Last week, Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein issued an order stopping the continuing Episcopalians from using the diocesan name and seal. Jeff Walton, Anglican Program director at the Institute on Religion & Democracy, told CP that the continuing Episcopalians are free to find new leadership.
“Those who have chosen to remain connected to the national denomination are entitled to organize a new diocese and elect their own leaders ”“ this is not in dispute,” said Walton. “What continuing Episcopalians cannot do is attempt to assume the identity of the departing Diocese of South Carolina. The Diocese is a legally incorporated entity with its own elected officers, registered names and seal.”
Regarding whether or not the temporary order would become a longer term injunction come a hearing on Friday, Walton told CP that he felt the breakaway Diocese’s case was strong. “In some churches, this would be resolved as a disappointing but ultimately civil divorce. Unfortunately, the national Episcopal Church has adopted a ‘scorched earth’ policy with litigation against any parish or diocese that chooses to depart the denomination,” said Walton.