Mark Lawrence Convenes Conference for Schismatic Diocese

222nd Annual Diocesan Convention to be Held in Florence, March 8-9 PDF Print E-mail
Francis Marion Performing Arts Center

          More than 350 people are expected to attend the 222nd Annual Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina at the Francis Marion Performing Arts Center in Florence, March 8-9. The last time the Convention was held in Florence was 1976.
          This year the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence,  the 14th Bishop of South Carolina, is focusing on the future. “We cannot afford to focus on the backward glance,” said Lawrence “Christ calls us to look forward and carry out the Great Commission to make disciples and to proclaim the Gospel to a hurting world.”
          This year’s convention workshops are designed to equip the Diocese’s lay members and clergy for the work of ministry. Bishop Lawrence promised that such workshops would be key parts of future annual Diocesan Conventions.
          This year, four free workshops will be open to the public on Friday, March 8:
             Youth Ministry for Small Churches, to be held from 2:30 – 4 p.m., led by the Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator Dave Wright. The program is designed to help small churches do youth ministry like the larger churches. “They can do excellent youth ministry if they take a different approach,” said Wright.
            The Apologetics of CS Lewis, a primer on how to defend Christianity, to be held from 1-2:30 p.m., led by the Rev. Dr. Kendall S. Harmon, the Diocese’s Canon Theologian. “In today’s post-Christian culture it’s imperative for people to be able to understand and defend their beliefs,” said Harmon.
            Sozo Prayer, a workshop on inner healing through prayer, to be held from 1-4 p.m., led by Kelli Hample, Lisa Fike and Karen Tetrev. The Very Rev. Peet Dickinson, Dean of the Diocese’s Cathedral will share stories about how this type of prayer ministry has transformed his parish’s pastoral care.
            Diocesan Risk Management, to be held from 3-4 p.m., led by Billy Mills, of Wells Fargo Insurance Services. Every congregation is subject to risk.Mr.  Mills will be provide a synopsis of the components parishes should be considering in a good risk management plan. He will also be available to answer questions about the specifics of the Diocesan Property and Casualty program and how it can benefit all our congregations.
          Learn more about the workshops.
          The convention will also feature a special sermon by the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, Bishop Vicar of theDiocese of Quincy (Illinois) of the Anglican Church in North America. He will serve as guest preacher at the opening Eucharist Friday evening at St. John’s, Florence.  The Diocese of Quincy left The Episcopal Church in 2008 and the following year was a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America.
          “I invited Bishop Ackerman to preach because he speaks from a love of God’s Word and the depth of the Catholic Anglican tradition,” said Bishop Lawrence.  “But along with this I wanted to remind us all that as we turn the page and eagerly look toward the future, we will strive to maintain a comprehensive Anglicanism in this great Diocese of South Carolina.”
          Delegates and others attendees will also hear from ministry leaders about their vision for the future.  A highlight will be the presentation from the Rev. Bob Lawrence, Director of St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center. The Camp will celebrate its 75th Anniversary this year.
          The convention is also a time that delegates elect its new leadership which is comprised of both clergy and lay members and review the proposed budget.  Two resolutions will also be voted on:
          • One is the second reading of a resolution which deleted all references to The Episcopal Church from the Diocese’s Constitutions and Canons. This resolution passed by an overwhelming majority at the November 17, 2012, convention, held in Charleston.
          • The second affirms the “Declaration of Life Statement” made by Anglicans for Life.
          On Saturday, while the convention is in progress, the Diocese is offering a three-hour simulcast program on “Courageous Grandparenting,” with Cavin Harper, author of Courageous Grandparenting in a Turbulent World.  This event, open to the public, is geared towards grandparents and those involved in family ministry. It will be held concurrently with the Convention so delegates will not be able to attend. There is a $10 fee for this event, which covers the cost of the book and box lunch. Pre-registration is required.
Two resolutions will also be voted on: • One is the second reading of a resolution which deleted all references to The Episcopal Church from the Diocese’s Constitutions and Canons. This resolution passed by an overwhelming majority at the November 17, 2012, convention, held in Charleston.” 

          One only needs to read this brief paragraph to understand the nature of this conference, headed by former TEC Bishop Mark Lawrence – who has taken his dissident faction out of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and TEC – to realise the true facts about his schism.
          The Preacher, one notes, will be a leader of the ACNA group of parishes/diocese that have left TEC on the grounds of incompatibility with the national Church’s inclusion of the LGBT community within the ranks of its congregations and ministry team.
          Though not yet a declared member of the parallel quasi-Anglican body of ACNA-ites, this invitation to one of that body to preach would seem to indicate  that the possibility of an amicable amalgamation of the two dissident congregations might be imminent.
          The distancing of itself from the Episcopal Church (TEC), in the form of a constitutional ‘resolution’ is the  most clear evidence of the final separation – so that any implied connection with the world-wide Anglican Communion can no longer be claimed – despite a connection with the newly-coined GAFCON community of churches that have distanced themselves from the Anglican Communion Instruments of Unity.
          Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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One Response to Mark Lawrence Convenes Conference for Schismatic Diocese

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