For those who missed the parish meeting this Sunday, the most important bit of the presentation had to do with reporting from the Bishop’s meeting with the clergy Wednesday July 25th. Jim has helpfully condensed the Bishop’s sentiments in this letter. Perhaps the most important section reads:
He told the Bishops that the magnitude of these changes was such that he could no longer in good conscience continue in the business of the Convention. In fact, he was left with the grave question of whether he could continue as a bishop of an institution that had adopted such changes. It was with that question on the table that he took his leave from the House of Bishops.
Since that time, and in the gathering of the Diocesan Clergy, the Bishop stated that he believes the Episcopal Church has crossed a line he cannot personally cross. He also expressed to the clergy that though he might act one way if he were a priest in a diocese, as a Bishop he feels deeply his vow before God to faithfully lead and shepherd the Diocese of South Carolina. Both dimensions of this dilemma weigh upon him at this time.
Also pertinent, but not included in this letter, was the clear expression of several church leaders that either they or their churches (or both) could no longer remain in TEC given the actions of the General Convention. This puts considerable pressure on the bishop and diocesan leadership who have worked tirelessly to hold together a diocese that now seems on the verge of fragmentation. What exactly this will mean for Trinity or for the diocese is not entirely clear. While speculation is not always helpful, prayer is. I would encourage everyone’s prayers for Bishop Mark. To say that he is burdened by this is an understatement. I would add on to that an admonition to obey the words of Jesus and “pray for your enemies.” Many of us will classify different people as our enemies in this fray. To follow Jesus doesn’t mean you will be without enemies. Rather, followers of Jesus know themselves to have been enemies of God without the cross and act accordingly to their own enemies.
I cannot go without saying that my intention and desire in all of this is to preserve as well as I can 1. the platform that Trinity has for preaching the Gospel in Myrtle Beach and 2. the unity of our church body in the objective truth of the Gospel. If we fix our eyes as firmly on Jesus as God’s grace will allow us, we might just make it through this!
P.S. Comments are open for a reason, just keep them charitable!