Saturday, August 12, 2017
Ups and Downs in South Carolina. . .
Two years ago, The Episcopal Church and Bishop Adams' offered a settlement to the dilemma that would have allowed the 35 breakaway parishes to keep roughly $500 million in church properties in exchange for the national church keeping the diocesan name and identifying marks, along with St. Christopher Camp and other assets. Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina, which broke with the national church, rejected the deal.
So the situation has gone from one side to the other with both sides expressing moral indignation. In the end there was no resolution, only loss. But the fight was never over an absolute. The Diocese of South Carolina did not want a reformed Episcopal Church, just one rolled back a decade or two before some of the more outrageous stances were taken by that body. Same sex marriage and the full legitimacy of homosexuality within the church and its ministry were the issues that broke the back of the Episcopal Church AND the ELCA. Those who broke away from both churches ended up keeping the ordination of women and everything except the LGBTQ issue.
So far will some go and not any further. Both communions might have found rescue in break offs willing to review the whole history of things gone wrong but in the end certain lines were drawn that could not be traversed. So, although I am encouraged by the ACNA, NALC, and even the LCMC, I do not hold great hope that courage will rise to give faithful review to what began the decline. There are no detours around such confrontation. Without it, these groups will only be biding time. Maybe for some it is enough. It should not be.