Thursday, June 29, 2006

goings on in the Episcopal church

The diocese of South Carolina, along with two other Episcopal dioceses, today asked Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to assign them under some other authority than the recently elected presiding bishop. I am very thankful I am in the diocese of Upper South Carolina, not the diocese of South Carolina. I had heard several years ago that the diocese of South Carolina was ready to jump ship, but then I heard that it wasn't really going to happen because then they would lose their retirement benefits. The church buildings belong to the diocese, not to the individual churches, which gives individual churches an incentive not to leave, but for a whole diocese to leave gets around that. I wonder what they are hoping to do about their retirement benefits.

Our bishop in upper South Carolina has done a good job of trying to keep everyone together--his classic statement after Gene Robinson was confirmed as bishop was that it is going to take us a hundred years before we know what the right answer is. He's taking the same kind of approach now, and while I would wish he had voted differently, this is South Carolina and we easily could have someone a whole lot worse.

There is a diocesean meeting Saturday at 10 am at Christ Church in Greenville and I thought for a while today maybe I ought to go. I've been avoiding the issue, feeling that if I speak my views I will do more harm than good because what is needed is moderation, not impassioned attacks on those who are fighting against where the church is going. What I would want to say, what struck me most strongly about Gene Robinson (and can be said also about the new presiding bishop), is that the church cannot afford to reject the leaders that God is raising up. What has really irked me is that those who are leaving the Episcopal church make it sound like it is all about ordaining gays, when in fact many of them reject the ordination of women as well.

I don't get involved in politics here, except sometimes to work for a candidate for city council--it is just too depressing. I use all my strength to be moderate with my students, knowing that if I can do the most good by leading them a few steps, not by spouting a radical view they will reject. I don't think I can bear to listen to those who oppose the national leadership at the diocesean meeting.


The Underground Pewster said...

I think you are with the silent majority. Please don't use labels such as "conservative" since this creates more polarization and splitting in a situation that calls for communion. (see my feeble blog at

Pem said...

You are very right. I have edited my post to take out the word "conservative." I'm proud to be a feminist and consider it important to say so, so I have trouble with the somewhat different politics of the words conservative and liberal.