SC bishop found not to have left Episcopal Church

By BRUCE SMITH | November 29, 2011 | 10:10 AM EST

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A committee of the national Episcopal Church has found that the bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina has not abandoned the church.

The conservative diocese in the eastern part of the state has distanced itself — but not split from — the national church because of concerns about the ordination of gays and other issues.

The committee was reviewing information submitted to it from local members about Bishop Mark Lawrence. If the committee had made formal charges that Lawrence had abandoned the Episcopal Church, he could ultimately have been deposed.

The committee met last week and issued a statement late Monday on its decision.

The Diocese of South Carolina is one of the oldest Episcopal Dioceses in the nation, dating to the American Revolution.