A total of 28 parishes, including two in Sumter County, have been involved in the diocese’s legal battle over their right to properties with the national church. The two Sumter parishes are Church of the Holy Comforter, 213 N. Main St., and The Church of the Holy Cross in Stateburg.
After the U.S. Supreme Court denied a diocese petition for a hearing last year, the case is now back at the circuit court where it originated, Lewis said.
The statute describes the process for payback for improvements, but Lewis said he wasn’t sure on the process.
He said the judge’s ruling this week is definitely a “win” for the breakaway diocese, if it lost control of the parishes.
“From our perspective, it would mean, if we lost control of the property because of this trust interest, then The Episcopal Church doesn’t get all this property for free,” Lewis said. “They will have to pay for it in some fashion.”
Currently, Dickson of the circuit court has the responsibility of interpreting a 2017 state Supreme Court 3-2 ruling with five different opinions in it.
(Item) Judge: If it comes to that, Historic #SouthCarolina diocese has right to money for property upgrades https://t.co/ANhDRU9VsZ #religion #law #history #ethics #stewardship #anglican #parishministry #tec pic.twitter.com/WHXbpCRbP0
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) August 29, 2019