What was announced at the South Carolina Clergy Conference this past Tuesday Evening

There was an interesting development in the Diocese of South Carolina this week. A Quit Claim Deed to the parish property was mailed to every parish in the diocese from Chancellor Wade Logan on Wednesday (the fact that it was coming I understand was announced to the clergy present at the clergy conference on Tuesday night). In Mr. Logan’s letter, the following explanation was given:

“For 190 years (1789-1979) there had never been any idea that somehow the parishes did not completely and fully own their property. Our Supreme Court has now said that the attempt to change that in 1979 by the General Convention was not binding on the parish of All Saints, Pawley’s Island, SC. In recognition of that ruling, and in continued pursuit of our historic unity based on common vision rather than legal coercion, the Diocesan Convention removed the relevant section from our canons in October 2010. The issuance of these quitclaim deeds lays to rest any lingering issue that may exist for some parishes when they seek to obtain title insurance or secure bank financing for parish projects. Parishes may choose to file them or not based on their individual needs. We trust this action will enable parishes to freely exercise their rights and responsibility to oversee that which God, through the faithfulness of prior generations, has bequeathed to them.”

Why would Bishop Lawrence and the diocesan leadership take such a step?

You may read the further comments of one leader among Anglican reasserters on this here.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

14 comments on “What was announced at the South Carolina Clergy Conference this past Tuesday Evening

  1. FrCarl says:

    I can do little but applaud Bp. Lawrence and his advisors as this is one of the better moves I’ve seen in the past 10 years.
    It displays an understanding of reality (vis-a-vis the future with TEC) and a deep trust in the Gospel as true unity of the Church.

  2. Jill Woodliff says:

    [blockquote]God of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of glory,

    We thank You for Your great plan of redemption and for the Blood of the Lamb that washed us clean from our sins. Thank You for the delight in drawing near and knowing You. May we ever continue in Your presence that our spiritual understanding will be enlightened and we will recognize the hope of Your calling, the riches of Your inheritance, and the greatness of Your power.
    You raised Christ Jesus from the dead and set him at Your right hand in heaven, far above all principalities, power, might, and dominion, and every name that is named, in all dimensions, seen and unseen, and all time. You have put all things under His feet and made Him the head of the church.
    God, You have quickened us, as members of the church, together with Christ. In Christ Jesus, we have been raised and sit in heavenly places.

    Satan, you are a defeated foe. By faith, Moses kept the passover and the sprinkling of the blood. By faith, Rahab delivered the spies and redeemed her family by the scarlet cord. By faith, we apply the Blood of the Lamb over the doorposts and lintels, the windows in the wall, and every spiritual portal of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

    The Blood of the Lamb says to the angel of death, [i][b]You must pass over[/i][/b]. The Blood of Jesus, our Mediator of a new covenant, speaks a better, nobler, and more gracious message than the blood of Abel, [i][b]Mercy, not vengeance[/i][/b].

    Speak, O precious Blood, speak. Speak the way, the truth, and the life for the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. Speak that they may receive God’s kingdom, a kingdom that is firm and stable and cannot be shaken.

    Father of glory, Your kingdom come, Your will be done in Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina today, as it is in heaven. Amen.

    [i]Ephesians 1 & 2, Hebrews 11 & 12[/i]

  3. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    A Quit Claim deed is pretty murky, legally. I am not all that familiar with South Carolina property law, but if it is not a Warranty Deed, then they’ve just created a major legal headache for everyone in terms of property law.

  4. Br. Michael says:

    A quit claim deed simply transfers any interest in title, if any, one party may have to another. To the extent that TEC wants to piggy back on any claim by the diocese, they can’t now.

  5. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    A quit claim deed is only applicable in the absence of a warranty deed, at least in common law. Many states do not even recognize a quit claim deed anymore. Do none of the properties have warranty deeds?

  6. Br. Michael says:

    I don’t believe that is quite correct. A warranty deed obligates the seller of property to defend the title. The seller makes certain warranties as regards title. We don’t have that situation here. This is similar to a receiver’s deed. The transferor transfers all right title and interest they may have if any, without warranty, to another party.

