Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Weather update: There WILL be a pre-convention meeting, as scheduled, at St. Thomas, North Charleston on Tuesday, October 6 at 7 pm.
Prayers for those affected
by storms and flooding
As people continue to experience the devastating effects of record rainfall and flooding, please continue to pray for all those who are being affected in South Carolina and beyond. Here is a prayer suggested by Episcopal Relief & Development for times of natural disaster. (More prayers and resources can be found on the ERD website here.)
O God, our times are in your hand. In the midst of uncertainty lead us by your never-failing grace as we seek to be agents of healing and hope. Walk with us through difficult times; watch over us in danger; and give to us a spirit of love and compassion for those who suffer and mourn. And finally, remind us that you have promised never to leave us so that even in the valley of the shadow of death your love may be felt, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
SC Supreme Court appeal
September 22: Oral arguments in the appeal filed by our diocese and The Episcopal Church were heard in Columbia on Wednesday, September 23. Video of the hearing can be viewed here:
To see documents and news articles related to the case, visit our legal news page.
Federal court update: U.S. District Judge Judge C. Weston Houck on Monday issued a stay in a federal false-advertising lawsuit against the bishop of the group that left The Episcopal Church, delaying a ruling until the final outcome of a separate state action that is now before the South Carolina Supreme Court. Read more about the stay here.
A Prayer for Reconciliation
Gracious and loving God of justice and compassion: We pray for your church caught in a crushing schism in South Carolina. We believe that you favor reconciliation in all situations; and we ask you to be with all parties involved in the case. We pray especially for the Justices of the South Carolina Supreme Court and the attorneys arguing the case: surround them all with your love and your truth; and bring this process to a just conclusion. Give all of us strength and courage to act and pray in ways that can lead toward reconciliation. Help us be agents of your reconciliation with our friends on both sides of this dispute. We ask all this in the Name of the Holy Reconciler, Jesus your Son. Amen.
South Carolina at General Convention
Deputies from The Episcopal Church in South Carolina were in Salt Lake City, Utah for the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church. Visit our blog to read what the Bishop, deputies and others from South Carolina have to say about their experiences at #GC78, and to share information with our diocese. Find it here: episcopalsc.blogspot.com
A message from Bishop vonRosenberg
July 21, 2015
Some time now has passed since General Convention, and perhaps some further reflection on that event will be helpful now. I am so very grateful to the deputies from our diocese and to Holly Behre for the helpful ways that information from Salt Lake City was shared “back home.” In fact, if you took advantage of such resources, you were kept quite up-to-date about news from the General Convention of The Episcopal Church. Nevertheless, I do want to add a few current words and reflections about subjects that have been raised since Convention’s adjournment.
Of course, the marriage canon and liturgies received a good deal of attention, and they will continue to do so. I call your attention to what I wrote soon after the Convention took action. (The Bishop's Message of July 2 can be found here.) I will ask the diocesan Liturgical Commission to spend some time and energy in studying the rites and in helping me formulate policies for our diocese, in response to Convention action. Corresponding to understandings from Convention, our current policy involving “blessings” remains in place until Advent I (November 29, 2015). At that point, the liturgies for marriage will be appropriate to use, as authorized rites of the Church.
Discussion about formulating a policy on alcohol use in churches has been ongoing in Diocesan Council meetings for several months. There was a resolution passed on such policies at General Convention. Therefore, that resolution will become part of the considerations at our next Council meeting, in September. I imagine that we will be prepared to publish and publicize a diocesan policy soon after that time.
Anti-racism training for clergy has been mandated by General Church canons for a number of years, and such training also has been directed for those laity in positions of church leadership as well. Once again, training in anti-racism was a matter of discussion and support at this General Convention. This is a timely topic for us in South Carolina for many reasons, and it represents an appropriate subject for special training. Prior to General Convention, we had arranged for Dain and Constance Perry to offer initial training here, in September. Information about those opportunities is available on our website, and I encourage your attention to this matter. In this regard, though, we all need to be aware that such training will not complete our responsibility to deal with personal and systemic racism in our world. Indeed, this is a life-long journey.
Finally, a matter of local interest involves a new canon dealing with a process of reinstating clergy who previously had left The Episcopal Church. We had a particular interest in this matter, because of our experiences in this regard while there was no canon yet in existence. The canon that finally came out of committee for consideration was greatly influenced by experiences in South Carolina. Indeed, the process which we formulated and put into practice here is now followed pretty closely in the canons for the whole Church.
Much of the work of General Convention – requiring a great deal of the time of many people – may seem remote and somehow removed from the experiences of the local church. Indeed, a concern I always have at General Convention is the need for links and connections between the work done in such a large setting and the people in the pews on Sunday mornings. General Convention, at its best, meets, prays, deliberates, and makes decisions on the part of the whole Church … and in service to the Church.
