By now I hope that most are aware that a new TEC steering committee has announced a clergy day that it claims is for the Diocese of South Carolina on Thursday at St. Mark’s, Charleston. So that there is no doubt, this is not a legitimate gathering of the Diocese of South Carolina.
While the steering committee and its associates are certainly free to meet, what they are attempting to perpetrate is identity theft. They are not “the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” nor are they “the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina” or “The Diocese of South Carolina.” Those are legal names which belong to us. This group does not have any right to use these names or the Diocesan seal.
For now, I would give you the following advice for your parish:
1. If there is any doubt about the validity of any communication from the Diocese, feel free to contact us to confirm its reliability. The confusion is intentional and for now unavoidable. If you are not sure about the source of anything that presents itself as a diocesan communication, please contact us and ask.
2. As you become aware of fraudulent communications, you can send a return email asking them to discontinue sending fraudulent emails and then mark them as SPAM in your e-mail program for future screening. You can also notify your internet service provider (ISP). They can assist you in blocking future attempts at deceptive communications.
3. Finally, please help us keep your parishioners informed. There is a wealth of information available to you on the Diocesan Website (www.dioceseofsc.org). I would particularly commend several articles today on these recent activities of the steering committee. Their analysis is a valuable tool in helping your members understand these events.
As we prepare for the next gathering of the Diocese of South Carolina, our Special Diocesan Convention this Saturday (November 17th @ St. Philip’s, Charleston), please feel free to let me know if there is other assistance I can provide you or your parish as we get ready.
In Christ’s service,
–(The Rev.) Jim Lewis is Canon to the Ordinary”¨ in the Diocese of South Carolina