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Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina Seeks Provisional Primatial Oversight

Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina Seeks Provisional Primatial Oversight

By David W. Virtue
March 8, 2014

The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina is looking for an ecclesiastical home.

Since leaving the Episcopal Church it has not come under any Episcopal or Anglican authority and has resisted coming under the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

An upcoming resolution to be presented at their Annual Diocesan Convention March 14-15 could change all that. In response to an offer by the newly created Global South Primatial Oversight Council for pastoral oversight, the diocese seeks to have a formal ecclesiastical connection to the larger Communion and a consequent pastoral relationship.

This new entity was created in Cairo, Egypt, by the Global South Primates Steering Committee on February 14-15, 2014.

Most importantly, however, this resolution is the response to something others in the communion have created. It provides a means for us to better make biblical Anglicans for a global age in this in between-time. We choose to see it as a providential provision which gives us further sacramental closeness with the global Anglican family which we so richly treasure.

The Diocese of South Carolina recognizes this as a "period of fluidity in the Anglican Communion" and reserves the right to revisit this decision, as a convention, should it be necessary during this temporary discernment period, however long it may last.

Several aspects of this resolution need to be made clear. First, this resolution in no way takes away from the need for, and the careful discernment of, an ultimate diocesan affiliation for the diocese. Therefore it is to be seen as a matter of both/and rather than either/or.

The resolution does not speak in any way about GAFCON or ACNA, the ministries of which the diocese appreciates, and the relationships within which they continue to seek nurture, cooperation and strength in the days ahead.

Speaking to the resolution personally, Bishop Mark Lawrence, stated, "Therefore, as we continue in this ongoing process of discernment, this Provisional Primatial Oversight, if by God's grace established, will give us what some might term an extra-provincial diocesan status with an ecclesial body of the larger Anglican family. It should also be noted in this regard; this Provisional Primatial Oversight, while bringing a mutual responsibility in the Gospel, commits us to neither a hasty affiliation nor alleviates our need to continue the work of ongoing discernment for a more permanent provincial relationship.


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