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SOUTH CAROLINA: Bishop Mark Lawrence Calls for a Bishop Coadjutor

SOUTH CAROLINA: Bishop Mark Lawrence Calls for a Bishop Coadjutor

Charleston, S.C. (July 10, 2020) -- On July 9, 2020, the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, who has served as the Bishop of The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina since January 2008, announced his plans to call for a Bishop Coadjutor who will step into the role of Bishop of the Diocese at some time in the next 18 to 24 months.

In a letter to the Diocese he stressed he is not yet retiring or resigning. "I have many tasks, duties and commitments here before this can take place," he said. Yet it is essential for me to take this step of calling for a bishop coadjutor in a timely fashion."

In explaining his reasons for setting the process in motion now the bishop touched on his age, he turned 70 this past March, and his desire to spend time with his wife and family. "Allison and I have 19 grandchildren some are all but grown and others are moving quickly through life's early stages. Being with them at important life passages becomes increasingly challenging for a bishop with a full diocesan schedule. With our family spread across South Carolina and Pennsylvania, and extended family still in California, these primary loyalties of the heart call to be honored."

The Diocese will begin the process to elect a Bishop Coadjutor immediately. The Standing Committee, which serves as a Board of Directors, will oversee the process. The search committee will consist of representatives from the Standing Committee as well as one clergy and one lay person chosen by each of the six geographic deaneries of the diocese which, based in Charleston, consists of more than 20,000 members in 53 congregations from Myrtle Beach to Bluffton and Conway to Barnwell.

Reflecting on the ministry of the Bishop, the Rev. Jeff Miller, Rector of historic St. Philip's Church in Charleston, said, "Whenever Mark Lawrence speaks, you catch the distinct echo of the voice of the Good Shepherd, and that's the real reason the people of this diocese have cheerfully followed him these past 12 years. He's been a friend, a counselor, a mentor, a soldier, but especially, a good shepherd, and the flock is going to miss him!"

Lawrence's tenure has not been without tension. He served at the helm during the Diocese's decision to and process of separating from the Episcopal Church, which occurred in 2012.

"One of the great things the Bishop did during the height of the lawsuit," said the Rev. Gary Beson, Rector of Prince George Winyah, Georgetown, "is rather than circling the wagons he told us to go out. 'The fields are white to harvest,' he said in a convention address." Beson is one of the clergy who launched one of the four church plants that began under the Bishop's leadership.

In addition, in 2009, during a Diocesan Convention address the Bishop called the Diocese to focus on "Making Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age," which has been a touchstone for the entire diocese going forward.

Out of this call numerous churches began missional partnerships with churches around the world and the Anglican Leadership Institute was launched which through nine sessions, has brought 133 emerging Anglican leaders together for a month-long training initiative.

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