Saturday, May 11, 2013

SC Episcopal battle may go to federal court

From South Carolina-

The legal fate of competing Episcopal groups in South Carolina may be determined in federal court.
A series of actions aimed at determining which group holds the legal right to use the Diocese of South Carolina’s name, seal and property, as well as who can officially call themselves the presiding bishop over said group, has made a jump from a Dorchester County Circuit Court to a U.S. District Court in Charleston.

Meanwhile, local church spokesman say a California Episcopal case decided this week, in which a breakaway church was ordered to return property to the national church, probably has no bearing on the South Carolina case.

Complaints and responses, filed by both the Diocese of South Carolina, which disassociated from the national church last year, and The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, a smaller group of those wishing to remain with the national church, have been flying back and forth for months now. The most pertinent issue now at stake is whether the legal issues should be determined by a federal court or a South Carolina court.

When the Dorchester County Circuit Court issued a temporary injunction allowing the Diocese, led by Bishop Mark Lawrence, to keep rights to the name, seal and property, The Episcopal Church in SC responded by raising the question of whether a diocese even has the right to disassociate from the national church. The Episcopal Church in SC has held firm to its conviction that while individual members are free to leave the church, a diocese may not unilaterally leave or secede.

Bishop Charles vonRosenberg, head of The Episcopal Church in SC, said, “If the Diocese and the parishes were not validly withdrawn from the church, then Bishop Lawrence and the rest of the ‘current leadership’ are not the true leaders of those entities.”

More here-

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