Saturday, September 25, 2010

Update On St. Mark's Port Royal, South Carolina

Word has come in via an rather unusual process that St. Mark's Chapel, Port Royal, South Carolina may be in trouble. This is a group we have reported on from time to time as Bishop Mark Lawrence "permits" them to exist. They have been growing and apparently working with a group inside the diocese of South Carolina known as the Episcopal Forum. This group is roughly equivalent to the Remain Episcopal group in the diocese of San Joaquin (and I am told in the diocese of Forth Worth, Texas).

Turns out that the Episcopal Forum has asked the Executive Council/House of Bishops to investigate the current ongoing "goofing off" of the current bishop of South Carolina, +Mark Lawrence. Bishop Lawrence responded in a very condescending manner(see Real Anglicans) and has in turned threatened this small and growing community of loyal Episcopalians. What do I mean? Well, here is the excerpt from Bishop Lawrence's letter pertaining directly to St. Mark's Chapel:

e) 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.

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. St. Helena’s is one of the strongest and fastest growing parishes in the diocese—if not the country. The leaders of St. Mark’s Fellowship are well aware of my concerns. I have allowed them access to retired priests, which as the bishop I licensed to officiate at services. I have even allowed vacationing clergy from other dioceses to preach and celebrate among this fellowship. There are many complex issues to this matter which date back to the time of Bishop Salmon’s episcopacy that I shall not go into here. Frankly, this charge is a disappointing way for this group to repay my kindness to some of their requests.

Read the words carefully for just a moment: "I have EVEN allowed"; met with the disgruntled members; There are many complex issues; well aware of my concerns.

Clearly you can read and hear the deep pastoral concern for this loyal group of Episcopalians. Bishop Lawrence is gracious, kind, long-suffering, and of course deeply moved by their loyalty to the Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

Recognizing that the reach of this blog is pretty limited we do ask each reader to go to the St. Mark's Chapel website and leave them a message of continuing support and then go to the diocese of South Carolina website and then leave Bishop Lawrence a message that you support fully St. Mark's and you are aware of his attempts to kill this mission. Then go the Preludium and leave a message with Fr. Mark for the executive council that you support St. Mark's and you expect the EC to do so as well!