What's Happening at Calvary

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/first-black-episcopal-church-leader-will-continue-his-fathers-teachings/2015/10/14/bede82e2-72b2-11e5-8d93-0af317ed58c9_story.html http://www.episcopalchurchsc.org/lent-2016.html https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/episcopal-church-installs-its-first-african-american-bishop/2015/11/01/d9b7c44c-80d2-11e5-9afb-0c971f713d0c_story.htmlhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/episcopal-church-installs-its-first-african-american-bishop/2015/11/01/d9b7c44c-80d2-11e5-9afb-0c971f713d0c_story.html

READINGS AND GOSPELS for Sunday, September 30, 2018

posted Dec 10, 2016, 12:55 PM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated ]





Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Occasion: Proper 21
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Year (cycle):  B

The Collect: 

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Old Testament: 
Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22 [Alternate: Numbers 11:4-6,10-16,24-29]

1So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. 2On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, ‘What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.’ 3Then Queen Esther answered, ‘If I have won your favour, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me—that is my petition—and the lives of my people—that is my request. 4For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; but no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king.’ 5Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, ‘Who is he, and where is he, who has presumed to do this?’ 6Esther said, ‘A foe and enemy, this wicked Haman!’ Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen. 9Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, ‘Look, the very gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, stands at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.’ And the king said, ‘Hang him on that.’ 10So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the anger of the king abated.

20 Mordecai recorded these things, and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21enjoining them that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same month, year by year, 22as the days on which the Jews gained relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and presents to the poor.

Alternate: 
Numbers 11:4-6,10-16,24-29

The rabble among them had a strong craving; and the Israelites also wept again, and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat! 5We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; 6but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.’

10 Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, all at the entrances of their tents. Then the Lord became very angry, and Moses was displeased. 11So Moses said to the Lord, ‘Why have you treated your servant so badly? Why have I not found favour in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? 12Did I conceive all this people? Did I give birth to them, that you should say to me, “Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a sucking child”, to the land that you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they come weeping to me and say, “Give us meat to eat!” 14I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me. 15If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once—if I have found favour in your sight—and do not let me see my misery.’

16 So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Gather for me seventy of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tent of meeting, and have them take their place there with you.

24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. 25Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.

26 Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. 27And a young man ran and told Moses, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’ 28And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, ‘My lord Moses, stop them!’ 29But Moses said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!’

Psalm: 
Psalm 124 [Alternate: Psalm 19:7-14]

1 If the Lord had not been on our side, *
       let Israel now say;
2 If the Lord had not been on our side, *
       when enemies rose up against us;
3 Then would they have swallowed us up alive *
       in their fierce anger toward us;
4 Then would the waters have overwhelmed us *
       and the torrent gone over us;
5 Then would the raging waters *
       have gone right over us.
6 Blessed be the Lord! *
       he has not given us over to be a prey for their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowler; *
       the snare is broken, and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the Name of the Lord, *
       the maker of heaven and earth.

Alternate: 
Psalm 19:7-14

7 The law of the Lord is perfect
                              and revives the soul; *
       the testimony of the Lord is sure
                              and gives wisdom to the innocent.
8 The statutes of the Lord are just
                              and rejoice the heart; *
       the commandment of the Lord is clear
                              and gives light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean
                              and endures for ever; *
       the judgments of the Lord are true
                              and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
                              more than much fine gold, *
       sweeter far than honey,
                              than honey in the comb.
11 By them also is your servant enlightened, *
       and in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can tell how often he offends? *
       cleanse me from my secret faults.
13 Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;
   let them not get dominion over me; *
       then shall I be whole and sound,
       and innocent of a great offense.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my
                              heart be acceptable in your sight, *
       O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Epistle: 
James 5:13-20

13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. 14Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. 17Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.

19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, 20you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Gospel: 
Mark 9:38-50

38 John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ 39But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. 40Whoever is not against us is for us. 41For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.

42 ‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. 43If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. 47And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, 48where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

49 ‘For everyone will be salted with fire. 50Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.’

The Old Testament, New Testament and Gospels readings are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Collects, Psalms and Canticles are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

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Daily Readings ...

posted Jul 4, 2016, 6:42 PM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated ]



The daily readings expand the range of biblical reading in worship and personal devotion.  These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect on and digest what they heard in worship on Sunday; Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead.

Source:  http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/daily.php?year=C#id264


Note: For the readings after Pentecost: the first reading pairs with the semi-continuous strand of texts; the second, with the complementary.





Sunday, September 23, 2018: Proper 20 (25)




Sunday, September 30, 2018: Proper 21 (26)



Reproduced from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission. A complete edition of the Daily Readings is available though Augsburg Fortress.



Calvary News and Announcements ...

posted Jun 15, 2016, 4:07 PM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated ]








Diocesan Convention

Calvary Church will host the Friday Workshop.

November 16-17
The 228th Diocesan Convention of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina will be at Holy Communion, Charleston beginning Friday, November 16 and concluding Saturday, November 17. 


The location for the
228th Annual Convention:

Church of the Holy Communion
218 Ashley Ave.
Charleston, SC 29403
Website: holycomm.org

FRIDAY WORKSHOP
LOCATION:


Calvary Episcopal Church
106 Line St.
Charleston, SC 29403
Website: calvarych.org

Registration for the Friday workshop with Becca

Stevens is $25.00 and includes lunch. Attendance is encouraged, but optional. These workshops are open to everyone in the diocese. Lay leaders and clergy in parishes, missions and worship groups are encouraged to attend. The workshops will take place at Calvary Episcopal Church located at 106 Line Street. Please register by Tuesday, October 30, 2018.


