Bishop Lawrence of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, in a private session of the House of Bishops on July 11, requested and received a point of personal privilege. During this time he expressed things for which he was grateful during this convention, the “intentional engagement in honesty and collegiality with fellow bishops.” He also expressed his “grievous concern” with changes to the canons through resolutions D002 and D019, which have to do with transgender identity and expression, as well as with resolution A049, which authorized a provisional rite for the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions. “These resolutions in my opinion,” said Lawrence, “are disconcerting changes to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church--to which every bishop, priest and deacon is asked to conform. More importantly they mark a departure from the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them, therein making it necessary for me to strongly differentiate myself from such actions.“ At the conclusion of this private session Lawrence told the House of Bishops that he would not be continuing in the remainder of the Convention. “I concur with the assessment of our canon theologian, the Rev. Dr. Kendall Harmon, when he described the actions of this General Convention as ‘unbiblical, unchristian, unanglican and unseemly,’” said Lawrence. Bishop Lawrence will be sending a statement to diocesan clergy, which is to be read in parishes on Sunday, July 15, 2012.
“Our deputation and I appreciate the prayers of so many in the Diocese of South Carolina,” said Lawrence. “I know that some did not think we should attend the 77th General Convention, but I believe our presence and witness was important and even respected by many on both sides of the theological divide. As St. Paul states regarding his ministry, ‘…we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.’“ (2 Corinthians 4:2)
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