“The harvest is plentiful; the time is now,” those are words Bishop Mark Lawrence used to kick off his address to the 228th Diocesan Convention, held at Saint James Church in Charleston, March 15-16, 2019, but the words also summed up the theme for the entire convention.
From the opening mini-conference led by Dave Runyon, author of The Art of Neighboring, through the workshops and sermon during the service of Holy Eucharist, through the welcoming of a new parish and the announcement of new church planting initiatives, and culminating in the Bishop’s address, the diocese focused on looking outward toward the harvest of “unseen neighbors in unseen neighborhoods.”
More than 450 people from 52 churches across the eastern and coastal portions of the state gathered to be inspired and challenged through teachings, conduct the business of the Diocese, adopt a budget, and elect committee members.
Convention Mini-Conference and Workshops
At The Art of Neighboring mini-conference on Friday, Runyon challenged the nearly 200 attendees to act on Jesus’ command to love their actual neighbors, taking the first step of simply getting to know their names.
“Our people came away feeling totally empowered,” said the Rev. Janet Echols, Rector of Saint Matthew’s, Fort Motte. “I loved that Dave Runyon was accessible and he gave us a life-giving, encouraging challenge. He showed that God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things for the gospel. He wasn’t asking us to do huge things – just take this first step.”
The Rev. Tripp Jeffords, Rector of St. Paul’s in Summerville came away with plans for a sermon series encouraging parishioners to love their neighbors and said he was going to promote The Art of Neighboring as a study guide for the church’s small groups. “I’m pumped,” he said.
In addition to The Art of Neighboring, the Diocese offered four additional workshops. The Rev. Canon Dr. Dan Alger, the Canon for Church Planting for the Anglican Church in North America, led Meet Your Neighbors: Culture & Contextualizing for Mission & Church Planting. The Rev. Dr. Russ Parker, an ordained priest in the Church of England, and the Director of 2Restore: Healing Church Wounds led a workshop on Representational Confession: A Tool for Healing Wounded Communities. The Revs. Gary Beson and Tyler Prescott, priests in the Diocese of South Carolina, led a panel discussion workshop on MissionInsite, the online demographic service purchased by the Diocese to help churches better understand their own congregations and surrounding communities. The Rev. Canon Phil Ashey, President and CEO of the American Anglican Council, led a workshop on Leading missionally– with heart and hands and Dave Runyon led a second, shorter workshop on Neighboring: Love Where You Live.
Service of Holy Eucharist
Preaching on Luke 10:38-40 during the service of Holy Eucharist Friday evening, Runyon urged worshippers to “live at a pace that allows us to be available to others.” Looking at the story of Mary and Martha he said, “Martha got caught up serving Jesus. We need to make sure we don’t fall into the same trap.” Pointing out the unhealthy pace of life, Runyon said, “We tell ourselves ‘this is just the way it is. Everyone lives like this,’ but the truth is everyone doesn’t live like this.” “Jesus lives in a way that is interruptible. That’s the best way to live,” he said.
The music for the service, led by the Saint James worship leaders featured choirs from three churches. “Oh my goodness!” said Catherine Jacobs, from St. Paul’s Summerville. “The music on Friday evening was profound, majestic. I left floating. To have the opportunity to worship with so many people singing with all their heart to the Lord and be in a room with all of the clergy, hearing their bass voices – to be able to witness it and be a part of it was a blessing.”
Welcoming New Clergy
Fourteen new clergy were welcomed into the Diocese at the convention. The following three requested and received canonical residence in the Diocese: The Rev. Jady Koch from the Diocese of Kentucky (TEC), the Rev. Joseph Lawrence from the Diocese of San Joaquin (ACNA) and the Rev. Patrick Schlabs from the Diocese of Churches For the Sake of Others (ACNA). The following priests were welcomed having been ordained since our last convention: The Rev. David Barr, the Rev. Korey Kincaid, the Rev. Matthew Rivers and the Rev. Jeremy Shelton. The Convention also welcomed the newly ordained vocational deacons: The Rev. Deborah Hamilton, the Rev. Ron Hamilton, the Rev. Glenn Ohanesian, the Rev. Ann Darby Hunter, the Rev. Keith O’Neal and the Rev. Frank Stoda.
