South Carolina court temporarily restrains use of diocesan names, seal

[Episcopal News Service] A South Carolina Circuit Court judge Jan. 23 issued a temporary restraining order preventing any “individual, organization, association or entity” from using registered names and marks that are claimed by Mark Lawrence and other leaders who led some Episcopalians in that state out of the Episcopal Church.

Judge Diane S. Goodstein’s order is in effect until Feb. 1 when a hearing is scheduled.

The order says Lawrence and 24 other people associated with him are the only ones who may use the diocesan seal as described in its registration with South Carolina Secretary of State as well as the names “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” “The Diocese of South Carolina” and “The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.” Those three titles were registered on Nov. 5, 2010, according to the order.

The temporary restraining order is related to the suit that was filed in state circuit court Jan. 4. The action, the original plaintiffs said in a press release at the time, was taken “to protect the diocese’s real and personal property and that of its parishes.”

The suit also asked the court to prevent the Episcopal Church 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 long before the Episcopal Church’s creation,” according to the press release.

Goodstein’s Jan. 23 order made clear that the restraining order applies only to the names and seal, and not the other matters alleged in the suit. The judge said in the order that a hearing was needed because the group of people who opposed Lawrence’s departure from the Episcopal Church has “allegedly and repeatedly” been using the names and the diocesan seal, “including those so similar that they are perceived to be the Diocese of South Carolina.”

“This use has the clear ability to cause extraordinary confusion over the corporate identity of The Diocese of South Carolina,” she wrote.

The judge noted that the plaintiffs are concerned that a group of people who want to remain in the Episcopal Church plan to hold a meeting Jan. 26 at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston. That gathering “could intentionally affect the corporate status of those uninformed that the actors are not, in reality, the corporation” known as the Diocese of South Carolina.

That meeting is meant, according to a notice issued Dec. 13 by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, to elect and install a provisional bishop and other lay and clergy leaders, consider resolutions dealing with “recent purported amendments to the Constitution and canons of the diocese” and any other matters “that may be properly brought” to the meeting.

Retired Diocese of East Tennessee Bishop Charles vonRosenberg is expected to be nominated as the provisional bishop during the Jan. 26 meeting.

It is anticipated that the group meeting that day may choose a temporary name under which to conduct its business and operate at least during the time until the Feb. 1 hearing.

The Jan. 4 lawsuit was amended on Jan. 22, according to information here, to add 15 more congregations, bringing the total number of congregational plaintiffs to 32.

A Jan. 23 press release about the restraining order said that 44 of the 71 congregations involved have joined the suit while 16 have remained with the Episcopal Church and 11 are undecided.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

Comments

  1. Moputo Jones says:

    What kind of world do we live in? Really, the Episcopal Church can’t use “Diocese of South Carolina”?

  2. Carol McRee says:

    Nope. Sorry, Moputo. That name is registered to the REAL Diocese. Under SC law, religious entities such as congregations and dioceses can become incorporated legal entities. That is exactly what the Diocese did many years ago (1973 or so). As such, it has registered three names and a registered trademark recognized by the SC Secretary of State’s Office in Columbia,SC. That other group does not hence -they need to incorporate under a different name or face possible fines for being in violation of the TRO. According to some lawyers, those fines could get very expensive very quickly as courts/judges typically do not like it when court orders are ignored!

    The Temporary restraining order says that only certain individuals and officers of the Diocese can use the name. Those individuals are clearly listed in the TRO. NO ONE else may use the names and/or diocesan seal (registered trademark). Alas, that group’s website still uses the name and diocesan seal. I hope some of their people have deep pockets to pay for these fines!

    • Chris Walchesky says:

      AEEoSC!!!!!!

    • Steven Long says:

      Carol McRee is correct. The Diocese of South Carolina incorporated in 1973. Since our esteemed PB has no regard for the rule of law, it should be of no surprise that she would ignore the ruling. The ECUS is in an uphill battle in South Carolina. First, the ECUS is the defendant and not the plaintiff. They will have to defend their actions and why they violated their own canon law(s). Secondly, the Denis Canon was effectively voided/ignored in the All Saints Pawleys Island trial (in which the Diocese of SC joined the ECUS as plaintiff). Plus, the membership of the SC Diocese has some very deep pockets who will fight this to the end as they have been harrased by the national church going back to Bishop Salmon. If I was Ms. Jefforts Shori, I would pack it up and move on to another diocese to continue her scorched earth strategy (Dallas, Albany, and Western LA are most likely on her radar.). She’s most likely met her match in South Carolina.