CALVARY EPISCOPAL CHURCH WELCOMES REVEREND MATTHEW W. MCCORMICK AS THEIR NEW PRIEST-IN-CHARGE

The Vestry and Congregation of Calvary Episcopal Church is pleased to welcome the Reverend Matthew Wright McCormick as the new Priest-in-Charge at Calvary Church. Reverend "Matt" is gifted as a committed follower of Christ, a preacher and teacher, a dynamic worship leader, a man sensitive to and committed to multi-cultural ministry and a warm, vibrant welcoming pastor, who is well prepared and good at plugging people into ministries. He officially began in the office on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 and presided over his first service on Sunday, August 5.  The service was well attended as Calvary parishioners enthusiastically welcomed our new pastor.

Reverend McCormick grew up a cradle Episcopalian in the coastal city of Jacksonville, Florida. He graduated in 2001 from the College of Charleston and met his lovely wife, Lisa, during his early years working in the marketing and hospitality industry in our great city. He enjoys southern cooking, Charleston arts and music, great stories, and spending time with Lisa and their precious son, Colson.

Matt was ordained to the priesthood in 2008. He is a graduate of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania; he has received a Masters of Theology degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is currently working on doctoral studies. He has returned to Charleston with his family after serving as rector of Messiah Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. Previously, he served as vicar of the Church of the Resurrection in North Charleston, South Carolina. Prior to that, he was an associate rector at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Charleston, a large congregation where he served in a variety of roles.

We prayerfully anticipate what God desires to do among us through Father Matt.





Renewal of Ordination Vows held at Calvary Church on February 20, 2018: 
The Bishop's Sermon

What role does memory play in the life of faith? Preaching at the annual renewal of ordination vows for clergy of our diocese, Bishop Skip Adams said that one of the central responsibilities of being a deacon, priest, or bishop "is to help the people of God to remember." 
Watch the video of the sermon and find the text of his sermon here.
Priests and deacons of our diocese gathered with Bishop Skip Adams at Calvary Episcopal Church in Charleston today to celebrate Holy Eucharist,
renew their ordination vows, and bless the oils used for baptism and healing.
This annual service is held during Lent, and we ask your prayers for all our clergy: Find a list at our website:



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House of Deputies Medal Awarded to Lonnie Hamilton




Lonnie Hamilton with the President of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings,
onstage with the rest of the South Carolina deputation and Bishop Skip Adams.

On July 10, 2018,  the House of Deputies Medal was awarded to Lonnie Hamilton III, a lay deputy for South Carolina. House of Deputies President Gay Clark Jennings presented the award, honoring Lonnie's leadership and witness in serving the Church through a time of division and the ongoing reorganization in our diocese. Our deputation and Bishop Adams accompanied him to the stage as he received a standing ovation from more than 800 people present in the House of Deputies.



Watch the video here - the presentation begins at about 17:00 minutes.

Here is the text of President Jennings' presentation:

Now, back in 2012, we had a little excitement at General Convention. ... At that convention, held in the great diocese of Indianapolis, some of those gathered among us decided to leave the convention and, ultimately, to leave the Episcopal Church. Just one loyal Episcopalian from the former Diocese of South Carolina remained, and he is a gifted educator, a civil rights advocate, and an astonishing jazz saxophonist and clarinetist who has also been a faithful member of our church for more than 60 years. And through it all, he has never stopped working and praying and hoping that the people of his former diocese will find a way to come back together so that we all may be one."

Deputy Lonnie Hamilton of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina has been a member of Calvary Episcopal Church in Charleston for 57 years and served on the vestry, as choirmaster, and in many other leadership roles. He has served on the Standing Committee and the Diocesan Council in South Carolina, and this is his sixth General Convention as a deputy or alternate. He is a retired administrator with the Charleston County School District and served his community as a member of Charleston County Council for more than 20 years. He was the first African American to serve on that body and was twice elected as its chairman.

The House of Deputies is not, as you can imagine, the first organization to honor Lonnie’s faithful ministry. When he received the Dean’s Cross Award from Virginia Theological Seminary last year, the citation noted that Lonnie has “a reputation not only as a gifted educator but also as a charismatic figure who was popular with students and who could help ease tensions at Bonds-Wilson and other North Charleston area schools resulting from the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision. In the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo, he led the diocesan Community Housing Development Organization, which has converted dozens of properties into affordable housing units.”

As if all this weren’t enough, Lonnie toured with the Jenkins Orphanage Bands in the mid-1940s and played with his own band, Lonnie Hamilton and the Diplomats, which was the signature jazz band in Charleston for decades.

For his distinguished service to the Episcopal Church and to the community we serve in Charleston, South Carolina, I am honored to award the House of Deputies medal to Deputy Lonnie Hamilton.


~~~~~~~~


Our own Mr. Lonnie Hamilton III has been awarded the prestigious DEAN'S CROSS award by the Virginia Theological Seminary.

Established in November 2008, the Dean’s Cross award recognizes outstanding leaders who embody their baptismal vows to “strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being.”  Selected annually by the Seminary Dean in consultation with the Chair of the Board, the Honorees receive a handmade silver cross, modeled after the Seminary Chapel cross, and a certificate.  

“Our work here at Virginia Seminary is formation,” said the Very Rev. Ian Markham, dean and president of Virginia Seminary, “and this award celebrates the well-formed life, which involves living out the values of the baptismal covenant and making a difference in society.”



                       
   Past Recipients of the award include:

   December 7, 2014
  • Ms. Madeleine Albright from Washington, D.C.
    Former (and the first female) Secretary of State of the United States of America

   December 6, 2015
  • Mrs. Barbara Bush from Houston, TX.
    Former First Lady of the United States of America




  • ON JULY 23, 2017, CALVARY CHURCH  WELCOMED MEMBERS OF ST. MARY'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH FROM WAYNE, PENNSYLVANIA
Fr. Joseph Smith, Rector, and Members of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Wayne, PA  were in the Charleston area on July 23 for a mission trip with a group called Home Works. They worked primarily on John's Island, bringing around 22 youth and adults. Calvary extended our warmest welcome to these travelers to worship with us that Sunday. 

.

 




This was a return visit for the Youth Group and group leaders of St. Mary's to do their mission work on John's Island. 
Follow the link below to see pictures from last  year's visit.









ECW  FISH FRY on February 23    
The Episcopal Church Women (ECW) will host a  FISH FRY on Friday, February 23 from 4 - 6 pm.
Tickets are $10

Location: Calvary Church Parish Hall, 104 Line Street, Charleston SC 29403



ECW  OYSTER ROAST on April 7
The Episcopal Church Women will host their annual Oyster Roast on April 7, 2018 from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm. 
Tickets are $20 adults and $10 children ages 6-12 years.
Location: Calvary Church Parish Hall, 104 Line Street, Charleston SC 29403



EpisComm18 is coming to Kanuga April 17-20

The national Episcopal Communicators Conference will be April 17-20, 2018 at Kanuga Episcopal Conference Center near Hendersonville NC. Registration is now open, and I am planning to attend this as well.  

Please consider attending (or sending someone to) this important national conference - both for the excellent workshops and speakers, and for the opportunity to meet people from all over The Episcopal Church who are doing this kind of work, too. You will come home with fresh inspiration, exciting ideas, and new friendships. 



