Those in S.C. loyal to national church start over

Schism is “like a death in the family,”says a woman in South Carolina who left her congregation when her congregation left the Episcopal Church. But Episcopalians in South Carolina loyal to the national church are soldiering on. From the Augusta Chronicle:

Beyond the headlines, the story of the Diocese of South Carolina’s split from the national Episcopal church is the story of people such as Rebecca Lovelace.

For most of her 64 years, she worshipped at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in this quiet farming town and bedroom community about a dozen miles from the high-rise condominiums of Myrtle Beach. That was until about two months ago.

That’s when Lovelace and a small group of St. Paul’s parishioners decided they could not stay in their church of 500 members as it followed the Diocese of South Carolina in breaking ties with the national church over ordination of gays and other issues.

Lovelace met with the priests where she attended church her entire life to tell them she could not stay.

“I really truly felt like there was a death in the family,” she said.

Lovelace and a small group of like-minded Episcopalians now worship together in a new congregation that meets in a chapel at Coastal Carolina University. The Chronicle reports that “fourteen churches have decided not to follow the diocese away from the national church. There are also now five worship groups with congregants forming new churches that will remain with the national church…”

Lovelace says she bears no animosity toward her friends in her former parish who have left the national church. “They are doing what they have to do. I respect the depth of their convictions. I don’t agree with it, but hopefully they know I’m doing what I feel called to do,” she added. “I never heard a reason good enough to make me leave the national church.”

Read full story here.

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