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Three More Parishes Join in Suit to Prevent TEC from Seizing Property
St. George, SC, February 28, 2013 – Support increased again for the Diocese of South Carolina’s fight to prevent The Episcopal Church (TEC) from hijacking more than $500 million in local property as three new parishes joined the suit, bringing the total number of congregations supporting the litigation to 34.
The amended complaint also added as a defendant The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, the name adopted by parishes that remain aligned with TEC, which previously had been the only defendant in the suit.
The three parishes named in the amended complaint filed with the South Carolina Circuit Court are St. Jude's, Walterboro; Trinity, Pinopolis, and Church of the Holy Cross, Stateburg.
This is the second time the Diocese’s suit has been amended to increase the number of parishes involved.
The Episcopal Church, the original defendant in the Diocese’s complaint, consented to the filing of the amended complaint. It and the new co-defendant have until April 4 to respond.
The suit asks the court to prevent TEC from infringing on the protected marks of the Diocese, including its seal and its historical names, and to prevent the church from assuming the Diocese’s identity, which was established before TEC’s creation.
The Diocese asked the court for protection when a few individuals and parishes remaining with TEC began identifying themselves as the Diocese of South Carolina after the Diocese had disassociated from TEC.
In response, the court issued a temporary injunction blocking TEC, its continuing parishes, individuals, organizations or any entity associated with it, from using, assuming or adopting the registered names and the seal or mark of The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina. The TEC remnant group then adopted the name of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.
Locally, 47 of the Diocese’s 71 parishes and missions have voted to support the Diocese; 18 support TEC and 7 remain undecided. The parishes and missions supporting the Diocese represent 80 percent of the Diocese’s 30,000 members.