      • Chris Walchesky says:

        Don’t forget Central Florida ;)

      • Vance Mann says:

        Oh, grow up. Mark Lawrence and his groupies are acting like a bunch of teens. Who would ever want to confuse them of being followers of Jesus? So much law and order and so little grace says to the world we can hardly be Christian. South Carolina has always been on the cutting edge of seceding from something – e.g. war of southern insurrection in 1861.

        • Nancy G Chesnutt says:

          Mark Lawrence is following scripture. I cannot say as much for the PB.

        • Steven Long says:

          Here we go – you’re playing the race card. That’s what all you liberals do when you can’t win an argument by its merits. What gives you any authority to judge who is Christian? Typical angry liberal.

          • John M Stevenson says:

            Who comprises the “angry” in this charade? Why necessary to resort to labeling by painting all who may be in disagreement with your and your ilk’s position with the same brush? Tsk-tsk.

        • Hank Otto says:

          With all due respect, we initiated a defensive action in SC. “So much law and order….” No one can dispute that the law and order policy was instituted years ago by TEC against orthodox parishes and diocese. That’s a poor argument. It is difficult to condemn your opponent for doing once what you initiated and what has become your own usual course of business. TEC people watched other Diocese be attacked and ravaged by TEC. They boast about it in blogs. Don’t act shocked that we did not wait to become victimized by outsiders.

  3. Bryan Hunter says:

    Given that ENS has posted this story, surely TEC is aware of the court order, which was effective immediately. Given that, the TEC group that has been impersonating The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, in violation of South Carolina corporate law, is clearly in contempt of court as they still have their Web site up prominently featuring the diocesan name and seal, in direct defiance of the court order. Whatever influence TEC has in the Lowcountry of South Carolina should be brought to bear on this group to convince them to adhere to the order of the South Carolina Circuit Court. Judges tend not to treat contempt of court lightly.

  4. Donald Hill says:

    By long standing Anglican trafditon we are geographically defined and described. A parish leaving a diocese or a Diocese leaving the denomination makes as much sense to me as a county in Indiana deciding it wants to be in independent of the state or wants to be part of Oregon. People from a county can move anywhere they want to. But the jurisdiction belongs to the entity of which it is apart. And simply saying “I don’t want to be part of Indiana and would prefer to be part of Oregon”cannot make it so in the tradition we have and claim to value.

    • Bryan Hunter says:

      You’re conflating unrelated things. A parish is not equal to a country; a diocese is not equal to a state; a denomination is not equal to a country. At least not in THIS country, by specific design of our Founding Fathers–and TEC’s founding fathers, for that matter (who were practically one and the same, after all). BUT, believe it or not, a city can actually elect to leave a county (e.g., Charlottesville, VA, is geographically in the center of Albemarle county, yet it is independent and not a part of the county) , and there have been cases where cities bordering two states have left one state to join another. And there is a fairly famous case of roughly one half of a state leaving the other half of the state and forming its own state (West Virginia ring a bell?).

    • Bryan Hunter says:

      And one further point, if you decide you no longer want to live in Oregon, so you decide to move to Illinois, The State of Oregon won’t insist that it now owns your house just by virtue of the fact that it happens to be geographically located there. Guess what? You get to SALE your own house in Oregon, which after all you paid for, and keep the proceeds (imagine that!).

      • Bryan Hunter says:

        ^^^ sorry, “sell” not “sale”

        • Joseph F Foster says:

          “Sale” may turn out to be prescient. When the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA, now calling itself “The Episcopal Church”, realizes it has won a Pyrrhic victory in States where it has wrested the sessecionists’ property back because it now will have a lot of nearly empty churches to pay the upkeep and mortgages on, it will have to find some way of getting out from under those real liabilities. Watch for lots of church sales.

          • Bryan Hunter says:

            You raise a good point. In Charleston alone TEC would really find itself in a bind if were to “win” church property. I serve on the vestry of a parish with a large 262-year-old church building and grounds that are National Historic Landmarks and brooded over by Historic Charleston Foundation, the Architectural Review Board, etc, as it happens to be in the “Old and Historic District” of downtown Charleston. As a vestryman, I also happen to know (quite clearly!) what it takes to operate and maintain such an edifice. There is no way on God’s green earth that a “remanant” congregation of 50 people could afford to even keep a roof on the place. The monthly utility bills alone would likely outstrip their total annual income. Any idea how much maintenance costs on a 200-year-old organ? Any idea what the going rate is on a master plasterer when a leak occurs due to condensation (which happens about three times a year? All this is just the tip of the iceberg. Now multiply that times six or seven (the number of such historical parishes located in and around Charleston alone). The thing is, Historic Charleston Foundation and Architectural Review board would not look too favorably on any application to liquidate these “assets” to convert them into hotels or condos (there is population and parking density control on the lower Charleston Peninsula). What on earth would TEC do with a whole handful of empty, 200-plus-year-old church buildings that it would be required by local ordinance to keep in tip-top shape? Dog in the manger.

