Both “sides” involved have stated the mediation with Senior U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Anderson Jr. has been recessed until December 4-5, 2017.
Category : * South Carolina
Mediation Update–Both the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina+the new Episcopal Church Diocese in SC announce its recessed until early December
(Local Paper) Edward Gilbreth–Strong judicial disagreements fuel the South Carolina Anglican/Episcopal controversy
Another petition supporting the rehearing filed Sept. 25 by various churches and the Diocese, includes these arguments:
“The sole basis on which Appellants have argued, and the Court has so held, that St. Philips (as an example) should be divested of its property is that St. Philips Church, in 1987, acknowledged the purpose of the parish corporation as being ‘in accord with the Articles of Religion’ of the national church (or more precisely the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, according to the Articles of Restatement filed with the SC Secretary of State by St. Philips in 1987.)
“The Articles of Religion of the national church were established in 1801, one hundred and seventy-eight years prior to the Dennis Canon. The articles of Religion, similar to those for other Protestant Churches, contain nothing more than a summary of the religious doctrine, theology and beliefs of the national church and St. Philips Church. The Articles of Religion do not mention the constitution or any of the canons of the national church, let alone the Dennis Canon adopted 178 years after the establishment of the Articles of Religion.”
Interestingly, The Episcopal Church has never required subscription to the Articles, which now appear in a section called “Historical Documents” in the back of the Book of Common Prayer.
All this, along with the controversy surrounding Justice Hearn’s participation in the initial ruling due to her family involvement in a church with ties to the national church, makes for interesting consideration as the mediation for and possible rehearing of the Diocese’s case approaches.
Read it all.”>Read it all.
A look Back to 2008–Religion and Ethics Weekly Interviews Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina at the partial Lambeth Conference
Q: Have you picked up on a lot of concerns from people here about things going on in the Episcopal Church?
A: I find that when I apologize for what we’ve done, in the midst of the conversation they say thank you, I’m glad to hear that that’s how you feel. William Temple, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, said that the church needs to be very clear in its public pronouncements so it can be very pastoral in its application. What the Episcopal Church did in 2003 is it made a public pronouncement by action, and that action was contrary, or in contradiction to the teaching of the church, and so what we have is a public pronouncement and an official teaching that [are] incoherent with one another, and that creates, then, a very awkward situation in which what we teach and what we’ve done are at odds with one another, and there is a profound unclarity on a public level, which means on a local level every individual priest, every individual bishop has to take a stand, and once you’ve taken a stand then it’s difficult to be in a pastoral relationship with those who feel like you’ve just abandoned them or taken a position that alienates them from where they are. And so it’s just the opposite of what the archbishop said years ago, that the church needs to be very clear in its public pronouncement so it can be very pastoral in its application. We’ve turned the axiom on its end.
Q: A group here within the church has recommended that the moratorium continues and be enforced against a blessing for same-sex relationships, against gay bishops, against the cross-jurisdictional relationships. What is your reaction to these recommendations?
A: Well, I’d say this: that the Anglican Communion is in a process of trying to understand how we live in a global age. ”¦ Some of us have come to the conclusion we need some kind of covenant by which we can say this is who we are, this is how we shall live together, this is how we should treat one another. There are limits to Anglican diversity, and these are now what they are.
Q: Is that a good idea?
A: It’s a wonderful idea, because this Communion is too important in an age of globalism, in a global church, not to be able to live together with respect, with trust, and with cooperation.
Remembering one Year Ago Today–(NYT) A Somber Charleston, South Carolina, Reflects on Race as 2 Murder Trials Begin
CHARLESTON, S.C. Seventy-four days separated the fatal bursts of gunfire: the eight rounds a white police officer fired at Walter L. Scott, a black man in North Charleston, and then the shots that killed nine black churchgoers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church here.
And now, seven days will separate the trials of the officer, Michael T. Slager, and of Dylann S. Roof, the white supremacist accused of carrying out the church killings.
Jury selection in the state trial of Mr. Slager, who was fired after the shooting, will begin on Monday; one week later, the same process is scheduled to begin in the federal case of Mr. Roof. Prosecutors, who are seeking the death penalty for Mr. Roof, rebuffed his offer to plead guilty.
The proceedings, unusual in a country where, for different reasons, few police officers or mass killers stand trial, will draw renewed attention to, and more reflection within, the Charleston area, where many residents still struggle with killings that rattled the nation.
