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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mark Lawrence: "It is not my intention . ."

Dear Standing Committees of The Episcopal Church,

I have been told that some diocesan Standing Committees have graciously offered to reconsider their denial of consent to my election as the XIV Bishop of South Carolina, if they only have assurance of my intention to remain in The Episcopal Church. Although I previously provided assurance of my intention, this has not been sufficient for some Standing Committees, which are earnestly seeking to make a godly discernment. Therefore, taking to heart the apostolic admonition in 1 Timothy 3:2, "Now a bishop must be above reproach, .temperate [free from rashness], sensible, dignified, hospitable, an apt teacher.." I am reminded to make every attempt to reason with those who have denied consent or who have not yet voted. As I stated at the walkabout in Charleston on September 9, 2006 and again in a statement written on 6 November 2006, I will make the vows of conformity as written in the BCP and the Constitution & Canons, (III.11.8). I will heartily make the vows conforming ".to the doctrine, discipline, and worship" of the Episcopal Church, as well as the trustworthiness of the Holy Scriptures. So to put it as clearly as I can, my intention is to remain in The Episcopal Church.

Yours in Christ,

The Very Reverend Mark J. Lawrence

To which, I must respond:

How is it that, with everything that's been said, everything that's been asked, and as the eleventh hour approaches, Mark Lawrence still can't answer a simple question with a simple answer?

It's not good enough to say, "it's my intention to remain in The Episcopal Church." Surely, even Mark Lawrence is aware of the place where "good intentions" lead.

If that answer is put "as clearly as I can," that tells me all I need to know about his "intentions."

If Mark Lawrence does not gather the consents from Standing Committees sufficient to have his election proceed to ordination and consecration, he'll have no one but himself to blame.

And this from a diocese where, over and over and over again, the Canon Theologian demanded "clarity" from General Convention 2006.

How ironic!

Of equal irony is that this clarity, this honesty, this integrity is precisely what has gotten Gene Robinson in such hot baptismal water. The church has ordained "homosexual" deacons, priests and bishops for centuries. Gene is simply the first who has been able to be honest about the totality of his humanity.

None of this brings anyone any joy. Indeed, how tragic, how very, very sad - for Mark Lawrence, for Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, for The Episcopal Church and for the Anglican Communion.



Why does this sound like the "I have no plans at this time to run for President of the United States" announcement practically every candidate for president
has ever made prior to announing his candidacy?

Jim said...

I am sure there is an obvious reason Fr. Lawrence keeps ducking and weaving. His, "intention" is based on a number of neat qualifications that almost certainly will come into play if the WWAC self-distructs. He will then, I suspect, announce that he is obeying the constitution and canons by ignoring everything but the preamble's observation that we are a "constituant member."

And yet, , ,

We argued, we progressives, that New Hampshire having followed the canonical processes was entitled to the bishop it chose. And given that he takes the oaths at his consecration, how can we argue that the same logic does not apply?

Besides, we know that a good sized chunk of S. C. will discover its Nigerian heritage after the next super-ego meeting in October. That flock will need a bishop, and Fr. Lawrence is by all accounts a decent man, a good priest and the person they want.

I don't know what I would do if I had a vote in a Standing Committee. If nothing else it would be an act of graciousness by the progressives to consent. Graciousness may not be enough, consider that it got us +Iker. But it may be all we have on offer.


June Butler said...

Elizabeth, you're gettin' right uppity, girl. Watch out there.

Note to The Rev. Mark: "I will not leave the Episcopal Church." There, you see. Is that so hard?

I guess it is hard for him.

MarkBrunson said...

Grandmere, it's because you and I can clearly say "I'm not leaving The Episcopal Church," that's it's so hard for him to do so. :)

DBW said...

It goes both ways. I wish they would deny consent to any bishop who will not pledge him or herself to making sure TEC remains in the Anglican Communion.