South Carolina Diocese Votes to Split From Episcopal Church


#1

South Carolina Diocese Votes to Split From Episcopal Church
By Anugrah Kumar
Christian Post Contributor
November 19, 2012|8:14 am

Despite the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church writing a pastoral letter to the members of the South Carolina diocese to stay, a majority of parishes voted to leave the denomination over its ordination of gay clergy and acceptance of same-sex unions.

The vote took place at a convention organized by the South Carolina diocese leadership at St. Philip’s Church in Charleston on Saturday, Reuters reported. It followed the U.S. Episcopal Church’s certification last month that South Carolina Bishop Mark J. Lawrence, who had criticized pro-gay positions of the denomination’s hierarchy, had abandoned the church’s doctrine, discipline and worship.

It’s the fifth Episcopalian diocese in the country to leave the church’s national body, which is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Congregations in San Joaquin, Calif.; Quincy, Ill.; Fort Worth, Texas; and Pittsburgh, Pa., also left the church in recent years.

This could get interesting/messy fast! Based on what courts have done in CA and VA, if these seceding church congregations have deeds that assign their property to the national denomination should they leave it, they stand to lose their facilities. I think the deeds and court decisions are unconscionable - unjustly taking properties from people who have bought them and maintained them for decades or even centuries, and enriching the denomination that has done nothing to earn those properties - but the courts, so far, have decided otherwise. I doubt this is news to all these seceding congregations. While not colluding, all these seceding dioceses have created a situation where the denomination is being forced to choose between letting the congregations go, with their properties, or filing a large number of lawsuits - individually and collectively very expensive. Bishop Schorri and the higher ups of the Episcopalian Church have shown a vindictive willingness to go after leaders and congregations who won’t meekly go down the theologically liberal path with them. But this many lawsuits, even if (as is likely) won could prove a string of very expensive Pyrrhic victories. As for the seceding congregations, by now they should know the potential consequences of their actions. As convenient and comfortable as their facilities may be, they know that if they lose those properties, their life, as a church, is in Christ and in their (His) people. And if the denomination gets all those properties, not only will the acquisition process be expensive, but the denomination will have all these properties to maintain (and if they sell the properties, they would be selling into a depressed market and the sheer volume of sales will further depress the marketplace), since most of the congregation members will have left. The Episcopalian Church may find it has won Pyrrhic victories that will continue to be expensive!


#2

This has been going on for quite some time and it even precedes the homosexual issue within the Episcopalian church. Pete hits the nail on the head in ascribing it to liberalism, specifically the elevation of “social justice” causes over more spiritual pursuits by the church. The seriousness of it, for the Episcopalian church, which skews towards the top of the heap in the socio-economic demographics of its members, became apparent a few years ago when the Falls Creek, VA church split over just such factors, it being one of the more wealthy and popularly attended dioceses in the Washington, DC area. The fight at this point is over nothing more than the church assets cited above, for the Episcopal church has long since lost its relevance in the spiritual lives of its former members. It is not hyperbole to say that what is being witnessed is the implosion of an entire church. The only branch of Episcopalism that is growing is the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church.

Here’s an update on the Falls Creek church: Breakaway Anglican Congregation Has Its Last Sunday at Va. Property

Here’s how Juan Williams and Fred Barnes, both Episcopalians, discussed it with Brit Hume back in 2006. Note that Williams, while not a member of Falls Creek, is a member of the AME, which rejects exactly the doctrine the Episcopal church is splitting over:
RealClearPolitics - Articles - Special Report Roundtable - December 18


#3

The Falls Creek case is one of the cases to which I was alluding in the first sentence of my comment. As you say, the SC situation isn’t a sudden crisis for the Episcopalian Church, but the most recent major milestone in a decades-long process. In the 60s they tolerated, for a time, Bishop Pike; they tolerated Bishop Spong since the 70s; these were “events”, but they were also milestones on a path. The net effect is that much of the Episcopalian Church doesn’t really believe in much of anything beyond being sort of nice. Consequently the Episcopalian Church has been leaking people for decades, and with not much to believe in, it really isn’t very attractive to outsiders or able to retain its youth (who realize they can be sort of nice at the park, at a bar, at …).


#4

Good summation, Pete.


#5

This is exactly the mindset that will save the integrity of Christianity and this Nation as a whole, a greater commitment to truth than financial fear.

The American Church has decided long ago that preserving it’s tax exempt status is more important than stressing to the congregation the importance of voting the principles of their Faith, they have turned a Faith that has as it’s primary purpose to be salt and light to the world into a dusty, powerless history lesson.

These congregations may have to build new buildings but the God of the Bible has no shortage of bricks and mortar, it is a shortage of Faithful Men that hinders the restoration of America as a Christian beacon of light to the world.


#6

That is very true! I don’t know if the Pittsburgh diocese chose to break from the church or not, but I do know that they didn’t approve of the selection of the gay bishop. I think perhaps they did break. I know that the Bishop of the Erie diocese did not approve of the selection - a friend of mine is a member of a church in that diocese, and he showed me a letter he wrote to his bishop thanking him for his stand.


#7

HMMMMMM! The real problem is All ‘Christian’ Churches, to some degree or another have lost the central focus or theme of the Tenents of Christ. SALVATION. The ‘Church’ today caters to the social set. It is a country club attitude. The Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Catholic, all mainline Church denominations have fallen into the trap of apostasy and are feeling the effects. There is the small cadre of Believers who seek the Church to be the Fellowship of Believers, Teaching the Word. This is the reason the splits are occuring more and more frequently, and those denominations who control local properties are beginning to lose these properties in court, as the small Church becomes more militant. In the Presbyterian Church, there is what is called the ‘Wineskin’ movement where Churches of Presbyterian USA are leaving and joining Presbyterian PCA or EPC or ARP or now beginning a new denomination. Methodist has begun the same movement. There ARE people who look for the Bible as their guide in it’s infallibility. As the mainline Church fades we see the decline in morality. America needs to wake up. The Church needs to wake up.


#8

Amen and Amen!

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