Category : Parish Ministry

South Carolina Anglican Bishop Mark Lawrence Calls for a Bishop Coadjutor

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Children, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–There is therefore now no Condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8)


(Sermon starts about 22 minutes in).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

Anglican Bishop of South Carolina Mark Lawrence–The Viral Shuttering of Other Gods

I received an email last week that included a brief message that I’ve been ruminating on ever since. It was from an acquaintance of mine, Bishop James Wong, who is the Anglican Archbishop of the Indian Ocean. Let me share part of it with you.

“In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship. God said, “You want to worship athletes, I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down Civic Centers. You want to worship actors, I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don’t want to go to church and worship Me, I will make it where you can’t go to church.”

I imagine he could have mentioned others: You want to worship health; I will empty your gyms and fill your hospitals. You want to worship recreation; I will close the Magic Kingdom and gate your parks. You want to worship travel and exotic places; I will dock your cruise liners and ground your planes. You want to indulge in the nightlife; I will close your restaurants and bars and shutter your cities.

Well that has the ring of truth to it—mostly! Yet not entirely. It could be understood to mean God sent this coronavirus as a judgement on the world. Yet I for one am not ready to say that. I am inclined to say it is a judgement upon our idols. It reveals to us how frail life can be and how vain at times our pursuits. You will remember the first two commandments of the Decalogue. “God spoke these words and said: I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods but me. You shall not make for yourself any idol.” The reformer John Calvin said, “The human heart is a factory for the making of idols.” When we give ourselves to idols, embracing God’s good gifts separate from Him they invariably turn empty and let us down—whether as individuals, communities, or even nations. “Claiming to be wise they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man….” (Romans 1:22-23)

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

UK Faith leaders make call for environment-focused economic recovery

Marking the end of the first half of London Climate Action Week, representatives from UK faith groups have signed an open letter to the UK Government urging it to ensure that its economic recovery strategy is centred on the urgent need to reduce the impact of climate change.

In the letter, the signatories, some of whom are members of the ‘Faith for the Climate’ network, also commit to the goals of the Laudato Si encyclical – an initiative of Pope Francis – to advocate for and model positive initiatives to continue to tackle the Climate Emergency.

The open letter [begins]:

COVID-19 has unexpectedly taught us a great deal. Amidst the fear and the grief for loved ones lost, many of us have found consolation in the dramatic reduction of pollution and the restoration of nature. Renewed delight in and contact with the natural world has the capacity to reduce our mental stress and nourish us spiritually.

We have rediscovered our sense of how interconnected the world is. The very health and future of humanity depends on our ability to act together not only with respect to pandemics but also in protecting our global eco-system.

At the same time, less travel and consumption and more kindness and neighbourliness have helped us appreciate what society can really mean.

We have also seen yet again that in times of crisis, injustice becomes more obvious, and that it is the poor and vulnerable who suffer most….

Read it all.

Posted in Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(BBC) Coronavirus: The priest treating patients during crisis

Belfast man Christopher Gault left medicine to join the priesthood in 2014.

With the outbreak of coronavirus, he returned to work as a doctor for six weeks on the front line in Belfast’s Mater hospital.

Read it all (video availablealso).

Posted in --Ireland, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

(AP) Some Religious Leaders to Invoke Frederick Douglass on July 4th

About 150 preachers, rabbis and imams are promising to invoke Black abolitionist Frederick Douglass on July 4th as they call for the U.S. to tackle racism and poverty.

The religious leaders are scheduled this weekend to frame their sermons around “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” on the 168th anniversary of that speech by Douglass. The former slave gave his speech at an Independence Day celebration on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York. The address challenged the Founding Fathers and the hypocrisy of their ideals with the existence of slavery on American soil.

The initiative to remember Douglass is led by the Poor People’s Campaign, a coalition of religious leaders seeking to push the U.S. to address issues of poverty modeled after Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last crusade.