As I look over the topics I have mentioned in this communication, I certainly am aware that each one of them has particular, local interest and application – not just the final one listed. The General Convention has the responsibility to consider matters of local interest and concern and to formulate policy – or decide not to formulate policy – that makes sense for the Church at large. This particular Convention, perhaps more than any other I have attended, did an excellent job in valuing the local experience, while also appreciating the distinctions among us. For this reason and for many others, it was an honor to attend the Convention, representing Episcopalians from South Carolina!
The Right Reverend Charles G. vonRosenberg
Recent messages from the Bishop
On changes made at General Convention to the canons related to marriage (7/2/2015)
On the election of the Right Reverend Michael Curry as our 27th Presiding Bishop (6/27/2015)
On the tragedy at Emanuel AME (6/18/2015)
The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has reorganized and is carrying forward the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, just as generations of Episcopalians in South Carolina have done since 1789, confident that by moving forward together in unity and faith, with God's help, we will flourish.
Your participation in the life of our diocese and its parishes, missions and worshiping communities is encouraged. The Episcopal Church always welcomes you!
The powerful words of a beloved bishop of South Carolina speak poignantly to us as we continue to rebuild:
“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.”
The Right Reverend William Alexander Guerry
Blessings of the Animals
In the tradition of St. Francis of Assisi, many of our congregations will have special liturgies in October to bless pets and other animals. Find a listing of these services here. (Please note that we are updating this page with new dates for those that were postponed because of the weather.)
Looking for a church?
For a list of Episcopal parishes and missions, click here. The map below shows the parishes and missions of The Episcopal Church in our diocese. Click on the map for a larger view, or download a printable PDF version.
"Traces of the Trade" program encourages conversations, listening, and action
Clergy and laypeople from around the diocese filled historic Calvary Episcopal Church in Charleston on Tuesday, September 15 for the first diocesan “Traces of the Trade” event and an opportunity to bring open minds and hearts to conversations about the legacy of slavery and racism.
Participants said they were glad they took part in the conversations, and encouraged others to attend the remaining programs being offered this week in Hilton Head Island, Conway, and North Charleston.
“This event sheds light, so that others can light their candles by it,” said Joe Frazier, Senior Warden of Calvary. “It’s a worthwhile opportunity for people to come and participate.”
Read more about the "Traces" events here.
Make a donation
Your support for The Episcopal Church in South Carolina is greatly appreciated! We're now able to accept online gifts to the diocese via PayPal. To begin, click the button below. Planning ahead for giving in 2016? Check out these tips on our giving page.)
Learning about The Episcopal Church
Want to understand more about the history and governance of The Episcopal Church – how it came to be, and how it makes decisions? For an authoritative look at these important topics, you'll want to read "A Primer on the government of The Episcopal Church and its underlying theology," a report offered by the Ecclesiology Committee of the House of Bishops.
Our own Bishop, the Right Reverend Charles G. vonRosenberg, has commended this report to the people of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.
Find a letter from the Bishop and the report here.
Ways to give for Emanuel AME
The City of Charleston has set up a donations web page with information and links for those who wish to give in response to the killings at Emanuel AME Church.
A contribution has been made from our diocesan budget to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund for funeral expenses and for Emanuel AME Church. There is also a second fund, the Lowcountry Ministries - Reverend Pinckney Fund, that will be used for community initiatives.
Find all the details, including ways to give online, at this City of Charleston webpage.
Episcopal visitations for 2015-2016
Bishop vonRosenberg began the new calendar of visitations to parishes and missions on September 13 with a visit to All Saints, Hampton (above). See our Diocesan Prayer Calendar for the Bishop's schedule of visitations and congregations we're praying for each week alongside the Anglican Cycle of Prayer.
Another returning priest reinstated
through new path for reconciliation
Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg has welcomed another returning priest back into good standing in The Episcopal Church through a new process that provides a path for reconciliation for clergy who left following the 2012 schism in eastern South Carolina. The Reverend H. Jeff Wallace reaffirmed the vows he took at his ordination in 2007 and signed a formal declaration promising to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church. He is the second priest to return to The Episcopal Church after the 2012 split.
Read more here.
2015 Renewal of Ordination Vows
The clergy of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina gathered at Bishop Gadsden on February 24 for Holy Eucharist, the Renewal of Ordination Vows, and the Blessing of the Oils. Bishop vonRosenberg was the celebrant, and the preacher was the Rt. Reverend John C. Buchanan. Find his sermon, and more photos, here.