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November 12, 2012


Bandit Bishop Running Outlaw Gang in South Carolina


KJS: She’s head of the Church of England. If she can do it, why can’t I?

Bandit Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, known far and wide in ECUSA for her lawlessness and contempt of the canons, has organized a new gang of outlaws in South Carolina. Together they are riding roughshod over the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, violating South Carolina law, and laying plans to steal the good name and corporate seal of the Diocese of South Carolina.

Or is that too plainspoken for some Episcopalians? Perhaps they would prefer an opening paragraph like this:

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (USA), the Most Reverend Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, has again taken steps without any canonical authority that will ensure future litigation with the Diocese of South Carolina and its Bishop, the Right Reverend Mark Lawrence. The steps involve a refusal to recognize the authority of either Bishop Lawrence or in his stead the Standing Committee of the Diocese, the calling of an unauthorized and unconstitutional “Special Convention” for next March, the misappropriation of the diocesan name and corporate seal, and the recognition and full support of a wholly uncanonical and ad hoc “Steering Committee” to exercise unspecified and unstructured authority pending the gathering of the illegal “Special Convention.”

I do not think it is any improvement, frankly, to try to put what is happening into politer terms. All it does is mask the crudeness of the power play that is taking place with ever-increasing rapidity and ruthlessness. Since 815 is being anything but polite, why should the description of what they are doing be polite?

You can read the distasteful details in this article by the Rev. George Conger at Anglican Ink, and you can read even more sordid background (together with some very pointed questions) in this excellent survey of the situation by the concerned folk at the Anglican Communion Institute.

Surely these latest maneuvers mark a new nadir for the Bandit Bishop and her hired guns. What is especially tragic is that the pastoral needs of those who wish to “remain Episcopal” are being subordinated to her future litigation agenda, while the latter has practically zero chance of success. For the first time in her outlaw career, I believe the Bandit Bishop and her gang will have met their match in South Carolina.

The Episcopal Church (USA) may still be politically powerful in some quarters, but not in South Carolina, especially following that State’s Supreme Court decision in the All Saints Waccamaw case. It took ten years for the latter litigation to wend its way through the lower courts up to the Supreme Court, and no civil court in the State is going to want to pay attention to any of the Church’s defeated arguments again.

The Dennis Canon is as dead as a doornail in South Carolina, and so are any thoughts of an implied trust on diocesan property based on other Church canons and past relations. Only an express trust will be recognized in South Carolina, and such a trust requires the Diocese’s written consent to its imposition. No such consent exists, or has ever existed at any time in the past.

Moreover, the Diocese of South Carolina is organized as a corporation under South Carolina law. That fact guarantees its own independent, legal identity in the State’s courts and before all of its executive and legislative bodies, officers and agencies. For the Bandit Bishop and her minions to try to appropriate that identity for their own nefarious purposes is fully akin to what would be called “identity theft” in any other context.

Why in the world, then, would the “remain Episcopal” group, consisting of some twelve parishes in the Diocese, want to get off on such a wrong foot under South Carolina law? The answer is plain, no matter how much they may try to disavow it, and play the innocent: they are wholly subservient to their captain, and that captain is Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Chief Outlaw of the Episcopal Church (USA).

It is only with her recognition, aid and support that these others could go down such a lawless path of their own. Inspired by her example, they have impersonated the Diocesan office in two emails, misused the corporate seal, and pretended to be who they are not under South Carolina law. This is, of course, all pursuant to, and in order to further yet again, 815’s Grand Strategy for dealing with dissident dioceses, as spelled out by 815 itself and discussed in this earlier post.

As the ACI article carefully explains, the Bandit Bishop’s outlaw strategy in South Carolina is not just invented from day to day; it is self-contradictory, and will result in embarrassment in the courts. On the one hand, 815 is acting as though the Diocese has not left, but has only had all of its positions suddenly become vacant—and it is going about the process of filling them with new people.

But on the other hand, the actions in South Carolina being taken by the Presiding Bishop are canonical only if there is no longer a Diocese there, but only patches of raw territory waiting to be organized as a new diocese. So which is it?

Hint: they don’t know, and they are not going to say. They are improvising, as I say, and they will keep on improvising until they have run out of tunes to try. Meanwhile, the object is to cause maximum annoyance and expense to the legitimate Diocese. Under current South Carolina law, this cannot end well.

Within ECUSA, the attitude is mostly “she has to do this—Bishop Lawrence has given her no choice.” But what does that really say? Think about it for a moment.

