Diocese of South Carolina– The real story behind our withdrawal from The Episcopal Church

The little-reported fact is that TEC has filed more than 80 lawsuits seeking to seize the property of individual parishes and dioceses that left the denomination. TEC itself has admitted to spending more than $22 million on its legal action. These efforts have largely succeeded when TEC attempts to seize the property of individual parishes. Parishes across the country have been evicted from their churches.

TEC’s policy is simple and punitive: No one who leaves TEC may buy the seized church buildings. In several cases where TEC has succeeded in seizing a church, it has evicted the congregation and shuttered the building. In some cases, the church has been handed over to remnant groups that remained loyal to TEC. In other cases, the church has been sold to another religious group.

However, TEC has had less success with the lawsuits it has filed against dioceses. Recently, an Illinois Circuit Court judge decided that TEC had no grounds to seize the endowment funds of the Diocese of Quincy. The Texas Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision supporting TEC over the separated Diocese of Fort Worth. And in South Carolina, a federal district court judge decided that the Circuit Court of South Carolina is the proper court to decide the fate of our property, upsetting TEC’s efforts to get the case heard by the federal judiciary.

Read it all from the Charleston Mercury, or alternatively here if that link does not work for you.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology, Theology: Scripture

7 comments on “Diocese of South Carolina– The real story behind our withdrawal from The Episcopal Church

  1. montanan says:

    Factual, clear and written with more charity and grace than I would have been able to manage.

  2. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Ditto, #1. Canon Jim Lewis has done a splendid job keeping the focus where it ought to be and dispelling the widespread myths and misconceptions about why so many of us, inside and outside of SC, have left TEC..

    Montanan, when you admit that Canon Lewis has mustered far more grace than you (or I) would’ve done in refuting the erroneous claims of our liberal foes or in correcting the misconceptions and wild caricatures about us in the mass media, it reminded me of what Martin Luther once said about his faithful sidekick, Philip Melancthon. Because Luther was under the Ban of the Emperor as well as the condemnation of the Pope, Luther couldn’t attend the famous Diet or assembly in Augsburg in 1530, where Luther’s followers took their stand in declaring the religous and theological principles they were contending for. It was Melancthon who drafted the justly famous Augsburg Confession, which remains the classic Lutheran confession to this day. Luther approved it heartily, but admitted that he wouldn’t have been able to write something as conciliatory and irenic as Melancthon had done.

    I hope this fantastic summary of the issues at stake gets wide distribution. It’s the best I’ve yet seen.

    David Handy+

  3. Jeff Walton says:

    An excellent summary by Canon Lewis. Sometimes people forget that there are different, competing narratives out there about TEC happenings and departures. Authoring this account for a wider audience is an excellent move, and I’m certainly going to refer to his account in the future.

  4. Chris says:

    I’d like to see this in the much more widely read Post Courier.

  5. montanan says:

    NRA, #2 – I had not remembered anything about Melancthon’s role in the Augsburg Confession, so I appreciate the reference to his work.

  6. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Montanan (#5),

    You’re welcome. Hopefully, others can relate to the story too.

    David Handy+

  7. SC blu cat lady says:

    Probably the best summary I have read of why the diocese left. No doubt, those revisionist TECcies will try to *revise* this as well. I too hope it will be more widely published. We are working on it…. never fear.