It has been publicly announced that the Diocese of South Carolina will enter into mediation with The Episcopal Church (TEC) at the Federal Courthouse in Columbia November 6-8. All parties to the ongoing litigation in both the State and Federal courts have agreed to participate. Many understandably hope this will bring an end to years of litigation. What is an appropriate expectation of the outcome?
A word often used by the TEC bishop and legal counsel is “reconciliation”. While an attractive word to readers and pleasing to the ear, it creates false expectations. To be reconciled implies, by definition, coming back together. It requires one or both parties to repent of their past actions and positions. That is unreasonable in this case.
Neither the Diocese of S.C. nor TEC has shown any evidence of changing course on any of the issues that created the initial divisions years ago. The Diocese has moved on, becoming formally affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and TEC has continued with its own theological agenda. The two are not compatible and are, if anything, further apart than ever.
And nothing in the behavior of TEC suggests their goals with departing parishes and Dioceses have changed over time. They continue to litigate in the Diocese of Quincy, Illinois despite having lost at the highest level in the state courts there. In the Diocese of San Joaquin, California, after spending $15 million to recover the parish properties, only 21 have been declared “viable” with the other 25 reported as going up for sale. In Bishop Adams former diocese, the people of Good Shepherd, Binghamton, NY were denied the purchase of their former church, seeing it sold for 1/3 their offer to become a mosque instead. The pattern of behavior is clear. For TEC, “reconciliation” has meant, “surrender, return the property and we’ll forgive you so you can rejoin us”. That is not a viable way forward.
So what is a reasonable expectation? What might be sought, and could work, is a “settlement” that ends all the litigation and enables both dioceses to go their separate ways in peace. The Diocese of S.C. granted that grace from the beginning in 2012 to parishes wishing to remain with TEC. The 80% who chose to disassociate from TEC should be allowed to do the same. The two opposing dioceses share a common history in S.C. and a heritage each has some claim to. Perhaps there is a way to honor that reality outside the “winner takes all” setting of the courtroom.
The resources of both groups would be preferably spent on the work of ministry to which each feels called. A workable settlement would allow each to go its way in peace to pursue their separate callings. If that is the goal of the mediation, by both parties, then much good could come of it. Failing that, expect the litigation to continue.
[The] Rt. Rev. Dr. C. Fitzsimons Allison is 12th Bishop (ret.) of the Diocese of South Carolina.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) October 30, 2017
Catch up with the latest news from the Diocese of South Carolina. https://t.co/JXKW7RstZu
— Diocese of SC (@dioceseofsc) October 27, 2017
The Church Times on the Anglican/Episcopal Conflict in South Carolina (II)–The timeline accompanying the article
(This timeline is very slightly edited for the purposes of greater accuracy by yours truly. Where it occurs it is noted in italics–KSH).
Also from here:
SOUTH CAROLINA: A TIMELINE
The Diocese of South Carolina is founded by the parishes of the former South Carolina colony.
The Diocese becomes one of the nine founding dioceses of the Episcopal Church in the US.
Church leaders in the diocese begin to express disagreement over issues such as the ordination of partnered gay clerics, leading to the departure of some leaders. Eight dioceses pass resolutions requesting alternative primatial oversight.
The diocesan convention of South Carolina elects the Very Revd Mark Lawrence as its Bishop, and while he does receive the endorsement of a majority of bishops in the Episcopal Church (TEC), he does not from the majority of Standing Committees, based on a technicality.
2008 After a second election, Mark Lawrence receives the required majority of both bishops and standing committees, having stated that he did not intend to break away (News, 9 August 2007).
2008-2009 The National Episcopal Church, without the knowledge or permission of the Diocese of South Carolina, retains the services of a lawyer to work on its behalf. The lawyer was a former chancellor of the Diocese of South Carolina.
The Supreme Court of South Carolina (overturning a ruling from 2003) rules that the property and assets of All Saints’, Pawley’s Island, belong to the group that voted to leave TEC and join the Church of the Province of Rwanda and the Anglican Mission in America (News, 1 October 2009).
April The Diocese of South Carolina declares that the Presiding Bishop of TEC, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, has no authority to retain lawyers in the diocese, and demands that she withdraw them (News, 8 April 2010).