“(The Declaration of Independence) was written mostly by Thomas Jefferson. Yet he owned hundreds of human beings, and enslaved them,” Rabbi Arthur Waskow plans to tell The Shalom Center in Philadelphia, according to prepared remarks. “The contradiction between his words and his actions has been repeated through all American history.”

Read it all.

Posted in History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Judaism, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Brian McGreevy’s much-touted CS Lewis class on The Screwtape Letters now has 33 episodes available. Find them here.

Class participant, Libby Lewis says,

“First and foremost, Brian knows his CS Lewis, inside and out and his enthusiasm to communicate that knowledge in the manner of a Young Life meeting makes this class infectious, witty and fun. I love how he structures the class to meet everyone’s needs: from those who “sit on the beach“ and just soak it in to those who “snorkel” and initiate a bit more learning to providing extra material, readings, etc for those who want to go deeper and “scuba dive”. His guest appearance on the CS Lewis podcast “Pints with Jack” was loads of fun.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry

(Church Times) Government guidance for services: count them in, keep it short, and beware ‘consumables’

From 4 July, incumbents will be responsible for determining how many people can safely attend public worship in their churches, based on a risk assessment of the capacity and ventilation of the building, the Government has said.

The guidance, published on Monday and effective from 4 July, was drawn up by the Places of Worship Taskforce, which includes faith leaders and government ministers. It has legal status under the Health and Safety and Equality Acts.

No maximum number is specified for people attending for general worship, which includes led prayers, devotions, or meditations. The guidance confirms, however, that a maximum of 30 people are permitted to attend weddings, funerals, and other “life-cycle” services, such as baptisms, regardless of the size of the building, unless this takes place during routine communal worship (News, 26 June).

It states: “Limits for communal worship should be decided locally on the basis of the capacity of the place of worship following a risk assessment. The number of people permitted to enter the place of worship at any one time should be limited, so that a safe distance of at least two metres, or one metre with risk mitigation (where two metres is not viable) between households.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Politics in General, Stewardship

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–The end of the road for C of E growth strategies?

At…[a recent] Diocesan Synod in Chelmsford Diocese, a paper was discussed which proposed a radical reduction of stipendiary clergy posts from 275 to 215 within the next 18 months, a reduction of 22%. (Since these papers are in the public domain, you can read it for yourself here.) Despite some of these positions already being vacant, this will almost certainly involve making actual clergy redundant, which I think must be unprecedented in the modern era. With our (appropriate) current pre-occupation with the question of racism in society and the church, this might get overlooked or thought of as a local issue—but in fact this could be a turning point, since its implications point to a radical rejection of a commitment to a strategy of growth for the Church of England.

The introduction to the paper sets out the paradoxical pressures that has faced both dioceses and the national Church for some time:

a. On the one hand, it was widely predicted that 40% of serving clergy would retire in the next ten years, creating a kind of ‘cliff edge’ for stipendiary ministry. In fact, this has not been realised, since dioceses cannot control exactly when clergy retire, and many have been staying on longer than expected.

b. On the other hand, the Church of England nationally has never consistently reached its giving target of 5% of net income of those attending, and dioceses across the country are reporting growing deficits.

c. This paradox has been brought to a head by a very significant change in the way that the Church Commissioners distribute their funding. Prior to 2015, the Commissioners distributed funds according to what was known as the ‘Darlow formula’, which paid attention to needs in the dioceses in different ways, but paid no attention to commitment to or potential for growth. John Spence was the leading voice in the 2015 report Resourcing the Future, which proposed that the Commissioners money was divided into two: the Strategic Development Fund (SDF), which would give grants for church planting and church growth initiatives, each of which would need to become self-sustaining over a five-year period; and the Lowest Income Communities Funding (LInC), continuing support for the poorest communities across the dioceses….

