Anyone can see that the pattern established with the four previous departures is being worked through again: a new bishop is named from above, a competing corporate structure is erected, and the battle to claim the property is commenced. The first wrinkle in this case is the move to evict Laurence before he can leave, and the (in my opinion stupid) suicide clauses in the SC canons. The problem with the latter is exactly that, had they not been enacted, the fraud of claiming to be the real diocese wouldn't be even remotely plausible.
But there is a second wrinkle, which has come to light in this review of the affair from the Anglican Communion Institute. There is rather too much evidence, not utterly conclusive to be sure, but strongly suggestive that the whole action is something of a coup against the diocese, mounted with the approval and assistance of the presiding bishop's office. Apparently all the mechanism for replacing Lawrence and the standing committee has been sitting ready for some time, awaiting only the moment when abandonment could be claimed; and that claim was made possible, it may appear, by the change in the composition of the disciplinary board. And in all of the this preparation there are traces of the presiding bishop's influence if not direct action and assistance.
And that leads directly to the other hole in all of this. One of the peculiarities of the Episcopal Church governance is a lot of checks and balances against clerical power. As a rule, parishes and dioceses pick their own bishops, and while there are counterbalances to prevent them from picking someone too objectionable, normally they cannot have someone imposed on them, and once they seat someone, it is difficult to dislodge that person, either from the inside or the outside. There is even less control over laypeople. The loophole, however, is that when there is a vacancy, some interim appointment must be made, and this is the hierarchy's entrance into control from above. The only thing preventing the naming of so inmicable a character of Jack Spong to the South Carolina throne is that he is unlikely to accept the appointment. And not only that, but a whole new standing committee may be named, populated of course from the list prepared by Lawrence's enemies.
It's hard to look at all this and not see some traces of a scheme specifically to oust Lawrence and the standing committee, and to replace both with figures more acceptable to the progressives and thus steer the diocese on a more acceptable (to them) course. And given the ACI timeline, it's extremely tempting to suspect that this was done with the knowledge and even connivance of national church offices. And once again, we're back to the four-decade-old problem: church governance only seems to work when it helps the progressives, but not when it would hinder them. Is it any wonder the SC expected to have to leave?