SC

SC Episcopal Schism Update

A Lowcountry circuit court judge has rejected efforts by the national Episcopalian Church (TEC) and its South Carolina affiliate (TECSC) to unnecessarily broaden a costly legal jihad against a breakaway Palmetto State diocese. Judge Diane Goodstein ruled this week that four individuals associated with the breakaway diocese will not have…

A Lowcountry circuit court judge has rejected efforts by the national Episcopalian Church (TEC) and its South Carolina affiliate (TECSC) to unnecessarily broaden a costly legal jihad against a breakaway Palmetto State diocese.

Judge Diane Goodstein ruled this week that four individuals associated with the breakaway diocese will not have to stand trial for their actions during the state’s Great Episcopal Schism – in which several socially conservative congregations decided to leave the national church on theological grounds.

“Attorneys for both TEC and TECSC have tried to distract attention from the denomination’s efforts to seize our property by suing our clergy and pursuing our lay leadership,” a representative of the breakaway “The judge’s decision ends the legal fishing expedition and forces all to focus on the only issue that matters: whether our religious freedom is protected.”

Indeed.  Good for Goodstein.

“TEC has historically used the courts to punish parishes and dioceses who disagree with the denomination’s shifting theology,” the website Anglican Ink notes. “The group has already spent more than $22 million on legal efforts to seize individual church property and evict parishioners. At times when judges have ruled against TEC, the denomination has filed time-consuming appeals that have tied up resources of churches and Dioceses which separated from TEC and, occasionally, worn down the resolve of individuals seeking religious freedom.”

Last year FITS broke the story of “rogue Bishop” Mark Lawrence of Charleston, S.C. – the Episcopal priest who was booted from the national church for refusing to adopt its views on gay marriage and the ordination of gay and female clergy.

As a result of the church’s action against him, Lawrence announced his intention to disassociate South Carolina’s Lower Diocese from the national church – a threat he made good on.

The schism has prompted a protracted legal battle – with Lawrence and other leaders of the breakaway diocese being accused of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, trademark infringement and civil conspiracy, among other things. According to the national church the result of these alleged actions has been to “deprive Episcopalians loyal to the Episcopal Church of their property rights.”

The South Carolina suit is ground zero in the battle taking place all across the country between socially liberal and socially conservative congregations in multiple protestant denominations.

As we have stated from the beginning of this process, we believe individual congregations should be allowed to worship as they see fit – associating or disassociating with national denominations as they wish.  If a simple majority of a church’s members determines it wishes to enter or leave a specific denomination – then it should be permitted to do so.

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22 comments

GrandTango December 31, 2013 at 1:21 pm

First Duck Dynasty, now maybe the church can stand w/ God and The Bible…Wow!!!!FITS, and the pop culture hate-squads are taking an @$$-kickin’….
Let’s not stop ’til we repeal Obamacare and get Obama out of our White House…and back in Chicago where thugs belong…

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God December 31, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Take your hate someplace else, I don’t need fans like you.

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GrandTango January 1, 2014 at 12:43 pm

God HATES sin…and that’s why people like you HATE Him…

Because you are not defined by the God in you…but you define yourselves by your sin…

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God December 31, 2013 at 6:08 pm

I don’t need fans like you.

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Jackie Chiles December 31, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Excellent article Fits. Based on my rather rudimentary understanding of the case, the National Episcopal Church is claiming ownership to property that was in local church hands long before the National Episcopal Church even existed. It’s always unfortunate to see churches fighting amongst themselves. I agree wholeheartedly that individual congregations should be able to associate or disassociate with national denominations as they wish.

