Thursday, 3 August 2017

South Carolina Supreme Court rules on church dispute

Updated Thursday evening

ENS has this report by Mary Frances Schjonberg South Carolina Supreme Court issues ruling in church property case.

In a complex ruling Aug. 2 the South Carolina Supreme Court said that most but not all the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina congregations whose leaders left the Episcopal Church could not continue to hold on to the church property.

The justices said 29 of the congregations specifically agreed to abide by the “Dennis Canon” (Canon 1.7.4), which states that a parish holds its property in trust for the diocese and the Episcopal Church. That agreement means they cannot retain church property. However, they said that eight congregations had not agreed to the canon and thus could keep those properties…

The full text of the ruling is here.

The ACNA-affiliated diocese reported the decision this way: South Carolina Supreme Court Releases Divided Opinion on Diocese of South Carolina and its Historic Property

…In a complicated ruling consisting of five separate opinions, the S.C. Supreme Court today ruled that parishes which had “acceded” to the national church’s ‘Dennis canon’ are subject to a trust interest on their property by the denomination. Eight congregations that had not so acceded were judged to have full rights to retain their property.

The dissenting justices expressed concern regarding the long term implications of this decision. Former Chief Justice Jean Toal stated that the court should have relied on “over three hundred years of settled trust and property law… I believe the effect of the majority’s decision is to strip a title owner of its property…” on the basis of actions that do not create a trust interest under South Carolina law. In concurring with Justice Toal, Justice Kittredge observed of other church properties where there is affiliation with a national organization, based on this ruling, “if you think your property ownership is secure, think again.”

This current litigation became necessary when TEC attempted to wrongly remove Bishop Lawrence, and the Diocese, in response, elected to disassociate from TEC. At that time a small group, of TEC loyalists who had been preparing for this attempted removal began an intentional campaign of using the Diocesan Seal and other service marks of the Diocese. They began to function as if they were the Diocese of South Carolina. To maintain its identity required that the Diocese defend that identity…

The bishop of the TEC-affiliated Diocese of South Carolina issued this pastoral letter:

Dear Friends in The Episcopal Church in South Carolina,

Please join me in giving thanks to God for the gift of grace given to us through the August 2 ruling of the State Supreme Court that was generally in our favor. I acknowledge the difficult work of the court justices in coming to this decision.

Many of you have worked faithfully and diligently in preparation for this day and have remained steadfast as disciples of Jesus through your many sacrifices. For every one of you I give thanks, as well as to many throughout the wider Episcopal Church who have remained in solidarity with us.

We will continue to study the decision as we prepare for the journey awaiting us, and we enter it knowing that God’s Spirit is with us and in us as the Body of Christ. I am aware that coming to this day has been painful for many, and some you of lost much along the way. In that same vein, please be aware that this decision is painful in a different way for others. I ask that you be measured in your response without undue celebration in the midst of your own gratefulness.

I call upon all of you to be in prayer for all the people of this diocese, including those in congregations who chose to align with the breakaway group. Many conversations will need to occur for which we have not yet had the opportunity, yet our God is a God of reconciliation and hope as shown forth in the living Christ. Healing is our desire, and we renew our commitment to the hard work of reconciliation in whatever form it can come. May we focus on the healing of division and the seeking of common ground for the good of all Episcopalians, but even more importantly, for the sake of the Good News of Jesus.

Updates
The TEC-affiliated diocese has published this: Diocesan leaders to review Supreme Court decision

Episcopal Church leaders from across eastern South Carolina will gather on Friday at Grace Church Cathedral to review the South Carolina Supreme Court ruling on church property and assets and consider the next steps toward resolving the division and confusion resulting from a breakaway group’s lawsuit against The Episcopal Church.

Bishop Skip Adams called the meeting on August 2, hours after the court issued the ruling. Friday’s meetings will include a joint gathering of the Standing Committee, Diocesan Council, and Trustees, three bodies of clergy and non-ordained elected leaders. Bishop Adams also has called a meeting for the leaders of nine congregations that organized as mission churches since the 2012 breakup left them without buildings where they could worship as Episcopalians.

Both gatherings will give local Episcopalians an opportunity to discuss the complex, 79-page court decision, which includes separate opinions written by all five Supreme Court justices who heard the case. The decision cannot be viewed as final until all possible steps toward an appeal have been resolved…

The ACNA-affiliated Bishop of Fort Worth, Texas has issued this letter.

