South Carolina under restraint

01 February 2013

by a staff reporter

MEMBERS of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina have met to elect a new bishop and give themselves a new name, after a judge ruled that they could not take over the name or seal of the diocese of South Carolina.

A temporary restraining order has been placed on the use of the diocese's name, trademarks, and symbols, after a case was brought by a group of parishes, and Bishop Mark Lawrence, who left the Episcopal Church (TEC) last year (News, 23 November).

A full hearing on the order is set for today, and will determine whether the temporary restraining order should be replaced by an injunction that could extend the prohibition until the court rules on a lawsuit filed recently by the diocese of South Carolina. The lawsuit was filed against TEC, and seeks to protect the diocese's real, personal, and intellectual property.

More than three-quarters of the parishes and missions in South Carolina left TEC with their Bishop, but TEC has said that no diocese can withdraw from its own General Convention without permission.

The diocese feared that a special convention in Charleston last weekend, organised by the Presiding Bishop, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, represented an attempt by TEC to seize control of diocesan property and structures. "We seek to be free from the national Church's unorthodox theology, which separates it from . . . the fundamental beliefs of the global Anglican Communion," Bishop Lawrence said.

The diocese has agreed to use the name "the Episcopal Church in South Carolina" in place of "what we believe is our true and lawful name".

Delegates elected the retired Bishop of East Tennessee, the Rt Revd Charles vonRosenberg, to be their Bishop Provisional.


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