Has Bishop Lawrence forced the Bandit Bishop to act like a bandit? Has he forced her to violate the Church’s own canons, and to encourage others to violate South Carolina law? Is that what Episcopalians are all about? To gain a short-term end by the use of illegal means? Is that the example which Christ set for us to follow?

I scarcely recognize the Church that I am in any more. Its leadership is not Christian, as their repeated lawless actions demonstrate. And the pew-sitters, officers, deacons, priests and bishops who allow them to run amok with impunity are not just enablers, but run the risk of becoming, in the moral sense at least, abetters and unindicted co-conspirators for an unlawful enterprise.

Trying to bring the Chief Outlaw to discipline before her own tribunals at this point would be too little, too late. The time to do that is long past—it should have been right when she committed five violations of the same canon in putting the first notches in her belt. Just as it failed to discipline Bishops Pike and Spong before her, the Church is now showing its impotence, iniquity and increasing irrelevance by failing to call its current leader to account.

This is the season of stewardship, when all Christians are reminded of their duty to use wisely and well the resources with which God has favored them. It is not just folly anymore, but positively wicked, to continue to support such lawlessness from any level—including that of the Anglican Communion. (Are you listening, ABCD Welby?)

So where should disgusted Episcopalians turn? First, to Holy Scripture—Ephesians 6:10-20 would be a good place to start. Next, spread the word about what is happening. The story tells itself—but it needs to be told.  Those in South Carolina and neighboring States should be writing letters to their local papers; those elsewhere can write letters of support to Bishop Lawrence and his Diocese. They need to hear that not all of the Episcopal Church has abandoned them!

Send letters wherever you think they might do some good. ECUSA does not operate in a vacuum; it pretends to be a constituent member of the Anglican Communion. Write the ABC and the new ABCD. ECUSA’s corporate operations are under the jurisdiction of New York’s Attorney General, who intervened once before, after the scandal of Ellen Cooke. Finally, ECUSA is a 501 (c) (3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code, and must stay within the limits specified for such organizations. Many of its member dioceses use its charitable exemption under an “umbrella” arrangement allowed by the IRS, but that can last only for so long as ECUSA uses its funds and assets for qualified charitable purposes. Without any meaningful oversight of its litigation expenses, it is difficult to see how the amounts it is deploying to punish departing dioceses and parishes could pass muster under applicable standards.

And while you are at it, please include in your prayers the Diocese of South Carolina and her faithful Bishop.


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28 comments

Some thoughts: if I were in DoSC (and assuming the Diocese is a legal entity - I actually cannot find how they are registered as a corporation) I would file a complaint against the consumer affairs office within the State complaining of fraud - the use of registered identity against Charles von Rosenberg and the gorup misusing the corporations seal and identity. Second, I would contact Google and alert them of the same. They should very quickly kill the email address .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Google takes fraud very seriously). Third, a Cease and Desist order should be in hand first thing Tuesday morning and delivered to 815 via courier with press in tow (you’ll need an accounting that this was actually done). Just some thoughts.

[1] Posted by Festivus on 11-12-2012 at 07:25 AM · [top]

Nutcracker, I am not in the know but I too hope the same things are in the works. I am not sure how cyber adept our diocesan chancellor is but I know our Canon to the Ordinary, Jim Lewis+ is very adept. I suspect someone knows and maybe pursuing these avenues. The last place they would want that information published is on the blogs so the silence may be deliberate, I don’t know.

[2] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 11-12-2012 at 07:34 AM · [top]

Well done Curmudgeon and ACI. However, I would like to add some information that the ACI article does not mention.

According to the timeline given at the Diocese’s website:
1) The original meeting between Waldo, Lawrence, and their diocesan chancellors was on August 27th. Bishop Lawrence also mentioned this date in person at a parish wide forum on the day of his usual episcopal visit to our parish (late October)

2) There was no meeting between Waldo, Lawrence, and the PB on Sept 6. That is the date Bishop Waldo is told by the PB’s secretary (via phone) that they could meet with her the next day or in Oct (2nd or 3rd). Oct 3rd was the confirmed date.

3)The second meeting was originally scheduled for Thursday Oct. 11. Unfortunately, the funeral service of the recently deceased former Chancellor of the Diocese, Mr. E. N. “Nick” Zeigler, was on Oct. 11. THAT is the reason the second meeting was rescheduled for Oct 22. I was there at the service and so were Bishops Waldo and Lawrence.  Both diocesan chancellors were also there.