September TEC accuses the Diocese of removing references to it from the official name of the churches and websites of more than half its 44 parishes. Bishop Lawrence denies the claims (News, 29 September).
October The diocesan convention agrees six resolutions, which, it says, will “protect” it from intrusions from the broader Episcopal Church (News, 27 October 2010).
October TEC accuses Bishop Lawrence of filing amendments to the corporate charter of the Diocese’s non-profit corporation, deleting all references to the Episcopal Church and obedience to its constitution and canons. It also says that he had “done nothing to stop other parishes which are outwardly moving in the direction of withdrawal” from TEC (News, 14 October 2011).
November A disciplinary board for bishops of the Episcopal Church rules that Bishop Lawrence had not abandoned communion between TEC and his Diocese (News, 2 December 2011).
October A second disciplinary panel is convened, and Bishop Lawrence has his ministry restricted by the Presiding Bishop, pending an investigation. The Diocese responds with a resolution threatening to “disaffiliate” from TEC, which is passed (News, 19 October 2012).
December The Presiding Bishop declares that Bishop Lawrence has been removed from the ordained ministry of the Episcopal Church, and calls a diocesan convention to elect a new bishop and standing committee for the continuing diocese, made up of 12 parishes and congregations who wish to remain in the Episcopal Church (23 November 2012).
January A lawsuit is filed in the South Carolina Circuit Court against TEC by two corporations claiming to represent the Diocese of South Carolina and some of its parishes, seeking a declaratory judgment that they are the sole owners of the property, name, and seal of the Diocese. This includes 29 parish churches, valued at $500 million (News, 11 January 2013).
A judge issues a temporary restraining order preventing the new TEC diocese from using the name or symbols of the Diocese. It becomes the Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) to comply.
The Rt Revd Charles G. vonRosenberg is elected Provisional Bishop and immediately invested by the Presiding Bishop. A new standing committee and diocesan council are elected.
March Bishop vonRosenberg files a complaint in the US District Court against Bishop Lawrence, citing violations of the Lanham Act, a US federal law prohibiting trademark infringement and false advertising. The suit, vonRosenberg v. Lawrence, states that Bishop Lawrence is engaging in false advertising by representing himself as bishop of the Diocese.
TEC also files its response to the breakaways’ lawsuit, saying that Bishop Lawrence and the Diocese have no authority over the assets or property of the diocese.
August More than 100 clerics are given notice of removal from the ordained ministry of the Episcopal Church by Bishop vonRosenberg, worded so that they can return in the future. (Three clerics have since returned.)
A back and forth of appeals — to add four individuals, including Bishop Lawrence, to the breakaway lawsuit; and to include in the trial alleged correspondences before the suit between lawyers and parties. These are dismissed by Judge Diane S. Goodstein. She rules that the trial must begin on 8 July.
A 14-day trial is held in the Dorchester County Courthouse in St George, South Carolina, before Judge Goodstein (News, 8 August 2014).
February Judge Goodstein rules in favour of the breakaway group, giving them the right to hold on to the name and property of the Diocese. The Episcopal Church appeals to the South Carolina Supreme Court (News, 13 February 2015).
March The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit rules in favour of Bishop vonRosenberg in the federal false-advertising lawsuit, sending vonRosenberg v. Lawrence back to the US District Court in Charleston for another hearing. A US district court declines to hear the vonRosenberg v. Lawrence case until the state case is resolved, however.
June The Episcopal Church [in South Carolina (ECSC)] claims to offer a settlement allowing the disputed parishes to keep their church properties if the Diocese and trustees relinquished their names, identities, and all assets. The Diocese says that the offer did not come with authority to bind all parties on the Episcopal Church side, however, and that the counsel for the national Episcopal Church did not sign the offer and provide the necessary proof of authority, as requested.
Bishop vonRosenberg announces his retirement as Provisional Bishop. The Rt Revd Gladstone B. Adams III is elected and takes office in September.
March The breakaway Diocese votes to join the Anglican Church in North America (News, 17 March).
August The South Carolina Supreme Court overturns portions of the ruling from 2015 stating that the diocese could keep church property and retain its name. It states that the Diocese must return the 29 parish churches, valued at $500 million, to the Episcopal Church (News, 18 August).
The federal case, vonRosenberg v. Lawrence, is assigned to US District Court Judge Richard Gergel, and scheduled to proceed to trial in March next year.
