According to Episcopal News Service, Mark Lawrence, former bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, and others have filed suit against The Episcopal Church:
Mark Lawrence, who led some members of the Diocese of South Carolina out of the Episcopal Church, on Jan. 4 joined with a group of those people to file suit in South Carolina Circuit Court against the Episcopal Church.
The action, the group said, was taken “to protect the diocese’s real and personal property and that of its parishes.”
The suit also asks the court to prevent the Episcopal Church from “infringing on the protected marks of the diocese, including its seal and its historical names, and to prevent the church from assuming the diocese’s identity, which was established long before the Episcopal Church’s creation,” according to the press release.
Neva Rae Fox, public affairs officer for the Episcopal Church, said via e-mail that church officials had “not received the legal papers in any such lawsuit in South Carolina and therefore cannot comment at this time.”
A fact sheet on the Episcopal Church’s website notes: “Dioceses cannot leave the Episcopal Church. While some clergy and individuals may choose to leave, congregations and property remain in the diocese to be used for the mission of the Episcopal Church.”
The documents for the case are here
The Charlotte Observer covers the story here.
Mark Lawrence and his followers left the Episcopal Church rather than face charges of abandonment in front of his fellow bishops.