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just another guy December 31, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Jackie,
You are correct for the most part. Their was a ruling in VA on the matter and if a local church had to get the national church to guarantee a loan for whatever reason, the national church owned the property. If the national church never had to help with any loan, and the local church could get a loan on their own, the local church owned the property. My understanding of the SOuth Carolina lawsuit is the local churches are saying it is their property no matter what. Since the Feds have kicked it to the state, I don’t think the appeals process will take long. Also, the presiding Bishop is addicting to money and that is why she is suing. She and the National Church needs as much money as possible to continue to do the things “they believe is right” even though the Bible disagrees with them 100%. Good luck to Bishop Lawrence. I am hoping Christ Church in the Greenville pulls out as well, but I don’t see it happening for another 5 to 10 years. Christ Church is one of the 10 largest Episcopal churches in the US just as an FYI.

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Jackie Chiles December 31, 2013 at 3:52 pm

It’s probably just a matter of time. Generally the more “free thinking” congregations are small and/or dying. Look at PCUSA as an example.

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Sheila'sMommaFellates December 31, 2013 at 8:42 pm

who cares how big it is. Christ is run by nouveau riche in Greenville who are members of the Republican party. Old money does not go there; it has all died out. It is suffering financially because no one is pledging to give to a church that sponsors homophobia. The progressives have pulled out. Anglican churches are forming in Greenville that forbid women priests and gay people. The EC is in the middle of a social schism and I for one are with the progressives. The message of Christ is progressive not retrogressive.
You think Will Folks wants to socially climb and be an Episcopalian? He won’ be the first Baptist to do so.

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Jackie Chiles January 2, 2014 at 9:11 am

Objection. Incoherent response.

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SamAdams2010 January 2, 2014 at 9:00 am

What’s the difference between Anglican-Episcopalian and a Congregationalist since they both now have the same corporate structure and basic theology of individual conscience? Seems Christians are in the middle of a great M&A into 3 entities: Catholic, Catholic-lite and Other and just like any other merger its the lawyers who’ll sort it out and the shareholders will be shafted.

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euwe max January 3, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Invest in your soul, not Church property.

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Nölff December 31, 2013 at 1:40 pm

As one of my friends in the Navy would say in his country accent… “It’s OK for a man to suck another man’s penis… as long as you love him.”

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TyroneButterballs December 31, 2013 at 8:31 pm

that smegma taste nasty, bubba

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9" December 31, 2013 at 2:25 pm

They ALL need to leave the church,and find God.

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CNSYD December 31, 2013 at 2:58 pm

“As we have stated from the beginning of this process, we believe
individual congregations should be allowed to worship as they see fit”. Which is exactly how Baptist churches operate.

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The Colonel December 31, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Those backwards Baptists – who’d a thunk it!

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Torch December 31, 2013 at 7:28 pm

And they don’t believe in evolution. Guess that’s how the teabaggers still exist.

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Torch December 31, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Okay bitch, show me jihad in the Episcopal church. You should be castrated for use of this in a discussion of a Christian religion.

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Slartibartfast December 31, 2013 at 8:08 pm

The difference between the National Church (TEC) and the Original Diocese is that the Lowcountry is still trying to serve God, while the National Church thinks it IS God. Here’s a news tip: There are SEVERAL large, very well-off parishes in the Upper Diocese which are about to walk away from the Upper Church of Waldo and join the Lowcountry Diocese. That’s all I can say right now, except to say that 2014 is going to be a VERY interesting year for the various parts of the Episcopal Church.

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jan January 2, 2014 at 10:16 am

“The difference between the National Church (TEC) and the Original Diocese is that the Lowcountry is still trying to serve God, while the National Church thinks it IS God”
Total nonsense.

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TyroneAncestorShocked December 31, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Isn’t this about joining up with an African bishop heading up the Charleston diocese (The Diocese of South Carolina) ? Good Lawd, I cannot imagine those blue blooded Charlestonians at St. Michaels and St Phillips paying homage to a black bishop from the continent where their former slaves came from ! Oh Lawd!

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Robert Altman January 4, 2014 at 10:18 pm

The lowcountry Churches have all but lost their minds and their Christianity. Thank Heaven for St Stephen and Grace Churches. The others have totally lost their focus. I’m glad the upper diocese had the foresight to not go that route.

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