As many of you have been made aware the Diocese of South Carolina disassociated from The Episcopal Church (TEC) in October 2012 after an attempt to remove The Right Reverend Mark Lawrence as our Bishop. On January 4th The Diocese of South Carolina and many churches joined in filing for a declarative judgment in a South Carolina Circuit Court against the Episcopal Church (TEC). This legal action asks the court to declare that The Episcopal Church (TEC) has no right to the Diocese’s identity and property or that of its parishes.
This excerpt from our Bishop’s letter from January 4th further clarifies the suit:
Our suit asks the court to prevent TEC from infringing on the protected marks of the Diocese, including its seal and its historical names, and to prevent it from assuming the Diocese’s identity, which was established long before TEC was formed. It also asks the court to protect our parish and Diocesan property, including church buildings and rectories, which our forefathers built and even shed blood over, and you have maintained without any investment of any kind from the national church.
The Church of the Resurrection has had an affinity with the mission of the Diocese of South Carolina proclaiming Jesus Christ and his uniqueness as the Son of God and a widening gap with the theology of The Episcopal Church whose proclamation is less clear and often ambiguous.
Please note that this separation has to do with the issues of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, his saving grace extended to those who recognize Jesus’ death on the cross, his resurrection from the dead, and not the issue of sexuality. The Church of the Resurrection’s desire is to proclaim the Transformation of Lives through the Resurrected Power of Jesus Christ and thus has been distancing itself from The Episcopal Church for many years in order to clarify the message of the Gospel that has been delivered through the apostles.
Monday night January 21, 2013 the vestry of The Church of the Resurrection, Surfside made the decision to join a lawsuit to prevent The Episcopal Church (TEC) from seizing their property. The congregation was one of 15 parishes to add their support to the suit in an amended complaint filed with the South Carolina Circuit Court bringing the total number of congregations in the litigation to 31.
In addition to blocking the seizure of parish property, the suit also asks the court to prevent TEC from infringing on the protected marks of the Diocese, including its seal and its historical names, and to prevent the church from assuming the Diocese’s identity, which was established before TEC’s creation. The National Church (TEC) has taken steps to seize local property by calling for a “special convention” meeting this week to select new leadership for the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, which TEC claims to own.
Beloved it is our hope and prayer that joining with the Diocese and other congregations will protect our mission and ministry with the very unique and diverse community that God has gathered together to celebrate the power of Jesus.
Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
–(The Rev.) Ronald Greiser, Jr. is rector, Church of the Resurrection, Surfside Beach S.C.