Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Radio Free South Carolina: Behind the Ecclesiastical Iron Curtain

Traditional or conservative Episcopalians living in my part of South Carolina sometimes feel cut off from their brothers in the lower half of the state. News of what our friends are up to is never, I repeat never discussed except perhaps in mocking terms overheard at coffee hour. The last time I heard a high ranking clergy person in Upper South Carolina try to say anything nice about the "lower diocese" it was with a slightly derogatory tone, "I'm from there, but I can't work there."

Unless an Episcopalian reads the blogs, they will remain clueless.

Whatever happened to the idea of engaging in a listening process, or to the idea of sitting down with someone and learning more about them? Isn't that what we have been told to do when faced with people holding different views on human sexuality and how it relates to the Church?

I guess the listening process is unidirectional.

As proof, I offer the following evidence: Each year, lay people, priests, bishops, and archbishops gather in Charleston South Carolina for a conference that goes by the benign sounding name of "Mere Anglicanism." These conferences offer lectures featuring guest speakers from around the world on topics which should be of interest to all concerned Anglicans, and I include all concerned Episcopalians in that group. Last year the topic was Homosexuality, and this year it was the Christian response to secularism. Three years ago I sat with one concerned Upper South Carolina clergyman, and that was the last time I saw any of our Upper South Carolina Episcopal priests in Charleston. From this I can only conclude that the listening process only moves in one direction, or there are no concerned Episcopal priests remaining in Upper South Carolina, or the word has come down from above that they dare not reveal themselves.

In effect, we need a Radio Free Upper South Carolina to keep us informed.

Diocese of Upper South Carolina (shaded)
In the course of my last visit to Mere Anglicanism, I traded notes with one or two others who had sneaked under the "Columbia Wall" to get a peek at what spiritual freedoms might be found in the Diocese of South Carolina, freedoms which Episcopalians have been led to believe do not exist under the primitive, fundamentalist, and iron fisted rule of the nefarious Bishop Mark Lawrence. What we discovered is that life not only exists there, it thrives, and we left inspired with the feeling that biblical Anglicanism, when properly led, will not only survive, but will be coming to towns near us eventually.

I also had the opportunity to hear stories about the Ecclesiastical Iron Curtain that Bishop Andrew Waldo has raised to keep his priests separate from their brothers and sisters in Christ. The saddest story of all involved the refusal of Bishop Waldo to allow one of his former priests, a former close associate, and a recently made "free agent" (who Bishop Lawrence readily picked up for his team) to officiate at the funeral of a close friend in spite of the absence of the rector of the recently deceased. No, a substitute priest who did not know the family would have to be called upon. Protestations fell upon the deaf ears of +Upper South Carolina.

Fortunately for us, T19 operated by Canon Theologian Kendall Harmon and his elves exists and has yet to be successfully silenced by the jamming devices that can sometimes be seen rising from Columbia's Trinity Cathedral,

I wonder what others might say of our plight? Just change a few words in President Kennedy's statement in support of the radio broadcasts of truth and justice to the formerly oppressed people of eastern Europe to get an idea,

Bishop Waldo, tear down this wall!


  1. Pewster,
    When one flies over upper SC at night, will one see any lights? Thinking of North Korea here.

  2. Much darkness is indeed the case. Other than this cave and one other Sanctuary, most of the light in Waldesia is hid by the progressive bushel basket.

  3. Anonymous8:34 PM

    Any buzz about a parish or two wanting to join DioSC? There has to be orthodox majorities that want to get from under +Waldo's reign. Wasnt their some scuffle between a big parish in Greenville and Waldo recently?

  4. One parish is on record as saying NO to Bishop Waldo's curriculum for same sex blessings. How they interact with those that say yes will tell us what the future holds.

  5. I remember the "blackout” of 2003. Active members of our parish had no idea what was about to happen at Our Diocese Convention...nor did we learn of it till after Gen. Convention, and then only through the general media!

  6. Anonymous9:07 PM

    Biblical Anglicanism is indeed right here in River City....1520 Bull Street....

  7. Maxine, the blackout still exists, and it may not have to be instituted from the seat of the cathedral. Once enough progressive clergy are in place, institutional blindness more than suffices to take the place of any blackout.