Friday, August 14, 2009

The Bishop of Upper South Carolina responds to the Bishop of South Carolina's Address

Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Priest, Martyr
August 14, 2009

A Pastoral Word

My Sisters and Brothers:

As you may know, yesterday the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, Bishop of our neighboring Diocese of South Carolina, called a meeting of his clergy to discuss the future of the diocese in the light of resolutions D025 and C056, passed at General Convention 2009. [D025, affirming, in accord with the canons, the openness of the ordination process, and C056, calling for collection, over the next triennium, of resources for blessing same-sex unions and for “generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church,” “particularly in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal.”]

Because of the historical and social ties between our two dioceses, what happens in one diocese affects the life of the other; and because recent secular news reporting on the Episcopal Church has been filled with inaccuracies and misleading phrases, I want to provide for your firsthand information Bishop Lawrence’s complete statement to his clergy. I also refer once more to my website comments on General Convention as a reminder of my own position on these issues.

Follow this link for my comments, and this one for Bishop Lawrence’s statement.

In closing, let me say that my most immediate concern about all this is for you, my clergy, and what you may face this coming Sunday morning. Holding a faithfully comprehensive middle ground on such intense issues is difficult and costly; yet, it is the ground that I believe must be tended and done so with great care. I am grateful to you, the clergy of Upper South Carolina, for being such good partners in tending this ground with me; and I am mindful that a number of you may be confronted next Sunday morning by the legitimately confused and/or the highly agitated. My concern is that I do not want you to feel as if you are on your own.

So, even though I am away from the Diocese at this time, I nonetheless send you my deepest care and affection and a blessing, hoping that this message is a tangible reminder that we are in this together and that our God is the God of deliverance and new life. Please join me, as I know you do, in praying that we may use our firmly rooted trust in God to be courageously open to receiving the Holy One’s gracious life and will.

--(The Rt. Rev.) Dorsey Henderson is Bishop of Upper South Carolina


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