New missions in South Carolina

Last week, the Episcopal Diocese in South Carolina gathered for its 223rd annual convention and approved of five new Episcopal missions:

Delegates approved promoting five worship communities to mission status: St. Francis in Charleston, Good Shepherd in Summerville, The Episcopal Church on Edisto, St. Anne’s in Conway and St. Catherine’s in Florence. They join 22 other parishes and missions in the diocese along with new worshiping communities in East Cooper, Okatie and Myrtle Beach.

A mission is a worshiping community that has been formally organized for at least one year, elected officers and meets various canonical requirements. They can elect delegates to the convention while worshiping communities cannot.

At the convention, vonRosenberg thanked local Episcopalians who have remained with the national church after the majority of area parishes disassociated from it in 2012, citing ongoing theological and administrative disputes. That split remains the subject of an ongoing lawsuit to settle disputes over which group has the rights to diocesan names, seals and property.

The new worship communities formed mostly by groups of Episcopalians who wanted to remain loyal to the national church but whose home parishes opted to disassociate from it.

The rest of the article is in Saturday’s Charleston Post and Courier.

As the Episcopal Diocese in South Carolina builds up the body of Christ through these new missions, former bishop of South Carolina William Alexander Guerry’s words, delivered in Birmingham, Alabama in 1909, seem more important than ever for the whole church as we pray to become one in mission:

“We should strive for unity, not uniformity. Uniformity is mechanical, barren, unfruitful, and unprofitable. Unity is organic, living, and capable of endless growth. If we are to be truly catholic, as Christ himself is catholic, then we must have a Church broad enough to embrace within its communion . . . every living human soul.”

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