  5. Chet Wilkinson says:

    I thought Mr. Lawrence, and those who wish to follow him, decided to leave The Episcopal Church. Why would they want to keep names that are affiliated with The Episcopal Church?

    • Bryan Hunter says:

      Mr Wilkinson, we were The Protestant Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina before there WAS an Episcopal Church USA. TEC doesn’t have a monopoly on the term “Episcopal. ” Episcopal simply signifies a church polity headed by a bishop. There are other denominations in the States with “Episcopal” in their names: The African Methodist Episcopal Church; the Reformed Episcopal Church; the Methodist Episcopal Church (historically, before it became the United Methodist Church). The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina isn’t going to abandon its history or its identity simply because TEC has chosen to abandon the “faith once delivered to the Apostles.”

  6. Sally Rowan says:

    Donald – Steven Long’s post above explains it in this case:

    Secondly, the Denis Canon was effectively voided/ignored in the All Saints Pawleys Island trial (in which the Diocese of SC joined the ECUS as plaintiff).

    And, it was a few years back, but West Virginia exists becs it split off from Virginia over the slave issue. That might or might not be used in court as an example.

  7. Chet Wilkinson says:

    I will leave Mr. Lawrence and those who join him to their tempest in a teapot. If you believe that The Episcopal Church has abandoned the “faith once delivered to the Apostles”, then I assume you will form a church that best meets your needs, with a name that people will not associate with The Episcopal church.

    • Bryan Hunter says:

      The church does not exist to meet my needs. The church exists to glorify Christ crucified, dead and resurrected and to proclaim him as King of kings and Lord of lords. That is the root of the problem with TEC: it has become anthropocentric rather than christocentric.

      • Milli Hayman says:

        Brian Hunter, the church exists not just to glorify God but to do His work in the world. To be a follower of Christ means to follow the commandments of Christ: to feed the poor, to clothe the naked. A faith that prays loudly in public but does not seek to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world is a hollow faith. If seeking to serve our fellow humans in the love of Christ and as Christ commanded is what you call “anthropocentric”, so be it. I grew up in a splinter “continuing” Episcopal church (part of the 1979 splinter movement) run by a bunch of people who felt mighty superior that they were “following the faith”, but from what I could see they were petty, mean-spirited, prideful and not overly Christian. I went back to the mainstream Episcopal church as an adult and am proud of our stance for social justice. Some of my fellow parishioners are the most humble, good, giving, and truly Christian people I’ve ever known. I’ve been hearing that trope about The Episcopal Church not keeping the faith of the apostles for the last 35 years. It wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now.

  8. Jan Rogozinski says:

    I don’t have time to look up the reference, but there was a similar case in the 18th century in Scotland. Money had been left to pay pensions to the wives of Presbyterian ministers. Some folk sued because the Presbyterians no longer believed in the Calvinist doctrines of their ancestors. The English courts ruled in favor of the wives.
    That has been the common law principle. If an a legally recognized body has existed continuously, it retains its property, and its officers can manage that property in accordance with the rules of the body. During the previous century, there were numerous similar situations regarding Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox denominations. As far as I know, the courts always have sided with the denomination in such cases. The Lawrence group is playing fast and loose with immemorial legal traditions.
    Also, note that the United States constitution recognizes only the federal government and the states. Municipalities are creatures of a state. If a city was able to secede from a county, then it did so only after appropriate legislation was passed in the state assembly.

  9. I am sad, just so sad, about my home diocese. Forty years ago, it patiently nursed me into a deeper vocational call, and I will always hold those times and people sacred in my heart.

  10. John M Stevenson says:

    Well, they could always assume a provisional title of Episcopal Diocese of Lower South Carolina.

  11. Milton Finch says:

    If the TEC bunch assume any name other than the one the judge banned them from using, that is proof that Diocese can leave TEC. Back off Mrs. Schori. Let the charade go that you are hierarchical, as you erroneously put forth. Cut the losses at 22,000,000 US dollars in legal fees and call it a day.

