Pastoral Letter from the Bishop in South Carolina

‘We believe that this action is an indication that justice has been delayed’

You probably are aware that a decision from the judge in Dorchester County has been handed down and that the judge has ruled in favor of those who have left the church. Most of the Episcopalians who have followed these proceedings realized that such an outcome was completely expected and, indeed, almost a foregone conclusion. The issues in this case will have to be decided at a higher level. Nevertheless, it is disappointing – especially when so much time, energy, and money was spent in St. George and when such attention is being given by the press to what amounts only to a step in a much longer process.

I write you at this time to repeat and emphasize several important realities. First, we believe that this action is an indication that justice has been delayedYou probably are aware that a decision from the judge in Dorchester County has been handed down and that the judge has ruled in favor of those who have left the church. Most of the Episcopalians who have followed these proceedings realized that such an outcome was completely expected and, indeed, almost a foregone conclusion. The issues in this case will have to be decided at a higher level. Nevertheless, it is disappointing – especially when so much time, energy, and money was spent in St. George and when such attention is being given by the press to what amounts only to a step in a much longer process.

I write you at this time to repeat and emphasize several important realities. First, we believe that this action is an indication that justice has been delayed. As we celebrate Black History Month, we are reminded that the history of African American witness, along with others, is that delayed justice simply calls us to persevere in our efforts. That certainly is our intention at this moment. We will persevere as we seek justice, even though the personal and financial costs will be significant. The present cause requires us to respond in this way.

In addition, I call your attention to the fact that our biblical heritage includes accounts of journeys, as symbols of historical movements and of our very lives. Often, such journeys are full of pitfalls and difficulties; however, the journey itself holds the promise of a hope-filled destination. Thus, as we claim such a heritage, we, too, recognize that challenges and disappointments confront us along our way. Nevertheless, we continue to have hope that the journey’s end will be full of promise for all the people of God.

Finally, then, our goal continues to be the reconciliation to which our Lord calls us. In an ultimate sense, we do not hope for victory over others, and we certainly do not seek a uniform set of beliefs that correspond to ones we hold. Rather, we hope for a time and place where differences are appreciated and valued and where all God’s children are accepted, for the mutual benefit of everyone. This surely is faithful to the biblical vision of creation’s fulfillment. While we travel the journey before us, therefore, we continue to hold fast to such a vision for the future, which will be in the loving hands of God.

Faithfully,
Charles G. vonRosenberg

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