Sunday, November 10, 2013



by Ronald Caldwell, PhD, Professor of History Emeritus

(last revised July 14, 2014)
There are many questions about the schism in South Carolina that should be answered in order for us to have a truthful understanding of this historic event. Some can answered easily, some only by certain persons, some only partially, and some may never be answered. Still, they are worth asking if we are to know the story of the schism.
The current court cases between the Episcopal Church and the five secessionist dioceses also involve a number of very important questions that impact on South Carolina:  1-Is the Episcopal Church hierarchical?  2-Where does sovereignty rest in the Episcopal Church, in General Convention or in the constituent dioceses?  3-Does a diocese have the right to leave TEC at will and intact?  4-Is church property owned by the local parish or by the Episcopal diocese and the Episcopal Church? In time, these questions will be settled in the courts. Of the five departing dioceses, only one, Pittsburgh, has been settled. The rest, San Joaquin, Fort Worth, Quincy, and South Carolina, are in courts pending judgments.
The following list of questions is meant to be a guide to research on the topic of the schism. There are certainly many more questions to be asked.
Please suggest additional questions that will guide us to the broadest and deepest understanding of the history of the schism. 
E-mail me at:




          A. Overall question
          B. General questions
          C. The Allison Years, 1980-90
          D. The Early Salmon Years, 1990-2002
          E. The Late Salmon Years, 2003-08
          F. The Early Lawrence Years, 2008-June 2012
          G. Crisis and Schism, June-December 2012
          H. Two Dioceses, 2013


What were the causes, origins, and nature of the schism in the Episcopal Church Diocese of South Carolina?

-----The DSC side said the revolt against the Episcopal Church (TEC) was to defend the truth of the Scriptures (God not gays). The TEC side said the crucial issue was homosexuality (gays not God). How was each side right and wrong?

-----What role did the issue of the rights of homosexual persons in the life of the Episcopal Church play in the background of the schism in South Carolina?
-----The DSC side said TEC was guilty of heresy and sin. The TEC side said the other was guilty of willful schism. Who was right?
-----Bishop Lawrence has said that the schism was caused by three factors:  1-theology (Uniqueness of Christ); 2-polity (illegal changes to the Constitution and Canons (CC) of TEC, 3-homosexuality ("indiscriminate inclusivity"). Was he right?
-----A motion by ECSC in Circuit Court (11-25-13) charged that in or around 2006 Lawrence made a deal with the Standing and Search committees to lead DSC out of TEC in return for their votes. If true, this would be a premeditated conspiracy of Lawrence and the committees. Is this charge true?

-----A motion by ECSC in Circuit Court (11-25-13) charged that in or around 2009 Lawrence, Lewis, Miller, and Fuener began executing a conspiracy to defraud TEC of its assets in DSC. Did these leaders of DSC carry out a conspiracy?

-----The "Notice and Motion" submitted to the Circuit Court by ECSC on 11-25-13 said that "discovery" had revealed the four (above) had committed various unlawful acts. What papers were turned over to ECSC lawyers? What evidence was in the papers to support this charge? 
-----Was the schism a pre-planned and coordinated event stretching over a period of time or was it an accident of unforeseen circumstances?

-----The records of the DSC Standing Committee are crucial to our understanding of the schism. Do minutes exist of all of the meetings? Were there secret meetings at which no records were kept? Have any minutes been destroyed? Why does DSC refuse to open the minutes to the public? 
-----Of the four great issues facing TEC 1960-present: civil rights, Prayer Book revisions, ordination of women, and homosexuality, only the last led to schism (dioceses leaving TEC). Why so?
-----Who were the most important clerical and lay individuals in DSC on the two opposing sides after 1980? What roles did they play in the events?
-----What were the connections between DSC and the Trinity School for Ministry (TSM) in Ambridge PA? How did TSM influence events in DSC over the years?
-----Why did not another diocese in the southeast join DSC in the exodus from TEC?
-----How have the other dozen reliably conservative dioceses in TEC handled the controversial issues in TEC?
-----What role did Jubilate Deo, the DSC newsletter, play in the background of the schism? Other opinion pieces, such as Kendall Harmon's website, Titus One Nine?
-----Why did most average people-in-the-pews choose to follow Lawrence out of TEC? Why did most clergy do the same? What were their understandings of the actions they were taking?
-----Why did not the pro-TEC elements in DSC make a stronger resistance to the move toward schism?
-----Did conservative activists in DSC come to monopolize the apparati of the diocese, such as the Standing Committee? If so, how did they accomplish this? From 1982 to 2013, how well did the DSC encourage and support different viewpoints?
-----Did the movement to leave TEC come from Lawrence or from the conservative leadership of DSC? Was Lawrence the leader or the follower?
-----Did the conservative majority in DSC choose Lawrence as bishop in order to create schism?