  12. Robert H. Crewdson says:

    It seems to me that 41 out of 71 parishes with 11 undecided that are not associated with TEC would be a MAJORITY, rather than SOME churches that are no longer associated with TEC. The arithmetic says this.

    • John M Stevenson says:

      Arithmetic? Majority may rule but but that doesn’t make it right any more than might makes right.

      • John M Stevenson says:

        Excuse me, emendation: neglected adverb “necessarily” before “…make it right …”. (Still working on perfect, Lord.)

  13. It matters not a tinker’s cuss what the Episcopal Diocese is called. The Diocese of Charleston? The Diocese of Christ’s Table at Table Rock? Who cares? It’s still the Episcopal Diocese, and that’s what matters. How about the Diocese of Judge Diane S. Goodstein. This would probably annoy her, so might be a good idea.

  14. Connie Hoar says:

    Mr. Hunter…all cities in Virginia are not part of a county. There may be locations taking on the name of a city (Fairfax) but it is not a city only a county. This is the law in Virginia…and has nothing to do with Charlottesville wanting to be seperate from the county of Albemarle. Also TEC is the identified and “legal” representative of the Anglican Communion in the USA. Since Mr. Lawrence has decided to take his church and diocese (which is not his but the larger church’s) out of The Episcopal Church so do so and change your name and identy and move on. Many of us are and will be praying for The Presiding Bishop as she visits South Carolina.

    • Joseph F Foster says:

      I’m not so sure that “The Anglican Communion ” is a legal or corporate entity in the United States or the States severally. Any readers actually know?

    • Bryan Hunter says:

      Mrs. Hoar, we are praying for her as well, as we did at our vestry meeting last night. We do not wish any ill will on her, TEC, or those in the Lowcountry who wish to remain in TEC. That is their choice and their right, and we respect that. But TEC has contributed NOTHING–not one red cent–to the cost or maintenance of diocesan or church property (quite the reverse, as a matter of fact). This idea that some organization headquartered in New York can claim as its own and take property and funds that it didn’t contribute to in any way, form or fashion from those who have and are paying for it with their own finances and the sweat of their brows is absurd, and that anyone would actually see that as anything other than theft is incomprehensible to me. Surely any sane, reasonable person would agree. Otherwise the world really has gone mad.

  15. I think it’s pretty funny that Mark Lawrence’s sect still wants to cling to the “Episcopal” name. After all, don’t he and his sycophants think we Episcopalians are a bunch of heretics? The irony … it burns!

    • Hank Otto says:

      Well …. From the perspective of this unabashed sycophant, several things come to mind. You are probably correct in that a lot of us view a lot of people, not all but nevertheless a lot, of people in TEC as heretics. I don’t mean this in the apparent petty way you meant sycophant in your posting. I am simply admitting to the fact of what you were suggesting. We feel justified in retaining our historic name for three reasons not the least of which is the fact that it is OUR name. It was not a gift from 815. The second reason is that we are episcopal in that we have parishes under a Bishop. Yes we know that you say + Lawrence is no longer a bishop. We disagree and are prepared to support him. Lastly, we feel we have the right to do so because we DO feel very deeply that it was TEC that abandoned Christianity and not us. If TEC wants to go their way – fine. However, it is not we who changed and it is not we who will change our name. By the way, why does me supporting Mark Lawrence in positions I begged his predecessor to take make me a sycophant but you touting TEC lines not make you one? I really don’t think you are a sycophant – just a tad sardonic.

  16. Tod Roulette says:

    This is such Southern SECESSIONIST nonsense. Southern dioceses also did the same thing when they were on the Wrong Moral side of slavery in the U.S. As an African American Episcopalian I am enraged that the same bigotry in the name of God continues to haunt the South.

    • Steven Long says:

      Tod Roulette: Is that all you liberals can do: play the race card? This is not about race; it’s about the rule of law; however, to you the law is just a suggestion.

      • John M Stevenson says:

        Not all who disagree with you are liberals. Besides, liberal need not be a perjorative any more than being labeled en evangelical is.

  17. Milton Finch says:

    Twenty-two million dollars spent in legal maneuvering. 120,000 souls leaving the TEC. That comes to $183.33 per soul. That is little to spend for the saving of a soul. Yet, if one comports it to property, that is a lot of money spent for a few things that have no soul. Figure the expenditure. Figure the spirit behind the move. Judge likewise.

