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Latest News
Nearly 400 to Gather for Annual Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina PDF Print E-mail
223rd Diocesan ConventionThe Diocese of South Carolina will hold its 224th Annual Convention in Charleston, March 13-14. Nearly 400 clergy and delegates representing 53 churches across the eastern and coastal part of South Carolina will participate.

“We have so much to celebrate as a diocese,” said the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, 14th Bishop of the Diocese. “Coming together at the Convention gives time to express our gratefulness to God, celebrate the life and growth in our congregations and move forward in spreading the Gospel and shaping Anglicanism in the 21st century.” 

The Convention begins Friday, March 13 with a 5 p.m. worship service, open to the public, at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul. The Rt. Rev. Rob Martin, Bishop of the Diocese of Marsabit, Kenya in the Anglican Communion will be the guest preacher. Martin has previously visited the Diocese and churches in South Carolina have partnered with the Diocese of Marsabit to help build churches there.

On Saturday, March 14 at 9:30 a.m. the convention will reconvene at the Charleston Music Hall for the business portion of the meeting, at which time participants will approve an annual budget, elect officers and address other business.

Prior to the start of the Convention, on Friday, March 13 from 1-4 p.m. the Diocese is offering six free workshops, open to the public at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church.
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Judge Reaffirms Ruling Against TEC PDF Print E-mail

SOUTH CAROLINA JUDGE REAFFIRMS HER RULING AGAINST THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH, AGAIN REJECTS ITS CLAIM TO LOCAL CHURCH PROPERTY


Asserts that state law protects Diocese of South Carolina against New York-based denomination’s efforts to seize property, names and symbols.


ST. GEORGE, S.C. (Feb. 22, 2015) – For the second time in less than a month, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein rejected arguments by The Episcopal Church and its subsidiary, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, that the two groups are rightful owners of the churches, symbols and other assets of the Diocese of South Carolina.

In her Order denying the motion for reconsideration she stated, “Large portions of the motion are simply the proposed orders previously submitted to the Court or reiterations of the Defendants’ positions at trial.” 

The motion had also argued that because the Diocese had argued legal positions in the All Saints case contrary to those now being presented, that Judicial Estoppel should apply.  In response, Judge Goodstein sharply noted... “The court finds that the Judicial Estoppel argument is without merit....If the Defendants’ argument in the instant action was correct, no party previously adjudicated to be wrong would be able to correct their conduct in compliance with a court’s holding.  Such a result would be contrary to all sense of justice and order...  With regards all other matters presented in Defendants’ Motion for Reconsideration, they are hereby denied.”
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Peace: Here and Now - an Ash Wednesday Reflection PDF Print E-mail

Bishop Mark LawenceThe words in the Ash Wednesday “Invitation” in the 1979 American Book of Common Prayer are often cited: “I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent….” I have read them every year of my ordained ministry which numbers almost 35 and before then as well. What does a holy Lent look like? Of course the Prayer book goes on to recite a list of spiritual disciplines to guide us in this observance: self-examination; repentance; prayer; fasting; self-denial; reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. Over the years I have practiced and taught each of these—even preached homilies on them, hopefully, benefitting others as well as myself. I’ve even observed and taught other spiritual disciplines as well, such as solitude, simplicity and silence, to name but a few. These have all played an instrumental role in my Christian life. Yet, frankly, I find Lent very different for me as a bishop than it was when I was a parish priest who needed to plan, teach and lead—even, God forbid—run Lenten programs. I suspect Lent for me is a bit more like what the lay members of a parish experience. So with this perspective in mind I offer these personal reflections.
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Grateful: Bishop Lawrence Writes the Diocese Following Ruling PDF Print E-mail
February 6, 2015

Bishop Mark LawrenceDear People of God in the Diocese of South Carolina,

“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers….” (Ephesians 1:16)

My last letter to you was shortly after we finished the three-week trial in St. George in order to protect our parish churches, properties, names, diocesan seal and the historic identity of this Diocese of South Carolina.

Now, as many of you have heard, we have prevailed.

