South Carolina Ox is Goring, Little Lambs are dying.

Over on Treading Grain one strand of the Diocese of South Carolina is making its views known. The Rev. Steven Wood says this, "It’s time for the Diocese of South Carolina to join the new North American Province: Anglican Communion North America. Anything short will mark a complete failure of leadership."

How wonderful this must be for Bishop Lawrence, who is confronted by the choice to either go with ACNA or be a complete failure. But then maybe he wants to go there.

Steve Woods... who is he and why must we care? Well, it doesn't matter. What matters is if Bishop Lawrence and or the Standing Committee or Diocesan Leadership listen to him. The Bishop and Standing Committee recently had a long meeting resulting in some sort of position paper or plan or something that would be presented to the clergy soon. But meanwhile, Fr. Wood has issued the challenge. "Time to go."

Any sense as to what is happening?
(Image is from his website "Treading Grain" under the heading, "Who is the Ox." Manly looking fellow, yes?)


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. A major factor in SC continues to be past rulings of SC courts that barring very exceptional circumstances - a pre-Revolutionary deed of gift, for instance (and even this circumstance is still working its way through the courts) - church property stays with the "original" denomination, not to the departing congregation.

    For what it's worth, the Rev'd Mr Woods' preceding post is a heavy-handed funny about backseat-driving women.

  3. FWIW, In response to the question Mark posed, "Who is Steve Wood?" Steve Wood is the rector of St Andrew's Mt Pleasant SC, one of the largest and fastest growing Episcopal parishes in the United States.

  4. Steve Wood is a good friend. I first got to know him when we were both Alpha Regional Advisors for the Alpha Course in North America.

    I wish we could refrain from attacking him personally - he's someone who has tried hard to stay inside the structures and work from within. His evangelism efforts are stellar, his preaching inspiring. He has built an excellent team at St. Andrew's Mt. Pleasant.

    There was a key moment at the conclusion of the C056 vote on the final day of General Convention when Bonnie Anderson was recognizing deputies for points of personal privilege. Steve went to the mic to be recognized for a point of personal privilege on behalf of the Diocese of South Carolina. Bonnie refused to recognize him and told him to stand down. Instead, she recognized another deputy who wanted to present the secretary of the house with a comical pair of shoes.

    Perhaps the time has finally come for the other shoe to drop. If you know Steve then you know it would be very wise in the long run to listen to him.


  5. If the Diocese of South Carolina were honest (pause for gales of laughter) then everyone would admit that they agree that Chuck Murphy was right all along, Bishop Lawrence would resign & all would submit to AMiA (right?)!

  6. Hoosierpalian7/8/09 11:05 AM

    Having grown up on a farm, I would not run around the internet likening myself to an ox. Cattle used as beasts of burden are missing something that, were they human, would bar them from the temple.

  7. There is a photograph of Steve Wood on the St Andrew's web site, where its says that he "owns sixteen different versions of his favorite song, Somewhere over the Rainbow.”

  8. I suspect the only reason for delay on Bishop Lawrence and Rev. Woods part is that plan A (stealing the TEC physical assets to start a new church) is looking less and less viable from a legal standpoint. That leaves devising a plan B. Setting up a breakaway diocese in a ready made church plant is fun...setting it up in storefronts and the Methodist Church fellowship hall, not so much. But if you are doctrinally pure, why let such an inconvenience stop you? Go for it Rev. Steve.

  9. South Carolina has a number of pockets of transplanted, monied (and cradle)Episcopalians. They are conservative, but consider ACNA a group of reactionaries. Gay folks are part of their communities now, and I don't think they find them as scary as fundamentalists. You'll see a number of split communities but TEC will survive.

  10. I agree with Baby Blue that we should refrain from attacking Fr. Wood personally. That doesn't mean that we can't criticize his actions, but it should be done in a civil (even charitable way).

    I was, however, struck by the following:

    "he's someone who has tried hard to stay inside the structures and work from within."

    Apparently, since he advocates the ACNA schism, he hasn't tried hard enough. A solemn vow before God is to be kept, regardless of one's personal preference. Fr. Wood is an Episcopal priest and he has therefore twice promised to uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church.

    Try a little harder, brother!

  11. drdanfee ...
    I wonder if South Carolina wishes to repeat a similar story, akin to the stories of say, Fort Worth or San Joaquin or Pittsburgh? Ditto, for the court rulings published, and court rulings yet to come.

    Staying or leaving, SCarolinian conservative Episcopalians will not immediately achieve the high holy power to police and punish everybody else whom they so dearly hold in very low esteem as a mark of their own righteousness. Even when a friendly or mild face is put upon passing demeanor and conversation between these conservative believers and everybody else; their penalisms cut to the bottom line of ethics, theology, and church life – supposing it should be sufficiently realigned to give them the strong powers to which they feel called by God.

    Surprisingly, beating up hard on queer folks as a demonstration of righteousness is wearing much thinner than conservative modern believers like to admit or preach. For the first time in about a thousand to two thousand years – we're changing for the better yet again. If conservatives stay, it is still wearing thin. If they leave, it is still wearing thin.

    Big picture? If Lawrence and company go, we're still on the same planet all together as neighbors. If everybody stays inside our social life and church life big tents, ditto.