  18. Milton & Bryan, you two are pretty het-up against TEC. Whatever the law may say, the Bible is pretty clear: “Thou shall not steal.” For over 200 years, gifts have been given and property has been purchased on behalf of The Episcopal Church. As a matter of justice, Mark Lawrence and his sect don’t get to steal it now. As to what the courts may decide, I don’t know.

    • Steven Long says:

      You need to send your post to Mrs. Shori. The ruling by the Circuit Court very clearly states that the names and seal are the property of the Diocese of SC. Mrs. Shori is not a corporate officer or director of the Diocese and the Diocese is not a legal subsidiary of TEC. The PB and her cronies breached the law by unauthorized use of the names and seal (a/k/a theft).

    • Bryan Hunter says:

      Ms Fox, with all due respect, The Diocese of South Carolina is not seeking or claiming anything paid for by money or gifts designated to The Episcopal Church. That’s a straw man. The suit for declaratory judgement is, in part, for money and gifts given to individual parishes and/or the diocese. When money was given 260+ years ago to build my own home parish, St Michael’s, TEC did not even exist. Those gifts were given to the parish. If there is attempted theft by any party, it’s The Episcopal Church.

    • Bryan Hunter says:

      One further point, Ms Fox. If I do get “het up” over the issue, it’s because I happen to serve on the vestry of one of these parishes. Protecting the finances and property of the parish is part of my sworn duty. I happen to be privy to how gifts are given by whom and to whom in my own parish. They are not given to some nebulous organization in New York. They are intended for the mission of the local parish and, to a lesser extent, our diocese. You betray a dim understanding of the history of Anglican polity. From the beginning the central functioning unit in Anglicanism has been the local parish, not dioceses (or archdioceses, for that matter, which, by the way, were intentionally eschewed by TEC).

    • Hank Otto says:

      I have to agree with the dissenters. Everything I have given to me church was not given to TEC. You will have an uphill battle showing me how a gift to a parish at which I worshiped while being repulsed by actions taken at 815 was an intent on my part to create a gift, outright or in trust or otherwise, to TEC. We in SC do not think nationally and never have. We act locally and always have. Thank goodness the South Carolina Supreme Court has already ruled on this matter, but God only knows how much we are going to have to spend to reach the end……

  19. Michael Russell says:

    Whyever in the world would they want to retain such a name? They quit the Episcopal Church and now are Congregationalists. Parishes are at liberty to blow off Mark Lawrence as he has blown off TEC. This is simply more of the pusillanimous behavior that is their hallmark.

  20. Grant Carson says:

    In addition to South Carolina, I expect TEC to lose big time in Fort Worth. The matter has gone to the supreme court of Texas. We expect their decision this spring. “Litigate until they capitulate” not only is un-Christian, but may turn out to be very bad policy as well. The only one who may come out ahead in all this mess is David Beers, Schori’s chosen chancellor, whose firm is collecting a goodly portion of that $22,000,000 in legal fees.

    • Milton Finch says:

      True, Grant! Beers, a wealthy white man, gets more wealthy, while people that truly need the money are forced from their homes by Beers’ 1%!

  21. Milton Finch says:

    Blowing off 4000 years of the hallmarks of religion seems the be the behavior of TEC that has driven hundreds of thousands of Christians from the original homes of their youth. And for $183.33 a pop per soul. Pop it TEC, pop it! Does Mrs. Schori really think that a true Christian will trade their soul for $183.33?

  22. Coleen Tully says:

    Being a member of the Episcopal Church in MN, where the emphasis is on living out our calling in our state, rather than the name “Diocese”, I think those who are so into legalistic titles should hang right on to the name. I think the Pharisees would fully understand and those trying to carry on the work of Christ will find a way. (I am not speaking for all MN folks, just for myself …)

    • Nicholas Forde says:

      Wow – you might want to check out Proverbs 16:18 and Isaiah 2:11.

      • John M Stevenson says:

        Proof texting? … hmm, wonder who fits those shoes.

        • Nicholas Forde says:

          You’re funny Mr. Stevenson

          • John M Stevenson says:

            Thank you. But about texts, today’s reading attributed to Paul from I Corinthians spoke to me (at least): “… God so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it…”. As I’ve said before in another posting, I’m a member of the Standing Committee in our diocese (3d term with appropriate breaks) and we voted against ordination of Mark Lawrence as Bishop in 2006 because he would not give a straight answer to questions but engaged in nuance.; we were well aware of anecdotal information that the Standing Committee of Diocese of SC wanted a Bishop to lead them out of TEC. The second time around in 2007, he assured our Bishop that it was not his intent to lead the Diocese of SC out of TEC and so we consented (with bare majority of our members) in 2007. I made excuses for him in that he appaeared to be walking a fine line between conservative and progressive elements of the diocese. However, like a leopard, he revealed his spots so to speak. I was disappointed in him because I was among those who took him at his word and, now, it appears his word meant little. How much will that mean going forward? I’m still looking for the grace in all this rancor and vilification stemming from those who “disaffiliated” with TEC.

