frgavin on November 20th, 2011

There was an interesting development in the Diocese of South Carolina this week. A Quit Claim Deed to the parish property was mailed to every parish in the diocese from Chancellor Wade Logan on Wednesday (the fact that it was coming I understand was announced to the clergy present at the clergy conference on Tuesday night). In Mr.

Bishop Lawrence
Bishop Lawrence

Logan’s letter, the following explanation was given:

“For 190 years (1789-1979) there had never been any idea that somehow the parishes did not completely and fully own their property. Our Supreme Court has now said that the attempt to change that in 1979 by the General Convention was not binding on the parish of All Saints, Pawley’s Island, SC.  In recognition of that ruling, and in continued pursuit of our historic unity based on common vision rather than legal coercion, the Diocesan Convention removed the relevant section from our canons in October 2010. The issuance of these quitclaim deeds lays to rest any lingering issue that may exist for some parishes when they seek to obtain title insurance or secure bank financing for parish projects. Parishes may choose to file them or not based on their individual needs. We trust this action will enable parishes to freely exercise their rights and responsibility to oversee that which God, through the faithfulness of prior generations, has bequeathed to them.”

Why would Bishop Lawrence and the diocesan leadership take such a step? I believe it was out of a desire to preserve the legacy of the gospel in the parishes, as well as to keep the parishes together with the diocese as the means by which the good news of Jesus could be proclaimed. (The fact is that without such deeds some individual parishioners and particular churches would not feel protected from potential threats).

You and I both know that both the diocese and the bishop are under growing pressure from the national church leadership.  We also know that exactly those leaders will countenance all sorts of ruinous teaching of Christian doctrine and life, but suddenly when it comes to questions of property they insist that their new line (which is out of step with Episcopal polity and history) be toed.

Please join me in praying for South Carolina, that they may have a vibrant and unencumbered Anglican future for the gospel.

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