Bishop Lawrence has written his Diocese about life after General Convention 201. He begins by saying, "the actions taken (by General Convention) mark a significant and distressing departure from the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them."
The majority of the deputation from the Diocese of South Carolina left the house on Wednesday afternoon. Later, after a time of personal privilege, Bishop Lawrence left the House of Bishops. Both assured the houses that the Diocese was not leaving The Episcopal Church.
Whatever else may happen, the way forward for the diocese and / or him, it seems to include the following
(a)The Diocese of South Carolina claims it is not leaving the Episcopal Church. Increasingly the idea will be that it is The Episcopal Church that has "departed from the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them." (an echo of the preface to the first Book of Common Prayer (USA) ) And, if The Episcopal Church has departed? Well, then, given the argument that dioceses are sovereign (an argument used in the Diocese with some regularity) we can look for the Diocese to increasingly maintain the absolute minimal thread on which to hang their claim to be part of TEC until the walls crash down around what they believe is a failing church.
(b) absolute minimum participation in the structures of the Episcopal Church beyond the diocesan level. The deputies and bishop took care to say, as they left, that they were not leaving TEC. So look for the Diocese of South Carolina to stay, but only in a minimal way, for now.
(c) continued and increasing involvement with para-Anglican Communion groups - ANCA, FCA, GAFCON, Global South Anglican meetings.
(d) participation in mission outreach through agencies other those of The Episcopal Church, but continuing involvement in UTO and Episcopal Relief and Development.
(e) engagement in mission using agencies approved of by their GAFCON / Global South partners, and little involvement in the mission sending programs of The Episcopal Church.
(f) Training of seminary clergy at "trusted" seminaries - many not part of The Episcopal Church.
The effect of all this will be that the Diocese of South Carolina will be in a "second tier" of Episcopal Church Dioceses, ones that minimally relate to the life of The Episcopal Church and find their "national" and "international" sensibilities determined by the righteous ones of ACNA, CANA, GAFCON and FCA. Unlike the two tiered idea for the Anglican Communion churches - tier one being those who buy on to the Anglican Covenant and tier two those who don't - this two tiered system will be initiated by those who cut themselves off, rather than are cut off. The Diocese of South Carolina is concerned for purity of thought, belief and purpose, sometimes forgetting that the woman who was forgive much because she loved much was perhaps not pure, but surely saved.
If the Diocese of South Carolina wants to skate near the edge it is in part because the Bishop wants to, or because the Bishop believes he has to in order to respect the desires of his diocese. Either way there will continue to be questions as to the depth of Bishop Lawrence's living within the limits of the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.