-----What role did the question of the ordination of women play in the background and events of the schism? How many women were ordained by each of the SC bishops since 1980? What has been Lawrence's attitude toward women in the clergy? How many women clergy sided with Lawrence, how many with vonRosenberg? What roles have women played in the power structure and the important committees of DSC, of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina (ECSC)?

-----How did each parish handle the decision to stay in or leave the Episcopal Church? Which parishes and missions voted on the issue? Were the two options openly, fairly, and thoroughly discussed? How was the voting procedure handled? 

-----Which had a greater effect on DSC, the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson or the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop of TEC?

-----Bishop Lawrence has said repeatedly that TEC is "a comatose patient on life support." Did he mean that TEC's decline in membership was the result of "liberal" theology? Is it true that declining membership came from theological reasons rather than demographic ones?

-----The leaders of DSC described the events of late 2012 as an unprovoked "assault" and "attack" by TEC against Lawrence and DSC? True?

-----Some conservatives have charged that the majority in TEC have turned against them and have left no room for conservatives in TEC. Has TEC driven out the conservative minority?

-----To what extent was the schism in South Carolina a reflection of the overall culture war in modern America?

-----To what extent was the schism in South Carolina a reflection of the late Twentieth Century differences between liberal Christianity (the horizontal religion of the social gospel) and conservative Christianity (the vertical religion of individual salvation)?

-----Was the schism in South Carolina inevitable, or was it avoidable? If the latter, how could it have been avoided?

-----Given the events of the past few years, is it possible at this point that the two sides can reconcile? If so, how?

-----What are the stakes for TEC in its battle with the five seceding dioceses? If TEC finally loses in court will the Dennis Canon become invalid? Will other dioceses vote to secede?

-----Can TEC survive a final loss in court? If not, will ACNA realize its goal of replacing TEC as the official branch of the Anglican Communion in North America?

C. THE ALLISON YEARS, 1980-1990.
-----What was the general attitude of DSC toward the contentious issues in TEC during the late years of Bishop Gray Temple (retired Jan. 1, 1982)?
-----How did the leadership of Bishop Allison in DSC compare with that of his predecessor, Temple?
-----In what ways did DSC respond to TEC on the issue of homosexuality in the Allison years?
-----What were the connections between Allison and TSM?

-----How did the leadership of Bishop Salmon compare with that of his predecessor, Allison?
-----What role did Salmon play in the trial of Bishop Righter, 1995?
-----What role did the DSC delegation play in the contentious General Convention (GC) of TEC in Phoenix in 1991?
-----The Rt. Rev. William Skilton served as Suffragan Bishop of DSC 1996-2006. What role did he play in the background of the schism?
-----Over the years many conservative (aka orthodox, traditionalist) groups met, sometimes regularly, in Charleston, perhaps most notably Mere Anglicanism. What were the connections between these groups and DSC?
-----Why did Salmon repeatedly oppose resolutions in TEC to require the ordination of women in all dioceses?
-----What role did Salmon play, among other conservative bishops, in the matter concerning liberal and controversial Bishop Spong?
-----Why did retired Bishop Allison participate in the irregular consecrations of bishops (2 in Singapore, 2000, and 4 in Denver, in 2001)?
-----What was Salmon's reaction to the consecrations?
-----What was the relationship between Salmon and Allison?
-----Why was the resolution in the DSC convention of 2001 that threatened secession from TEC tabled? What influence did the resolution have in the future?

