Friday, September 13, 2019

with addendum, 16 Sept.

Sept. 13:
The Diocese of South Carolina released its periodic newsletter today, 13 September. It contained an interesting note about a clergyman of the diocese taking a post as clergy in an Episcopal Church. The newsletter said that the Rev. David Barr is to become Associate Rector of St. George's Church in Nashville, Tennessee. St. George's Episcopal Church is in the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee.

David Barr is the son of the Rev. John Barr, a long-time prominent clergyman in the Diocese of South Carolina before and after the schism of 2012. According to online sources, David Barr holds a B.A. from Covenant College, an M.A. in Theology from University of Virginia, and is working on a Ph.D. in Theology in the University of Toronto. Bishop Lawrence ordained him a deacon in August of 2018 and a priest in March of 2019. The ordinations would be valid in the Diocese of SC and the Anglican Church in North America. For the last year or so Barr has been Scholar in Residence of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston.

St. George's Episcopal Church is a large parish, on the west side of Nashville, with an impressive plant and program. Check out their Facebook page and their website.

Read the announcement of St. George's rector, the Rev. Leigh Spruill, of Barr's new appointment here  . The new job as Associate Rector is to start on October 1, 2019. Note that Spruill calls it a "clergy call." This indicates Barr will start as a clergyman, not a layman. If it is true that Barr did not attend an Episcopal seminary and is not an ordained clergyman in the Episcopal Church, it will be interesting to see how the Episcopal bishop of Tennessee handles this. I can only guess the bishop has been involved in this appointment.

It is possible Barr's transition from ACNA to TEC could become a model for DSC clergy in the future. Anyway, it will be interesting to see what happens. Is he going to be rushed through ordinations as Episcopal deacon and priest in a few days? Is the Episcopal bishop simply going to accept his DSC credentials of ordination? Is there some other process here? Whatever it is, we will keep an eye on it as it may be applicable in the future for clergy moving from ACNA to TEC.  

There is a process in place in the Episcopal Church in South Carolina for former Episcopal clergy to return to TEC. Three priests who went along with the schism did return to TEC by way of this process. Approximately 100 clergy now in DSC remain on the list of people who have been released and removed from Episcopal holy orders. David Barr was not on this list since he had not been ordained before the schism. 

Many of the 100 or so clergy in DSC are going to have some hard choices to make in the not too distant future as 29 parishes return to TEC. Young man Barr may be wise to set his sights outside of eastern South Carolina. The 100 on the list would be wise to examine TECSC's process of restoration of holy orders in TEC.

Sept. 16:
A person does not have to attend an Episcopal seminary to attain holy orders in the Episcopal Church.

However, the Episcopal Church Constitution and Canons provides clear rules for the reception of clergy from churches in communion with the Episcopal Church and for churches not in communion. The Diocese of South Carolina and its parent the Anglican Church in North America are not in communion with the Episcopal Church. For churches not in communion, processes are spelled out for those in apostolic succession and those not in apostolic succession.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he is not in communion with the ACNA and that the ACNA is a separate Christian denomination. The secretary general of the Anglican Communion has said the ACNA is not in the Anglican Communion. The Diocese of South Carolina is in an independent denomination outside of the Anglican Communion. 

Any Episcopal bishop would be expected to adhere to the TEC C and C when transitioning any new clergy into his or her diocese. 

The TEC House of Bishops meets this week in its semi-annual session. The process of merging schismatic clergy into TEC dioceses should be a topic of conversation.