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

Brand New Episcopal Church (TEC) Diocese in South Carolina Asks Court to Reconsider its recent Ruling

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

(CSP) Matthew Rivers teaches on Galatians 5–‘Fruit of the Spirit | Stories of Hope–Peace’

Watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Parish Ministry, Theology: Scripture

(Sun Times) Asian American churches hold march through Chinatown, calling for unity with Black communities

Chinatown’s Chinese Christian Union Church and Bronzeville’s Progressive Baptist Church have existed for more than a century just 1.5 miles apart on Wentworth Avenue.

But the two churches have rarely interacted or helped each other — until Sunday.

With coordination from the Asian American Christian Collaborative, leaders and members of the two churches — as well as many other Asian religious organizations in the area — marched through Chinatown to call for increased unity between the Asian and Black communities.

“For too long, the Asian American Christian church has been silent on tons of matters, especially when it comes to race,” said CCUC deacon Chris Javier, one of the organizers.

“This is the end of silence. This is us pledging to stop that, to start using our voice on behalf of those that are hurting, even if they don’t look like us.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ecumenical Relations, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Bishop Stephen Cottrell: safeguarding statements

Statement from Bishop Stephen

“Ten years ago I was approached about a safeguarding allegation regarding a priest. I was able to see the survivor and begin to hear what was a difficult and harrowing story. However, I was moving between roles at the time and although I did speak with colleagues about the actions that needed to be taken, I failed to ensure that these were properly documented and followed through in the way I would expect. Now that I have discovered that this incident was not followed up as it should have been, I am deeply distressed and extremely sorry. Because this has recently come to light, I am both thankful that it is being addressed properly now, but also mindful that in my new position as Archbishop of York it is absolutely essential that I am open and transparent about the need for the whole of our church to be scrupulously honest with each other about any failings in safeguarding.

“In the past, the Church of England has been too quick to protect its own reputation and slow to admit its failings. This must change. Those in public office should be subject to scrutiny. Good safeguarding is an absolute priority for the Church of England and for me personally.

“In the diocese of Chelmsford where I have served for the past 10 years, I have been helped by survivors I have worked with as well as a first rate safeguarding team to have a much greater understanding of why safeguarding itself is so important and how we must be prepared to confront our failings and learn from them. Therefore, although I am embarrassed that I did not follow this up as scrupulously as I should have done 10 years ago, I want to go on the record about what has happened in order to demonstrate a new spirit of openness and transparency over how we ensure that the church is as safe as it can be, that survivors are listened to and dealt with honestly, and perpetrators brought to justice.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

The Nigerian Guardian does a special interview with Anglican leader the Most Rev. Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba

How do you plan to create more dioceses, during your tenure?

Let me put it this way: I believe that my work, in the main, may have to do with consolidation. Along the line, there might be new things being introduced. But sustaining what is there, building up the structures that will make this Church stronger, funding and financing and being self-sustaining and supporting, and being able to carry out our mission to the world will be our focus. Part of that consolidation will be to help the needy dioceses to stand.

But I have also realised that as you engage in church mission, church planting, training of pastors and nurturing the believers, the church grows and there will be the need for us to expand. As of now, I cannot tell you the number of dioceses that will be created. This is a decision the House of Bishops, the Episcopal Synod and the General Synod will take. So, when the time comes, we will do the needful. But we will see that we consolidate, strengthen what is on the ground and build up the structures of this institution that will help the church to function and face future challenges.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Nigeria, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

(Church Times) National Church Survey: respondents bored, but prayerful during lockdown

What did the laity experience?

Throughout the lockdown, most laity felt well supported by their clergy (51%) and by the members of their church (49%). A high proportion accessed services online (91%), but this figure needs to be read against the fact that these were people also responding to an online survey.

Among those who attended online services, the sense of participation was not as high as may have been expected. About two-fifths reported that during online services they actually prayed (40%) or recited the liturgy (36%), but fewer reported that they joined in singing (27%).

Privatising holy communion

The lockdown brought into sharp focus questions about celebrating and receiving communion. The survey revealed some significant differences between the views of those giving ministry and those receiving ministry. Whereas 41% of laity agreed that it was right for clergy to celebrate holy communion in their own homes without broadcasting the service to others, only 31% of ministers did so.