    If there is a title problem the person claiming title has to defend.

    Quit claim and warranty deeds do different things. In this case the diocese is saying that it has no claim whatsoever to parish realty.

  7. Br. Michael says:

    I would presume that the party that sold the realty to the parish gave a warranty deed.

    Say a will leaves property to two siblings. One sibling is a monastic and doesn’t want the property. He or she would quit claim any interest they might have in the property to the other. He can’t do a warranty deed because he doesn’t know the title status of the property, but he can renounce any claim he may have.

  8. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    That’s not what I was taught in Law school, but so be it. I’m not a property lawyer.

  9. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    For further clarification: A quitclaim deed according the Black’s Law Dictionary is, “A deed that conveys a grantor’s complete interest or claim in certain real property but that neither warrants nor professes that the title is valid.”

    Also, the classic citation on the issue is Robert Kratovil, [i]Real Estate Law 49[/i] (6th ed. 1974), which states: [blockquote]A quitclaim deed purports to convey only the grantor’s [i]present interest in the land[/i] [emphasis his], if any, rather than the land itself. Since such a deed purports to convey whatever interest the grantor has at the time, its use excludes any implication that he has good title, or any title at all. Such a deed in no way obligates the grantor. If he has an interest, none will be conveyed. If he acquired an interest after executing the deed, he retains such interest. If, however, the grantor in such deed has complete ownership at the time of executing the deed, the deed is sufficient to pass such ownership…a seller who knows that his title is bad or who does not know that his title is good or bad usually uses a quitclaim deed in conveying.[/blockquote]

  10. NoVA Scout says:

    This would seem to plop into the laps of parishes in which sentiment is divided about staying or going (vis-a-vis the Diocese or TEC) a very unpleasant and gnarly issue of figuring our how to manage departures. Normally, one would simply expect people who wished to leave and/or reaffiliate simply to depart. This would seem to encourage factions within parishes to start building mechanisms to take-over property from parishioners who might not wish to disaffiliate. I cannot imagine that this would be a welcome or calming development within the Diocese. It also provides Bishop Lawrence’s detractors with support for the apparently inaccurate idea that, rather than intending to maintain his continuing service to the Episcopal Church, he has been engineering not only a personal departure, but a departure in which those leaving might assert property rights against those staying. Regardless of the underlying legalities (there seems to be litigation enough around the country that will eventually clarify these issues) this action seems unnecessary and certain to raise the strife level both in South Carolina and throughout the Church.

  11. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #10 I think firstly that one has to remember there has been nothing on this subject from the diocese, but this is a report from Bishop Anderson of the ACNA and we know nothing more than that about its subject matter.

    Secondly, I don’t see any encouragement to anyone to disaffiliate from TEC or to split parishes – a truly awful prospect as I imagine you will know NoVA Scout.

    Everything I have read and seen done has in fact been done to try to keep this diocese together, as against the encouragement to leave from some in the ACNA on the one hand, and the persecutive attentions of the Presiding Bishop and her rogue lawyers, Booth Beers and Goodwin Proctor on the other assisted by Bishop Dorsey Henderson.

    What however, if this report is correct, is that some action has been taken to confirm the South Carolina legal position set out by the Supreme Court and which was not appealed by the Presiding Bishop or TEC in relation to parish ownership. It looks like a poison pill to preempt what looks like the inevitable attempt by KJS to get rid of +Mark Lawrence and install a puppet regime encouraged by her fifth column in the diocese. She and the rumored puppet bishop lined up will find it that much more difficult to assert a claim to the property of parishes under her jackboot.

    I see that in Washington recently KJS claimed that the action against +Mark Lawrence and South Carolina had nothing to do with her. Her denial has as much credibility as her assertions in relation to her hire of child molester Bede Parry which I took a look at here. The only time we can be reasonably certain that KJS is telling the truth is when she is on oath in a Court of Law, and even then one has to look carefully at what she avoids or refuses to say, as much as what she does say. We will only know more when we hear from the Conception Abbey as to their communications with +Nevada or KJS next takes the stand and is cross-examined on her answers.

