The following letter was sent from the Diocese to the membership last Friday. After reading it, I wonder, why we are paying this guy's salary?
21 September 2012Jennifer married to Susan? I didn't know that was recognized in SC. Unless of course she is married to a boy named Sue.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Following General Convention’s vote in favor of a provisional liturgy for the blessing of same-sex unions, I promised to follow up on my own “no” vote on that resolution (A049) with a process to articulate the boundaries within which we can live in unity within this Diocese, even in our disagreements on this issue. In late July, through a communication with diocesan clergy—active, licensed and retired—I sought applications for membership in a task force to work with me in doing that work.
As I chose members of the task force from a healthy number of applications, I sought to balance theological acumen, perspective, congregational representation, passion and availability for the work, and other, in some cases quite specific, gifts for this work. Required of all, and indeed present in all the applications I received, was a devotion to the good news of God in Christ Jesus and to articulating a way forward in the church that holds us together. Such a way forward will by definition ask all of us to remember our servant ministry towards one another and ask us to live graciously in a tension we are unlikely to resolve.
That way forward must be deeply rooted in the evangelical imperative, and it must engage scripture, tradition and reason—both in the very pastoral and human dimensions that have challenged the church to address same-sex relationships and, more rigorously, in the theological dimensions that have given a moral grounding for the church over many centuries through the received tradition. Our task will be to help me articulate the boundaries within which we might live together that includes same-sex relationships and those who struggle with the church’s decisions with clarity and substance.
This will be hard work. But it will also be work with unexpected blessings for the members of the task force and for our entire diocesan community. I have asked each member to be ready to listen, to pray, to work, to write, to present and, above all, to love one another.
We will need each of you to pray for us—not for us to fully resolve our differences, because that would be more than we could deliver. We will need for you to pray that we listen deeply for and to God and to each other, that we might have wisdom and clarity, and that we devote ourselves fully to work that might faithfully, truthfully and authentically unify us in our diversity.
The members of the task force, in alphabetical order, are these:
Ms. Caroline Avenger, Christ Church, Greenville
Mr. Frank Ballard, St. Mary’s, Columbia
Ms. Jennifer Bull, St. Michael & All Angels, Columbia
The Very Rev. Tim Jones, Dean, Trinity Cathedral, Columbia
The Rev. Alan Leonard, Rector, St. Margaret’s, Boiling Springs
Ms. Sally McKay, Diocesan Staff Liaison
The Rev. Jim Neuburger, Rector, St. John’s, Winnsboro
The Rev. Dr. Ellen Francis Poisson, Order of St. Helena/Priest in Charge, All Saints’, Beech Island
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Waldo, Bishop, Chairperson
The Rev. David Wagner, Assistant Rector, St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, Columbia
The Rev. Bradley Wilson, Licensed Supply Clergy, Columbia
Brief bios of each member of the task force may be found below. While I have not set a specific deadline for completing our work, I am working with a 6-18-month framework. We cannot rush, and yet we will be deliberate in moving forward in our work.
“Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever.” —Ephesians 3:20, 21
Your brother in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo, Bishop
The Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Bishop’s Task Force on Unity – Member Bios
Caroline is a life-long Episcopalian and grew up at Holy Comforter in Sumter. She has been a parishioner at Christ Church, Greenville, for 12 years, and she and her husband, Mauldin, have two daughters, both baptized at CCG. Caroline has served on the vestry for the past two and a half years, acting as the vestry representative on the Christ Church Episcopal Preschool board. She attended Cursillo #100 and has participated in Alpha as well. Caroline chaired the ECW bazaar twice and has served on the ECW board in a number of positions. Caroline has also been involved in nursery, children’s church, and VBS.
J. Franklin Ballard
Frank Ballard has served Episcopal parishes and the Diocese of Upper South Carolina for the past 35 years. He is a graduate of Southern Wesleyan University with a major in psychology and minor areas of concentration including statistics and biological sciences – genetics concentration. Frank completed a terminal master’s degree in clinical psychology with a minor in neurological disability assessment at Appalachian State University in 1977. He retired after 33 years with the State of South Carolina (28 years with SCDMH inpatient services as a staff psychologist and psychiatric treatment coordinator and 5 ½ years with the USC School of Medicine as chief research coordinator for clinical trials in the department of Neuropsychiatry). Frank has been Parish Musician and Associate for Liturgy at Saint Mary’s, Columbia for the past 13 years and is a Safe Church trainer of many years.
Jennifer Bull grew up in Greenville, SC, and was active in her Southern Baptist church. She completed her Bachelors of Arts in Dance and her Masters of Education in Divergent Learning with an Arts Emphasis, both at Columbia College. Jennifer has been teaching classes in dance, theatre, and the arts for 12 years in public schools in Dorchester School District Two, Richland School District One, and Richland School District Two. She has two children, one of whom has a rare genetic disorder. Since receiving her daughter's diagnosis in 2004, Jennifer has become enthusiastically involved in arts education and mainstream arts opportunities for students with special needs. In 2007, Jennifer was confirmed at St. Michael's and All Angels Episcopal Church where she is an active member of the congregation, serves in the Children's ministry, and participates with the Praise Choir. She is married to Susan and lives in Irmo.
