REPRESENTATIVES of the diocese of South Carolina have walked out
of the US Episcopal Church's General Convention, in protest over
the publication of a provisional rite for same-sex unions, and the
decision to ordain transgender people (
News, 13 July).
The Bishop of South Carolina, the Rt Revd Mark Lawrence, said
that the actions of the Convention were "unbiblical, unchristian,
un-Anglican, and unseemly". He expressed his "grievous concern" at
Two members of the South Carolina delegation stayed behind, to
ensure that the walk-out could "not to be construed as a departure
from the Episcopal Church", the delegation said in a statement.
It said: "Due to the actions of General Convention, the South
Carolina deputation has concluded that we cannot continue with
business as usual. We all agree that we cannot and will not remain
on the floor of the House and act as if all is normal."
In a blog post, Bishop Lawrence said that the decisions were
abandoning "future generations to sheer sexual anarchy".
The diocese of South Carolina has long been at odds with the
Episcopal Church, and Bishop Lawrence has been investigated over,
and acquitted of, allegations that he had abandoned the doctrine,
discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church.
A dozen conservative bishops also published a statement that
disagreed with the decision to publish provisional rites for
same-sex blessings, which, they said, "for all practical purposes,
was same-sex marriage".
The statement was read out to the Convention by the Bishop of
North Dakota, the Rt Revd Michael Smith. "We find ourselves between
the proverbial 'rock and a hard place'.
"We struggle to hold together the Evangelical faith of the
Church, from which we see this Convention as departing, and the
Catholic order of the Church, which causes us, for the sake of the
unity for which Jesus prayed, to resist the temptation to leave
The statement welcomed the "conscience clause", which protects
bishops and clergy who cannot authorise or use the liturgy.
Diocesan bishops have to give their permission before any of their
clergy can use the rite, which is available from December this
Clergy and laity supported the new rites by a margin of three to
The American Anglican Council issued a statement afterwards
urging conservative Christians to continue to "fight the good
fight". It said: "We have more than the majority of Anglicans
standing with us."
The Convention closed last week after passing other significant
resolutions, including the setting up of a task group to
"reimagine" the workings of the Episcopal Church.
The Convention called for more consultation to include more
women in the calendar. Delegates also appointed members to boards,
including new members for the disciplinary board for bishops, as
created under the new Title IV canons. Nine US bishops are
currently being investigated for complaints filed under Title IV (
News, 6 July).