  23. Bryan Hunter says:

    I see that the new TEC diocese being formed in South Carolina is still in contempt of the court order by trying to hide behind a new domain name. The following official link still misappropriates the name Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and the diocesan seal, in violation of the Temporary Retraining Order: http://scstewardship.com/

  24. SCHISMATICS!

  25. Robert Felton Britt says:

    Another mess like Pittsburgh. Evangelicals on one side and liberals on the other. The fighting was so horrible I found Buddhism to be my redemption. Christians love hating each other. Have at it. Jesus will be so impressed by your devotion.

    • Hank Otto says:

      I hope you are wrong but fear you are right. As one in the middle of this fight and not merely a spectator on the sideline jabbing the dogs in the pit to make them fight all the harder, I have to consciously struggle with civility every time the matter comes up. I am angry I had to leave the church I thought I would see my grandchildren baptized in because it was one of those that did not follow Bishop Lawrence. I am not angry with my fellow congregants because I know them and know them to be acting out of the same conviction in their positions that I am in mine. They are friends and family. However, I am deeply impassioned, just as those TEC Carolinians are who had to leave their churches because they stayed with the Diocese. How wonderful it would be if we were allowed to work it out among ourselves as families outside of court, mending fences instead of throwing salt on open wounds. Outsiders do not understand how South Carolinians think or work. That is painfully evident from the posts on this site, but we would and we could. However, we are a unique lot and will not back down if challenged. Both sides espouse the love of Christ. It will be the first thing to go when the fight is engaged. You are right. That is the pity. With all due respect it is not a credit to any of us in this mess that a person who is not of our professed faith should see so evidently what we cannot

  26. David M. Frost says:

    There’s a reason why Presiding Bishop Schori and the rest on the winning side of all this are all wisely holding their tongues, for now, on all this; they know what I and everyone else outside of South Carolina already know – that in the end, the national laws of the United States of America, and beyond that, the broader International Human Rights statutes, originally drafted right here by our predecessors and through our governments cheerfully signed on by all of us, will easily supersede whatever Pactum Pactorum someone might have signed in 1973 with Peter Fonda in the middle of the night out in the middle of Myrtle Beach somewhere – and trust me, 1973 was not a good year for straight deals!

    And Mr. Hunter, about your zany, “dog in the manger remnant congregation” ideas, you may wish to take a closer look at where Bishop vonRosenberg just got off the train from. I can assure you, that for a whole bunch of money and a new bike (there’s a new BMW F 800 GT that I’ve had my eye on; it’s even now available in an all-new shade of, heh-heh, Popemobile White), there’s no shortage of those of us in East Tennessee who would be all too totally happy to move on down there permanently and help Father Charles get the Future back on track his way. And if all you Lawrencebots keep going down this bad road to the Gates of Dis like this, it might just be that the Reigning Finance Oligarchs really will decide to effortlessly arrange for just this to happen, so fast it’ll will make all your heads spin faster than Johnny Blaze mounted on a router bit! (X_X)

    • Joseph F Foster says:

      Those “International Human Rights Statutes” are of doubtful bearing on this kind of a case and in any case of doubtful legality and enforceability in the United States of America. Keep in mind that the United Nations is not a government and not legally sovereign.

  27. Tony Seel says:

    There is so much misinformation and nonsense in so many replies. First, a diocese constituted is not congregationalist. Second, pecusa is acting in violation of the temporary injunction. Unless and until that injunction is lifted, pecusa cannot legally act in defiance of it. I know that pecusa is a lawless entity with its own canons (e.g. Schori’s taking a public statement of Bp. Lawrence and pretending he was renouncing his orders), but the state does have the power to enforce an injunction. Vance Mann is projecting his own childishness onto the DSC, imo. Bp. Lawrence and the DSC chose to leave pecusa AFTER they were sued by pecusa. Calling what the DSC stealing is over the top given that pecusa takes money from parishes and does not invest in them. We’ll see who prevails in court.

