A steering committee, in consultation with the bishop of the national Episcopal Church, has appointed a retired Tennessee bishop to serve as the provisional leader of Lowcountry Episcopalians who want to remain with the U.S. church.
The Rt. Rev. Charles Glenn vonRosenberg, who has ties to South Carolina, could be elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina when Lowcountry clergy and laypeople meet in a special convention Jan. 26. National Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will preside over the special convention.
But the elevation is not likely to come without a legal fight. A majority of churches and clergy with the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina have fled with former Episcopal Bishop Mark Lawrence, who asserts that those remaining behind have no right to affiliate under the diocese name. The Lowcountry congregations affiliated with Lawrence have filed suit against the national church in hopes of preserving about $500 million in property. Lawrence’s group believes Jefferts Schoiri cannot conduct a convention because the diocese predates the establishment of The Episcopal Church.
VonRosenberg, who previously served in the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, would be installed during the special meeting Jan. 26 at Grace Episcopal Church. At least 19 parishes and missions and six worship communities in the diocese have indicated they are remaining with The Episcopal Church, officials said.