The Episcopal Church is alleging that Bishop Mark Lawrence has abandoned the church through his leadership of the Diocese of South Carolina that has distanced itself from the national church because of its policies of ordaining gay bishops and sanctioning same-sex unions.
Lawrence was contacted last week by the Disciplinary Board for Bishops of the national church. The letter said the board had evidence establishing the “abandonment of the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church.”
The letter mentioned, among other things, eliminating mention of national church in the diocesan charter purpose statement, a resolution that the local diocese is a “sovereign diocese” and that Lawrence has done nothing to stop local parishes seeking to leave the national church.
The national church has also asked for the records of the Standing Committee of the diocese comprised of 28,000 parishioners in 47 parishes in eastern and lower South Carolina.
Lawrence has called a meeting for next week in which clergy of the diocese will discuss the developments. Two years ago the conservative diocese voted to distance itself from the national church but not break away entirely.