-----GC's approval of Gene Robinson in August 2003 was a turning point in TEC. How did that influence events in DSC? What was the role of the DSC delegation in GC? What was the role of the Very Rev. Lawrence, of San Joaquin, in GC? What were the connections between the DSC delegation and Lawrence? What were the reactions in SC to the consecration of Bishop Robinson?
-----Was the DSC special convention of October 2003 the turning point in DSC in regards to TEC? How did the convention reflect attitudes in SC and how did it influence future actions in SC?
-----What were the origins of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes (2003)? What were its methods and goals? What role did DSC play in it? 
-----What were the origins of the Episcopal Forum of South Carolina? What were its methods and goals? If its purpose was to keep DSC in TEC why did it fail?
-----Was the Chapman Memo (Dec. 2003) the secret plan for secession from and replacement of TEC? In what ways did the Memo influence events in DSC then and in the years to come?
-----What roles did DSC play in the various conservative movements that sprang up in the wake of the Robinson episode?
-----What were the origins of the Anglican Communion Network in SC (2004)? Who were the leaders? What were their goals? What role did they play in the background of the schism?
-----What was the relationship between DSC and the Anglican Communion Institute?
-----How was the Bishop's search committee formed in 2005? How were the members chosen? How did it relate to the Standing Committee? Why was the Rev. Greg Kronz, a cohort of Lawrence  earlier in the Dio, of Pittsburgh, appointed chair?
-----In the bishop's search, how many candidates were considered? Why was Skilton not one of the nominees? How did the committee settle on the three nominees?

-----In an official affidavit of Dec. 18, 2013, the Rev. Thomas Rickenbaker stated that when he was considered for candidacy, Kronz and Feuner told him directly they were looking for a bishop to lead DSC out of TEC, and with the property. Feuner denied this assertion in a newspaper interview of Dec. 30, 2013. Who was telling the truth, Rickenbaker or Feuner?
-----What was the role of DSC in the GC of 2006? What was their role in the selection of the new presiding bishop, Jefferts Schori? How did the SC bishops vote in the election of the new Presiding Bishop?

-----What were the reactions in DSC to the news interviews that Jefferts Schori gave after her election as Presiding Bishop?
-----Why did the DSC convention of 2006 ask for Alternative Primatial Relationship from the Archbishop of Canterbury? What came of the request? Why did SC never have an alternative primate, that is one other than Jefferts Schori?
-----Why did the Standing Committee ask Skilton to resign in Dec. 2006?
-----Why was the first election of Lawrence as bishop declared null and void? Was this declaration legitimate?
-----Why did Lawrence go on a sabbatical at the moment his home diocese, San Joaquin, voted to leave TEC?
-----In his campign for bishop, did Lawrence promise to keep DSC in TEC? What did he promise on that subject?

-----How had Lawrence's years in the Dioceses of Pittsburgh and San Joaquin prepared him for his role in DSC? What personal connections with clergy of these dioceses were most important to Lawrence?
-----How did the leadership of Lawrence compare with that of his predecessor, Salmon?
-----What was the relationship between Lawrence and Salmon?
-----Why did Salmon and Skilton remain in TEC rather than depart with Lawrence?
-----Why was the Presiding Bishop not invited to the consecration of Lawrence as bishop of South Carolina?

-----Who invited the Presiding Bishop to visit South Carolina in February of 2008? What impact did her visit have on DSC?