~~~~~~~~






Our own Mr. Lonnie Hamilton III has been awarded the prestigious DEAN'S CROSS award by the Virginia Theological Seminary.

Established in November 2008, the Dean’s Cross award recognizes outstanding leaders who embody their baptismal vows to “strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being.”  Selected annually by the Seminary Dean in consultation with the Chair of the Board, the Honorees receive a handmade silver cross, modeled after the Seminary Chapel cross, and a certificate.  

“Our work here at Virginia Seminary is formation,” said the Very Rev. Ian Markham, dean and president of Virginia Seminary, “and this award celebrates the well-formed life, which involves living out the values of the baptismal covenant and making a difference in society.”



                       
   Past Recipients of the award include:

   December 7, 2014
  • Ms. Madeleine Albright from Washington, D.C.
    Former (and the first female) Secretary of State of the United States of America

   December 6, 2015
  • Mrs. Barbara Bush from Houston, TX.
    Former First Lady of the United States of America




  • ON JULY 23, 2017, CALVARY CHURCH  WELCOMED MEMBERS OF ST. MARY'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH FROM WAYNE, PENNSYLVANIA
Fr. Joseph Smith, Rector, and Members of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Wayne, PA  were in the Charleston area on July 23 for a mission trip with a group called Home Works. They worked primarily on John's Island, bringing around 22 youth and adults. Calvary extended our warmest welcome to these travelers to worship with us that Sunday. 

.

 




This was a return visit for the Youth Group and group leaders of St. Mary's to do their mission work on John's Island. 
Follow the link below to see pictures from last  year's visit.


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NEWS BLOG - AROUND THE DIOCESE - Events, Resources, Services

posted Jun 15, 2016, 2:30 PM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated Aug 21, 2018, 11:33 AM ]

Federal judge sets March 1 as target for trial

8/10/2018

U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Gergel has set March 1, 2019 as the target date for a trial in the federal false-advertising and trademark infringement lawsuit against a breakaway group that left The Episcopal Church.
 
In an Amended Scheduling Order issued Thursday, the judge set a timetable for filing motions, identifying witnesses, and other legal steps aiming toward the March 1 date for a trial in the case, known as vonRosenberg v. Lawrence.
 
Prior to the order, the case had been set for trial in September. The new schedule comes after Judge Gergel allowed the expansion of the lawsuit in April, adding as defendants to the case the diocesan organization and trustees who are operating under Bishop Mark Lawrence, and the 54 parishes that followed him after the 2012 split. Those groups have been operating under the name "Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina," and the confusion created by that is one facet of the trademark and false-advertising claims. 
 
The lawsuit was filed in March 2013 by Bishop Charles vonRosenberg, who at that time was the only bishop recognized by The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. By continuing to represent himself as bishop of the diocese, Mark Lawrence is engaging in false advertising, the lawsuit says. Bishop vonRosenberg retired in 2016, and his successor, Bishop Gladstone B. Adams III, was added as a plaintiff in the case. The Episcopal Church and its local diocese, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC), also joined the case as plaintiffs, alleging that the group affiliated with Bishop Lawrence is holding itself out in ways that cause similar confusion.
 
The federal case is key to resolving trademark issues raised by the split. In a separate case, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in August 2017 that property of the diocese and 29 parishes must be returned to The Episcopal Church and TECSC. That decision resulted from a state lawsuit filed by the breakaway group in 2013 against The Episcopal Church and TECSC.

Open Conversations a step forward in ‘holy work’ of reconciliation

7/20/2018

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PictureBishop Adams speaks in Bluffton.
Three “Open Conversations” in Conway, Charleston and Bluffton this week brought together hundreds of Episcopalians and Anglicans to join in the “holy work” of reconciliation in the diocese and the churches of eastern South Carolina.

The Rev. William Coyne, Missioner for Returning Congregations for The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, reported on Thursday to the Diocesan Council about the three events, which drew 80 people in Conway on Monday, 211 in Charleston on Tuesday and 154 in Bluffton on Wednesday.

“As we await the court setting in motion the implementation plan and timeline for returning congregations, we began by listening, sharing information, and collecting contacts of those who wish to be partners in building the new future together,” Fr. Coyne told the Council.

The Conversations were an important step on the road toward reconciliation, according to Bishop Skip Adams. “We’ve said all along the way that we’ve wanted to have the opportunity to talk to people in the pews,” the Bishop told Diocesan Council members.

At each meeting, a majority of those who came are attending churches that are now part of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, but a significant number also identified themselves as members of  the 29 churches that will be returning to The Episcopal Church under the August 2017 decision by the South Carolina Supreme Court. In keeping with the Open Conversation theme, participants were not required to identify themselves or their churches, but many chose to do so.

