In the context of the present dispute, this means that the Court will base its final decision upon a close examination of the various deeds and other documents evidencing ownership and title, as well as the governing documents (constitution, canons, articles and bylaws) of the parishes, the Diocese, and of the Episcopal Church (USA) itself.
As to the ability of the Diocese to withdraw from ECUSA, it would seem that it has already been finally adjudicated (by the courts of Illinois) that there is no language in the Constitution or canons of ECUSA which would prevent a Diocese from withdrawing. That is also a decision drawn under neutral principles, and so is in harmony with the method shown in the All Saints Waccamaw case. I should think that Judge Goodstein will find the reasoning of those two cases both persuasive and binding upon her.
Resolution of that question will not, however, necessarily resolve the issue of property held in trust. Under the Waccamaw decision again, an express written trust of some kind will be required — one that satisfies the Statute of Frauds under South Carolina law (it must be in writing, and signed by the actual owner of the person so placing the property into a trust). The Dennis Canon alone will not work — that was one of the express holdings in the Waccamaw case which will be binding upon Judge Goodstein.
There was no evidence of any such trust document or documents offered at the trial, to my knowledge. Consequently, the decision on this point, while open, should not be a difficult one under neutral principles.
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