Dean Lawrence: What happens to him?

So a commenter on this blog asked: So what is the situation with Mark Lawrence? If he is still clergy in San Joaquin and the bishop has automatically transfered letters to the Southern Cone, is Mark Lawarence still a priest in the Episcopal Church and is he then eligible to be ordained as a bishop in this church?

Any thoughts?


  1. An equally significant question is: did the Dean attend the Convention, and if so how did he vote on the question? (And, for that matter, given that this was second reading, how did he vote last time?)

  2. I almost asked this question on T19 yesterday. I will be very interested in the answer.

    From what has been put out so far, it would seem that he would need to ask to remain in TEC, would he not? Because surely permissions were not given for a priest of the Southern Cone to become bishop of SC.

  3. i'm not sure that a vote for the constitutional change constitutes abandonment by a priest.

    however, as a priest canonically resident in the diocese of san joaquin, it is the diocese of san joaquin which must depose him, or not, according to the canons, whether for abandonment or anything else.

    and in turn, that means that we must wait for the diocese of san joaquin to sort itself out (with the help of 815!) before any judgment can be made about the priests and deacons in the diocese.

    but then we may ask, can Lawrence for for the amendment in san joaquin and then take his ordination vows? i don't know the answer to that one. i'm not sure if there is any canonical process available to stop the ordination now if he has.

  4. There's no precedence here, it seems to me since no Diocese has ever tried to "leave" and take everything (including kitchen sink) with it...in short, there's no canonical process for this situation, more a classically ethical one of acting in good faith.

    So a few things do seem clear:

    1)Mark Lawrence could be found as a priest to have abandoned his vows as a priest if he indeed follows, as a priest (bishop-elect or no), John-David Schofield out of TEC.
    2) at his consecration as Bishop, assuming it moves forward, he will need to confirm his loyalty to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of TEC - not a credible thing if he's allied with San Joaquin's (should we continue refer to them by that name?) decision.

    In any case, it strikes me an explanation of his current stance in re: to the late decision of the diocesan convention seems essential, if not publicly, then at least to the HoB and Standing Committees of TEC, probably through the office of the PB.

    In short, whether or not he's in or out, I would hope he'd clarify in short order, for the sake of God's people of TEC in the Diocese of South Carolina if no one else!

  5. Does one need to have letters transferred when elected as a bishop? I don't recall seeing that listed as a requirement in the canons, and I can't think who one would expect to receive them since that's normally the bishop's job.

    It might be different if he were still in the process of getting elected, but as things stand I don't see that San Joaquin's action creates any impediment to consecration provided he gets consecrated according to the form laid out in the BCP.


  6. Don't forget the ability of the People to object to his consecration. It's on p. 514 of the Prayer Book, right after the Oath of Conformity.

  7. "Don't forget the ability of the People to object to his consecration. It's on p. 514 of the Prayer Book, right after the Oath of Conformity."

    Ha! When my wife was to be ordained, the MC of the ordination service was conducting a rehersal for the benefit of the ordniands. He said, "At this point, the bishops asks if there are any objections to the ordinations. We don't expect any objections, but if there is an objection, I will walk up to the objector and the two of us will step outside for a moment. Then , I will return alone and we will procede."

    There were objections at VGR's consecration and that one proceeded as well.

    Furthermore, I don't believe that being canoncally resident of another province is a bar to being consecrated a bishop in this church. Lawrence has received sufficient consents. As we said with VGR, he can;t *not* be consecrated.

  8. When this question arose elsewhere in the blogosphere, in advance of the vote, it was thought that, on his election, or at least his confirmation, Bishop-Elect Lwarence became canonically resident in his new diocese.

    That said, even if he is now in canonical limbo about his residence, it was Mark Lawrence, priest who was confirmed by the bishops and standing committees. Conceivably he could have been confirmed had he been a priest of the Southern Cone as much as if he were a priest of San Joachin. Thus, there is nothing inherently there to confuse the issue.

    However, how he voted on the first and (presuming he did) second reading of this ultra vires charade is significant. And, if he voted for schism, there would be a solid canonical grounds for objecftion when teh question is asked at his ordination as a bishop.

  9. Which People, Josh? The People of SC? Why would they object? They voted for him in the first place, right?

  10. It was widely reported that Lawrence "just happened to be" absent at the 2006 SJ convention when the 1st reading was approved. Wasn't that convenient for him?

    I haven't heard whether he was there this weekend, but that should be easy to ascertain, for I understand that the names of those "for" and "against" were recorded.

    I have read that Venables had pre-printed certificates available for all SJ clergy, transferring them to the Southern Cone. As I understand it, any clergy who voted "yes" are now canonically resident in the Southern Cone.

    As others have observed, it doesn't matter where Lawrence is canonically resident on the date of his consecration in South Carolina. What will matter is: Can he (with a straight face) answer "yes" when asked whether he will confirm to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church?

    Josh, I'm with you: If Lawrence was present and voted "yes" this weekend, then I believe some people should voice an objection at his consecration. For he will have proved himself unwilling to conform to TEC's doctrine, discipline, and worship. But I betcha that he "just happened" to miss this convention.

  11. Susan,

    As right wingers keep telling us when they object to +Robinson, a bishop is ordained for the entire church. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. You cannot have it both ways.

    Bad news, some of us listen to the conservatives. ;-)


  12. Well, it was orriginally my question. So, as I have done some thinking about it, a comment.

    I suspect that the diocese of S.C. can procede because TEC does not recognize the actions of Southern Cone. So, unless Fr. Lawrence acknowleges and affirms the act of the bishop re-licensing him, thee is no direct issue.

    I really hope that is how it plays out. Clearly South Carolina wants him, they have now elected him twice. It is my view that he should be their bishop.


  13. In response to my inquiry on T19 about the whereabouts of bishop-elect Mark Lawrence at the conventions (in essence, I transcribed the first post on this thread) Fr Dan Martins replied:

    "I can testify as an eyewitness that Mark Lawrence was not in Fresno when the vote was taken on the first reading. As to his whereabouts this past weekend I have no direct knowledge, though I did watch most of the proceedings on the webcast and never saw him, so I would be surprised to learn that he was there."


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.