Charleston hosts anti-gay Anglican conference

South Carolina bishop has endorsed event, encourages area Episcopals to attend

An anti-gay Anglican conference will be hosted by the more than 300-year-old congregation of St. Phillip's. Photo Credit: Rob Shenk, via Flick. Licensed under Creative Commons.

An anti-gay Anglican conference will be hosted by the nearly 330-year-old St. Philip's Church. Photo Credit: Rob Shenk, via Flick. Licensed under Creative Commons.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — An historic Episcopal church regarded as the “mother church” of Anglicanism in South Carolina will play host to an anti-LGBT conference for orthodox Anglicans this week.

The “Mere Anglicanism” event will be held at St. Philip’s Church, Jan. 21-23, and will feature several high profile and anti-gay theologians from across the U.S. It’s theme this year is “Human Identity, Gender, and Sexuality: Speculation or Revelation?”

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Diocese of South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence endorsed the event in a letter on the diocese’s website.

“As you know the institution of Marriage and questions of Identity, Gender and Human Sexuality have become intensely debated and divisive issues not only within the Church (and far beyond merely The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion), but within the larger culture as well,” he wrote. “For this reason I hope many of us within the Diocese of South Carolina will take advantage of the upcoming Mere Anglicanism Conference held in Charleston on January 21-23, 2010. I have attended this conference for the past three years and have been surprised by how few clergy and lay persons from within the diocese participate or avail themselves of this annual opportunity to hear some of the major shapers of Anglicanism in our day.”

Lawrence said the event will “focus on this seemingly ubiquitous challenge in the both the contemporary culture and the Church of the understanding of marriage and human sexuality.”

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The Diocese of South Carolina has become increasingly hostile in relations with the national Episcopal Church. In late 2009, the diocese passed a series of anti-LGBT resolutions. One encouraged lay people and church committees to begin withdrawing from national church bodies. Another condemned prejudice against LGBT people while promising the diocese would continue “speak truth in love.”

The Diocese of South Carolina, which includes all of Eastern and Coastal South Carolina, was originally formed in 1706 and re-organized in 1785. The diocese is home to 76 parishes and close to 30,000 members. Bishop Lawrence opposed the election of openly gay New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson in 2003. In 2006, the diocese rejected the authority of U.S. Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. The diocese also opposed two LGBT-affirming resolutions presented and approved at the denomination’s national convention earlier this year.

Several congregations in the Diocese of South Carolina have already voted to leave the national Episcopal body.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

2 Replies to “Charleston hosts anti-gay Anglican conference”

  1. These Churches that dehumanize and create an atmosphere of violence for gay people are nothing more than terrorists. I see absolutely nothing wrong with being terrorists right back. Let’s do what Bush did and fight terror with terror. Let’s go to their Churches in droves, fill their pews, contribute not a work or song or dollar and see the looks of hatred and terror in their sad and hateful visages. Fight fire with fire!

  2. Richard T. Purchase January 21, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    The reporter tagged the event “anti gay” but nothing else I read in the article even came close to being terroristic. In fact the sweet folks attending the Mere Anglicanism Conference are probably 60+, predominately female, and have a life long conviction that the Bible is their “sole rule of faith and conduct” if they are typical Episcopalians. The attendees will probably look like your neighbors, teachers, perhaps your parents and scout leaders. So Doug wants to hold a gun, literal or otherwise, to their grey heads and demand immediate conformity on an issue that violates their life long allegiance to the Bible’s teaching! Does sound like terrorism to me. True conversion on any issue requires patience, empathy, understanding, and yes, even love.

    So they want to discuss, debate and decide? Like all terrorists, Doug doesn’t stand for debate, conversation and rational decision. No, It’s “his way or the highway” or much worse.

    Sorry, Doug, you are a dangerous person to the gay movement and to the democratic ideals of this nation.

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