It seems Palmetto State Episcopalians aren’t too happy with their national denomination. Will the Diocese of South Carolina pull out of the Episcopal Church and join ranks with The Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), or will they stay in the church as “loyal opposition”?
A new commentary at VirtueOnline.org asks this very question:
Is the Bishop of South Carolina, the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence planning to take his diocese out of The Episcopal Church? Word has it that Lawrence has been in “substantive talks” with Archbishop Robert Duncan of The Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). But Lawrence has commented (in the past) that he is concerned about whether ACNA has a sufficient “catholic ecclesiology” — by which he means that he is not sure it is sufficiently united. It looks to him more like a loose federation than “one body”.
It is not, apparently, the direction he is expected to take the diocese. Sources tell VOL that when Lawrence meets with the clergy of his Diocese on Thursday, he will propose that his diocese push to be on the first level of the “two level, two tier” approach advocated by the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Anglican Communion. He will also advocate closer ties with the Anglican Communion Institute’s (ACI) approach of staying in TEC as the denomination’s loyal opposition.
Despite what you might think, South Carolina isn’t as conservative as you’ve been led to believe. Don’t get me wrong: The Palmetto State is pretty anti-gay. But, there are liberal and progressive pockets. I can’t imagine Episcopalians in Columbia — one of only a few cities across the South banning discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of gender-identity and sexual orientation — being opposed to LGBTs living a full life of worship, fellowship and leadership in their church. (Update: I’ve learned South Carolina is comprised of two Episcopal dioceses. Columbia is in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina.)
Even in conservative, aristocratic Charleston, I imagine there are liberal pockets of Episcopalians and folks from other religious faiths.
Perhaps the South Carolina bishop’s reticence to pull out isn’t based so much on loyalty to the national church, as it is loyalty to his local parishioners, many of whom might be divided on the issue?
A man in rural Hollywood, S.C. – a town near Charleston – claims he and his family are being targeted for being black in a white neighborhood:
Clifford Washington asked his wife to stop taking walks down their country road after the day someone shouted the N-word at her.Soon after that incident two years ago, Washington started seeing bullet or pellet holes on his garage, the trucks parked in his yard and above his front door. He thinks he and his family are paying the price for being a black family in a white neighborhood.
“This is harassment and I think it’s a hate crime,” Washington said.
He called the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office 13 times in the first two months after the trouble began. Since then, Washington says he has lost count of how many times he has tried to get help. Deputies have responded to his calls but say they can do little without a lead or a suspect.
“I feel as if I am fighting a losing battle,” Washington said, adding that he does not think anyone is taking him seriously.
The rest of the article from The Charleston Post-Courier goes into some good detail, including the steps Washington has taken to speak to local law enforcement and a recent cross burning in his neighborhood (the local sheriff claims it was simple teen mischief.