The Short Answer

  • By proadAccountId-400629
  • 04 Dec, 2017

Legal Situation

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
 
With the announcement of the South Carolina Supreme Court’s decision to deny our motions for recusal and re-hearing, there has once again been significant movement in our legal situation with many questions arising. The overall situation continues to be one of uncertainty, but there are two questions I would like to answer with what I call “the short answer.” The short answer is what we often need to questions that get asked in the grocery store or at work. I want to give you the short answer to two key questions that we face currently.
 
What is our current legal situation?

  • In relationship to the State Supreme Court, the Diocese and parishes have lost the original case.
  • We are appealing this ruling to the Supreme Court of the United States. We have 90 days (due by 2/15/18) to petition the court for a writ of certiorari, and there is no defined period in which the Supreme Court must respond.
  • Mediation in the federal case (primarily answering the identity question for the Diocese) resumes on Monday, December 4. If the mediation is not successful, the federal case goes to trial in March 2018.
  How did we get to the point of breaking with the Episcopal church?
  • The Episcopal Church has been on a 50+ year trajectory of denying biblical authority and setting aside orthodox Christian beliefs.
  • The issues that separate St. Helena’s and the Diocese of SC from the Episcopal Church are issues of orthodox Christian belief (the uniqueness of Christ, the virgin birth of Jesus, and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead) and biblical authority. Human sexuality controversies (“isn’t this all about the gay bishop?”) are the issues that are usually highlighted by the media but are not primary.
  • The Diocese of SC was forced out of the Episcopal Church in November 2012 due to preemptive actions taken by the national church to remove our Bishop Mark Lawrence. We were the last of five dioceses to leave the Episcopal Church because we had sought a way to work for change from within.

 The information above does not surely exhaust the questions you have, but I hope you will continue to ask. I do not want these issues to dominate our Advent conversations, but I know that we all need the short answers to these questions as we seek to witness faithfully in our community. As I have said repeatedly, our hope is not in courts or buildings, our hope is in Christ alone. Let us continue to pray for our vision, our Bishop, and our legal team.
 
With hope,
Shay+

A Word from Shay

By proadAccountId-400629 04 Dec, 2017

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
 
With the announcement of the South Carolina Supreme Court’s decision to deny our motions for recusal and re-hearing, there has once again been significant movement in our legal situation with many questions arising. The overall situation continues to be one of uncertainty, but there are two questions I would like to answer with what I call “the short answer.” The short answer is what we often need to questions that get asked in the grocery store or at work. I want to give you the short answer to two key questions that we face currently.
 
What is our current legal situation?

  • In relationship to the State Supreme Court, the Diocese and parishes have lost the original case.
  • We are appealing this ruling to the Supreme Court of the United States. We have 90 days (due by 2/15/18) to petition the court for a writ of certiorari, and there is no defined period in which the Supreme Court must respond.
  • Mediation in the federal case (primarily answering the identity question for the Diocese) resumes on Monday, December 4. If the mediation is not successful, the federal case goes to trial in March 2018.
  How did we get to the point of breaking with the Episcopal church?
  • The Episcopal Church has been on a 50+ year trajectory of denying biblical authority and setting aside orthodox Christian beliefs.
  • The issues that separate St. Helena’s and the Diocese of SC from the Episcopal Church are issues of orthodox Christian belief (the uniqueness of Christ, the virgin birth of Jesus, and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead) and biblical authority. Human sexuality controversies (“isn’t this all about the gay bishop?”) are the issues that are usually highlighted by the media but are not primary.
  • The Diocese of SC was forced out of the Episcopal Church in November 2012 due to preemptive actions taken by the national church to remove our Bishop Mark Lawrence. We were the last of five dioceses to leave the Episcopal Church because we had sought a way to work for change from within.

 The information above does not surely exhaust the questions you have, but I hope you will continue to ask. I do not want these issues to dominate our Advent conversations, but I know that we all need the short answers to these questions as we seek to witness faithfully in our community. As I have said repeatedly, our hope is not in courts or buildings, our hope is in Christ alone. Let us continue to pray for our vision, our Bishop, and our legal team.
 
With hope,
Shay+

By proadAccountId-400629 17 Nov, 2017
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” — Philippians 1:3-5

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In this season set aside for gratitude, I wanted to tell you how thankful I am to be your rector. The girls and I count it a great blessing to be a part of the family of God at St. Helena’s. Despite the challenges we face, I am more convinced than ever that God has great plans for us. The partnership we share in the Gospel is a great joy, and our Vision calls us to continued fruitfulness in Kingdom work.    
 
From all of the Gaillards, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving — safe travels, great food, and fun with family and friends.
 
With many thanks,
Shay +
By proadAccountId-400629 13 Nov, 2017

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 
This past week I had the first opportunity since we officially joined ACNA to participate in a training with our new partners in ministry. The conference I attended is known as RSVP – Rectors Summit for Vision and Planning — and was held in Concord, Massachusetts, with leaders from as far away as Idaho and Colorado.
 
Although the name describes vision and planning, the retreat is more comprehensive than that. Each day we spent a full section and a small group time on the Pastor’s Heart. I can honestly say that God really used this time to open my eyes to some unhelpful patterns and to remind me to slow down. We also had a section focused on generosity and how to lead the congregation into a greater understanding of giving in the life of a Christian. I have much to share.
 
In the midst of all of this learning, what stood out most is how blessed we are to be a part of ACNA. The leaders with which I was honored to attend are dedicated pioneers with many great strengths and gifts. They are men of prayer and deep worship. They are devoted to wrestling with theology and how to engage the secular culture. They are creative and passionate. I also realized that we are the new kids on the block. We have a lot to learn about the ethos and direction of ACNA, but I am encouraged by our partnership.
 
Finally, these brothers and sisters are concerned about our situation in the courts and are praying for us. As you know our mediation was scheduled for Monday-Wednesday. They prayed and asked me to keep them informed. You may have heard that after a day and a half the judge recessed the mediation to reconvene December 4-5. Since the proceedings are completely confidential, there is no new news. Our calling is still to pray. Even as I left the conference, I was encouraged by these new friends that we should use the resources they possessed after so many of them walked the same path we are on. It was a great reminder of why a province is so important.
 
As we move forward, I am so thankful for the partnership we have in the Anglican Church in North America to “reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ.” Please keep all of our leaders in your prayers, especially our Bishop and the legal team. We trust in God’s perfect plan.

With hope,
Shay +

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