The Rector & Vestry's January 2013 Congregational Letter
22 January 2013
Beloved in Christ,
The Apostle Paul teaches us that we must not expect to pursue our mission for the glory of Christ and the evangelization of the world without opposition. Since our separation from the Episcopal Church three years ago, we have enjoyed serving Christ together largely free from the unnecessary distractions that had come to characterize life within the Episcopal Church. We have planted and revitalized churches and even facilitated the creation of a new diocese.
But no servant of Christ can expect such tranquility to last forever. Recently, the Episcopal Church took hostile actions against the Diocese of South Carolina, removing its Bishop (+Mark Lawrence) from ministry and threatening to aggressively litigate for property. The Diocese of South Carolina has filed a request for a declaratory judgment in Dorchester County, S.C. that seeks relief from such actions. As of Jan 21, the vestry of St. Andrew’s Church Mount Pleasant voted unanimously to join in this request for declaratory judgment.
Two words of clarification are in order. In this action we are not seeking anything from Episcopal Church other than our peace. The legal vehicle of a declaratory judgment action filed by the diocese offers us the opportunity to gain clarity and, in turn, peace from the threats voiced by the Episcopal Church against us. We have appealed to the court system, as Paul appealed to Caesar (Acts 25.11) asking the courts to prevent the Episcopal Church from acting in a manner for which they have no claim. Second, and more importantly, we will refuse to be consumed by this process – keeping the “main thing” the main thing – and encourage all involved to do likewise. No servant of Christ can expect to go through this life without opposition, but no servant of Christ can use opposition as an excuse to become distracted from the mission. At St. Andrew’s we exist to “Connect people to the presence and power of Jesus Christ.” By God’s grace, we will continue to do so.
Friends, in your thoughts, prayers, and actions think on Christ and how he may be glorified, maintaining your focus on Him who holds all things in his mighty providence. In these things we have the victory.
The Rt. Rev’d Steve Wood, Rector
Mary Graham, Senior Warden
Andy Breaux, Junior Warden
Forrest Foshee, Secretary
Robyn Frampton, Treasurer