In a thorough and closely reasoned order, the Honorable Diane S. Goodstein has ruled in our favor. You can read the diocesan statement regarding this ruling, as well as an additional explanation of its significance, at www.dioceseofsc.org.

I hardly need to tell you how grateful I am for this order! I am also:
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What it Means: Understanding Judge Goodstein's Ruling PDF Print E-mail

By the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis

This week, we received the ruling from Judge Diane Goodstein in our litigation with The Episcopal Church.  A brief reminder of how we got here: When TEC attempted to wrongly remove Bishop Lawrence as our bishop, this Diocese elected to disassociate from TEC.  At that time a small group, who we now know had been meeting and planning for some months, began an intentional campaign of using our Diocesan Seal and other service marks.  They in essence began to function as if they were us.  To maintain our identity required that we defend that identity.

The manner in which we did so was to ask the South Carolina courts to give us a declaratory judgment.  In other words, we asked them to confirm the identity we have held continuously since 1785 as the Diocese of South Carolina, and that we had every right under South Carolina law to leave TEC as freely as we had chosen to help in its founding and to keep our property.  The judge at that time (January 2013) imposed a temporary injunction to protect our identity rights. 

With this week’s ruling, that has now become a permanent injunction. 

A few words of explanation about the significance of the Court's ruling.

1.       The Diocese and its congregations are confirmed as the owners of their property and identities.  This would seem a common sense affirmation of what some parishes have experienced as reality for nearly 300 years, but that is what was being challenged.
2.      TEC and its local diocese have NO interest in either our property or identity. The fabled “Dennis Canon” could not, by itself, enable them to unilaterally declare an ownership interest in our properties any more than I can do so for my neighbor’s house just by saying it is so.  Without a written agreement between TEC and each parish, no such interest can be conveyed.
3.      TEC and its local diocese are PERMANENTLY forbidden to use our registered names or in any way to presume to be or act as if they are The Diocese of South Carolina.  We are not “the breakaway diocese”. We are not the “Lawrence diocese”.  We are not “the schismatics”.  We are who we have consistently been, and continue to be, The Diocese of South Carolina, and no one else has a right to make that claim. Period.
4.      Their counterclaims, their arguments as to why our behavior was unlawful or ineffective, and why we should not be given this relief in the courts were dismissed with prejudice. This means τhey cannot bring another lawsuit in the future making the same claims.  These claims have been finally determined by this judicial order. They can appeal the correctness of this ruling, but that is all. If that appeal is decided in our favor, they can never again bring such claims.

Practically speaking, this means many things, that can perhaps be boiled down to these two:

1.      We can continue doing our ministry without some of the needless distractions this case has brought.  No one need fear they are in imminent danger of losing their property or legal identity.
2.      We are also now free to use our identity without caveat or qualifier. The courts have affirmed that as well.

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has already announced it will appeal this decision. This was expected.

The court has affirmed what everyone knew from the start was the legal precedence in South Carolina, that congregations and the Diocese have the right to chose their religious association. While we will have more work to do to confirm this, we have every reason to be confident the South Carolina courts will continue to do so through the appeals process. We will pursue that in as speedy fashion as possible and deal with the expected delays we know TEC will attempt. Justice may be delayed by those attempts, but we believe it will come.

Finally, it should be observed that it is God’s grace that has brought us to this day.  Legal counsel has affirmed repeatedly that they have experienced God’s grace at work in this litigation from start to finish. To Him be the glory and praise and it is in His Name alone that we trust (Ps. 20:7).  By that grace, I trust the Diocese of South Carolina will continue “Making biblical Anglicans for a Global Age” long into the future.

 
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Latest News

latest newsWhat it Means: Understanding Judge Goodstein's Ruling
06/02/2015


By the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis

This week, we received the ruling from Judge Diane Goodstein in our litigation with The Episcopal Church.  A brief remind [ ... ]


latest newsOpen Letter from Bishop Skilton
15/12/2014

On December 12, the Rt. Rev. William Skilton, retired suffragan bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina released an “Open Letter to the Faithful Ang [ ... ]


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