-----Why did Lawrence announce in his first address to a DSC convention that DSC might not continue in TEC?
-----At that convention, why was the proposed resolution to suspend General Convention voted down? How did that defeat connect to future events in DSC?
-----How did Lawrence reorganize the diocesan staff and structure?
-----How did Lawrence go about bonding with the clergy and communicants of DSC in the first several years?
-----How did Lawrence view the "sovereignty" of DSC and how did this view influence his actions?
-----What roles did Lawrence and the DSC delegation play in the GC of 2009?
-----What role did Lawrence play in the Anaheim Statement (July 2009)?
-----What did Lawrence accomplish on his out-of-state trips to conservative groups, to TEC groups, especially in his first year?
-----How and why did Lawrence build bonds with anti-TEC elements outside of SC, in the U.S., overseas?
-----What happened in Lawrence's, and other conservative bishops' meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury (Sept. 2009)?
-----Was an appeal of the All Saints Waccamaw (Sept. 2009) case made to the U.S. Supreme Court? Why did not DSC and the Episcopal Church appeal the decision of the state supreme court to the U.S. Supreme Court?
-----What was the meaning of the resolutions passed in DSC convention in Oct. 2009? How did these change the relationship between DSC and TEC?
-----Why did DSC refuse to cooperate with lawyer Tisdale in Jan. 2010?
-----In what ways did DSC cooperate with requests from TEC in 2010 and 2011?
-----How did Lawrence handle the departure of St. Andrew's, Mt. Pleasant, from DSC, March 2010?
-----What were the charges in the Forum letter of September 2010; and how did Lawrence refute them?
-----What was in the still unrevealed correspondence between Lawrence and Jefferts Schori in Oct. 2010?
-----Why did the "reconvened" convention of DSC declare "self rule" and remove the Dennis Canon from the DSC Constitution and Canons? What was the purpose of this? Did this constitute schism?
-----Why did the DSC convention of Feb. 2011 pass resolutions placing the DSC Constitution and Canons above that of TEC and revoking its accession to the Canons of TEC? What was the purpose of this? Did this constitute schism?
-----Were the revisions to the TEC Constitutions and Canons Title IV made to persecute Lawrence? If not, why were they made?
-----How did the Disciplinary Board for Bishops's investigation of Lawrence begin (Sept. 2011)? What were the charges? What was the evidence? How was the decision made? How did they vote? Was the process true to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church?
-----What happened in the meeting of Jefferts Schori, Bishop Waldo (Upper SC), and Lawrence in Ne York on Nov. 2, 2011?
-----Why did Lawrence issue quit claim deeds (Nov. 15, 2011)? Why at this time? How were they issued? Which parishes registered them in the court houses? Was this a violation of the Dennis Canon? Was he issuance necessary in view of the All Saints Waccamaw decision?
-----Why did the DSC Standing Committee oppose the meeting of the provincial bishops and Lawrence in Dec. of 2011? What was the relationship and interaction of the Committee and Lawrence at that time? 
-----In the DSC convention of March 2012, why did Lawrence identify the issue of homosexuality as the main one? How did this issue drive events in the months to come?
-----In June 2012, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) named Steve Wood (St. Andrew's, Mt. Pleasant) as its bishop of the Carolinas. What effect did this have on Lawrence and DSC?

