Wednesday, September 29, 2010

St. Mark's Chapel versus St. John's Chapel: Separate and Not Equal

From the South Carolina diocesan website:

Almost nine months to the day, on the evening of July 7, 2010, St. John’s Chapel celebrated another milestone when it became an official “mission congregation” of the Episcopal Church. Since St. John’s re-opened last fall, average Sunday attendance has grown to more than 40 worshippers per week.

Here is a quote from the local newspaper on St. Mark's Chapel:

Prior to meeting at the Historic Union Church, about a dozen families met in each other's homes. The group grew too large and moved to meet at the Sea Island Motel in downtown Beaufort and later at the Masonic Lodge. In its six years, the congregation has grown to about 40 families.

St. mark's Chapel is not a recognized mission in the diocese of South Carolina, in fact here is what Bishop Mark Lawrence has to say about St. Mark's

I have met several times with the leaders of St. Mark’s Chapel, Port Royal—a fellowship of mostly disgruntled members of St. Helena’s Beaufort"

What is the beef? where here is the charge from the Episcopal Forum:

Missions are being planted within the Diocese; however, the [bishop] will not recognize or approve the establishment of St. Mark’s Chapel, Port Royal, a congregation of loyal Episcopalians that has doubled its membership over the past year.

So please go to the diocese of South Carolina and read about these two missions on the website of Bishop Mark Lawrence. I do not think you can find St. Mark's but you may be able to. Then you decide if Bishop Lawrence is treating all his missions equally. I think not, what do you think? If you agree please let Mark Harris, the Executive Council and the House of Bishops know.

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