Sister Ellen Francis Poisson, OSH
Ellen Francis is a native New Yorker. In the late 1960s and most of the 1970s, she lived in Iran and England. She has a M.L.S. from Teheran University and received a doctorate in library science from Columbia University in 1983. She worked for the following 25 years in medical and other libraries in the New York area. In 2000 Ellen Francis graduated from General Theological Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of New York. She entered the Order of Saint Helena in May, 2000, and served as a supply and interim priest. She was a member of the Episcopal-Muslim Relations Committee in the Diocese of NY and following 9/11 she participated in several peace delegations to Iran and Afghanistan.
Ellen Francis is currently a member of the OSH Leadership Council and serves as treasurer and webmaster, and she also serves as Priest-in-Charge at All Saints’, Beech Island. She is a founding member of the Interfaith Fellowship of Augusta, and is a member of the CSRA Peace Alliance and the Progressive Religious Coalition (in Augusta). She is a member of the advisory board of South Carolina Interfaith Power and Light.
The Very Rev. Tim Jones
The Very Reverend Timothy Jones is Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. Until recently he was senior associate rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He holds a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and an STM from the School of Theology of the University of the South, Sewanee. He has published widely in the area of spirituality and formation, including articles in academic journals and books with wide appeal.
Tim is married to the Rev. Jill Zook-Jones and Tim and Jill have three grown children and three grandchildren.
The Rev. Alan Leonard
Alan Leonard has been rector of St. Margaret’s, Boiling Springs since December 2005. Previously, he was an Army chaplain serving in the United States, Germany and Iraq. Alan is the chaplain for Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9539 in Spartanburg. He also serves on the advisory board of Harvest Family Ministries, a nonprofit organization that assists people in need in the Boiling Springs area and the advisory board of Seniors Take Charge, an educational and advocacy organization for Senior Citizens in Spartanburg County. Alan graduated from Ripon College with a major in Philosophy and a minor in Leadership Studies, and earned a Master’s in Counselor Education from Northern Illinois University. He did his M. Div. at Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Alan spent two years as Assistant Rector of Holy Spirit Episcopal Parish in Missoula, Montana. He is married to the former Brenda Heidhoff-Killen, a cellist, and has one son, Tim.
The Rev. Jim Neuburger
Jim Neuburger currently serves as Rector of St. John’s in Winnsboro, SC. Prior to his ordination, Jim served in a variety of secular capacities in business operations, management consulting, and national and international sales and marketing. Jim’s interests focus on the Christian life, bringing the Gospel from the head to the heart, and on strengthening congregations, having served as a Diocesan Congregational Consultant prior to his ordination. Jim recently completed a study of the strategies employed by 60 of the top Episcopal congregations – those that have grown 25% or more from 2004 to 2009.
Jim and his wife, Carol, live in Ballentine. They are the parents of three children and the grandparents of two grandchildren.
The Rev. David W. Wagner
David Wagner was born and raised in the Diocese of Atlanta, where he spent many summers and retreat weekends at Camp Mikell (the Atlanta equivalent of Camp Gravatt). There, he met and married his wife, Kathleen – aka Beano – a social worker in Columbia. David graduated from the General Theological Seminary in New York City in May 2011, and he is in charge of the Youth and Young Adults programs at St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields in Forest Acres, Columbia.
The Rev. C. Bradley Wilson
Brad Wilson is from the wheatlands of Kansas and is a graduate of the University of Kansas, Trinity College in Bristol, England, and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. Ordained in 1980, he served parishes in Oregon, Alabama, and Pennsylvania before moving to Columbia in 2009. Brad served on the Board of Examining Chaplains in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, in Moral Theology, and he taught Introduction to Ethics at the seminary level the Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA. His wife Carol keeps him alive and comfortably ensconced; two daughters and their families in Atlanta bring him joy, and his son (still in school!) brings him much pride. He often supplies at parish churches in the diocese when not editing Richard Baxter’s A Christian Directory for an updated republication.
Sally T. McKay
Sally is a life-long Episcopalian and member of Trinity Cathedral. She completed the Education for Ministry (EFM) program in 2003 and has served on Trinity’s vestry and foundation board. She currently chairs the Communication Committee, serves on the Bicentennial Committee, and has been a lector of more than 25 years. Sally is a communications consultant to the Diocese of Upper South Carolina. She also works with clients on public speaking and presentation skills. Sally is a devoted practitioner of Yoga and teaches at City Yoga in Columbia. Sally and her husband, Walker, have two boys – Walker and Mitchell.
As expected, the task force is stacked with "progressives," and there is little doubt that the majority will help pen a document proporting to help us "to live graciously in a tension we are unlikely to resolve."
Who needs 18 months? I think any Bishop worth his paycheck should be able to do it himself in 18 minutes.