Episcopal News Service Saturday, September 16, 2006
San Joaquin priest elected Episcopal bishop of South Carolina
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
[ENS] The Very Rev. Mark J. Lawrence was elected September 16 as the fourteenth bishop of South Carolina.
Lawrence, 56, was elected out of a field of three nominees on the first ballot. According to unofficial results released by the Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall S. Harmon, canon theologian and communications coordinator for the diocese, Lawrence was elected with 42.5 lay votes and 72 clergy votes. An election required 29 votes in the lay order and 54 in the clergy order. In South Carolina, "lay votes" actually represent the votes of parishes and missions, which vote as a block. Each parish gets a single vote which must be cast by four people. At least three people within that delegation need to vote for a particular individual in order for them to cast a positive vote for a nominee. If the vote is two-two among a parish's delegates, that result is counted as a no vote. Missions are given half a vote. The two delegates must agree in order to have their half vote counted. There are 47 parishes in the diocese and 46 were present. There are 26 missions; 20 were present. The electing convention met at St. Philip's Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Lawrence is the rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Parish, in Bakersfield, California, in the Diocese of San Joaquin.
He will succeed Bishop Edward L. Salmon Jr., 72. Salmon was elected in the fall of 1989 and consecrated on February 24, 1990.
Under the canons the Episcopal Church (III.16.4(a)), a majority of the bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan Standing Committees must consent to Lawrence's ordination as bishop within 120 days of receiving notice of the election.
The consecration is planned for February 24, 2007.
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