Similarly, 43% of laity argued that it was right for people at home to receive communion from their own bread and wine as part of an online communion service, compared with 34% of clergy.

The survey also revealed divided opinion between people from different traditions: 49% of Anglo-Catholics agreed that it was right for clergy to celebrate communion in their homes without broadcasting the service to others, compared with only 25% of Evangelicals.

Conversely, only 23% of Anglo-Catholics argued that it was right for people at home to receive communion from their own bread and wine as part of an online communion service, compared with 55% of Evangelicals.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Saint Michael’s Charleston Pauses in Person Worship Services Beginning this Sunday

[Via email] Dear St. Michaelites and Friends:

What a blessing it has been to have live worship during the month of June, seeing so many of your faces has been truly a gift! We miss you when we can’t see you! Indeed, Three weeks ago on June 7th, and based on the recommendation of the Re-Opening Task Force of St. Michael’s Church, we opened the church doors for worship after being closed for 11 Sundays due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. We reopened on several conditions, including the key condition, that the Covid-19 cases would flatten and decline in South Carolina as well as right here in Charleston.

Since that time, the Re-Opening Task Force, led by Dr. Jerry Reves (Epidemiologist at MUSC) has continued to monitor and meet together. In the last two weeks, Covid-19 cases have sky rocketed both in our state and in our region, with hospitals filling up quickly and new spaces being created for patients. As promised, the Re-Opening Task Force kept meeting to assess, including Monday, June 22. At that time and based on original criteria, the Re-Opening Task Force recommended to the Vestry a pause in our re-opening process. The vestry, wardens and I accepted their recommendation to pause all live-in-person worship taking effect Sunday, July 5.

Beyond the original criteria, we also made the decision based on three other factors:

1). With hospitals filling up so fast, we as St. Michael’s Church cannot contribute to the problem of overflowing Covid-19 units. We want to be part of the solution to flatten the curve.

2). After having been opened for what will be four Sundays, including the funeral for the Rev. Dr. Peter Moore and Carolina Day, this will allow us to have the time to completely sterilize the church and prepare for our eventual reopening.

3). We will also use this time to complete several projects in the Sanctuary including the final installation of our live stream capability to make sure when we do come back in person we will simultaneously also be live on computer.

Personally, I am so glad we had the month of June to be open and see so many of you! That re-opening was a test run to help us be even more effective when we do open up.

In the meantime, we will continue to produce our weekly worship videos and all our zoom discipleship offerings. That continues regardless of any circumstance. I know that for many (including me) this is a very difficult decision. However I want to assure you it is the right decision. As Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 10: “We have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything, but not everything is constructive.” How do we serve the other? I believe right now the answer is to worship in our homes and participate in the zoom offerings and do our part to help flatten the curve.

You are loved, we are a phone call away. Stay faithful dear friends!

Blessings in Christ,

The Rev. Alfred Zadig, Jr.
Rector

Mr. Leland H. Cox
Senior Warden

Mrs. Laura Waring Gruber
Junior Warden

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry

Diocese of Carlisle sets up a Task Group to secure its future mission

A special Task Group has been set up to secure the long-term missional sustainability of the Diocese of Carlisle – the Church of England in Cumbria – post COVID-19.

The Financial Planning Task Group is chaired by the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome, and has ten other members including the Bishop of Penrith, clergy and members of the Diocesan Board of Finance (DBF).

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, its focus is the sustained growth of church of every kind in the Diocese of Carlisle, supporting mission, ministry and the ecumenical God for All Vision Refresh.

