Wednesday, September 30, 2015

S.C. Supreme Court hears arguments in Episcopal Church breakup saga

From South Carolina-

After almost three years of court wrangling, millions in legal fees, a three-week trial, 1,300 exhibits and an unrequited settlement offer, the local Episcopal Church schism landed before the state’s highest court Wednesday.

Attorneys and onlookers packed the Columbia courtroom to hear oral arguments in a legal saga that began when most parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and Bishop Mark Lawrence decided to leave the national church in 2012 after years of locking horns.

In spirited exchanges, several justices questioned the breakaway group’s attorney, Alan Runyan, and took issue with the trial judge’s refusal to allow evidence examining whether The Episcopal Church is a hierarchical religious body that could forbid a bishop or an entire diocese from leaving without its permission.

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