  28. Christopher Jacob says:

    I find it disheartening that a faith I have come to love has been torn.
    Here are a few thoughts of mine…
    First, when Henry VIII broke with the church of Rome, he took possesion of all the churchs in England, and at that time, they became part of the Church of England. Granted this was drastic and done as a show of power, but none-the-less, the buildings, some of which still stand, became Anglican.
    Second, when I decided I did not like the Souther Baptist faith, I left the church and found a faith that met what I was seeking.
    To me, regardless of which part of the fence you are on, there is a great deal of passion. Would the energy spent bickering back and forth and the money required to file suits be better spent spreading the Gospel and helping those in need???
    It seems like we are becoming to much like the federal government and not a church.
    God’s Peace to all his people!
    A memeber of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina.

    PS what does it matter what a group of churchs calls themselves, the message is spread by the people, not the name.

  29. Grant Carson says:

    “. . . the message is spread by the people, not the name.”

    Unfortunately, TEC no longer encourages the Great Commission, but substitutes the U.N. Millenium Development Goals. That’s one of the issues that’s caused the schism.

  30. Bishop Andrew Gerales Gentry says:

    Why is there such a lack of civility in all of this? ENS refuses to even extend the common courtesy, not to mention Christian one, of calling Mark Lawrence, Mr. , let alone Bishop. Each side accusing the other of essentially being apostate something I never, as a non-Episcopalian, thought I would see in your Church. Eastern Orthodox as well as the Vatican does not recognize your Orders as valid but they do call you clergy by the terms you use. I personally do not care what the Vatican or the various Orthodox bodies hold to be valid but if we are supposed to respect our differences then should we not do so in so simple a matter as a form of address? If you are saying that Bishop Lawrence has abandoned the faith of your Church then how do you justify calling a deist like Mr Spong or you own PB who refuses to affirm the Divinity of Christ bishop?!

  31. Carol McRee says:

    John Stevenson, As for assuming the name “Episcopal Diocese of Lower South Carolina’, I suppose they could but that too would cause confusion as that has been a nickname for the Diocese of SC ie the “Lower Diocese” as opposed to the “Upper Diocese” ( Diocese of Upper South Carolina) for many years. Remember the point of the TRO was to try to lessen confusion between the two groups due to one group appropriating the name and trademarked seal of the other. I have never understood why the TECcies would WANT to assume the name of an entity they hate with so much vigor that they brought charges against their own bishop. I am ashamed to say that 4 of the 12 lay people who brought charges against Bishop Lawrence were in my parish. If they hated the man so much, they should have left us years ago.

    It seems many here are ignorant of how the national church is structured having bought the lies put forth by 815. Alas, the Diocese of South Carolina has been around longer than TEC and in fact was one of several dioceses that came together to form TEC in 1789. No where in TEC canons does it address how a diocese leaves only how a diocese is formed and then is admitted to TEc via General Convention. SO the TEC group can not rightfully claim to be a diocese in TEC for anther two years (2015 General Convention).

    It seems reasonable to me that the majority should be able to keep the name under which they have been known for 200+ years. Those in the TEC faction need to get a new name and move on. Their new name ( The Episcopal Church in South Carolina) is a back handed slap at the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina. Where does that leave Waldo’s diocese? Are they not The Episcopal Church in South Carolina as well?? I hope his diocese will consider some sort of action against them as well.

    For those of you who claim that +Mark Lawrence has been mean, vindicative, and lacks civility, I would suggest you read his own words instead of reading certain TECcie website which are full of illogical thought and venom. When St. Andrews Mount Pleasant left the diocese, he did not sue them over the property. However, that was one charge brought against him by TEC loyalists- ie that +Lawrence should have sued St. Andrew’s. The PB and national leadership were NOT happy that he refused. Now three years later, the vestry and rector of St. Andrew’s Mt. Pleasant have joined the lawsuit making the total number of plaintiffs 32- 31 of whom are parishes in the Diocese. I think it speaks volumes for Lawrence’s leadership that he was willing to let St. Andrews leave the diocese as their consciences dictated without a lawsuit for their property. Just watch now that the TEccies have their own name, the lawsuit against the Diocese of SC should be appearing very soon.

    • John M Stevenson says:

      With good humor, I might add, that my suggestion was meant in a
      “provisional” sense as defined by Webster. But all this about “names” brings to mind,
      “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet (Juliet).”
      We all need to lighten up and go forward with charity.