Bishop James said: “As with all other dioceses in the Church of England, our cash flow and overall financial situation has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Almost every part of our income has been affected: churches have been closed, regular giving has fallen and Parish Offer has been affected; investment income is likely to be lower; parochial fees have not been earned as occasional offices such as weddings and funerals in churches have not happened and our commercial and residential tenants are themselves under financial pressure. We still don’t know exactly for how long and to what degree this will be the case….”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

St. Andrew’s Mt. Pleasant and St. Michael’s, Charleston, are partnering together in offering a Christian Fellows program called “Holy City Fellows.” It is a a nine-month (September-May) Christian leadership program for women and men in their 20’s and early 30’s who want to bring their faith to bear in every dimension of their lives – relationships, family, church, work, and culture. This program is designed to develop emerging Christian leaders.

Now through the summer, they are taking applications for their next class of Fellows that begins in late August. They look for young adults from various local churches who love the Lord, are active in their church, exhibit maturity and humility, are teachable, are willing to apply themselves, have a desire to grow in leadership abilities, and can fulfill the program commitments. More info can be found on their website HolyCityFellows.com or hear several Fellows share their experience in this Zoom video chat.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Media, Parish Ministry

A Kendall Harmon Teaching on Galatians 5–The fruit of the Spirit: Joy

Please note there is also an audio only version available to listen to or download there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Parish Ministry, Sermons & Teachings

(C of E) End the sin of racism, online service hears ahead of Windrush Day

The Church of England’s online weekly service will hear a call for action to build a fairer world ahead of a minute’s silence to lament the racism experienced by the Windrush generation and other black and UK minority ethnic people.

Father Andrew Moughtin-Mumby, Rector of St Peter’s Church in Walworth, south east London, will lead the service in which his sermon will describe racism as one of three pandemics faced by the world, alongside the climate crisis and COVID-19.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Uncategorized

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Alban

Almighty God, by whose grace and power thy holy martyr Alban triumphed over suffering and was faithful even unto death: Grant to us, who now remember him with thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to thee in this world, that we may receive with him the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Spirituality/Prayer

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

A Celebration of the Life of the Rev. Dr Peter C Moore

Posted in * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education

The Brand New TEC Diocese in South Carolina gives a (very revealing) response to Judge Edgar W. Dickson’s ruling

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Language, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(Anglican Dio of SC) South Carolina Circuit Court Rules in Favor of the Diocese and Parishes

In his ruling, Judge Dickson made several important conclusions of law. Chief among them was his ruling on the central issue of interpreting the Collective Opinions. As he noted in quoting former Chief Justice Toal, “The Court’s collective opinions in this matter give rise to great uncertainty, so that we have given little to no collective guidance in this case or in church property disputes like this going forward.” He concluded that, “This court must distill the five separate opinions, identify the court’s intent and produce a logical directive.” With respect to parish property, the law of this case follows the precedent of All Saints Parish, Waccamaw (2009). In his deciding opinion, Chief Justice Beatty, “found that the Dennis Canon, standing alone, does not unequivocally convey an intention to transfer ownership of property to the national church…” In accordance with established South Carolina law, establishment of a trust interest must meet the standard of being “legally cognizable”. The Diocese has argued that there is no such evidence of accession to the Dennis Canon that meets this standard and Judge Dickson concluded, “This court finds that no parish expressly acceded to the Dennis Canon” and “defendants failed to prove creation of a trust.” He further concluded, “TEC’s argument that their unilaterally drafted Dennis Canon created a trust under South Carolina law is rejected.”

In the case of the Trustees and St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, Judge Dickson affirmed that under the All Saints ruling that a non-profit corporation which follows the correct steps to sever its association with another entity does so with all its property interests intact. The Collective Opinions found that the Diocese and Parishes properly disassociated. As Judge Dickson explains, “Applying neutral principles of law, this court finds the Diocese and Parishes properly disassociated and control their real and personal property with any improvements thereon. Following the narrowest grounds of the majority in the Collective opinions, this Court finds that Camp St. Christopher should remain as titled in the Trustees of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina as stated in the 1951 deed.”

