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Episcopal lawsuit in South Carolina to be tried in state court

Episcopal lawsuit in South Carolina to be tried in state court

News from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina:

The lawsuit filed by a breakaway group against The Episcopal Church and its local diocese in eastern South Carolina will be heard in state court, not federal court, U.S. District Court Judge C. Weston Houck ruled today.

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina had sought to have the case heard in federal court, citing First Amendment issues raised by the case. The lawsuit will now return to South Carolina Circuit Court and Judge Diane S. Goodstein in Dorchester County, said Thomas S. Tisdale, Jr., Chancellor of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. Judge Houck’s order cannot be appealed.

“We are obviously disappointed with the result, but we are confident in our legal position going forward,” Mr. Tisdale said.

The lawsuit was filed in January by a group of former church leaders and some 34 parishes in eastern South Carolina who say they have “disassociated” from The Episcopal Church, seeking control of the name, seal and properties of the diocese. The group continues to call itself “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” and recognizes Mark Lawrence as its bishop.


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John B. Chilton

BabyBlue – Thanks for the correction to my comment.

BTW, that appeal was denied today,


John Chilton writes: “Add to that list the Diocese of Virginia. Neither ACNA nor DOV is likely to fold. Currently the ball is in Truro’s court — it is appealing its recent loss to the Virginia Supreme Court. ”

Just FYI – it is The Falls Church Anglican that has filed a petition for rehearing before the Virginia Supreme Court. More info here:


BabyBlue – please sign your name when posting comments — thanks ~ed.

Ronald Caldwell

Mr. Chilton: I am the author of that book. Surely that price is a typo. I know books are getting expensive these days but really…

Yours, Ron Caldwell

Shane Locklear

This doesn’t look good for TEC. In Watson v. Jones (1871), the Supreme Court established the “deference” approach to solving church disputes. In Jones v. Wolf (1979), the Supreme Court approved the “neutral principles of law” approach. South Carolina is a neutral principles state.

Since South Carolina has chosen one of two options SCOTUS has given, it is highly unlikely that it would later overturn a decision based on neutral principles in favor of deference to hierarchy.

John B. Chilton

Ronald, are you this author?

Interesting that a used copy is selling for CDN$ 10,864.05!

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