Churches in Diocese of South Carolina reject Episcopal Church’s ‘Spurious’ Offer to Settle
Written by SCDiosAdministrator
Diocesan Spokesman: ‘TEC has never, in 90 plus cases, agreed to a settlement. They’re not doing so now.’
CHARLESTON, SC, JUNE 15, 2015 – The parishes of the Diocese of South Carolina in the lawsuit against the Episcopal Church have unanimously rejected what the Episcopal Church called a“settlement offer” that would have required them to voluntarily give up the historical identity and property that a South Carolina Circuit Court judge has ruled is owned by the Diocese.
The offer was made by a local attorney who represents the 20 percent of members who remained with TEC when most of the Diocese disaffiliated in 2012. It promised that TEC would end its multimillion dollar legal campaign to seize local church properties if the parishes agree to hand over the Diocese’s identity, its other assets including the Diocese’s offices on Coming Street in Charleston and the St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, which is prime real estate that could be sold off by the cash-strapped denomination.
“This is not a legitimate offer of good faith negotiation and never was intended to be,” said the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis, Assistant to Bishop Mark Lawrence. “It was a spurious offer chiefly made to disrupt submission of our brief and make them look good in the press.” Lewis said. “As a matter of fact, the Presiding Bishop's chancellor is on record as saying they would never settle. In that, they have been utterly consistent up until now.”
“Judge Diane Goodstein ruled that TEC has ‘no legal, equitable or beneficial interest’ in these properties. TEC appealed the matter and a hearing is scheduled before the South Carolina Supreme Court in September. If TEC were confident of its case, they would be eager for justice to be served and would not attempt to derail the next step in the legal process . Their so-called proposal has been unanimously rejected by all parties.”