September Post-opinion motions are filed by the breakaway Diocese, seeking a rehearing and asking for recusal of one of the Supreme Court justices, Justice Kaye G. Hearn, for “bias and conflict of interest”. The Episcopal Church requests in its reply that the “wrong, rehashed, and untimely” post-motions are denied a re-hearing. The Diocese reaffirms its position in another reply. The court’s decision is pending.
October All three parties and their legal representatives meet Senior US District Judge Joseph F Anderson Jr. in Columbia SC to discuss dates and procedures for mediation among all parties in both the federal and state litigation. It is agreed that mediation will take place on 6 November for three days.
When a friend heard that the Episcopal Church is continuing a lawsuit over ownership of church real estate in the Diocese of South Carolina, knowing it could drive 20,000-plus Christians from their meeting places, that person said, “That’s just not Christian.”
I cannot disagree. Apart from the legal arguments, when a fair person weighs the biggest issues, it’s real estate versus unimpeded worship and ministry.
It is hard to see that the Episcopal Church is being Christian in this action.
(CM) Myron Harrington Chimes in on the Anglican/Episcopal Dispute and the Supreme Court in South Carolina
That [SC Supreme Court] decision has been articulated in past editions of this paper so I will not go into the details. Unfathomable and unimaginable, however, is how that decision came about. A travesty of justice has occurred! Judicial integrity was not broken; it was fractured — perhaps beyond — repair by the actions of one justice. We now have a Supreme Court whose integrity, as a whole, must be questioned.
I could accept this decision if it had been properly adjudicated by our Supreme Court with no bias, as they are sworn to do. However, this was not the case, as one of the justices failed to recuse herself because of her deep affiliation and vested interest with one side, to include membership in a body that’s avowed mission has been to destroy the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and defrock its bishop. The other sitting justices, if they knew of her ties to The Episcopal Church, should have taken immediate action to remove her. And if not, when they discovered her egregious breach of trust and confidence, they should have acted in good faith to dismiss her opinion or call for a rehearing with justices with no ties to the case.
I am a proud Citadel graduate, a retired Marine Corps Officer, a veteran of Vietnam and Beirut. My life has been about service to my God, country, family and others. Duty, Honor, Respect and Integrity have been my guiding principles.
To see our state’s most respected court have such an obvious breach of the values I stand for and fought for is troubling — not only for the case with which I’m concerned but for their future as the last word in justice and integrity.
The Code of Judicial Conduct still requires recusal.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (October 13, 2017) – Today the Diocese of South Carolina (Diocese) filed our Response, at the Court’s request, to the Amici brief submitted on behalf of Justice Kaye Hearn regarding her actions on the South Carolina Supreme Court in its recent ruling in Appellate Case No. 2015-000622. Her opinion there provided the deciding vote to deprive at least 29 parish churches of their right to properties some have held for over 300 years. Similar to the previous filings on the issue of Justice Hearn’s recusal, 26 attorneys signed this response as well.
Statement by the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis:
“An essential issue before the State Supreme Court in this matter is whether the Judicial Code of Conduct means what it says. If it does, Justice Hearn should and must be recused from any further participation in this case. At a minimum, she should have no part in the Court’s decision whether to rehear this case. Further, if the Court is to defend the due process rights of the Diocese of South Carolina, we likewise believe it should vacate her existing opinion and grant a fresh hearing before a new bench of Justices that is untainted by her failure to recuse herself.”
Quotes from today’s filed Response:
+ Regarding Justice Hearn’s interest in the outcome, the amici brief “simply disregards the evidence provided with the Motion to Recuse.” [p. 4]
+ The Canons of the State Code of Judicial Conduct places “the determination regarding recusal and duty to disclose and recuse on the judge, not the parties.” [p. 8]
+ There are no grounds for Justices Hearn’s continued participation in this case. The amici brief itself makes “no argument that prospective recusal is unavailable and inappropriate in these circumstance.” [p. 10]
Conclusion: “Respectfully, Justice Hearn should recuse herself from hearing the Petition for Rehearing and the Court should vacate her opinion and appoint a Justice to hear the Petition. Failing that, the Court should vacate all of the opinions and order rehearing.” [p. 12]
I write to join with many Christians in South Carolina to express deep concern, shock, and sorrow regarding the recent state Supreme Court decision which attempts to strip titles of 28 churches in the Diocese of South Carolina and award them to the National Episcopal Church. The situation is tragic in terms of its presentation of the church to the world and poses at least three important questions:
1) How can three judges overturn a previous court ruling and 300 years of sacrificial stewardship?