Each evening opened with an introduction from Fr. Coyne, who talked about the work that already has begun toward an orderly return of the congregations to the Episcopal Church, and invited everyone to participate in it. “We have holy work to do,” he told the participants.

Bishop Adams began with Scripture (Philippians 4:4-7, “Rejoice in the Lord always…”) and with prayer, inviting people to join in one of his favorites from the Book of Common Prayer’s ordination and Good Friday liturgies:

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry sent his greetings via a video, filmed during The Episcopal Church’s General Convention July 5-13 in Austin Texas, offering with his prayers and encouragement to all who are coming together to work toward reconciliation.


A video message from the Presiding Bishop, delivered at the three Open Conversations July 16-18.
PictureFr. Bill Coyne, center, listens during the Open Conversation in Charleston on July 17.

Bishop Adams closed his remarks with two quotations from the Rt. Rev. Gray Temple (1914-1999), who served from 1961-1982 as the 11th Bishop of our diocese:

“It is not we who can heal the wounds in his Body…It is only by coming closer to him that we can come nearer to one another. And we cannot by ourselves come closer to him.” And:

“Let individuals or groups within the body contend vehemently for the truth as they see it; that is their contribution to the life of the body; but let them not rend or break the body itself, and let the body rejoice in them all.”

Later, the program moved into four “table conversations” around the room, each staffed by clergy and lay leaders of TECSC. Topics for the tables were an introduction for returning congregations; worship and faith, practical matters, and communication. People circulated freely among the tables for about 75 minutes.

Table leaders were focused on listening and hearing concerns and questions, including points of difference and disagreement. While the conversations at times were difficult, “everyone remained respectful,” Bishop Adams told the Diocesan Council. People frequently were seen hugging or shaking hands as they wrapped up their conversations.

Picture
any who attended from TECSC congregations came to show support for people who are concerned about the future of their church homes. They also had questions, particularly about ways to connect with people in the disaffiliated churches who are seeking more information. Some participants from disaffiliated churches said their leaders had discouraged members from attending.

Copies of a newly updated FAQ document were available for everyone, with extra copies to take home. The FAQ, available here, offers answers to many of the questions that came up at the Open Conversations.

Not knowing how many people to expect, the diocese chose venues in community buildings that would accommodate 140-180 people, so the large turnout meant space was tight and, in Bluffton, overflowing. Once conversations began around the room, it was sometimes difficult to hear at the tables, participants said. Diocesan leaders are encouraging people who still have questions or concerns to contact Fr. Coyne directly: wcoyne@episcopalchurchsc.org or (843) 614-0679.

“This was a beginning,” Bishop Adams told the Diocesan Council. “We wanted to try this and see, and we will be learning from them.”

 
ORANGEBURG, S.C. — The Chief Administrative Judge of the 1st Judicial Circuit, Judge Edgar W. Dickson, met today with attorneys to begin setting a timetable for resolving how to implement the transfer of diocesan and parish property back to The Episcopal Church under an August 2017 decision by the South Carolina Supreme Court.

After a 32-minute scheduling conference at the Orangeburg County Courthouse, the judge asked attorneys for each side to provide a list of the issues they believe he needs to decide in executing the decision the Supreme Court remitted to his court. Attorneys for both sides said they would provide the list in 1 week. No other dates were set.

Judge Dickson opened the conference by acknowledging the complexity of the case, which involves 29 plaintiff parishes and all property and assets of the Diocese of South Carolina. He stressed the need to move forward with resolving it.

“I don’t want this case to drag out,” he said. “I need to move this along, and you all need to get some resolution.”

Chancellor Thomas S. Tisdale Jr., representing The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC), suggested that the judge could give all parties a schedule for submitting briefs on outstanding issues, and then set aside one day for a hearing on all of them. “We are quite sensitive to your suggestion to terminate this whole thing as soon as possible,” he said.

Nineteen attorneys appeared representing the plaintiffs of the breakaway group on the left side of the courtroom, with four for TECSC and The Episcopal Church on the right. A handful of spectators included Mark Lawrence, bishop of the group that broke away from The Episcopal Church in 2012 and initiated the lawsuit in January 2013.

The Episcopal Church and TECSC have asked Judge Dickson to consider appointing a judge called a Special Master to oversee the complex process of returning property and assets. They also have petitioned for a full accounting of all assets held by the breakaway group.

Another issue for the court is a second lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs in November 2017 under a South Carolina law known as the “betterments statute,” seeking compensation for improvements to properties. The Episcopal Church and TECSC have filed a motion to dismiss that case. 

Another pending motion from the plaintiffs is to have the case designated as “complex.” Plaintiff’s attorney Alan Runyan told the judge the intent of seeking “complex” designation is to be sure the same judge handles both the Supreme Court decision and the betterments case.

“I don’t think anybody’s going to jump into this," Judge Dickson said, laughing, "but if somebody calls me, I’ll let you know."


TECSC seeks accounting of church assets

7/11/2018

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The Episcopal Church and The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) have petitioned the 1st Circuit Court of Common Pleas to order a full accounting of all assets held by a group that broke away from the church in 2012.

The petition, filed July 10 with the Court of Common Pleas in the 1st Judicial Circuit, would affect the diocesan organizations and 29 parishes that the South Carolina Supreme Court decided in August 2017 must be returned to The Episcopal Church. All were plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in 2013 against The Episcopal Church and TECSC by the breakaway group led by Mark Lawrence.

The accounting would "allow this Court to equitably proceed in this matter" to restore property to The Episcopal Church and TECSC and compensate them for any loss in value of property since the split occurred in October 2012.