    The conservative choice is unpleasantly restricted by real world changes. They can select from among (A) ignoring change and strictly doing business in church life as usual for as long as possible, (B) exiting to stricter conservative realms, so rendering future obligations of kindness or truth telling about queer folks and friends and family, more to citizenship, ecumenical, and interfaith settings, and/or (C) staying inside big tents, and so admitting that interacting and talking and living with and working with everybody else is pretty much inevitable, at least for a considerable modern time being.

  12. Look, Bill Carroll, let's knock off the "vow before God" stuff. Gene Robinson also made a vow before God to stay married to his wife, and he's celebrated by your side of the aisle for breaking it. Start ripping him for that, and your criticisms of Fr. Wood will carry some weight; not before.

  13. I wish the progressive party would try to be gracious and let congregations and dioceses leave for what is after all another part of the Catholic Church, subspecies Anglican. Why the need to make them submit to what is unarguably a new moral theology? Look, I am a traditionalist priest in a very progressive diocese who has not left with the congregations that have gone to Africa, now ACNA. I would not lead a congregation out either, but I've been invited to leave by quite a few prominent "inclusion"-minded folks. Even had the "don't let the door hit you in the ass" line. You think it is hard to be "out" in a conservative diocese? It must be something like being an "out" traditionalist, however Catholic Worker or Sojourners leaning, in a progressive diocese.

    Back to the point of South Carolina-- what the hell is it to you progressives if they cut you free to be who you want to be? Let ‘em go and it will be all the easier to keep us more than vestment deep Anglo-Catholics in the corner in your own dioceses.

    Nothing personal, Fr. Russell. I hope in a generation or two this will all be past. There's hope: the Monophysites have come around to Chalcedon. If some of you guys can actually stick to Nicea (officially, at least), aside from the odd canon or two, maybe all Anglicans can have a grand reunion someday.

    California Priest
    Forgive the anonymous post-- I'd like to continue to feed my kids.

  14. Phil,
    Don't be so disingenuous. Lots of people divorce. Indeed, MANY bishops are divorced. Even, I suspect, some on YOUR side. I believe there is an old saying about glass houses and stones....

    You know perfectly well which vows Bill was talking about.

  15. California Priest,

    That's all well and good, but please leave the keys with the original owners TEC.

  16. David,

    I have no need of any keys. Now, what in the world you would need Fr. Woods' keys for I do not know.
    I doubt the TEC in South Carolina absent traditionalist parishioners would have any productive use for them either.

    California Priest

  17. IT, Bill Carroll made a blanket comment about vows before God. Marriage vows count, whether that gores one of your sacred cows or not. And, as I've said many times, I reject the way divorce is handled by the modern church, so you'll have to take that complaint up with someone else, anyway. So Gene Robinson found extenuating circumstances in his life that caused him to break his lifelong vow? Fine - so has Steve Wood.

  18. The following comment, posted a couple of days ago by Sarah Hey, the most intelligent member of the Stand Firm team and a South Carolina resident, is the first post on SF's thread about Steve Wood's piece:

    "I don’t think that the “right flank” that is “ready to bolt” is nearly so large as it would like to imply. 4-6 parishes, maybe, one of them quite large. ; > )

    "But we shall see.

    "I expect this post by Wood is an indication that he fears that there will be a “complete failure of leadership” [sic] by Lawrence wisely choosing not to join ACNA."

    Calfornia Dreaming, I'd say, Anon.

  19. Mr. Harris, in his post, asked the most pertinent, and heretofore unaddressed question:

    "Steve Woods... who is he and why must we care?"

    Answering his own question Mr. Harris states:
    "Well, it doesn't matter."


    With that conclusion drawn, why the post even appeared is odd.

    Steve Wood

  20. 104 comments on Stand Firm's thread on your Keeping Abreast post, Mr Wood, as against 19 here. Better ask your question over there.

  21. Lapinbizarre, Stand Firm apparently posted my comment to my parish because of place my parish holds in the Dio of SC.

    Conversely, Mr. Harris having drawn his stated conclusion, I find the posting on this site logically contradictory.

    From my point of view, the comment was so obvious and basic that it has drawn only 18 comments on my own site, of which 2 were made by my parishoners.


  22. Fr. Wood... I was posting in haste. Of course who you are matters. But given the challenge, what matters is what the Bishop and Diocese do with the challenge.

    I have visited your blog. I think I would like to know you. You are lively and engaging. Of course I think you are wrong on this matter, but then that is to be expected.

    As for logic, it is perfectly logical to point to a contributing element in what is unfolding in SC. I hope and pray the bishop and people of SC do not leave.

    I am sorry to say the cartoon looks a lot more like you than it does like me. (Sigh)

    Thanks for checking in.

  23. False martyrdom again, California Priest?!

    And people wonder why I think excommunicating people like you would be a gift to both of us!

  24. Mark Brunson, you have castigated me in the past based on your own presumptions and misconceptions about who I am and what I've posted, based on what you have perceived (wrongly, I might add) as my woeful selectivity in whom I choose to love. I'd like for you to go back and look at our last exchange and then at your preceding post in this thread. Tell me why I should presume that you have any love for anyone, or that you are not adamantly selective about whom to love and vindictive against those who disagree with you? Are you part of the "don't let the door hit you in the behind" crowd that California priest refers to?

    Paul in Dallas


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.