Thursday, July 15, 2010

Upper South Carolina's New Bishop Suspends Cathedral Dean (Updated)

This story appeared in "The State" today.

The Very Rev. Philip C. Linder, dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, was suspended today by the new bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, apparently over a leadership dispute between Linder and the vestry of the downtown Columbia church.

Bishop W. Andrew Waldo issued the suspension after Linder violated ground rules for the mediation process, according to a statement circulated to lay leaders of the church.

This was not included in the electronic newsletter sent out by the diocese today. We await word from those in the know about the dispute between the vestry and Linder hinted at in the news article. You might recall that Dean Linder was a candidate for Bishop in Upper SC last year, and his candidacy had some peculiar ins and outs. Some of these were posted on these pages: Here, and Here.

I wonder if this is a case of liberals eating each other for lunch.

Deep Pew where are you?

Addendum: The Bishop's letter to the people of the Cathedral may help:
"My role as bishop is to receive such documents and supporting information and to make a judgment on next steps. In that capacity and in light of the supporting documentation, I judged it critical that Philip refrain from contact with staff or parishioners until the concerns could be presented at vestry with Philip present. I issued what is known as a Pastoral Directive to enforce that principle. For clergy under the authority of a bishop, such directives are mandatory, with specific canonical provisions and consequences for non-compliance. All clergy make a solemn and holy vow to abide by this authority at their ordinations. My goal in this case was to create a space for mediating a resolution that would benefit both Philip and the Cathedral. Philip’s breach of that pastoral directive by numerous contacts with parishioners and staff, with and through his wife, Ellen, has put the health and wholeness of the Cathedral community at great risk.
These breaches left me no alternative but to pursue other means—in this case, suspension—in order to gain time to address the vestry’s concerns. Because of the nature of this situation, the suspension must remain in effect until the process set in motion by Philip’s behavior has run its course. That process precludes any contact between Philip and staff or members of the church.
Once again, this is not the path any of us would have wished, least of all me, but it is the path Philip has chosen."


  1. Not being Episcopal, I cannot comment beyond, "'Tis a strange organization to which you belong.'"


  2. Randall,

    A comment by Bruce Robison on a StandFirm thread this morning may help you to understand how hard it is to oust a rector in the Epsicopal church.

    I find his use of "covenantal" relationship interesting. The "for better or for worse" part is laughable for the Episcopal left has otherwise made divorce so easy and accepted.

  3. Thanks for the link.