The case has been remitted to the 1st Circuit court so that the state Supreme Court's decision can be executed. In May, The Episcopal Church and TECSC petitioned the court to implement the decision and appoint a judge called a “special master” to oversee the complex process of returning the property and assets.

The Chief Administrative Judge of the circuit, Judge Edgar Dickson, has scheduled a status conference for July 26. Such conferences typically are held to set a schedule for disposing of the case.

The new Petition for an Accounting asks the court to order a report on the identity and value of all assets that must be turned over in accordance with the SC Supreme Court order. It also asks for an accounting of all assets that were held by the plaintiffs as of October 2008, and what has been their disposition since then.

The petition asks the court to appoint the Charleston accounting firm of Dixon, Hughes and Goodman LLP, to conduct the accounting.

Reports would be required from the Trustees of the Diocese of South Carolina, the corporation of "The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” Camp St. Christopher, and each of the 29 parishes that the SC Supreme Court declared are to be returned.

The petition seeks all audit reports, audited financial statements and managed investment accounts, bank statements, budgets, data on fund transfers, and information on legal fees and related expenses from January 1, 2008 onward. It also asks for all documents that establish restrictions on the use of funds.

Upcoming Events & Activities Around the Diocese

posted May 23, 2016, 3:48 PM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated Aug 21, 2018, 11:44 AM ]

TECSC News Blog

CPG 'Planning for Wellness' Conference

September 13-14 in North Charleston
The Church Pension Group (CPG) offers a "Planning for Wellness" conference for all active clergy in The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. This will be at the North Charleston Marriott. Save the date; registration information coming soon.  

Social Media Sunday

September 30, 2018 across the diocese
An annual Sunday that helps draw attention to how Christians can share the Good News through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media. Bring your smartphone or tablet to church! Learn about #SMS18 here. 

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Diocesan Convention

November 16-17
The 228th Diocesan Convention of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina will be at Holy Communion, Charleston beginning Friday, November 16 and concluding Saturday, November 17. More details will come when the Call to Convention is issued in August.



The location for the
228th Annual Convention:

Church of the Holy Communion
218 Ashley Ave.
Charleston, SC 29403
Website: holycomm.org

FRIDAY WORKSHOP
LOCATION:


Calvary Episcopal Church
106 Line St.
Charleston, SC 29403
Website: calvarych.org


Call to Convention
November 16-17, 2018

“Faith, Hope, and Love”


Notice is hereby given that the Annual Convention of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina will be held at the Church of the Holy Communion in Charleston, South Carolina on November 16-17, 2018. Our theme will be “Faith, Hope, and Love.”

We are delighted to have Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest, social entrepreneur, speaker and author, as our convention speaker and workshop leader. The founder and president of Thistle Farms, a global community of survivors of trafficking and addiction that includes justice enterprises, she is widely honored her for work as an entrepreneur and justice advocate.

As usual, Diocesan Convention this year will present opportunities to accomplish two primary goals: to do the necessary work for our diocese at its annual convention and to participate in the annual reunion of the people of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

Three Deanery Meetings are being scheduled prior to Convention. These meetings are to include all clergy, delegates and alternates for the Convention. Attendance at these meetings is important, as they are the venue for:
  • Discussion of the 2019 program and budget
  • Introduction of nominees for diocesan offices
  • Proposed resolutions

Southern Deanery: Saturday, October 6 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mark's, Port Royal.

Peninsula Charleston/West Charleston: Wednesday, October 10 at 7:00 p.m. at Church of the Holy Communion, Charleston

Pee Dee-Waccamaw:  Sunday, October 14 at 3:00 p.m. at Church of the Messiah, Myrtle Beach.

**If you cannot attend the meeting scheduled for your deanery, you are welcome to attend another one.

Preliminary Convention Schedule 
(subject to change prior to November 16)

Friday, November 16 
9:00 a.m. Workshop Registration Opens (at Calvary Episcopal Church)
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Workshop led by Becca Stevens
1:00 p.m. Registration Opens
2:00-5:40 p.m. Break-Out Informational Sessions


  • 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. Constitution & Canons
  • 2:30 – 3:00 p.m. Resolutions Committee
  • 3:20 – 3:50 p.m. Budget
  • 4:00 – 4:30 p.m. Delegate Orientation
  • 4:40 – 5:10 p.m. General Convention Roundtable
  • 5:10 – 5:40 p.m. Meet the Nominees
  • 6:00 p.m. Call to Order, followed immediately by Convention Eucharist. The Right Reverend Gladstone Adams, Preacher and Celebrant
  • 7:30 p.m. Welcome Dinner (included with delegate and visitor registration)

Saturday, November 17
​8:00 a.m.  Late registration/check-in. Coffee and light breakfast (included with registration)
9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer followed by morning business session.
12:00 p.m. Box lunches served (included with registration)
1:00 p.m. Afternoon business session
 
Elections at Convention

The Convention will hold elections for the following positions:
  • Standing Committee: 2 lay members and 2 clergy members, 3 year terms
  • Diocesan Council: 2 lay members and 2 clergy members, 3 year terms
  • University of the South Board of Trustees: 1 clergy member, 3 year term
  • Trustees of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina: 3 lay members and 3 clergy members, term varies

All nominations must have the approval of the person being nominated, and must be received by the Secretary of Convention by Monday, September 17, 2018, in order to be included in preconvention materials. Nominators must be members of the Convention (lay delegates or members of the clergy). Available online are the Notice of Elections and the Nomination Form. (A printable nomination form is available here.)

Resolutions

Members of the Diocese are invited to submit resolutions for consideration at the Convention. These must follow the format and guidelines described in the Notice of Submittal of Resolutions, which is available here. All resolutions must be received by the Secretary of Convention no later than Monday, September 17, 2018, in order to be included in pre-convention materials.  

Resolutions affecting the Constitution and Canons must be submitted to the Committee on Constitutions and Canons. These also must be received by September 17, 2018. All may be submitted to convention@episcopalchurchsc.org.

