Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, XIV [Episcopal Church] Bishop of South Carolina
, speaking on March 10,
2012 at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul, Charleston, South Carolina, during the
221st Diocesan convention of South Carolina.
There is yet another reason why I have shown you a few charts from the many in Dr. Hadaway’s
revealing presentation. To argue as some conservatives have that these signs of institutional
decline are caused entirely by the leaders of the Episcopal Church embracing of a revisionist
positions toward the Church’s teaching in such matters as the Fatherhood of God, the
Uniqueness of Christ, liturgical innovations, the ordination of women, the blessing of same-sex
unions, communion of the unbaptized, etc., is so misleading and reductionist as to be delusional.
To argue, however, that there is no relationship whatsoever is likewise delusional. Frankly, the
departure of so many of our clergy and lay leaders from the basics of Christian faith and practice
has been nothing short of disastrous. The commitment to understand the ordination of women
and now the blessing of same-sex unions, as fundamentally issues of justice—and not
theology—has likewise been and will continue to be destructive of our common life as
Episcopalians. If our more ardent critics will take an honest look at these statistics perhaps they
might begin to understand why we have chosen to differentiate ourselves from the divisive
decisions so many of the leaders of the Episcopal Church have embraced.
Maybe though, just maybe, having seen these statistics
from TEC’s [i.e., The Episcopal Church's] own statistician, our most vocal critics, both within the diocese and outside of it, can see more clearly why we have chosen to chart a different course than they. It is hardly an
overstatement to suggest that the current brand of progressive theology and partisan social justice
that the majority of leaders in the Episcopal Church seem to espouse is not an attractive option
for most Americans who are searching for a church or seeking a faith for themselves and their