Bishop Mark Lawrence banned as disciplinary board finds he has abandoned church because he has defied the national Episcopal Church and made state diocese his church’s authority.
Via Goose Creek Patch:
An independent news blog for S.C. Episcopalians has reported that S.C. Bishop Mark Lawrence has been temporarily banned from acting as a bishop and priest since a disciplinary board found he has “abandoned” the Episcopal Church Monday.
Subsequently, the bishop revealed that he had plans to break with the national church.
The crux of the issue is over the national church’s more lenient stance on same-sex blessings, and the ordination of gay and female clergy. In reaction to this week’s news, a special convention of members of Lawrence’s Diocese of South Carolina has been called Nov. 17 at St. Phillip’s Church in Charleston. The convention will focus on whether or not the Palmetto diocese will remain with the bishop or within the fold of the national church.
Lawrence is the state’s 14th bishop and presides over the three diocese in the state and the state’s 30,000 parishioners.
While Lawrence has refused to follow the national church’s same-sex blessings, and ordinations of female and gay clergy, the church’s disciplinary board cited three reasons that show Lawrence has abandoned the church:
- His support of amendments to the S.C. church’s constitution that undermines the authority of the national church at 219th Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina on Oct. 10, 2010.
- He oversaw the change in language for the Episcopalian nonprofit, which made the nonprofit no longer under the direction of the national church in 2011.
- In November 2011, Lawrence directed his Chancellor Wade H. Logan III to issue quitclaim deeds to every parish of the Diocese of South Carolina disclaiming any interest in the real estate held by or for the benefit of each parish.
The S.C. Episcopalians blog reported:
Lawrence has repeatedly insisted the Diocese of South Carolina is “sovereign” and the Church has no authority over him as it does other bishops. In essence, Lawrence maintains that he is not accountable to anyone…