In the link above, the news came out today that “The Disciplinary Board for Bishops has advised Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori that the majority of the 18-member panel has determined that Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina has abandoned the Episcopal Church “by an open renunciation of the Discipline of the Church.”
While I am disquieted by the moves that Bishop Mark Lawrence has made regarding canonical changes as part of apparent efforts to ensure that parishes in the Diocese of South Carolina revert to the diocese and not The Episcopal Church in the case of a split, I have difficulty with the finding that these moves in themselves entail “an open renunciation of the Discipline of the Church.”
Bishop Lawrence has participated in the life of the church. Even with the events of General Convention that he and his deputation found difficult, even when most of the deputation left Convention early this summer, there still seems to have been an effort of Bishop Lawrence to keep walking with TEC. I fear that this ruling has ensured another schism in our life.
I suspect in many ways I view the Episcopal Church and its trajectory differently from the leadership of the Diocese of South Carolina yet I desire to remain in relationship with them. The ruling of the Disciplinary Board, while legally correct perhaps seems to me to have been a misstep for the larger goal of preserving the unity of the church.