4)Also, Bishop Lawrence made it clear at the same parish forum that Oct dates had to be chosen as the PB’s vacation schedule and *saabatical* gave him and Waldo few other choices. So October it was.

Please see the timeline at the diocese of South Carolina’s website: dioceseofsc.org.

[3] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 11-12-2012 at 07:45 AM · [top]

#2 - Based on the experience of a number of Diocese keeping information tight, I would suggest bringing the battle into the light, taking every opportunity to shine the light on roaches (those who operate in darkness). Eph 5:13 - But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

[4] Posted by Festivus on 11-12-2012 at 07:50 AM · [top]

So disappointed to see Lonnie Hamilton’s name on this list. Prayers for all who have lent their names to this travesty, that they may realize the error of their ways and repent.

[5] Posted by Branford on 11-12-2012 at 08:16 AM · [top]

Sorry, should have included all the names from Conger’s article:
<blockquote. The names affixed to the document for the group claiming to exercise the legal authority of the diocese, a South Carolina corporation, were:

Hillery P. Douglas, Charleston, Chairman; Erin E. Bailey, Mount Pleasant, Secretary; The Rev. James E. Taylor, North Charleston, Treasurer; Holly H. Behre, Charleston; William P. Baldwin, McClellanville; Charles C. Geer, MD, Charleston; Lonnie Hamilton, III, Charleston; Margaret S. Kwist, Summerville; The Rev. Richard C. Lindsey, Hilton Head/Beaufort County; Rebecca S. Lovelace, Conway; The Rev. Wilmot T. Merchant, II, North Myrtle Beach; John O. Sands, Pawleys Island; The Rev. Calhoun Walpole, Charleston; and Virginia C. Wilder, Summerville.

Two retired bishops living within the jurisdiction of the diocese, The Rt. Rev. John Buchanan and the Rt. Rev. Charles vonRosenberg were listed as the group’s “Episcopal Advisors”.</blockquote>

[6] Posted by Branford on 11-12-2012 at 08:18 AM · [top]

Don’t like the picture juxtaposed with this article

[7] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 11-12-2012 at 09:39 AM · [top]

I would also sue the individuals and/or see if criminal charges can be brought.  Bishop Lawrence should also inhibit and depose any clergy involved in this.

[8] Posted by Br. Michael on 11-12-2012 at 09:44 AM · [top]

Oh dear Lord!!  My natural disposition in regard to TEo is to be really snarky.  But works fail me and all I can muster is a heart-felt prayer for Bishop Lawrence, the (only) Diocese of South Carolina, and all those persecuted by this despot.

AGIOS O THEOS!!
AGIOS ISCHYROS!!
AGIOS ATHANATOS!!
ELEISON IMAS!!

[9] Posted by Nikolaus on 11-12-2012 at 09:57 AM · [top]

You raise an interesting argument by referencing co-conspirators in an unlawful enterprise…does South Carolina possess a civil RICO statute?  Of so, bringing such an action in the name of the legitimate diocese against these co-conspirators and asking for the treble damages that such a statute allows would certainly chill their zeal…it might also bleeed into criminal allegations if the evidence merits.

[10] Posted by aacswfl1 on 11-12-2012 at 10:16 AM · [top]

Since the commandments of scripture are subject to the vagaries of revisionist interpretation, so also must procedural canons, corporate and copyright laws, and property rights be subjective and malleable to the the lawless.

[11] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 11-12-2012 at 10:39 AM · [top]

The duplicitous nature of these proceedings should be a warning to any other priests and bishops remaining within TEC.  These uncanonical (even on TEC’s terms) actions mean that every single one is liable to be removed at any time without notice and without due process.  All it will take is for a select few to file secret charges.

[12] Posted by Katherine on 11-12-2012 at 01:33 PM · [top]

It is what happens when an institution is collapsing, Katherine.  It starts eating itself from within.  It is only the help it is receiving from Quisling Canterbury which is keeping it off life support and in the Communion.

[13] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 11-12-2012 at 01:42 PM · [top]

Pageantmaster, I grieve for what was my church, and I grieve for yours, also.  Eating from within is well underway in the CofE, it seems, since toleration of previously entirely orthodox practices is about to be swept away.

