The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina held their first online Diocesan Convention, Saturday October 3, 2020. Due to COVID 19, the event, which was moderated by the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis, was held on Zoom. Nearly 260 clergy and lay delegates participated online.
Bishop Lawrence’s Address
In his address to the convention, Bishop Mark Lawrence reflected on lessons he’d learned from his predecessors, Bishops Temple, Allison and Salmon. With the last 12-15 months of his episcopacy remaining he asked, “What do I need to accomplish for the good of the Diocese? What do I need to give myself to? I’ve come to the conclusion I need to give myself, as much as I can, to the clergy of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina….To the rectors, vicars, associates and curates: I want to double down on my prayers for you, your families and ministries and to spend as much time with you as I can fit into my calendar.” He spoke of trimming time spent on committees, boards and speaking engagements “which often draw you away from what your heart wants to do” to allow him to spend time with clergy.
Analyzing the clergy of the Diocese by age, he said 10% of our clergy are between the ages of 25-39; 23% between 40-54 and 67% are age 55+. “We need to fan the flame of the gift of the Holy Spirit in the young men and women of the Diocese that God might call them to offer themselves, if God so calls, to the ordained ministry of the church.” He asked those listening to join him in praying for the work of St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, where many young people have heard a call to ministry. “Pray for a spiritual revival on our clergy and lay leaders alike.”
He also said the Diocese needed to put an increasing emphasis on church planting, expressing his thankfulness for the work of the Rev. Todd Simonis, our (very part-time) Canon for Church Planting stating that by 2023 he hoped the Diocese would be able to fund that as a full-time position.
The Bishop also stressed the need for a deeper focus on stewardship telling a humorous story about a grandson’s initial reticence and later resolve to be generous. “We don’t need to worry about money, but we do need to talk and teach about it.”
Regarding race, he said we can seek a form of “repentance that leads to relationships that bless the bonds of affection.” He spoke of efforts embarked upon by St. Timothy’s, Cane Bay and St. Luke’s, Hilton Head and St. Michael’s, Charleston and spoke appreciatively of his relationship with the Rt. Rev. Alphonso Gadsden, Bishop of the Diocese of the Southeast (Reformed Episcopal Church).
He also spoke of new efforts to work in common mission and partnership with the Diocese of The Carolinas, noting that our Diocese, the Diocese of the Carolinas and the REC Diocese of the Southeast are all part of the ACNA. “As we (all) step more fully into our affiliation with the ACNA I believe God will bless this region with a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit and people will say, ‘look how they love one another.’”
Report from the Bishop’s Search Committee
The Rev. Jason Collins, Chair of the Bishop’s Search Committee, presented what he called a “very ambitious” proposed timeline in which the walkabout and special electing convention would be held May 2021 with the consecration possibly following in the fall of that same year.* The members of Bishop’s Search Committee include the Rev. Jason Collins (Chair), John Benson (Georgetown Deanery), Jennifer Bryan (at-large), The Rev. John Burwell (Orangeburg Deanery), The Rev. Mary Ellen Doran (Florence Deanery), Emma Drury (Youth Commission), Bill Ervin (Florence Deanery), The Rev. James Gibson (Beaufort Deanery), Penn Hagood (at-large), Justin Johnson (West Charleston Deanery), The Rev. Hunter Jordan (at-large), Francis Mack (Orangeburg Deanery), The Rev. Andrew O’Dell (Charleston Deanery), The Rev. Tyler Prescott (West Charleston Deanery), Henrietta Rivers (Charleston Deanery), Alan Runyan (Beaufort Deanery), The Very Rev. Ken Weldon (at-large).
The convention elected the following individuals to serve on diocean committees: Standing Committee: The Rev. Tripp Jeffords, The Very Rev. Ken Weldon, Mr. John Benson and Mr. Frances Mack; Diocesan Council: The Rev. Will Klauber, The Rev. John Sosnowski, Mrs. Olivia Sporinsky and Mr. Chet Houston; Trustees: Mrs. Ann Hester Willis and Mr. Kenny Wilson; Ecclesiastical Court: The Rev. Michael Ridgill, The Rev. Tom Woodle, Mr. Philip Biswell and Mr. Brandt Shelbourne.
Welcoming St. Thomas Anglican Church
One of the highlights of the convention was the introduction and welcome into the Diocese of St. Thomas Anglican Church of Mt. Pleasant. The church provided a video in which the Rector, the Rev. Hamilton Smith, along with members of his staff and vestry, told about the church’s founding and its exciting ministry.
Ministry Video Reports
Video reports were provided by a number of ministry areas in the Diocese including Anglican Women, Anglican Relief and Development, Church Planting, Christian Faith Formation, A GenZ Perspective, Grandparenting, Men’s Ministry, Student Ministries. View those videos here.
Bishop Lawrence thanked Bob Kunes for his service as the Diocesan Chancellor and appointed Ben Hagood as the new Chancellor. He thanked Alex Perri and others who worked on the convention. The meeting concluded with the singing of the Doxology via video by the Palms Project, a fundraising effort on behalf of St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center. The 2021 Convention will be held March 12-13.
* Note: Prior to the convention the delegates were sent a report from the Bishop’s Search Committee outlining the committee’s calendar in detail including a combined Standing Committee and Search Committee Retreat which will be held October 25-27 where that group will begin work on a Diocesan Profile and appoint subcommittees. The Committee will begin to receive nominations in the winter of 2020 with a deadline for receiving nominations by the spring of 2021
Joy Hunter, Director of Communications, The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina
Facebook Users: We apologize for the issues with Facebook. We were unable to live stream as we had hoped.