Sunday, October 18, 2009

Getting to Know the Nominees I: John Burwell+

Introduction: I am approaching my exploration of the candidates first by looking at each separately based on what I can turn up using simple web searches, and then moving on to the Faith stories, management styles, the responses to the question on SSBs (all were submitted prior to GenCon 2009 and the passage of DO56-the resolution that said that bishops, "particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church." ), and finally I shall look at their stated possible first steps to be taken if elected. I shall proceed in alphabetical order, and at this stage I am not ranking the nominees.

John Burwell+ is first up.

First, you should go to the home page of the Church of the Holy Cross Sullivan's Island and browse around.

Listen to one of his sermons. Click on "choose a speaker" and scroll to his name. Apple Quick Time is needed to listen to the stream or simply download a sermon and listen on the player of your choice.

Next, there is a nice article in the Post and Courier subtitled "DJ-turned-rector shepherds growing flock" that you might find interesting.

And if you don't care for secular news, he got a mention in this story in Episcopal Life Online.
"Holy Cross on Sullivan's Island is a flourishing church, boasting 1,800 congregants with a '24/7 ministry here,' said the Rev. John Burwell, rector and one of the guides for the Presiding Bishop and her party.

In this site, Holy Cross maintains two distinct areas where, Burwell said, two simultaneous albeit different styles of worship are celebrated to meet the spiritual needs of all ages. The church established another site on Daniel's Island, about 15 minutes away, and a third Holy Cross site is underway."

For those of you unfamiliar with Episcopal Life Online, this is an amazing bit of praise (to see a positive comment about someone from SC).

Next, check out the growth in his parish over time. Compare this one church's most recent pledges of 1.8 million dollars with our entire diocese's 2009 pledge income of 2.5 million.

Finally, go to the Bios and Q+A posted on the Bishop Search site.

Part A - Faith Story:

Here we find that John Burwell+ has a connection with our church in Rock Hill. He grew up in Rock Hill and dated one of Our Saviour's rector's (William Lumpkin+) daughters. How John Burwell the radio announcer was called to be a priest is given a short description leaving us asking for more.

Part B - Discuss your management style including conflict resolution:
At this point I shall quote some of his response:
"To begin with, I believe there is a major distinction to be made between management and leadership. I would hope that EDUSC would want me to lead the diocese in the next several decades, and not simply manage diocesan affairs. That having been said, I would say that my current leadership responsibilities include discerning and focusing our God-given vision and translating the vision to our parish, while encouraging and empowering parish leaders and staff, equipping saints for the work of ministry, and serving our five priests and our deacon as their front-line pastor. I am collaborative by nature and well-trained in Systems Theory and in all aspects of resolving conflict.
Conflict is a normal part of life and when dealt with appropriately, conflict can strengthen all concerned. We are sinners and we all make mistakes, but we live in a culture permeated by divorce, by ego, by consumerism which believes that the customer is always right. Consequently, we love to resign, to withdraw pledges and rise high above those terrible people who do the things that we would never do."

Part C - How would you counsel a rector on blessing a same gender relationship and how would you lead us forward beyond our divisions? Again, I will quote:
"I would begin by reminding the clergyperson that we are in a Church structure that has (and I believe rightly has) retained catholic ecclesiology. As a direct consequence, the actions of some can and do affect the lives of all. Regardless of where one stands on same gender blessings we need first ask ourselves if it is appropriate for a clergyperson, a bishop, or even for the entire Episcopal Church to offer a blessing of a same gender relationship without at least giving serious and further consideration to the impact of such an unilateral action on the body of faithful people in our parishes and dioceses and in the rest of the Communion. At present, the Mind of the Communion is against such an action as reflected in Lambeth 1.10, the Windsor Report, Dar Es Salaam and all recent Anglican Communion gatherings.

Secondly, as the Bishop of Dallas recently reminded his diocese, the Christian faith is something we receive, not legislate. Our own wedding service in our prayer book recognizes that the bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored by all people. To change the Church’s blessings from a man and a women in Holy Matrimony to something else, or to give the Church’s blessings to any other form of covenanted relationship outside of marriage would be to do away with both Scripture and Tradition, and in a catholic ecclesiology that can not be a matter for a General Convention to decide with a majority vote. We must find other and better ways to be pastoral and to love to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters without tinkering with the sanctity of Holy Matrimony."

I have to go back to our profile as a diocese:
15. Our current Bishop and the diocese, in
convention, have affirmed that we are a
Windsor Diocese. In that light, I believe our
next bishop should be supportive of the
Windsor Report and the ongoing Windsor

48 % Strongly Agree
20 % Somewhat Agree
26 % No Opinion
4 % Somewhat Disagree
2 % Strongly Disagree

16. I support the blessing of civil unions (as
opposed to marriage) between gay and lesbian
persons in the Episcopal Church.

26 % Strongly Agree
19 % Somewhat Agree
8 % No Opinion
10 % Somewhat Disagree
37 % Strongly Disagree

21. I support the marriage of gay and lesbian
persons in the Episcopal Church.

17 % Strongly Agree
11 % Somewhat Agree
7 % No Opinion
12 % Somewhat Disagree
53 % Strongly Disagree

Part D - Some of the first steps I would take to get started.
Again I must quote:
"My vision would not be primarily about evangelism, outreach, pastoral care or missionary work – it would be about developing the parishes and missions within the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina so that they would be more effective at evangelism, outreach, pastoral care and missionary work.

Recognizing that the diocesan budget must not be a drain on resources critically needed for local parish and mission ministry, I would examine all diocesan expenses with a goal of gradual reduction."

There is more, but it is time to move on.

Does he fit our profile? How about Q 30?

30. I would like our next bishop to be a strong
preacher / orator, fully committed to evangelism
and outreach to the unchurched.

46 % Strongly Agree
39 % Somewhat Agree
9 % No Opinion
6 % Somewhat Disagree


  1. Rubashov10:17 AM

    Sorry to threat-hijack, but I'd be curious to hear your reaction to the Pope's annoucement that:

    In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony

    (taken from

  2. The links to the growth and development pages keep changing so if my next updated link fails, look it up yourself, just plug in the name of the church (Holy Cross, Sullivan's Island) and wait a second for the page to update before you plug in the name of the diocese (South Carolina).