South Carolina Supreme Court rules property belongs to Episcopal Church
The South Carolina Supreme Court has said that nearly all the property involved in litigation between a breakaway group and The Episcopal Church belongs to The Episcopal Church. The Court heard the case nearly two years ago.
Bishop Skip Adams of South Carolina said, “We are grateful for this decision and for the hard work of the court in rendering it. We also give thanks to God for the faithfulness, support, and sacrifices of countless Episcopalians within our diocese and throughout the Church… It is important to note that the legal system allows for periods of judicial review and possible appeal, so it will be some time before we can say with certainty what the journey ahead will look like. Please be patient and know that we will keep you updated along the way as information becomes available to us… We can give thanks to God while avoiding excessive celebration. Kindness and graciousness are in order. Remember that our ultimate goal is reconciliation and unity, joining with our Lord in the desire that we all may be one.”
Bishop Scott Mayer said, “We rejoice with the Episcopalians in South Carolina over the recent ruling of their state Supreme Court. We better than most understand what they have endured since the former bishop and others left The Episcopal Church and claimed Episcopal Church property. I applaud Bishop Adams’ statement, especially his reminder that “the ultimate goal is reconciliation and unity, joining with our Lord in the desire that we all may be one.”
“I also appreciate his reminder that “the legal system allows for periods of judicial review and possible appeal, so it will be some time before we can say with certainty what the journey ahead will look like.” His plea resonates with us, as we await the ruling of the Appeals Court of Fort Worth in our own case.
“Please hold everyone in South Carolina in your prayers, just as we hold our companions in the breakaway group in our prayers.”
According to the Charleston Post and Courier, “The S.C. Supreme Court identified seven parishes for which no documentation of accession to the Dennis Canon could be found. Because it appears these parishes never agreed to the 1979 law regarding their obligation to hold property in trust for The Episcopal Church, the court decided they may remain independent of the church. These parishes are:
- Christ the King Grace Church, Waccamaw
- St. Matthew’s Church, Darlington
- St. Andrew’s Church-Mount Pleasant
- St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Conway
- Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church, Georgetown
- St. John’s Church, Florence
- St. Matthias Church, Summerton
“Twenty-nine other parishes, including the historic Charleston parishes of St. Philip’s, St. Michael’s and Old St. Andrew’s Parish, were considered by the court to be part of The Episcopal Church.”