Via Media: Church Should Refuse Consent to Secessionist Bishop-Elect of South Carolina
In letters sent October 19 to bishops with jurisdiction and all the Episcopal Church's diocesan standing committees, Via Media USA argues that the episcopacy of the bishop-elect of the Diocese of South Carolina "would represent a threat to the unity of our church and to the cohesion" of the diocese.
In response to one of three questions presented to the South Carolina candidates prior to a series of meetings with the diocese, the bishop-elect, the Very Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, 56, said he approved of the APO requests, calling them "a temporary gasp for air" that is needed while the Communion works out a new "Anglican ecclesiology."
Via Media USA's letters argue that "Father Lawrence's episcopacy would represent a threat to the unity of our church and to the cohesion of the Diocese of South Carolina."
The diocese of South Carolina is regarded as one of the dioceses most hostile to the leadership and General Convention of the Episcopal Church.
In the face of this, The Episcopal Forum, a group of South Carolina Episcopalians, has been working to preserve unity with diversity in the Diocese of South Carolina and within The Episcopal Church, through the inclusion of a broad range of Scriptural understandings, and by upholding the democratic actions of its Constitution and Canons, conventions and elected leadership. They have a gathering scheduled for October 26.
Read more on the Via Media development at Episcopal News Service.
Update: It would be absurd and destructive to approve the consent of a clergyman who may be prepared to try to withdraw his diocese from The Episcopal Church or who views such actions favorably. In naval terms the equivalent would be promoting to captain a man who has stated he may sink his own ship once he has command of it.
In their letter, Via Media point out that "Father Lawrence has endorsed separating the Diocese of South Carolina from the Episcopal Church and has advocated that the authority of the General Convention be surrendered to the primates of the Anglican Communion. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to see how Father Lawrence could be asked or expected to take the vow required of each bishop in The Episcopal Church to 'guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church' (BCP page 517)."
The obvious solution is to demand assurances he will not do so or barring this, refuse to give him consent.
The Church should not consent to put in a position of authority a man who will work to undermine this very Church.