    Nonetheless #10 NoVA Scout, I did read your comments elsewhere on Mary’s which seemed fair in relation to the assertions of Bishop Lawrence of his intention to stay in TEC. That is my reading, that he in difficult circumstances is doing his best to keep his diocese together in TEC and witness with them in an increasingly hostile atmosphere from the Presiding Bishop and her backers. An extraordinary thing to be happening to the one consistently growing diocese in an otherwise collapsing TEC. I pray they may be permitted to continue to do so. Credit to you for your integrity, I know it will not have been easy.

    God bless


  12. Sarah says:

    RE: “Normally, one would simply expect people who wished to leave and/or reaffiliate simply to depart.”

    No “one” wouldn’t, although of course, [i]NOVA[/i] would, since whose name on the deed doesn’t matter to NOVA.

    Blessedly, the title to the property does matter to the Supreme Court of SC.

    RE: “I cannot imagine that this would be a welcome or calming development within the Diocese.”

    From what I’ve heard it’s been greeted with immense relief by the masses, except, of course, for the meager group of revisionists down there. Now people can give to endowments and capital campaigns once again without fear of the property being snatched away by Schori. Now parishioners have less to fear from TEC suing individually the vestry members of departing parishes. Now parishioners have it on record that they own their property and can make decisions freely and with less restraint. Now rectors of smaller parishes don’t have to fear departures en masse from parishioners who are deeply concerned over the direction of TEC and actually willing to depart the property. It will, ironically, lessen the desire of “factions” [as in huge majorities] to leave TEC or the diocese. And it will, ironically, puncture the urges of many to leave, since they have freedom over the property. And the diocese gets to have a better chance of remaining together as one.

    Thank God for this good and perfectly reasonable action by Mark Lawrence. If this had been done in Upper SC, it would certainly have made our financial lives a whole lot easier in individual parishes where so many conservatives refuse to give to endowments and capital campaigns.

    It is the *perfect* preparation for *remaining within TEC* as a diocese — again, ironically.

  13. billqs says:

    This was a bold move, but one I’m afraid that will “seal the deal” on +Lawrence’s deposition. As the head of the diocese I believe he owes a fiduciary duty to protect the diocese’s assets. Issuing these quit-claim deeds to each parish could be considered an act of breach of his fiduciary duty.

    I realize that the Dennis Canon does not apply in South Carolina by ruling of the state’s highest court, but it seems it would have been prudent to have sought a court-order mandating that Lawrence issue the deeds. If he were carrying out a court order it would make any claim of breach of fiduciary duty moot.

    This is another situation where I hope I’m wrong, but afraid I’m right.

  14. wmresearchtrianglenc says:

    One especially helpful matter arising from the Diocese of South Carolina’s deeding via quitclaim the title to individual parishes in the Diocese of South Carolina is the effect in jurisprudence of that action with regard to a court’s consideration of matters involving “hierarchical” religious groups. There’s been a tendency, I believe, for courts to think of hierarchical bodies in a narrow way: as bodies in which powers are retained or delegated from the “top” downwards, and although that model would fit some religious groups it isn’t accurate for TEC, even if one determines that TEC is a hierarchical religious body (a finding probably highly influenced because of the historical ministerial structure of TEC). I believe A.S. Haley has written recently about the legal role of the diocese in TEC, helping to clarify that the dioceses are the source for establishing/disestablishing/modifying positions and entities within TEC, as opposed to those positions and entities establishing/disestablishing/modifying diocesan positions and entities. Yes, the joint action of dioceses constitutes a legislative function within TEC that of course may affect individual dioceses, however, the flow of powers within TEC is in an upward direction from TEC’s Dioceses and not the reverse, which the courts need to recognize and simply get straight. Dioceses within TEC are not simply subdivisions of TEC receiving powers derivatively from the religious body known collectively as TEC.