The State Supreme Court of South Carolina has denied a petition from the breakaway diocese there to rehear the property case they lost as well as a second motion to force the recusal of a judge they deemed unfriendly to their cause. You can catch up on that story here.
Today, the bishop serving the Episcopal church’s diocese (called the Episcopal Church in South Carolina as ownership of the name and seal are still to be decided in federal court), the Rt. Rev. Skip Adams issued a statement giving thanks to the court and offering reconciliation. (printed in full below)
The Episcopal Church offered to settle the cases in a manner that would allow most of the affected parishes to hold ownership of the disputed parish properties, but that offer was summarily rejected by the breakaway diocese in their drive to maintain the properties, the diocesan funds and properties, as well as the name “the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.”
In their own statement, the breakaway diocese threatened to continue legal action by making an appeal to the US Supreme court
Statement from Bishop Adams
The Episcopal Church in South Carolina
We give thanks for the clarity that the State Supreme Court’s decision provides and we are grateful for the thoughtful and difficult work the justices have undertaken in this case.
From the time this lawsuit was filed against The Episcopal Church, the hope of reconciliation has been our guiding principle. We believe this is what the Lord Jesus would expect of us and it is consistent with the teachings of St. Paul who said in his second letter to the Church in Corinth, “All this is from God, who reconciled himself to us in Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” We renew our commitment to this hard work of reconciliation in the days to come.
We understand that the many people in the parishes affected by this ruling may be experiencing pain, fear and confusion. Let me say to all that The Episcopal Church in South Carolina is committed to finding a path that will allow the people of God to continue to live their lives as a part of the Anglican Communion in and through the Episcopal Church. As a former Bishop of South Carolina, William Alexander Guerry said more than 100 years ago, “If we are to be truly catholic, as Christ himself is catholic, then we must have a Church broad enough to embrace within its communion every living human soul.”
The Episcopal Church seeks to be an expression of faith in Christ that welcomes all to his expansive Table. Our prayer is that every person in every parish of the Diocese will join in working and praying together to bring healing to the Church, the Body of Christ, in this part of South Carolina.
The Rt. Rev. Gladstone B. Adams III
Bishop, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina