LEAD LETTER OF THE WEEK

Episcopal Church | Writer misrepresents bishop’s message

February 10, 2013 

Re: Feb. 1 letter from Peter T. Mitchell: “Bishop’s sermon shows her spirit”

A Special Convention of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina (formerly known as the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina) was held on January 25th and 26th for those loyal to the Episcopalian Church (TEC) to move forward. Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schiori celebrated the Choral Eucharist and delivered the sermon. Later she installed Bishop Charles vonRosenberg as the Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

There has been much talk about the Presiding Bishop’s sermon from others who have disaffiliated from TEC. A letter from a writer in Georgetown refers to Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schiori as having “vindictive and mean-spirited language”. He also describes our Presiding Bishop as “unconscionable”, using “invective and incendiary words”, and being “unloving and un-Christian”. At no time during this convention was the name of Mark Lawrence, our former Bishop, mentioned by either of the Bishops even though the writer suggested that this was inferred.

We believe we must have been in an alternate universe on January 26th as we sat in the church for the service and sermon. What we heard was an illustrative true story about the abuse of power by local government officials (namely County Police). We also heard about part of the history of divisiveness in the Christian church as reflected in one of the readings for the day. Even the revered Saint Paul and Barnabas separated over a very minor issue. But the lesson that was emphasized by our Presiding Bishop and our new Provisional Bishop was clear: in our relations with former brothers and sisters we will be guided by love along with prayer. We all have the same destination but have chosen different paths to get there.

We urge all who are interested in the ongoing events to read or listen to the entire unabridged sermon and form your own opinion on the matter. Listening to repeated innuendos and quotes taken out of context is not the proper way to evaluate this situation. We also urge you to also listen to the address by Bishop vonRosenberg. Critics have remained silent about his very moving address to the convention attendees.

The proceedings are posted on the website for the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, and can be accessed at http://www.episcopalchurchsc.org/. Videos of the sermon by Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schiori and the address by Bishop vonRosenberg can be viewed by all. The text of the Choral Eucharist service is also posted. It contains the readings referenced by the Presiding Bishop

From around the time of The Elizabethan Religious Settlement (ca. 1560 AD), the Church of England has embraced a philosophy of “via media”, or middle way. The intent of via media was to respect all philosophies within the Church despite differences of opinion concerning beliefs. The Episcopal Church (TEC) continues this tradition as it has since its founding after the American Revolution.

Don’t be guided by sound bites and quotes out of context. Read and view for yourself.

The writers are members of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in North Myrtle Beach

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