Daily Archives: August 2, 2017

Diocese of SC Statement the recent South Carolina Supreme Court Ruling

A sharply divided court reverses portions of the lower court ruling

COLUMBIA, S.C. (August 2, 2017) – In a 77 page opinion, the South Carolina Supreme Court today reversed portions of an earlier lower court ruling. In February 2015, circuit court Judge Diane Goodstein ruled that the Diocese of South Carolina, its trustees and the 50 parishes — representing 80 percent of the members — that disassociated with the Diocese successfully withdrew from The Episcopal Church (TEC) in 2012, taking all their property, including churches, symbols and other assets. The ruling was the result of a three-week trial in 2014.

That court found that “the Constitution and Canons of TEC have no provision which states that a member diocese cannot voluntarily withdraw its membership.” This ruling found that had there been such a provision, it would have violated the diocese’s “constitutionally protected right” to freedom of association. “With the freedom to associate goes its corollary, the freedom to disassociate,” Judge Goodstein wrote.

In a complicated ruling consisting of five separate opinions, the S.C. Supreme Court today ruled that parishes which had “acceded” to the national church’s ‘Dennis canon’ are subject to a trust interest on their property by the denomination. Eight congregations that had not so acceded were judged to have full rights to retain their property.

The dissenting justices expressed concern regarding the long term implications of this decision. Former Chief Justice Jean Toal stated that the court should have relied on “over three hundred years of settled trust and property law… I believe the effect of the majority’s decision is to strip a title owner of its property…” on the basis of actions that do not create a trust interest under South Carolina law. In concurring with Justice Toal, Justice Kittredge observed of other church properties where there is affiliation with a national organization, based on this ruling, “if you think your property ownership is secure, think again.”

This current litigation became necessary when TEC attempted to wrongly remove Bishop Lawrence, and the Diocese, in response, elected to disassociate from TEC. At that time a small group of TEC loyalists who had been preparing for this attempted removal began an intentional campaign of using the Diocesan Seal and other service marks of the Diocese. They began to function as if they were the Diocese of South Carolina. To maintain its identity required that the Diocese defend that identity.

Lead counsel for the Diocese, Alan Runyan, said the lead opinion and concurring’s decision is inconsistent with South Carolina and long-standing United States Supreme Court precedent involving church property disputes. Legal counsel continues to review a lengthy and complicated ruling comprised of five separate opinions.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

AS Haley’s preliminary Read on the South Carolina Supreme Court Decision

In a divided decision, the trial court’s order is reversed as to twenty-nine parishes and affirmed as to the remaining parishes. The trial court’s intellectual property ruling is affirmed by a vote of 2-2, with one justice declining to reach the issue.

Here are the seven parishes (and one land trust) which, by a 3-2 vote, were not subject to the Dennis Canon: Christ the King, Waccamaw; St. Matthews Church, Darlington; St. Andrews Church-Mt. Pleasant Land Trust; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Conway; The Episcopal Church of the Parish of Prince George Winyah, Georgetown; the Parish of St. Andrew, Mt. Pleasant; St. John’s Episcopal Church of Florence; and St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Summerton.

Note that the opinions are confusing as to how many “congregations” — seven or eight — managed to escape the Dennis Canon, by never acceding in their articles or bylaws to the Constitution and Canons of ECUSA. The reason is that one of the eight is not a congregation, but apparently a trust that holds title to church property.

The opinions show a bitterly divided Court that could not agree even upon the basic framework by which to decide the case (what the Court calls “the standard of review”). I put a lot of the blame for this divisiveness upon Justice Hearn, about whose blatant bias I wrote at the time of the oral argument. Her opinion concurring with Justice Pleicones might as well have been written by David Booth Beers….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Analysis, - Anglican: Latest News, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

South Carolina Supreme Court on Diocese of South Carolina/TEC Diocese in SC Dispute Ruling is Out

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

7 Bishops based in Melbourne writer to the Premier of Victoria about the Proposal to legalise Euthansia

Dear Premier
We, the undersigned leaders of faith communities in Victoria, commend much of the work of the recent Victorian End-of-Life Choices Inquiry, which identified the need to improve the quality and accessibility of palliative care for all Victorians.  However we strongly reject the proposal to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia in Victoria.

Better care – not killing

Human dignity is honoured in living life, not in taking it. Even though an act of euthanasia or assisted suicide may be motivated by a sense of compassion, true compassion motivates us to remain with those who are dying, understanding and supporting them through their time of need, rather than simply acceding to a request to be killed. It is right to seek to eliminate pain, but never right to eliminate people. Euthanasia and assisted suicide represent the abandonment of those who are in greatest need of our care and support.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Bishop of Lichfield’s Pastoral Letter for August 2017: De-stress or distress?