Registration Procedures

Each Parish and Mission is asked to register online, and register all their delegates, alternates and clergy at one time. Clergy who are not directly affiliated with a delegation may register individually. Visitors may register with the delegation or on their own. The online registration link can be found here. Registration cost is $75 per delegate, $50 per visitor, $30 for Friday night Eucharist and dinner only. Payment may be made online or sent to the Diocesan Office by mail.

Registration materials for clergy and delegates must be received by the diocesan office by 12:00 pm Friday, October 5.

Visitors, including the news media, are welcome to attend all convention events, but must be registered in advance by Tuesday, October 30. A visitor registration charge of $50 is required for meals and printed materials. Late registrations after the deadline will be an additional $10 per person.

Registration for the Friday workshop with Becca Stevens is $25.00 and includes lunch. Attendance is encouraged, but optional. These workshops are open to everyone in the diocese. Lay leaders and clergy in parishes, missions and worship groups are encouraged to attend. The workshops will take place at Calvary Episcopal Church located at 106 Line Street. Please register by Tuesday, October 30, 2018. 


All canonically resident clergy serving in a parish are expected to attend the annual diocesan convention. Please make it a priority on your calendar from year to year. Normally, only a parish or family emergency requiring your attention should intervene. If you do need to be absent from convention and believe you have an otherwise compelling reason, it is expected that a letter stating the reason and asking permission to be absent be sent to the Bishop.

Hotel Accommodations

Clergy and delegates are responsible for making their own arrangements for lodging, if needed.

Rooms at several price-points have been reserved for the Convention on November 16. To secure these special Convention rates, contact these hotels directly by October 15. (The reserved rooms will be released after that time and the rates may not be honored.) If you need financial assistance, please contact the Diocesan Office.

A list of hotel rates and contact information can be found here.

+     +     +

I look forward to welcoming you to Convention in November.

Peace in Christ,

Callie

The Venerable Calhoun Walpole, Archdeacon
Secretary of Convention

CALVARY EPISCOPAL CHURCH WELCOMES REVEREND MATTHEW W. MCCORMICK

posted Mar 13, 2016, 11:55 AM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated Jul 21, 2018, 4:46 PM by joan bonaparte ]

CALVARY EPISCOPAL CHURCH WELCOMES REVEREND MATTHEW W. MCCORMICK AS THEIR NEW PRIEST-IN-CHARGE

The Vestry and Congregation of Calvary Episcopal Church is pleased to welcome the Reverend Matthew Wright McCormick as the new Priest-in-Charge at Calvary Church. Reverend "Matt" is gifted as a committed follower of Christ, a preacher and teacher, a dynamic worship leader, a man sensitive to and committed to multi-cultural ministry and a warm, vibrant welcoming pastor, who is well prepared and good at plugging people into ministries. He will officially begin in the office on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 and preside over his first service on Sunday, August 5. A welcome reception will follow the service.

Reverend McCormick grew up a cradle Episcopalian in the coastal city of Jacksonville, Florida. He graduated in 2001 from the College of Charleston and met his lovely wife, Lisa, during his early years working in the marketing and hospitality industry in our great city. He enjoys southern cooking, Charleston arts and music, great stories, and spending time with Lisa and their precious son, Colson.

Matt was ordained to the priesthood in 2008. He is a graduate of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania; he has received a Masters of Theology degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is currently working on doctoral studies. He has returned to Charleston with his family after serving as rector of Messiah Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. Previously, he served as vicar of the Church of the Resurrection in North Charleston, South Carolina. Prior to that, he was an associate rector at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Charleston, a large congregation where he served in a variety of roles.

We prayerfully anticipate what God desires to do among us through Father Matt.




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HOUSE OF DEPUTIES MEDAL AWARDED TO LONNIE HAMILTON

posted Feb 1, 2016, 4:42 PM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated Jul 21, 2018, 5:08 PM by joan bonaparte ]

House of Deputies Medal Awarded to Lonnie Hamilton





Lonnie Hamilton with the President of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings,
onstage with the rest of the South Carolina deputation and Bishop Skip Adams.

On July 10, the House of Deputies Medal was awarded to Lonnie Hamilton III, a lay deputy for South Carolina. House of Deputies President Gay Clark Jennings presented the award, honoring Lonnie's leadership and witness in serving the Church through a time of division and the ongoing reorganization in our diocese. Our deputation and Bishop Adams accompanied him to the stage as he received a standing ovation from more than 800 people present in the House of Deputies.

Watch the video here - the presentation begins at about 17:00 minutes.

Here is the text of President Jennings' presentation:

Now, back in 2012, we had a little excitement at General Convention. ... At that convention, held in the great diocese of Indianapolis, some of those gathered among us decided to leave the convention and, ultimately, to leave the Episcopal Church. Just one loyal Episcopalian from the former Diocese of South Carolina remained, and he is a gifted educator, a civil rights advocate, and an astonishing jazz saxophonist and clarinetist who has also been a faithful member of our church for more than 60 years. And through it all, he has never stopped working and praying and hoping that the people of his former diocese will find a way to come back together so that we all may be one."

Deputy Lonnie Hamilton of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina has been a member of Calvary Episcopal Church in Charleston for 57 years and served on the vestry, as choirmaster, and in many other leadership roles. He has served on the Standing Committee and the Diocesan Council in South Carolina, and this is his sixth General Convention as a deputy or alternate. He is a retired administrator with the Charleston County School District and served his community as a member of Charleston County Council for more than 20 years. He was the first African American to serve on that body and was twice elected as its chairman.