  32. Carol McRee says:

    Vance Mann and all,
    This is the SECOND time that the Diocese of South Carolina has left the national church. It is quite interesting to compare the attitudes of TECcies then and now. During the 1860s, the Diocese of SC disaffiliated from PECUSA/TEC as did other southern dioceses. At General Conventions during those years, the seats of the southern delegates were still there, they were part of the roll call but the people were absent. The point is that the Diocese of South Carolina did NOT cease to exist during that time period when they were not affiliated with TEC. There is a not a several year gap in the history of the diocese. It is continuous from 1785 until the present. May this great diocese of South Carolina remain a faithful witness of Jesus Christ our Lord for many more years!

  33. Scott Hart says:

    While we all have very strong feelings about the separation of one group from another, it is apparent that the situation will not be healed (returned to its original form) and it will have to be accepted as it is. It is tempting, because of our loyalties, to imagine that one side or the other will prevail. In fact both “sides” will define themselves from this painful situation, and will “prevail”. Those related to “The Episcopal Church” will be a smaller church in the South Carolina area. For better or worse, it will be what it will be. The Diocese of SC which withdrew from TEC will be larger, representing the dominant attitudes and beliefs. So be it. Each “side” will have its strong opinions and will stand for what they profess, how they behave, who they accept into their communities of faith, and their opinions about what the gospel tells them. It is a priority that all of the people on each side of the issue hold fast to the side/the church/the beliefs that they profess. The disagreements will continue to be strong, but it is essential that no one leave their faith by leaving the church altogether. That would be the real “split.” Those who side one way will attend those churches that embrace their beliefs, and those that embrace the other side of the argument will form into their own churches large or small according to their beliefs.
    It is all very disappointing to hear name-calling that implies that one side or the other has stepped outside of the faith, when each side is actually doing its best to live out its version of what they hear the gospels telling them. These disagreements have happened throughout Christendom over the centuries. And when the dust settles, the differences continue to exist, the loyalties do not shift, and unity of opinion or style of worship does not happen. These rifts represent what is happening in the larger society, and the differing churches actually meet the needs of the people who live in those areas. In this sense we must embrace the differences as a representation of the embracing love of God.
    I used to feel bitter about the disunity of the Protestant church. I have since realized the differences can be embraced when it becomes apparent that the many different churches meet the faith needs of the many different temperaments of its people. There is no avoiding disagreement. What is important is that no one leave the Church completely.
    Those individuals not able to worship in a specific church edifice which may have been a lifelong comfort, will grieve, and they will need the support of those who can embrace them. The matter of the property and finances will get settled over time.
    Meanwhile The Episcopal Church should continue to profess, move toward and demonstrate its practice of “Welcoming All”, social justice without apology, in contrast to its past behavior of supporting exclusion.

    • Joseph F Foster says:

      “…it is essential that no one leave their faith by leaving the church altogether. … What is important is that no one leave the Church completely.”

      Thank you, Mr. Hart, for your calm, considered, and conciliatory statement. Perhaps it can work out in South Carolina if the litigationists can stay out of court long enough to give it a chance.

      But on your statements above, that might be possible in South Carolina or other geographically small dioceses where there are remnants and secessionists. But in areas where the secession is overwhelming it may be hard for a continuing person to find a viable congretation. And in areas like Southern Ohio where the vast majority of Episcopalians either support the directions the national church have taken or simply don’t care as long as their own parish is quiet, traditionalists who cannot stay in the Episcopal Church may simply have no where else to go. In that case, what else is there to do but just leave the church?

  34. walter combs says:

    The Presiding Bishop Likens Bishop Mark Lawrence to Adam Lanza This was completely inappropriate, spiteful, delusional, etc. Do we really have any hope for reconciliation with those who have left us with this kind of rhetoric being spouted by our Presiding Bishop?

  35. Cheryl Aden says:

    I am a former Episcopalian (generations deep), baptized and confirmed in the Diocese of SC. In 1997, I converted to Roman Catholicism (where the truth remains true), but my mother is still a member of the Diocese and I’ve been trying to help her understand what’s is going on. The above comments have provided a lot of insight as to the legal intricacies of property rights and trademarks, etc., but specifically with regards to the Presiding Bishop’s position on salvation, please let me know if I understand correctly her belief. I don’t think anyone disagrees that we have a loving (triune) God who wants all of his children to live with him forever in Heaven, but is it true that Bishop Jefferts Schori has publicly stated that one does not necessarily receive salvation through Christ (John 14:6), but that salvation is a grace received in accordance with your beliefs? Hopefully, I’m misunderstanding. If not, then on this issue alone, as it conflicts with Scripture, the Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons, Catechism, and Creeds, wouldn’t she be guilty of heresy? And as the leader of The Episcopal Church, wouldn’t she be the schismatic?

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