The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, who announced his departure from The Episcopal Church on Oct. 15, gently contested a news release issued by the church late Wednesday, saying he has not renounced his orders as a deacon, priest or bishop.
The church’s release stated that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori had accepted Lawrence’s “renunciation of the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church,” based on statements he made at the Nov. 17 special convention during which a vote affirming the disassociation of the diocese from the church was cast.
“The Presiding Bishop called me this afternoon (Wednesday) to inform me that she and her Council of Advice have accepted my renunciation of ordained ministry,” Lawrence wrote in an open letter. “I did not feel any need to argue or rebut. It is the Presiding Bishop’s crossing of the T and dotting of the I — for their paper work, not my life. I could bring up the canonical problems with what they have done contrary to the canons of The Episcopal Church but to what avail? They will do what they will do regardless of canonical limitations. That is already well documented by others and hardly needs further documentation by me. She and her advisers will say I have said what I have not said in ways that I have not said them even while they cite words from my Bishop’s Address of November 17, 2012.”
The full text to that address can be found here.
For years, the church and diocese officials have locked horns over issues including homosexuality, the doctrine of salvation, the authority of scripture and church politics.
“Quite simply, I have not renounced my orders as a deacon, priest or bishop any more than I have abandoned the Church of Jesus Christ,” Lawrence wrote. “But as I am sure you are aware, the Diocese of South Carolina has canonically and legally disassociated from The Episcopal Church. We took this action long before today’s attempt at renunciation of orders, therein making it superfluous.”