Today we received the preliminary vote totals from the CPA firm contracted to oversee the balloting process. There were 722 ballots cast. The results are:
Resolution 1 (to amend our Parish By-Laws): 709 in favor, 13 opposed – 98 % approval.
Resolution 2 (to amend our Articles of Incorporation): 707 in favor, 15 opposed – 98% approval.
Resolution 3 (to disaffiliate with TEC and affiliate with ACNA or some other Province of the Anglican Communion): 703 in favor, 19 opposed – 97% approval.
The Vestry and I have made arrangements for St. Andrew’s to affiliate with The Diocese of The Holy Spirit, a diocese within the Anglican Church in North America. This affiliation will be effective upon the certification of our vote by the CPA firm at 3.00 pm, 2 April, at the latest.
Our Bishop will be The Rt. Rev’d John Guernsey. Bishop Guernsey is the long-time Rector of All Saints Church in Dale City, Virginia and will be well known to several within St. Andrew’s. I have known +John for over 20 years, dating back to my time at Virginia Seminary. You will discover that he shares many of the priorities that we have as a parish; from our commitment to missions (the Bishop is the Chairman of the Board for SOMA – a well known mission agency) to our passion to see every member equipped for ministry with both Word and Spirit. I have made arrangements for Bishop Guernsey to visit and preach at the Wednesday night service, 28 April 2010, followed by a time of healing prayer led by the Bishop. Please make plans to attend.
Lastly, the departure of this parish from the Diocese of South Carolina was not hastily made nor was it an easy decision. Indeed, this struggle has extended well beyond the past decade costing this parish one well-beloved Rector. Any sense of sadness over our separation is tempered by our joyful sense of the Lord’s forward-looking call upon our lives; by our common love for our Lord and by the common knowledge that our difficulty lay with the spiritual headship of the National Church, of which the Diocese of South Carolina remains, and intends to remain, a part, and not with the Bishop of South Carolina. And so, I must say “thank you” to Bishop Lawrence. From the day I met +Mark in the candidacy process I have spoken with him often about St. Andrew’s costly efforts to remain faithful to the gospel in the midst of the Episcopal Church’s increasing abandonment of the faith as revealed through Scripture and Tradition. These conversations have continued throughout +Mark’s episcopacy and have grown to include the Vestry of St. Andrew’s as well as the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina. I have found in Bishop Lawrence a friend and co-laborer in the ministry of the Gospel. We share a mutual desire to maintain our fraternal relationship and have committed to one another that St. Andrew’s and the Diocese of South Carolina will continue to partner in Gospel ministry as opportunity and circumstance permit. Please remember to pray for the Diocese of South Carolina as we desire nothing less than God’s best for them.
Read it all here. St. Andrew's is a flagship parish in the Diocese of South Carolina. Steve is one of the leading voices for taking the church into the new generation. This is a major moment in the history of church. Meanwhile, consecration plans continue in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles without apparently caution or care for how this impacts the wider church.
UPDATE: Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence shows how it should be done. God bless him.
March 30, 2010
Tuesday in Holy Week
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I received a phone call from the Reverend Steve Wood, rector of St. Andrew’s, Mt. Pleasant, the day before yesterday, Sunday, March 28, 2010, that the Vestry and members of the parish voted to leave The Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America.
Although I am not surprised by this decision, I am saddened by it. In fact there is a poignant irony in the departure of St. Andrew’s from the Diocese and from The Episcopal Church. As bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, I receive almost daily letters and emails from people across this Church suggesting that our stance gives them encouragement to remain and persevere within TEC. Yet here at home we could not hold one of our strongest congregations. The departure of The Episcopal Church from the way of Christ and the Biblically rooted teachings of the Church has become too discordant for them to tolerate any longer.
While the ramification from their departure has yet to unfold in its entirety, I hope many among us will look for ways to continue our mutual ministry and relationships. The arrangements to be made for those within the congregation who wish to remain within the Diocese of South Carolina and The Episcopal Church will be among the subjects that I will be discussing with Steve and the parish leadership, as well as among our diocesan leaders.
By God’s grace we will keep St. Andrew’s in our prayers and work with them to find ways to cooperate in gospel mission and ministry that honors Jesus Christ and his Kingdom.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop of South Carolina
Tip of the tinfoil to SF.