South Carolina fires first salvo in legal battle with TEC
Lawsuit filed on 4 Jan 2013 to decide who is an Episcopalian in South Carolina
January 5, 2013
By George Conger
A South Carolina court has been asked “Who and what are Episcopalians and how is that church organized?” after the Diocese of South Carolina filed a lawsuit yesterday against the national Episcopal Church. The 65-page complaint asks the court to issue an injunction banning Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her allies in South Carolina from using the name or presuming to act on behalf of the diocese and further asks the court to affirm the legality of the diocese’s secession from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America.
Filed on 4 January 2013 in the First Judicial Circuit Court in Dorchester County by the trustees of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and 16 parishes, the complaint asks the civil courts to adjudicate the same general questions currently before the Texas Supreme Court in the Diocese of Fort Worth case. South Carolina has asked the court to legal scrutiny Bishop Jefferts Schori’s claim the Episcopal Church of the United States of America is a hierarchical body with final authority vested in the national church.
Yesterday’s action follows a generation of sparing between liberals and conservatives in the Episcopal Church over issues of doctrine and discipline. However, the legal and ecclesiological issues of diocesan autonomy and national authority arose in 2006 after Bishop Jefferts Schori was elected presiding bishop. Unlike her predecessor Frank Griswold who told the Diocese of Louisiana that ultimate authority rested in the diocese, Bishop Jefferts Schori has argued that ultimate authority resides in the General Convention and in her office. the rest
A.S. Haley: DioSC in Preemptive Strike against ECUSA's Attempted Identity Theft
The Diocese of South Carolina and its incorporated parishes have filed a preemptive lawsuit against the Episcopal Church (USA), an unincorporated religious denomination composed of other member dioceses, whose leadership has been busily engaged in trying to steal away the Diocese's secular identity.
(What a strange opening paragraph for a church law blogger. In what other field or area of human interest under the sun could such a description apply to what is going on? And the fact that these are all Christians we are talking about in ECUSA's leadership makes this development even more paradoxical.)
ECUSA has been asking for such a response for over four months now. No sooner had the Presiding Bishop announced last October that she had restricted Bishop Mark Lawrence from functioning in his episcopal office in South Carolina than the Diocese -- having anticipated such an attempt against its Bishop -- responded that ECUSA's move had triggered a series of resolutions which automatically declared the Diocese no longer a member of the national Church organization...
Statement from Bishop Lawrence
"...Our suit asks the court to prevent TEC from infringing on the protected marks of the Diocese, including its seal and its historical names, and to prevent it from assuming the Diocese’s identity, which was established long before TEC was formed. It also asks the court to protect our parish and Diocesan property, including church buildings and rectories, which our forefathers built and even shed blood over, and you have maintained without any investment of any kind from the national church..."
Diocese Seeks Declaratory Judgment to Prevent Episcopal Church from Seizing Local Parishes and "Hijacking" their Identities
Lawsuit Background Information
Myrtle Beach, Conway parishes join lawsuit against The Episcopal Church
A number of S.C. Episcopal parishes, including Trinity Myrtle Beach and St. Paul’s Episcopal in Conway, joined the Diocese of South Carolina and the Trustees of the Diocese in a lawsuit filed Friday seeking to stop The Episcopal Church from trying to take the Diocese’s real and personal property as well as that of the parishes...