How to welcome back the schismatics

New Missioner in South Carolina


The Rev. William Coyne (CREDIT: TECSC)

From the Episcopal Church in South Carolina:

“Bishop Skip Adams has appointed the Rev. William Coyne as the new Missioner for Returning Congregations for The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, a new diocesan staff position created to assist parishes and missions that are returning to The Episcopal Church.

“This new ministry is a way for our diocese to manifest good care of God?s people, live out our Diocesan Vision,and always seek the goals of reconciliation and unity in Christ during this important time of transition,” Bishop Adams said.

“As Missioner, Fr. Coyne will report directly to the Bishop, while developing teams and support systems around the diocese for the successful return of churches to The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC), which is the diocese of The Episcopal Church in eastern South Carolina.

The full text of the release, including a message from the new missioner, can be read on the TECSC website.

This appointment follows on the Supreme Court’s declining to grant a certiorari to the breakaway diocese in the ongoing litigation surrounding church properties (the Cafe’s prior coverage may be found here).


Whatever one’s opinion of the mission capability of TEC – The Episcopal Church in the United States of America – one cannot but admire the latest move in the home Diocese of South Carolina (TECSC) to missionise possible returnees from the schismatic breakaway diocese, whose leader, the former TEC Bishop Mark Lawrence, is now marshalling his troops to consider what to do in the wake of the latest threat to his legal quest to alienate the churches and property of the remaining Episcopal Diocese.

Fr. William Coyne has been appointed ‘Missioner for Returning Congregations’ to the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina (TECSC) – an entirely new and innovative ministry calculated to help those in the alienated congregations of the diocese who wish to return to their original situation, but as newly-restored members of TEC.

This is an appropriate ministry which needed to be set up in the wake of the decision by the Federal Supreme Court not to interfere with the decision of the State Supreme Court (of S.C.) that required the schismatic diocese and its Bishop Mark Lawrence to return the property and churches they had considered belonged to them – back to their Episcopal owners in TEC. 

It is anticipated that, in view of the Federal Supreme Court’s decision, there will be those members of the congregations who want to remain in their local church buildings who may be ready and willing to return to the faith and constitution of the origin Espicopal Diocese in TEC. It is in the expectation of such an occurrence that Fr.Coyne has been appointed especially to deal with the proprieties of their Episcopal reception back into the fold of what has now become known as ‘TECSC’.

Thinking of our own church in Aotearoa/New Zealand, where some local clergy and their parishioners are currently attending the reactionary GAFCON Jerusalem Conference, with a view to their possible breakaway from ACANZP, 0ne cannot but wonder what is their expectation of retaining the church buildings they currently inhabit as members of the local Anglican parish structures? There are rumours of a similar strategy that GAFCON has already taken with partner breakaway churches in other Provinces of the Anglican Communion – such as the TEC Diocese of South Carolina in the USA; Canada; and, more recently, the U.K. – to alienate church properties – whether, in fact, this would be possible in New Zealand, were the intending schismatics to actually defect from ACANZP, is yet to be determined.

As has been said before on this website:

‘Schism is a Horrid Thing’ not to be undertaken lightly.


Here is a video of a sermon preached in TECSC at the Renewal of Clergy Vows in Holy week:  in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina –


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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