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SOUTH CAROLINA: Some Concerns about Episcopal Bishop Adam's Offer of Reconciliation

SOUTH CAROLINA: Some Concerns about Episcopal Bishop Adam's Offer of Reconciliation
Bishop broke trust with a parish in Binghamton, NY. Global South will not have Communion with TEC
Bishop Mark Lawrence falsely accused of "abandonment of the Communion"
Adams ignores precipitous decline in numbers and mission in TEC

Submitted by David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
July 18, 2018

By the Rev. Dr. Peter Moore

(Bishop Adams article is printed below)

The one thing I can agree about in Bishop Skip Adams' article in the Sunday (7/15/18) edition of the Post and Courier is that the divisions within Christendom grieve the heart of God, and that reconciliation between believers should always be a priority.

As I read it, however, I couldn't help but reflect on the context of his offer. As a clergyman, and former seminary Dean, I have been engaged in the struggle for the soul of the Episcopal Church for almost a half-century and have written and spoken on the subject extensively.

I cannot forget that this same Bishop Adams broke trust with the Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, New York while he was bishop there. After having agreed to sell it to the departing congregation for $150,000 he then sold it to the Muslims for 1/3 of that price.

I cannot forget that there are many "Jesuses" out there, and despite the Bishop's claim that the Episcopal Church is part of the Jesus movement, the leaders of many provinces throughout the Anglican Communion don't recognize its Jesus as the same as theirs. Nor will a vast number of them even have Communion with the Episcopal Church because there is serious doubt in their minds that the Jesus they claim to follow is the same as theirs. For example, one Episcopal bishop who claimed that Jesus had to forgive himself and that the Church can re-write the Bible was never disciplined for these statements, but later for "action unbecoming a member of the clergy."

I cannot forget that Bishop Adams has consented to the most egregious actions against our highly respected Bishop Mark Lawrence and is suing him for "abandonment of the Communion" and for a great amount of money in secular courts, all the while speaking of "reconciliation". Meanwhile Bishop Lawrence was recently honored by 2,000 Anglican delegates at a conference in Jerusalem where bishops and clergy gathered representing the great majority of confessing Anglicans worldwide.

The growth of nearly all mainline Protestant churches in the past couple of decades has been disappointing. A good portion of this is due to internal struggles over doctrine and ethics. Therefore, it is hard to believe Bishop Adams when he speaks of the Episcopal Church growing in "numbers, joy and sense of mission" when the statistics show an almost precipitous decline in the Episcopal Church in at least two of those factors: numbers and mission.

Jesus' prayer that "we all may be one" that Bishop Adams quotes is found in John 17 where it is clear that in Jesus' mind the oneness is in the Truth, not a fuzzy bonhomie that disregards serious differences in the message we teach. "They have kept thy word", Jesus says of those for whom he prays. (17:6)

Bishop Adams writes to those who "wish to be part of the Episcopal Church". It is right that he does so. Bishop Lawrence, the elected bishop of South Carolina, has said many times that those individuals and parishes wishing to stay in the Episcopal Church may retain their buildings. But when the Diocese and its parishes voted to leave, it did so with overwhelming support by the people and clergy who had the greatest investment in the ongoing life of the church in this area. Plus, they did so with an enduring love of Anglicanism both locally and in its worldwide expression. The question is not about those wishing to stay, it is about those who have decided to leave. Should they be deprived of the resources they have built and paid for and be forced to find worship space elsewhere?

In closing I cannot forget that despite Bishop Adams' words there have been no credible offers of reconciliation between Episcopalians and those of us who now call ourselves Anglicans, and who continue to love and worship according to the Book of Common Prayer. For Bishop Adams to speak now at this late hour of "reconciliation" strains credulity.

The Very Rev. Dr. Peter C. Moore
Former President, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, and Director of
The Anglican Leadership Institute.
Mt. Pleasant, SC

*****

'Our aim is restoration and unity' says Episcopal Bishop

By Bishop "Skip" Adams
July 18, 2018

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina is, by God's grace, a part of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. We are growing in numbers, in joy, and in our sense of mission. One of our deep desires is that we might be a visible manifestation of reconciliation in Christ. To do that, we are seeking all people of goodwill to join us in conversation about how we might live into what God accomplished for us in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

It is in the spirit of God's love as shown forth in Christ that we seek to be in conversation with one another, for it is "in him that the fullness of God was pleased to dwell" (Colossians 1:9). We are the common inheritors of that Gospel. Our witness is strengthened if we are a people united in service of God's mission given to the Church, "to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ" (Catechism of the Book of Common Prayer, page 855).

The break in fellowship within The Episcopal Church that occurred in 2012 must certainly grieve the heart of God. Ever since the break, reconciliation has been our constant prayer. We of The Episcopal Church want to be able to explore every possibility for making reconciliation a reality.

We have no desire for any member of a congregation to leave his or her church building. Our aim is restoration and unity. We want to work together in mutual respect for the benefit of all, so that we can continue to be about the Good News of Jesus.

To help begin that work, TECSC is holding three Open Conversations: July 16 in Conway, July 17 in Charleston, and July 18 in Bluffton. Each begins at 6 p.m. and is open to everyone. Details can be found at www.episcopalchurchsc.org.

I have had the blessing of listening to many folks who are affected by the court ruling and wish to be a part of The Episcopal Church. Their stories are holy, and it is my hope that these Open Conversations will offer me the privilege of hearing from even more who wish for a respectful setting and the opportunity to ask questions about our reconciliation efforts.

When the Church was threatened by disagreements in the first century, St. Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth: "Love never ends." Like them, we in The Episcopal Church in South Carolina have also been given the gifts of faith, hope, and love: Faith in the living Christ; hope rooted in Jesus' prayer that we be one as he and the Father are one; and love, as shown forth in Jesus' self-offering on the Cross. As St. Paul went on to remind us, "the greatest of these is love."

This article was printed in The Post and Courier
Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bishop "Skip" Adams is the provisional bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina

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