[14] Posted by Katherine on 11-12-2012 at 01:48 PM · [top]

#14 Katherine, I grieve for it with you.  At the end of the day, it is God’s church and he will deal with us in His mercy, and the influences at work in KJS and her demonic regime; and in our church as well.  We need to pray, for God is faithful, and very very good.
Joshua 5:13-14

[15] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 11-12-2012 at 01:57 PM · [top]

#4 The Nutcracker,
When the time is right, I believe the Diocese will do just that- bring the actions to light. The Diocese has actually been much more honest and transparent than those “Forum-ites” have been. Think of the duplicity of the PB’s actions- negotiating with Waldo and Lawrence knowing full well that the DBB having already decided that + Lawrence had abandoned the communion of the church. The confusion created by unauthorized use of the seal of the Diocese of South Carolina is most disturbing especially to older parishioners. The double jeopardy nature of the charges that were finally brought against +Lawrence to the DBB.
There is a lot to answer for on their side.  Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

[16] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 11-12-2012 at 02:20 PM · [top]

Branford,
I too was disappointed by the names I saw on this steering committee and somewhat surprised by names I did not see. Not much overlap with the names of those who brought the charges against Bishop Lawrence. I was very disappointed to see the Rev. Wilmont Merchant on the list. I don’t know him well but have heard him preach at diocesan DOK events so I know his theology is orthodox. Perhaps he has truly believed that this group will bring back the Diocese, I don’t know. I am fairly certain that the majority of parishes have not bought into this *new* diocese thang nor the increasing revisionist “theology” of the national church.

[17] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 11-12-2012 at 02:25 PM · [top]

Time to ring the bell, shut the book and snuff the candle on this travesty of a Presiding Bishop.

[18] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 11-12-2012 at 02:45 PM · [top]

Look at it this way:  Unless she tries to circumvent the C&Cs;, she will only be in office for three more years.  But of course, she and her pals will no doubt do their best to replace her her with someone just like her, won’t they?

[19] Posted by cennydd13 on 11-12-2012 at 02:59 PM · [top]

Given the circumstances as described, I would write Lambeth, and would encourage the Primates to write Lambeth, requesting that KJS not be invited to the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Were she invited anyway, I would encourage the Primates not to attend the ceremony. The TEC leadership, and those who support their actions, must be severed from the Anglican Communion.

#18, KJS has been judged, and sentence has been passed. Unless she repents, she will serve the full term. Doing an excommunication ritual here on earth might satisfy some, but in spiritual terms I suspect that it has already happened, perhaps long ago. Uncle Screwtape has been hard at work.

Great job, Uncle Screwtape! But you’re going to lose in the long run.

[20] Posted by Ralph on 11-12-2012 at 03:04 PM · [top]

And here is what the ACI and its allies can look forward to in the coming weeks.

On other news, I heard that Bishop Mark Lawrence asked Bishops Duncan, Iker, Schofield, et al., about TEC’s Disciplinary Committee - you can listen to the exchange.

[21] Posted by jamesw on 11-12-2012 at 03:22 PM · [top]

Should the queen not be wearing ear protection?  God save the queen’s hearing!

[22] Posted by Michael D on 11-12-2012 at 03:55 PM · [top]

Actually this whole travesty/mess reminds me of the Harry Potter stories when he is fighting He-who-must-not-be-named. In this case, it is a She.

[23] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 11-12-2012 at 05:00 PM · [top]

Pageantmaster:

Don’t like the picture juxtaposed with this article

Duly noted, but I think it’s authentic.  Let’s just hope Her Majesty doesn’t go after some of her wayward bishops with that thing, or the House of Lords.

Then again, who are we to judge?

[24] Posted by episcopalienated on 11-13-2012 at 06:28 PM · [top]

Look what I just found over at T19 posted by Kendall+  A message from Bishop Mark Lawrence to the Diocese of South Carolina  grin

[25] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 11-15-2012 at 12:08 PM · [top]

The is well-written. It includes a partial list of clergy and parishes who are supporting their bishop. That will make it easier for someone to depose them.

Messing with South Carolina, historically, is a really bad idea. This can’t go well for the PB and her minions.

[26] Posted by Ralph on 11-15-2012 at 03:37 PM · [top]

Ralph.

We all know that but she is insistent that +Lawrence recant or the proceedings continue. I really don’t think she understands who she is dealing with in +Mark Lawrence. I really don’t.
You are right though, the listing of clergy will certainly make it easier to depose the clergy when the time comes. I guess they will have to dust off those form letters or more likely find that darn file somewhere.

[27] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 11-15-2012 at 05:02 PM · [top]

SC blu cat lady:

The PB’s statement is not intended for Mark Lawrence, but rather for TEC’s “moderates”, so that it looks like she is offering an olive branch when we both know there is no such thing.

[28] Posted by jamesw on 11-15-2012 at 07:39 PM · [top]

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