Judge Asks Both Sides of Diocese of SC Case to Agree on Facts for Parish Witness Testimony

During Trinity Church, Myrtle Beach’s testimony, the defendant’s attorney David Booth Beers asked the witness Frank Sloan repeatedly why they removed references to the national Church from their corporate documents.

After Plaintiffs objected Judge Goodstein said, agreeing with the objection, that the questions asked “goes to justification of why the entities did what they did. My concern is more the structure of the government-are we pre 1900 or after, when was the incorporation, what were the By-Laws? There’s been too much focus on the justification for why they did what they did. As it stands were not a hierarchical, state, we are for neutrality. The justification is interesting but not what I think should be the focus of this court.”

Suzanne Schwank, testifying for the Parish Church of St. Helena’s, Beaufort, brought a 1728 Prayer Book in which references to the royal family had been crossed out, a parish registry with an entry dating back to 1706 and parish vestry minutes dating to 1724. The Vestry minutes requested and empowered one Mr. John Kean to “procure a clergyman of the Episcopalian Church for the town of Beaufort SC” in 1784 prior to the formation of either the Diocese of South Carolina or The Episcopal Church.

Read it all.


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11 comments on “Judge Asks Both Sides of Diocese of SC Case to Agree on Facts for Parish Witness Testimony

  1. Milton Finch says:

    Can anyone expand upon this. No matter how I read it, it comes out incoherent. “As it stands were not a hierarchical, state, we are for neutrality.” Is “were” “we’re”? Is she stating here the entire case revolves around neutrality? If so, that statement has got to gave TEC shaking in her boots. I could see a cold shudder of fear in the minds of TEc’s lawyers…not that I was there. Though the other blogger’s site seems to be attempting word for word statements, this one, which seems gravitational, wasn’t one of them.

  2. Katherine says:

    I assume that’s “we’re,” and that the judge is intent on applying SC law consistent with the All Saints Waccamaw SC Supreme Court decision which means that implied trusts are not valid in SC and only neutral property law will be enforced.

  3. Milton Finch says:

    That’s what I was hoping. Thanks, Katherine.

  4. Katherine says:

    Milton, I am not an expert on this trial. However, that is how Judge Goodstein has ruled so far; she is applying SC law.

  5. Marie Blocher says:

    IF the Episcopal Church in the USA was a hierarchical church, then Katherine would have been able to keep her word and enforce the Dar es Salaam agreement she signed.
    Great big IF.

  6. Luke says:

    “Were” has to be a typo for “we’re”. Only way it makes any sense at all.

  7. David Keller says:

    The All Saints case has already determined (1) TEC is not a heirerarchical church under South Carolina law and (2) the Denis Canon is not enforceable in South Carolina. That is why the reasons DSC left are irrelevant. It is strictly a case about neutral principles of corporate and property law.

  8. SC blu cat lady says:

    I remember asking a question of an attorney friend when the All Saints decision came in 2009 (IIRC). I asked if TEc were to appeal to SCOTUS, what were the chances of the justices taking the case? He thought the chances were pretty small because property law is generally a state function and can differ in all 50 states. Here, the precedent is already set that courts must use neutral principles of law especially real property law when deciding who owns what even when the property in question is church property. Why TEC likes to ignore the precedent I can’t answer. I still think they are totally deluded.

  9. Luke says:

    Megalomania running rampant.

  10. sophy0075 says:

    Scorched earth policy, BCL TEC is determined to waste the assets of the Diocese and exhaust Bp Lawrence (may God continue to bless him and all of his faithful priests and congregants !)

  11. SC blu cat lady says:

    Yes, Luke. #9. Megalomania is indeed a possibility that I don’t want to consider but it may be the best explanation yet…. sadly.