Welcoming St. Timothy’s, Cane Bay
A large group of parishioners and the rector of St. Timothy’s, Cane Bay, (the Rev. Gary Beson) received a standing ovation when their church was formally admitted as a full-parish on Saturday. Beson is working with church plants from several other congregations in the Diocese, which were recognized as well.
Greetings from Nigeria/Anglican Leadership Institute
Following a short presentation on the Anglican Leadership Institute (ALI) by the Very Rev. Dr. Peter Moore, the convention connected with the Rt. Rev. Stephen Akobe who attended this past semester’s ALI. Bishop Akobe offered greetings and thanks from his home in Nigeria via the internet.
The Rev. Rob Sturdy, who serves as the Anglican Chaplain at the Citadel, gave a moving testimony about his team’s ministry among the Cadets, sharing how a number of the students he works with labor under a sense of being disappointments both to their families and to God. Recounting personal encounters, Sturdy brought home the impact the ministry is making in communicating God’s love to students at the college.
During Saturday’s business meeting the following individuals were elected to serve in Diocesan offices and positions:
The Rev. Shay Gaillard (St. Helena’s, Beaufort); The Very Rev. Ron Greiser (Resurrection, Surfside Beach); Mrs. Judy Hood (Christ Church, Mt. Pleasant); Mrs. Carol Morrison (Holy Trinity, Pinopolis)
The Rev. Mary Ellen Doran (St. David’s / St. Paul’s); The Rev. Brian McGreevy (St. Philip’s, Charleston); Mr. Justin Johnson (St. John’s, Johns Island); Mr. Walt Miller (St. John’s, Johns Island)
The Rev. Andrew O’Dell (St. Philip’s, Charleston); Mr. Robert Kilgo (St. Matthew’s, Darlington)
The Rev. David Booman (St. Michael’s, Charleston); The Rev. Dan Farley (Good Shepherd, Charleston); The Rev. Marshall Huey (Old St. Andrew’s, Charleston); Mr. Framp Harper (St. Helena’s, Beaufort); Mr. Gene Scarborough (Holy Comforter, Sumter)
ACNA Provincial Assembly:
The Very Rev. Craige Borrett (Christ-St. Paul’s, Yonges Island); The Rev. Rags Coxe (Prince George, Georgetown); The Rev. Janet Echols (St. Matthew’s, Ft. Motte); The Rev. Shay Gaillard (St. Helena’s, Beaufort); The Rev. Cindy Larsen (Grace Parish, N. Myrtle Beach); The Rev. Bob Lawrence (St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center); The Rev. Canon Jim Lewis (Christ Church, Mt. Pleasant); The Rev. David Thurlow (Prince George, Winyah); The Rev. Ken Weldon (St. John’s, Florence); Mrs. Laura Bowman (Grace Parish, N. Myrtle Beach); Mr. John Benson (Prince George Winyah, Georgetown); Mr. Ned Collins (Holy Cross, Sullivan’s Island) ; Mrs. Joy Hunter (St. Paul’s, Summerville); Mr. Terry Jenkins (Christ St. Paul’s, Yonges Island); Mr. David Marten (Holy Comforter, Sumter); Mrs. Henrietta Rivers (St. John’s Chapel, Charleston); Mr. Alan Runyan (St. Helena’s, Beaufort); Mr. Nelson Weaver (St. Timothy’s Cane Bay)
The 229th Diocesan Convention will be held March 13-14, 2020 at The Church of the Cross, Bluffton.
Additional Convention Resources
Once they are available we will be posting audio recordings, transcripts, photos and additional resources from the Convention on the Convention Archive page.
Listen to Bishop Mark Lawrence’s address, “The Harvest is Plentiful; the time in now!”
Listen to Dave Runyon’s Mini-Conference on “The Art of Neighboring”
Listen to the musical offerings from the Convention.