On the final matter of registered trademarks, Judge Dickson said “This court finds that the Federal Court has jurisdiction over matters related to trademarks, intellectual property and service marks,” Those matters are currently on appeal before the Federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

Speaking on behalf of the Diocese, the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis observed, “The Diocese welcomes the clarity of Judge Dickson’s interpretation of the Supreme Court’s Collective Opinion. By twice denying petitions by TEC and TECSC to prevent Judge Dickson from completing this task, the Supreme Court has clearly signaled its desire to resolve these issues. We remain confident that our ability to disassociate from TEC, with all our legal rights intact, will continue to be affirmed.”

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Church History, History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

A S Haley–South Carolina Court on Remand Vindicates Bishop Lawrence and His Parishes

Judge Dickson does an excellent job of laying out these conclusions at the close of his Order:

The neutral principles of property, corporate, and trust law [in South Carolina] have been consistent for years. Lawyers and judges understand those principles and are competent to decide issued based upon them. Additionally, neutral principles of law avoids all religious discussion, including which party is “true” to their denomination.

This is a property case. A decision on property ownership is usually governed by the title to real estate—the deed. In this case, all the Plaintiff Parishes hold title to their property in fee simple absolute.

Ownership may be effected by trust: a clear, convincing legal statement of a trust—not a promise, not a pledge, not polity. This Court concludes that there is no signed writing by the Plaintiffs expressly acceding to the Dennis Canon. This Court concludes there is no evidence establishing an intent by the Plaintiff Parishes to create a trust in favor of Defendants nor did the Plaintiffs ever vote on or consider acceding specifically to the Dennis Canon. Statements of allegiance are insufficient to establish an expressed trust. TEC unilaterally drafted the Dennis Canon. Since TEC and TECSC are not the owners of the Parish properties, they cannot establish a trust for themselves simply by declaring that they are also the beneficiary of the trust. The Dennis Canon by itself does not create a “legally cognizable” trust nor does [it] transfer title to property.

What does this mean on the ground? Again, Judge Dickson — in contrast to the indeterminate and scattered holdings of the South Carolina Supreme Court, whose “Collective Opinions” he was forced to parse and make sense of — leaves nothing unclear:

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the thirty-six Plaintiff Parishes be, and hereby are, declared and affirmed as the title owners in fee simple absolute of their respective parish real properties, with improvements thereon and their accompanying personal property.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that certified true copies of this order shall be filed in the Clerk of Court’s Office in the county where each parish is located.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Defendants herein have no interest in the Plaintiff Parishes’ properties.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that ownership to Camp St. Christopher remain as titled to the Trustees of the Corporation as stated in the 1951 deed.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Federal Court has jurisdiction over all matters related to trademarks, service marks, and intellectual property.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the request for the Appointment of a Special Master, the Petition for an Accounting are denied.
AND IT IS SO ORDERED.

Your Curmudgeon does not gloat or boast, but tries to keep things humble and accurate here. Nevertheless, this earlier post foreshadowed this result. It was obvious to a lawyer’s mind that no three justices of the South Carolina Supreme Court had agreed on anything except that they were not overruling All Saints Waccamaw, which remained good law. And following that lead, Judge Dickson finds that each of the questions presented for him on remand was already resolved by that earlier decision.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry

Saint Philips Charleston–A Legal Update Based on Judge Edgar W. Dickson’s ruling today

Today, Judge Edgar W. Dickson, Judge of the First Judicial Circuit in the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas, issued an Order finding that St. Philip’s did not accede to the 1979 Dennis Canon and is thus the owner of its property. He further found that no other Parish acceded to the Dennis Canon and thus no trust was ever created in favor of The Episcopal Church (TEC). This is the ruling for which we have been praying.

Following the five separate Opinions issued by the Supreme Court of South Carolina on August 2, 2017, and subsequent motions and petitions, the case was remitted to the state trial court. Our Diocese, joined by St. Philip’s and the other Parishes (Plaintiffs), filed a Motion for Clarification of Jurisdiction and Other Relief in March of 2018. TEC and The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (Defendants) filed a Petition for Execution and other relief in May of 2018.