Even if you are unable to get away this summer, I do hope that you will find an opportunity to relax and de-stress as a way of avoiding dis-stress later in the year as the days grow shorter and winter comes once more.

Sadly, all evidence points to a large increase in those suffering with depression and other forms of mental illness especially among the young. I was surprised to read that New Zealand – a country which in my mind is always associated with beautiful landscapes and a more gentle pace of life than here in the UK – has the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world. Commentators highlight the stigma that is attached to depression which instead of being recognised as an illness is regarded as weakness. Those who suffer tend to be told to ‘pull themselves together’ (whatever that means) and to ‘grin and bear it’. The pressure is on boys particularly to ‘man up’ and emulate the big tough guy image of the rugby playing All Blacks.

I would like to think that we are more accepting of mental illness in our country but sadly all the indications are that here mental and physical illness are still treated very differently.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Economist) Why exorcisms are on the rise in France: As the church loses interest, private enterprise has taken its place

The exorcist, Philippe Moscato, walks from room to room in a large Paris flat, sprinkling blessed water and offering incantations. “Spirits away!”, he calls out, telling pests their attacks will, from now on, be futile. He informs the homeowner the air will improve after his work is done, with the entire apartment block likely to benefit. For the ritual, which lasts an hour, Mr Moscato pockets €155 ($182). He says he despooks property in Paris a few times each week and roughly once a week conducts an exorcism of a person. He is not alone. Look online and a host of private exorcists, healers, mediums, kabbalists, shamans and energiticians offer similar services, for fees as high as €500 per ceremony. Some offer to help a business out of a bad patch, or to restore love to a failing relationship. Many help with supposed hauntings of properties. One self-declared exorcist near Paris says he earns as much a €12,000 a month (before tax) by working 15-hour days, including consultations by phone. The exorcism business is on the rise in France. Why?

According to the exorcists they thrive because customers get much-needed benefits from the rituals. Mr Moscato, for example, describes an “avalanche” of demand following prominent terrorist attacks in France late in 2015. He suggests three parts of France are particularly vulnerable to “black magic”—Paris, Lyon and the French Riviera, where local mafia are said to be active—and this can be countered by sufficiently strong exorcists. Alessandra Nucci, a writer on Catholic matters who attended a course run by the International Association of Exorcists (IAE) in Rome, argues “absolutely, there are more and more” private operators in Europe who charge for their services. She says they fill a vacuum left by priests reluctant to do the job: the “church has, for too long, neglected exorcisms, despite strong demand from the public”, she says.

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Posted in France, Religion & Culture

Archbishop Welby preaches at the inauguration of a new Province of Sudan

The birth of a new province is a rare event, one that many Archbishops of Canterbury will never have attended, and like all rare and precious events, like even normal but precious events like the birth of a child, it is a new beginning which raises questions and hopes together. As we move to this new beginning we must especially thank His Grace Archbishop the Most Reverend Doctor Daniel Deng. He is the midwife of this Province, who has encouraged and strengthened it to the point we have now reached. Your Grace, we appreciate your work and your love for what is now a Province, your wisdom in its birth.

To be invited to preach here this morning is a privilege of which I could never have dreamed, your Grace Archbishop Ezekiel Kondo Kumar Kuku. I thank you and the province of the Sudan as it begins its life for the honour of being here at your birth. Like all new births it comes with responsibility within Sudan for Christians to make it work, and from outside to support, to pray, to love this new Province.

But what will happen? How will this new arrival survive and grow and develop? It is a birth in which the Church is already adult even at its beginning as a province, with a history and a background, a context of joy and of sorrow like all churches. We would be unusual people if we did not find that our hopes were accompanied by fears, our expectations by worries. If we look 10 years, 20 years, even 100 years from now, what then will this province be? Think how it has changed since the first Cathedral was built here over 100 years ago.

There is much to develop, many opportunities and many challenges.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Preaching / Homiletics, Sudan

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Right Reverend Samuel David Ferguson (1842-1916)

Almighty God, who didst raise up thy servant Samuel Ferguson and inspire in him a missionary vision of thy Church in education and ministry: Stir up in us through his example a zeal for a Church, alive with thy Holy Word, reaching forth in love and service to all; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Liberia, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from J R Illingworth

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who knowest the Father, even as Thou art known of Him, lead us onward evermore in the knowledge of Thee Who art the truth, till at last we see Thy face, and know Thee as we are known of Thee; Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, one God for ever and ever.

–Frederick B.Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name for ever; may his glory fill the whole earth! Amen and Amen!

–Psalm 72:18-19

Posted in Theology: Scripture