-----What was the role of the DSC delegation in the GC of 2012?
-----What was the relationship among the conservative dioceses at GC?
-----Why did Lawrence see the GC resolution as a line he could not cross?
-----Why did Lawrence reject the rite of the blessing of same sex unions even though it could never be enforced on DSC since it was optional at the discretion of the diocesan bishop?
-----What happened in the secret meeting of Lawrence and the Standing Committee on Aug. 21, 2012? Who first proposed "disassociation'? How did they justify the decision and how did they plan to carry it out? Did this mean schism?
-----How did the committee of fourteen that filed the complaint against Lawrence form? How did it operate? What was the evidence in the complaint?
-----How did the Disciplinary Board for Bishops reach its decision (Sept. 2012) that Lawrence had abandoned the communion? Did the DBB adhere to the Constitution and Canons of TEC? What was the vote? Was there any action of outside forces in DBB? Did Lawrence know of the DBB action at the time of its meeting?
-----Why did the Standing Committee meet secretly on Oct. 2, 2012 and vote to withdraw DSC from TEC if TEC took any action against Lawrence? How did this decision come about? Who first offered it? What was the discussion? Why was no one outside the Committee consulted? Why was the vote kept secret until Oct. 17? Did Lawrence reveal the vote to Waldo and Jefferts Schori before Oct. 17? If not, why not? Why does the DSC keep secret the minutes of the meetings of the Standing Committee?
-----Why did Lawrence meet with Waldo and Jefferts Schori the day after the Committee's vote? What happened in the meeting? What did Lawrence reveal about the Standing Committee decisions?
-----Why did the DBB delay informing the Presiding Bishop of its vote, Sept. 18, until Oct. 10?
-----Why did the PB delay informing Lawrence of the vote for five days, until Oct. 15?
-----What measures were under way in Sept. and Oct., on both sides, to settle the crisis? What did the Presiding Bishop do; what did Lawrence do to settle it at that point?
-----When and how did Jefferts Schori arrange a reorganization of the DSC immediately after Oct. 15?
-----Why did Lawrence not choose one of the two options available to him under the Constitutions and Canons of TEC:  1-a letter to the PB asking for the suspension to be removed,  2-trial in the House of Bishops at its next meeting, March 2013?
-----Was there any communication between Lawrence and the PB concerning his options at that point?
-----Why did not Lawrence go back to the Standing Committee and ask for a suspension of the vote to withdraw from TEC?
-----Were Lawrence's actions in the special convention of Nov. 17, 2013, a renunciation of his ministry in TEC as the PB later claimed? If not, what did they mean?
-----Why did the PB not follow the letter of the law in the Canons that required a written statement of renunciation? Did Lawrence's words in the Nov. 17 meeting adequately replace the required letter?
-----What were the communications, if any, between Jefferts Schori and Lawrence from Nov. 17 to Dec. 5?
-----Did the PB act within her rights to remove Lawrence from the ordained ministry of TEC on Dec. 5, 2012?
-----Did Lawrence know in advance of the PB's action?

-----How did Lawrence's approach to litigation against TEC compare with the four earlier cases of seceding dioceses?
-----Why did DSC decide to initiate litigation against TEC? Why and how did they choose the Circuit Court (state court) in Dorchester County?
-----Why and how did DSC arrange to have 35 parishes join in the lawsuits against TEC? What pressure, if any, was put on the parishes?
-----What were the financial arrangements to pay the lawyers of DSC and the 35 parishes?
-----Is there outside funding going to DSC or to TEC in their court actions?

-----In the Fall of 2013, DSC established a Legal Defense Fund committee that called for 2 million dollars in contributions. How did they arrive at that figure? How much has DSC already spent on legal expenses? Are the individual parishes responsible for paying their own lawyers? In his charge to the committee, Lawrence said that the DSC legal action was a "battle against 'the spiritual forces of evil.'" Did he mean that TEC is evil? If not, what did he mean? 
-----What appeals did the two bishops (Lawrence and vonRosenberg) make to the dozen undecided parishes and missions in discernment in early 2013? What reasons did the local churches give for their choices?
-----After the two dioceses released their clergy lists, the names of nine priests and three deacons appeared on both lists. How can a clergyperson be loyal to a TEC bishop and an independent bishop?

-----Why did DSC lawyer Alan Runyon participate in the court case of TEC v. Quincy? Who paid his fees?
-----Why did vonR choose to "release" (Aug. 2013) rather than depose the clergy who left TEC? 
-----Why has Lawrence steadfastly refused to unite DSC with any larger Anglican body (as ACNA)?
-----What does it mean to be, as Lawrence claimed, an "extra-provincial diocese" of the Anglican Communion?

-----If DSC continues to refuse to unite with any larger body, what would this mean for the long-term viability of DSC?
-----What has been the attitude of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the official offices of the Anglican Communion, toward the post-schism DSC?
-----What has been the attitude of the Global South [GAFCON] Anglican bishops toward post-schism DSC?

-----At what length and at what cost can DSC sustain a legal war with TEC? TEC with DSC?

-----Under what conditions might vonR's idea of reconciliation of the two parties take place?