Judge Dickson’s Order applies the “neutral principles of law” as directed by the majority of the state Supreme Court finding that a trust in parish property can be created in favor of TEC only if a parish church, in a signed writing, expressly agreed to the Dennis Canon. The Order recognizes that the Parishes’ names are on the deeds and that a valid trust under South Carolina law was never created or acknowledged by the Parishes. Judge Dickson reviewed the evidence admitted at trial––that had not been made available to the South Carolina Supreme Court––and concluded that there was no evidence of written accession to the Dennis Canon in the trial record. The Court found that although some parishes merely promised allegiance to TEC, that no parish expressly acceded to the 1979 Dennis Canon and thus this promise cannot deprive them of their ownership rights in their property.

With regards to St. Philip’s Church, Judge Dickson specifically found that the only evidence that Defendants argue could constitute accession to the Dennis Canon is the reference to the Articles of Religion contained in our 1987 Articles of Restatement. The court found that these Articles predate the Dennis Canon by 178 years and relate exclusively to religious doctrine, do not make an express accession to rules or Canons of TEC, and thus do not create an express agreement to the terms of the Dennis Canon. The Court found that the Articles of Religion were not part of the record on appeal and thus not considered by the state Supreme Court, that they are a summary of theological and doctrinal beliefs, and that there is “a complete lack of evidence of an express agreement to the 1979 Dennis Canon by St. Philip’s Church in a signed writing. Thus, this court finds that the Parish of St. Philip’s property title is held in fee simple absolute by the Parish, and its property is not held in trust for the Defendant TEC or TECSC.” (Order, page 27). The Order contains a similar examination of evidence and findings of fact for each of the other 27 Parishes in the litigation.

With regards to Camp St. Christopher, Judge Dickson noted that the trial court originally found that our Diocese was the proper statutory beneficiary of the Trustees that owned the Camp, that the Supreme Court Opinions do not change this finding, that the Diocese and all Parishes properly disassociated from TEC and control the real and personal property with any improvements thereon, and that the Camp should remain titled in the Trustee of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina as stated in the 1951 deed.

With regards to the trademarks, service marks, and intellectual property at issue in the litigation, Judge Dickson found that the federal court has jurisdiction over these matters. These matters were decided by an Order issued on September 19, 2019, by United States District Judge Richard Gergel granting summary judgment to the Defendants, and that Order is currently on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

In his conclusion, Judge Dickson ordered that:
  • “the thirty-six Plaintiff Parishes be, and hereby are, declared and affirmed as the title owners in fee simple absolute of their respective parish real properties, with improvements thereon and their accompanying personal property.”
  • “certified true copies of this order shall be filed in the Clerk of Court’s Office in the county where each parish is located.”
  • “the Defendants herein have no interest in the Plaintiff Parishes’ properties.”
  • “ownership to Camp St. Christopher remain as titled to the Trustees of the Corporation as stated in the 1951 deed.”
  • “the Federal Court has jurisdiction over all matters related to trademarks, service marks, and intellectual property.”
  • “the request for the Appointment of a Special Master, the Petition for an Accounting are denied.”
Judge Dickson has previously acknowledged in open court that whatever order he issues would likely be appealed to the South Carolina Supreme Court.

For today’s ruling, we give thanks to God.

W. Foster Gaillard

Chancellor Emeritus
Ben A. Hagood, Jr.

Chancellor
St. Philip’s, Charleston, South Carolina

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry

Judge Edgar W. Dickson Dickson Unpacks the South Carolina Supreme Court Ruling on the Property Dispute between TEC and the Historic Anglican Diocese

“This Court finds that no parish acceded to the 1979 Dennis Canon; the deed of Camp St. Christopher titled to the Trustee Corporation is controlling; the Federal Court has exclusive authority to decide all issues relating to the trademarks, service marks, and intellectual property; and the Defendants’ Petition for the Appointment of a Special Master and Petition for an Accounting are denied.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Language, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry