Bp. Waldo: 'We Don't Like Being at War'
  • Tuesday, November 1, 2011

When the Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo planned a trip to New York to hear his son play lead cello in a concert, he also made an appointment to visit Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the Episcopal Church Center.

That meeting, scheduled for Nov. 2, takes on added meaning now that the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, which Waldo leads, has called for more reconciliation efforts between the Diocese of South Carolina and the wider Episcopal Church.

Waldo will deliver a copy of the resolution, approved by his diocese’s annual convention Oct. 21, that asks Jefferts Schori and Bishop Mark J. Lawrence to “come together in person at a mutually convenient time and place in order to strengthen the bonds of our community” and “engage in healing conversation regarding the ongoing tensions between the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina.”

Waldo delivered a copy to Bishop Lawrence when they met for lunch Oct. 24. The resolution echoed many of the concerns he expressed in a guest column for The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C.

Waldo emphasized that the resolution was not a response to allegations brought to the Disciplinary Board for Bishops that accuse Lawrence of abandoning the Episcopal Church. Instead, he told The Living Church, the resolution is an effort to defuse tensions by changing the nature of the discussion.

“I simply believe that we need to hit a pause button and reflect on how we manage our life together as the body of Christ,” he said.

“The most important question to ask, for me, is what is at stake for one another,” the bishop said. “We may know what’s at stake for ourselves, but I don’t think we know what’s at stake for others. Then we can have a very different conversation. We can begin to discover what we’re willing to give up for one another.”

Waldo said he and Lawrence became friends when he attended a House of Bishops meeting as a bishop-elect. “I was yet to be consecrated, but my consents were in,” he said. “We took a long walk for about 90 minutes. We talk on a rather regular basis and pray for one another.”

“We need Bishop Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina in the Episcopal Church,” Waldo wrote in his guest column for The State. “We need their witness and their challenge. We need their love even as, I believe, they need ours. We need the Diocese of South Carolina to say that it is of us and for us, even if it disagrees — vehemently — with most of us. And we need to be willing to sacrifice for these our brothers and sisters as we ask them to do so for us. I believe this is for all our sakes. It is at the heart of our claims to catholicity — to unity in diversity.”

Since he wrote the column he has “received dozens and dozens of messages,” from center-left and center-right Episcopalians, who are “deeply distressed from watching the fabric tear from each side of them,” he said. “Across the state of South Carolina, we don’t like being at war.”

Waldo said that neither his column nor the convention’s resolution pose any difficulties in his relationship with the Rt. Rev. Dorsey Henderson, Jr., his predecessor as Bishop of Upper South Carolina and president of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops. “He’s got his job and I’ve got mine,” he said.

Waldo believes reconciliation remains possible, even if the disciplinary board certifies charges against Bishop Lawrence and entrusts his future to the House of Bishops.

“Some have said that my hope to change the nature of the conversation is naïve, considering the height of tensions,” he said. “A person who is close to me said that’s the voice of the world and not the voice of hope.”

When the Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo planned a trip to New York to hear his son play lead cello in a concert, he also made an appointment to visit Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the Episcopal Church Center.

That meeting, scheduled for Nov. 2, takes on added meaning now that the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, which Waldo leads, has called for more reconciliation efforts between the Diocese of South Carolina and the wider Episcopal Church.

Waldo will deliver a copy of the resolution, approved by his diocese’s annual convention Oct. 21, that asks Jefferts Schori and Bishop Mark J. Lawrence to “come together in person at a mutually convenient time and place in order to strengthen the bonds of our community” and “engage in healing conversation regarding the ongoing tensions between the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina.”

Waldo delivered a copy to Bishop Lawrence when they met for lunch Oct. 24. The resolution echoed many of the concerns he expressed in a guest column for The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C.

Waldo emphasized that the resolution was not a response to allegations brought to the Disciplinary Board for Bishops that accuse Lawrence of abandoning the Episcopal Church. Instead, he told The Living Church, the resolution is an effort to defuse tensions by changing the nature of the discussion.

“I simply believe that we need to hit a pause button and reflect on how we manage our life together as the body of Christ,” he said.

“The most important question to ask, for me, is what is at stake for one another,” the bishop said. “We may know what’s at stake for ourselves, but I don’t think we know what’s at stake for others. Then we can have a very different conversation. We can begin to discover what we’re willing to give up for one another.”

Waldo said he and Lawrence became friends when he attended a House of Bishops meeting as a bishop-elect. “I was yet to be consecrated, but my consents were in,” he said. “We took a long walk for about 90 minutes. We talk on a rather regular basis and pray for one another.”

“We need Bishop Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina in the Episcopal Church,” Waldo wrote in his guest column for The State. “We need their witness and their challenge. We need their love even as, I believe, they need ours. We need the Diocese of South Carolina to say that it is of us and for us, even if it disagrees — vehemently — with most of us. And we need to be willing to sacrifice for these our brothers and sisters as we ask them to do so for us. I believe this is for all our sakes. It is at the heart of our claims to catholicity — to unity in diversity.”

Since he wrote the column he has “received dozens and dozens of messages,” from center-left and center-right Episcopalians, who are “deeply distressed from watching the fabric tear from each side of them,” he said. “Across the state of South Carolina, we don’t like being at war.”

Waldo said that neither his column nor the convention’s resolution pose any difficulties in his relationship with the Rt. Rev. Dorsey Henderson, Jr., his predecessor as Bishop of Upper South Carolina and president of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops. “He’s got his job and I’ve got mine,” he said.

Waldo believes reconciliation remains possible, even if the disciplinary board certifies charges against Bishop Lawrence and entrusts his future to the House of Bishops.

“Some have said that my hope to change the nature of the conversation is naïve, considering the height of tensions,” he said. “A person who is close to me said that’s the voice of the world and not the voice of hope.”

Douglas LeBlanc

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