The House of Deputies is not, as you can imagine, the first organization to honor Lonnie’s faithful ministry. When he received the Dean’s Cross Award from Virginia Theological Seminary last year, the citation noted that Lonnie has “a reputation not only as a gifted educator but also as a charismatic figure who was popular with students and who could help ease tensions at Bonds-Wilson and other North Charleston area schools resulting from the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision. In the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo, he led the diocesan Community Housing Development Organization, which has converted dozens of properties into affordable housing units.”

As if all this weren’t enough, Lonnie toured with the Jenkins Orphanage Bands in the mid-1940s and played with his own band, Lonnie Hamilton and the Diplomats, which was the signature jazz band in Charleston for decades.

For his distinguished service to the Episcopal Church and to the community we serve in Charleston, South Carolina, I am honored to award the House of Deputies medal to Deputy Lonnie Hamilton.





Frequently Asked Questions is now available online.

posted Oct 26, 2015, 8:07 AM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated Jul 23, 2018, 2:40 PM ]

(Updated July 16, 2018)
Read, download and share here.


UPDATED FAQ NOW AVAILABLE


We invite you to explore our new “Frequently Asked Questions” supplement. This is offered to provide information and share hope for a future that remains grounded in the love of God in the reconciliation in the diocese and the churches of eastern South Carolina.. ​
Read, download & share it here. >

The "Frequently Asked Questions" document published by our diocese in May has been updated, and is now available online. The new version includes important updates, such as the contact information for our Missioner for Returning Congregations, the Rev. William Coyne. Please read, download and share this supplement with anyone you know who has questions.



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Prayers for Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

posted Oct 23, 2015, 9:04 AM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated Aug 7, 2018, 12:09 PM ]


Presiding Bishop Michael Curry resting after cancer surgery

Posted on: August 1, 2018 10:17 AM   http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2018/08/presiding-bishop-michael-curry-resting-after-cancer-surgery.aspx
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry of the US-based Episcopal Church.
Photo Credit: TEC
Related Categories: Abp Curry, health, prayer, Primates, USA

The Presiding Bishop of the US-based Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, is resting comfortably after surgery yesterday (Tuesday) following a diagnosis of prostate cancer. Bishop Michael announced last week in an open letter published by TEC’s Public Affairs office that he had decided on surgical treatment “after a variety of tests, consultations, and conversations with my wife and daughters.” The surgery was to remove his prostate gland and in last week’s statement, Bishop Michael said that “the prognosis looks very good and quite positive.”

Yesterday, TEC issued a statement in which they said: “According to the presiding bishop’s family and his medical team, the surgery went well, as had been expected. Bishop Curry is resting, and a full recovery continues to be anticipated.”

They said that Bishop Michael “and his family are touched by the outpouring of prayers and well wishes. In their thankfulness, they ask for privacy during his recovery.”

The Presiding Bishop anticipates resuming his duties in September.




Presiding Bishop to have surgery for prostate cancer

'The prognosis looks very good and quite positive'

Posted Jul 25, 2018
https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2018/07/25/presiding-bishop-to-have-surgery-for-prostate-cancer/

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry



[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry announced July 25 that he will soon undergo surgery for prostate cancer.


Dear Friends in Christ,

A few months ago, through my annual physical, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After a variety of tests, consultations, and conversations with my wife and daughters, I decided on a surgical treatment course. On this coming Tuesday, July 31st, I will have surgery to remove the prostate gland.

I am happy to say that the prognosis looks very good and quite positive. I have spoken with several others who have gone through this, and who have offered both encouragement and helpful advice. I will be in the hospital for at least a day, then at home to recuperate.

I’ve been told that 4-6 weeks is a reasonable time to anticipate. I plan to resume my duties in early September and I do not anticipate any significant changes in my commitments.

I am very blessed with a wonderful family, a first-rate medical team, a great staff, dear colleagues and friends, a calling to which I have given my life, and above all a good, great and loving God in whose hands we always remain. So, do say a prayer. And know that I look forward to being back at my post in September.

God bless you, and keep the faith,

+Michael

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

 




The Gathering at the Table Group meets on Tuesdays 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

posted Sep 28, 2015, 2:19 PM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated Mar 10, 2018, 2:23 AM ]







The Gathering at the Table group was formed through the initiative of Judith Ewing, an Episcopal deacon who serves at East Cooper Episcopal Church.  She sought out the Rev. Michael Burton, a supply priest at Calvary, about setting up an initial gathering.  Members of Calvary Episcopal Church and members of East Cooper Episcopal Church meet in the Calvary Church Parish Hall each Tuesday evening to share their perspectives on matters of race - past and present. 

Originally scheduled to meet for four weeks in October, 2015, the group has bonded and grown in their commitment.  They continue to meet, entertaining lively and healing discussions.  All are invited and encouraged to attend.




  • The Gatherers visited the National Museum of African American History in Washington, DC on August 28 - 30, 2017.
  • The East Cooper Episcopal Church has a new home. They now hold Sunday services at 10:00 A.M. at the J. Henry Stuhr Mount Pleasant Chapel at 1494 Mathis Ferry Road, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
  • The Gatherers attended the dedication ceremony at the Penn Center in Beaufort, SC and were excited to speak with The Honorable James Clyburn after his presentation.
    Members pictured here left to right: Wallace and Joan Bonaparte, Congressman Clyburn, Hannah Heyward and Masha Britten.

  • The Gatherers viewed the movie 13th and are holding ongoing discussions.











Picture

'Gather Around the Table'

Friday, June 17, marks one year since the night a gunman took the lives of nine people at Emanuel AME Church. As we remember this anniversary, may we pause in prayer for the people who died, for those who still mourn, and for every life that was irrevocably affected by the tragedy of that night in 2015.

The following article represents one way in which people in The Episcopal Church in South Carolina are responding after Emanuel to seek a path toward understanding and reconciliation. In the days ahead, we encourage others to share their stories, too.

