The South Carolina Episcopal Church may break from the National Episcopal Church because of its acceptance of homosexuality, among other things, according to a statement from the diocese.
The possible split comes amidst charges being brought against Bishop of South Carolina Mark J. Lawrence by the National Episcopal Church, which is claiming that the clergyman is abandoning the church by refusing to subscribe to conventional beliefs held by the Episcopal denomination.
The charges were made under Title IV of The Canons of the Episcopal Church.
According to VirtueOnline.org, the President of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, the Rev. Dorsey Henderson, released a 63-page document consisting of all the evidence being brought against Lawrence.
The document includes the diocesan convention's decision in October 2009 to "begin withdrawing from all bodies of the Episcopal Church that have assented to actions contrary to Holy Scripture, the doctrine, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them, the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference which have expressed the mind of the Communion, the Book of Common Prayer, and our Constitution and Canons, until such bodies show willingness to repent of such actions."
"The question is not whether we can stay; it is whether they will let us stay and follow what we believe," said the Rev. Jeffrey Miller, former president of the diocesan Standing Committee.
On Oct. 12, the bishop and clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina gathered at Saint James Church, in James Island, S.C., to discuss the charges being brought forth. The diocese, being one of the most conservative of the Episcopal community, believes that the National Episcopal Church is simply all too eager to get rid of the bishop, as no proposed outline of resolution to their differing views has been attempted or brought forth.
Additionally, Lawrence's diocese is at odds with the fact that homosexuality is embraced by the church, an issue that has been making headlines recently in other denominations as well. The Presbyterian Church ordained its first openly gay minister just last week, and an openly gay Methodist minister was embraced earlier in the year by followers for performing a same-sex marriage.