Consider that a number of these parishes existed a century before there was a National Episcopal Church. Consider, too, that Justice Jean Toal is quoted in reference to “the leading opinion in this case,” calling it “nothing less than judicial sanction of the confiscation of church property.”
Also, a careful review will show that a number of the congregations involved did not accede to the Dennis Canon of the national church which concerned ownership.
2) How can such a decision stand in a nation whose Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee freedom of religion?
Many of the first European settlers came to this country fleeing persecution and seeking a haven where they might have freedom of conscience and religion. They established churches.
For centuries, their descendants and other devoted parishioners have maintained these houses of worship despite fires, floods, earthquakes, wars, pestilence, poverty and hurricanes while also supporting home and world missions. The national church has not borne these expenses. Can a secular court give it ownership?
3) How can confiscation of places of Christian worship where the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, and articles of religion are upheld be consistent with the teachings of Christ? This is the most important question.
Theological aspects have frequently been neglected by much of the media, but bishops, clergy, and lay people have long been troubled by the national church organization’s apparent departure from basic principles of the faith.
Christians and Jews have been taught that they should love the Lord with all their being and their neighbors as themselves. For Christians, respecting and loving all does not mean forsaking belief in the unique divinity of Jesus Christ and the validity of Scripture. In fact, only by God’s grace can we love and forgive others.
We are taught, too, that there is a higher court and a supreme judge. We come before Him in great humility, acknowledging that we are all in need of mercy. Many of us are praying that God’s will be done, whatever that may be, and that we may be faithful.
Catherine O. Jones….
A World Radio segment–Religious liberty guidance, and the battle over South Carolina’s Episcopal churches
listen to it all. Included are interviews with the Rev. Jeff Miller, the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis and Elizabeth Hagood.
A S Haley Analyzes the Specious Defenses of Judge Kay Hearn’s need not to be Recused from the Anglican/Episcopal Case–Judges Who Are Indifferent to Injustice
Perhaps none of my readers in South Carolina will be surprised to learn that two former colleagues of South Carolina Supreme Court Justice Kaye Hearn, both retired judges who sat with her for many years on that State’s Court of Appeals, have appeared as “friends of the court” (amici curiae) in the Episcopal Church case on her behalf. That case (Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina et al. v. The Episcopal Church et al., No. 27731, August 2, 2017) has been the subject of four of my last seven postings here (report of decision, first critical observations re: bias of Justice Hearn, summary of grounds for her disqualification, and summary of grounds for granting a rehearing).
Now come the Hon. William T. Howell and the Hon. H. Samuel Stilwell, retired from the Court of Appeals, to argue to the Justices of the State Supreme Court that (a) the motion to disqualify Justice Hearn comes too late for it to be acted upon, and (b) in any event, no foul has occurred — there has been no violation of due process, because their former colleague did nothing wrong by deciding the case as she did. Oh, and did I mention that the signer (and presumably principal author) of the brief for the amici curiae is Matthew Richardson, who served in the past as a law clerk to Justice Hearn?
In support of (and attached to) this brief are two affidavits. The first is from Rebecca Lovelace, a witness who testified at trial on behalf of those claiming all the properties of the withdrawing parishes, who is a long-time personal friend and fellow parishioner of the Justice and her husband, George Hearn, and who was on the steering committee that organized the appellant Episcopal Church in South Carolina (ECSC). The second affidavit comes from Prof. Gregory B. Adams of the University of South Carolina School of Law, who does not, however, disclose that he himself is a member in good standing of the parish of Good Shepherd in Columbia — which, as a constituent of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, has remained in ECUSA.
So one would expect to read a thoroughly impartial and unbiased series of legal documents, right? And if that is what you expect, then you might as well stop reading right now.
Earlier, I analogized Justice Hearn’s role in this case to that of a member of a golf club who sees nothing wrong in sitting as judge over a property dispute that results in the transfer to her own club of millions of dollars of real estate titled in the name of a competing golf club. If that analogy holds up, then I will liken the filing of this amicus brief to testimony offered in her support, in a proceeding against the judge to disqualify her for bias, by four members of the judge’s same club. And that is not also bias?