O God, it is your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace. Let the design of your great love shine on the pains of our woundedness, confusion and great sorrow, and continue to bring peace to our community, peace to your Church, peace among peoples, and peace in our homes. And may the balm of your reconciling love lived out among us continue to soothe our suffering hearts. All this we pray in name of our wounded and risen Savior, God with us, Jesus Christ. Amen.

​It’s a June evening in Charleston, and the back door of the church is unlocked. People come in at their own pace, embracing, smiling, setting down plates of cookies on the big table in the parish hall.

No one speaks of it yet, but on everyone’s mind is a June evening in Charleston almost one year earlier, when nine people were shot dead just a mile away at Emanuel AME Church, in an African American congregation that opened its doors and invited the killer into their weekly Bible study.

The horror of June 17, 2015 and the days that followed gave way to deep grief, and deep questions. How could this have happened? What could I be doing to change that? How can we find bridges across the barriers of race?

Every Tuesday night, a small group from two local Episcopal churches, East Cooper and Calvary, have been meeting to see if they can find some answers. The name they have given themselves reflects the simple agenda for the group: “Gatherers Around the Table.”

After the massacre at Mother Emanuel, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina accelerated its plan to offer anti-racism training for the diocese – training that is required by Episcopal Church canons, but was never offered until a rift in 2012 brought new leadership. Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg, who took office in January 2013, immediately put anti-racism training on his  short-list of needs for the reorganizing diocese, and the first one was on the calendar when the Emanuel tragedy struck.

In September 2015, Calvary hosted one of four “Traces of the Trade” conferences offered around the diocese. Each event encouraged people to open their minds and hearts to conversations about the legacy of slavery and racism.

Judith Ewing, an Episcopal deacon who serves at East Cooper, was at the Calvary program. “I realized how ignorant I was,” she said. “I realized the importance of relationships, of just getting to know each other. I just knew we needed to gather at the table.”
 
She quickly sought out the Rev. Michael Burton, a supply priest at Calvary, about setting up an initial gathering. The first one happened in October: Six people from each congregation, who committed to meeting every Tuesday for a trial run of six weeks.

Like Emanuel, Calvary has deep roots in Charleston’s history, founded in 1847 for “religious instruction” of enslaved African Americans. For years, it housed the only preschool and kindergarten for African American children on the Charleston peninsula, and many leaders passed through its doors. The first black jurist to serve on an appellate court in the United States, Jonathan Jasper Wright, was buried in its churchyard in 1885.

By comparison, the East Cooper Episcopal Church is in its infancy. Approved as a new mission congregation at Diocesan Convention in 2014, it serves the predominantly white suburbs across the Cooper River from Charleston. It was formed by Episcopalians who were left without a place to worship when churches in that area went with the breakaway group that left The Episcopal Church in 2012.
 
With widely different backgrounds, the two groups shared one common characteristic: Curiosity, and a desire to learn about each other.
 
Their first meeting was planned as a simple Bible study, “because that would be sweet and safe and nobody would say anything that will upset anybody,” Ewing said. “But I said, ‘Maybe we need to say things that upset people.’”
 
Artist and educator Marlene O’Bryant-Seabrook was there, and had the same reaction. Ewing recalls her saying: “I’ve been to many Bible studies, and nobody ever mentions the elephant in the middle of the room. Why can’t we mention the elephant in the room?”
 
Eight months later, the elephant is still loose. Trayvon Martin and Freddie Gray. The challenges of growing up in a mixed-race family. Assumptions about intelligence. Co-workers who act friendly, but never get close. The Spoleto production of “Porgy and Bess.” Ethnic foods they like and dislike. It’s all on the table when they gather.
 
“We’ve never put aside anything, or say ‘We mustn’t talk about that.’ We talk about everything,” Deacon Ewing says.
 

Along the way, others have joined. One member recently moved from New York after years in churches that were active in social justice issues, looking for a community in Charleston where that could keep happening. Another regular Gatherer is a social worker from another church who came with an East Cooper friend.  “I thought I knew almost everything about black culture, especially in Charleston,” she says, laughing. “But I don’t.”

Dr. O’Bryant-Seabrook, a Calvary member in her 80s, has become the group’s matriarch and historian. On the recent Tuesday night in June, she gave them all an assignment: Come up with a personal statement about why they came to be “Gatherers Around the Table,” and then create a small journal-quilt to illustrate it. A few skeptical looks were exchanged around the table, but the group quickly warmed up to the task of explaining why they come to the meetings week after week.
 
The Tuesday before the Emanuel anniversary, they were putting the final touches on their letter-sized pieces of fabric art filled with color, symbols, and words like Curious, Sharing, Understanding, Love, and Hope. Beside an image of Emanuel, one proclaims: “Hate Will Not Win!”
 
As a child growing up in Charleston, Dr. O’Bryant-Seabrook says, “I could not go three blocks without passing a church. I remember asking my mother, ‘I would like to know what they’re praying for.’ With all the inequities and oppression, I wondered, were they praying for something that black churches were not praying for?”
 
Decades later, those questions persist. “I wanted to be a part of this group because for a long, long, long, long time, I wanted to be comfortable in a group of caucasians and blacks where we can actually, openly, honestly and safely discuss what happens, and why it happens,” she says.

As the members of the group went around the room, the words “safe place” came up again and again.
 
“When we started, we said we weren’t’ going to judge, or say “You shouldn’t be saying that,” Deacon Ewing says. “We were going to accept each one in our knowledge and our ignorance, and love each other anyway.”
 
As the gathering wraps up, the group continues to share their ideas as they pass the plates of cookies around the table. “When you eat with somebody, it changes the whole dynamic,” one woman says. “It gives me a lot of hope.”
 
In the words of Anne Nietert’s journal quilt: “Anger exploded into the Palmetto night, but, in the shadows, a new day is dawning as we Gather at the Table to learn, to listen, and to love.” 
 
Holly Behre, Director of Communications
The Episcopal Church in South Carolina

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