA drifted here and there. Finally, the parish of All Saints held a vote on whether to join the Anglican Church in North America, against Murphy's wishes. He had another well-publicized falling out with Archbishop Duncan, of ACNA (find it here ). The majority of All Saints voted against Murphy. He withdrew with a hundred or so loyal followers and started his own church, the Abbey, in Pawleys Island.

Looking back, few people were more important in the long history of the schism in South Carolina than Chuck Murphy.