STOP # FOUR, MYRTLE BEACH:
A REPORT, 2nd edition
Last evening, Mark Lawrence made stop number four on his swan song trip, in Myrtle Beach. Two attendees sent reports which I am relaying here. First report:
My estimate for attendance 225-250. Members from Trinity Church, Church of the Resurrection, St. Paul's and St. Anne's in Conway, St. Stephens in North Myrtle Beach, Grace Church, North Myrtle Beach, Church of the Messiah, Myrtle Beach, Prince George Winyah in Georgetown.
Lawrence seems to be presenting the same prepared material at all of his stops. Reading your blog, what I have read there is basically what I heard tonight.
I will briefly mention some items I found interesting.
One...he stated that a false statement has been circulated that he (Lawrence) was specifically chosen and brought to South Carolina by former bishops Allison and Salmon to take the Diocese of South Carolina out of The Episcopal Church. Again he denied this statement. I do not believe I had heard this before.
When he arrived in Charleston in 2008 he spent the 1st year traveling the entire diocese visiting with every individual parish. He had the diocese divided into four groups.
Group 1 --- in lock step with TEC. 10% of the parishes.
Group 2 --- doing what they had been doing for 200 years regardless of TEC. 35% of the parishes.
Group 3 --- parishes knew trouble was afoot. Perhaps time to leave TEC??? 35% of the parishes.
Group 4 --- only two concerns. Are we leaving or going, and WHEN??? 20% of the parishes.
Today 85% of the DSC parishes fall into groups 3 and 4. I assume the remaining 15% fall into groups 1 and 2 ???
Settlement offer of 2015. Offer came in Thomas Tisdale in form of an email. The DSC requested a formal letter from TEC and a formal letter never came. Even if a formal letter had been offered he (Lawrence) could not make the decision.
Lawrence discussed the court cases but nothing new from what you have written in your reporting so I will not go into this.
Lawrence did state however that TEC is stating the state court cases with Judge Dickson will be over in 3-5 months??? Not sure if this is true per Lawrence.
The federal lawsuit with Judge Gergel against Lawrence possibly could be in court in 6 months??? Again Lawrence did not elaborate.
Another question inquiring if the DSC was the only diocese expressing disgust with TEC?? Lawrence stated NO...then listed previous other dioceses that have attempted to leave TEC. That the DSC is in association ACNA plus Anglicans over the world. Most are not happy with TEC, just not going back.
Another question...What is the Archbishop of Canterbury doing about the schism??? Reply was "nothing, he has no authority."
Last question I will elaborate on...What caused the break with TEC?
Answer was the 2012 convention. Two canons were changed.
1 --- No one could be denied ordination for reason of gender identity. Gender is not fluid but is fluid and changeable in TEC.
2 --- No one should be denied lay position because of gender identity.
These two canonical changes defining gender identity caused Lawrence to leave TEC. It was not about sexuality per Lawrence.
Lawrence began the evening with a reading from II Corinthians, 4: 1-16. The message to his base is clear.
One questioner asked if TEC believes that Jesus is not divine. Lawrence responded, "No, I don't believe TEC believes that. But, TEC does believe that there are other roads to salvation."
Bishop Allison was in attendance last evening and commented that TEC has allowed bishops within TEC to offer other roads to salvation than Jesus Christ. He said that TEC has not censored or disciplined these bishops.
Lawrence said that no parish in the diocese acceded to the Dennis Canon and ALL are entitled to their day in court. [Is this a hint of what's to come?]
Lawrence said that the two changes to the canons that involve acceptance into the church leadership of those with gender identity issues is the reason he left TEC. He said, "Most people believe that I left because of same sex marriage, but that is not the case." He commented that transgender could create a situation where "your priest decides he is a woman and assumes that identity, or a person caring for children in the nursery could change his or her identity." We have heard comments like this from him before. This is one of the hot-button issues that charge up his base.
He ended the evening with a sermon on "mission" and challenged attendees to "get out there and spread the good news."
Mark Lawrence is an excellent orator and his delivery is especially passionate when speaking about the schism.
Many thanks to the two reporters for their summaries of the evening. As an aside, the first reporter shared with me that the event had the feel of a Trump rally and one person even thanked Lawrence for trying to "make America great again."
Today, Lawrence will make his final road show stop, at St. James Church, on James Island, at 7:00 p.m. I expect to have reports and will relay them to readers here. Afterwards, I will provide a summary of Lawrence's whirlwind tour.