The Anglican Curmudgeon blog carries this: Massive Conflict of Interest Taints South Carolina Ruling. Earlier it had this analysis: BREAKING - So. Carolina Decision Is Out.

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Comments

If you read judgments for 'big' cases published by the UK Supreme Court, Privy Council, Court of Appeal, or other appellate courts in Commonwealth jurisdictions, it is rare to see more than eight or ten barristers named in as advocates in the report, though there may invariably be rather more lawyers involved working within the instructing law firms.

I cannot help note that in this South Carolina case 46 attorneys have been named at the head of the report, in respect of a matter that has already been the subject of extensive litigation. Now it is obvious that some of the attorneys named, especially those representing the seceding parishes, are sole practitioners or work within small local firms, but it is possible that even small firms will have used additional lawyers, paralegals or other assistants, all charging by the hour (though in certain cases these firms may have been subject to conditional fee or after-the-event arrangements).

I make no comment on the merits of the case or the outcome (though I have scanned the report), but wonder what the aggregate costs must be, even if they are subject to subsequent taxation (i.e., that the court, or one of its officers, will determine whether the costs are appropriate). However, I would make the rather obvious point that a substantial capital - a capital that presumably represents the charity and labour of successive generations of the faithful, and which would otherwise have been devoted to the cause of Christianity in S.C. - has instead been diverted to the profit of at least 46 lawyers.

This is madness.

Posted by: Froghole on Thursday, 3 August 2017 at 7:05pm BST

In his comment on the U.S. Änglican Ink (George Conger's) website - on this subject - a contributor mentions well-known ACNA advocate Allan Haley's quest for 'fairness' in the S.C. Supreme Court's decision on alienated property.

However, in my opinion; the advocate for lawyer Mr Haley, speaks of 'fairness' in his response to the decision of the S.C. Supreme Court to overturn a decision by the lower court, which granted indiscriminate property rights to dissenting congregation in TEC's Diocese of South Carolina.

Advocates, generally, are engaged by their client, not necessarily to achieve a 'fair' outcome for their clients - but to obtain a decision that favours their clients' claims, whether or not 'fairness' (true justice) is involved. That, surely, is the way of run of the mill law practice. Mr. Haley is an advocate for the secessionists. However, the Supreme Court is something else.
I rest my case!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 3 August 2017 at 7:22pm BST

"Eight congregations that had not so acceded were judged to have full rights to retain their property."

Can someone briefly summarize the reason for this?

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 4 August 2017 at 5:11am BST

Froghole, I do not believe 46 lawyers are on the payroll in this case. Speights-Runyan is the main legal team. I suspect these names are included due to the way individual parishes are named and not the diocese as such. They are legal counselors to the parishes.

Fr Smith, one of the Justices was a member of All Saints, brought charges against Bishop Lawrence, and is active in the SC Forum. Her husband is involved in the TEC in SC entity. Her strong language is apparent in the decision. Why did the case take so long? Because 5 Justices each had to have their own take because it was so difficult to get consensus.

Good to see that the challenge of restaffing these 29 churches is being embraced by local TEC officers. 29 new Priests minimally. St Philips has a membership of 2000 and 7 priests on staff. All of the clergy in EDSC were defrocked by the previous PB. So this will require shutting churches, deciding where to use national funds, selling property, etc. God bless these endeavours.

Posted by: crs on Friday, 4 August 2017 at 6:04am BST

I still maintain the property is a small price to be rid of them.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 4 August 2017 at 10:58am BST

I am not cognisant of state/federal US law and this situation is outside my range of interpretation.

If I were to set it in an English context: suppose 30 or 40 English churches set themselves under an non-appointed 'alternative' bishop, and basically refused to accept Synodical governance...

Then I would expect them (whether liberal or conservative) to understand the consequences of their own actions, and take responsibility for them. If you opt out of the governance of the Church you are in, you effectively opt out of its properties too in the vast majority of cases.

I hope there are lessons to be learnt, beyond the US, from this debacle. In the UK, I think it would be wise for Synod to state and establish that failure to accept Church governance brings with it the implication and consequence that you are forfeiting Church property too. Fine, if you want your kind of schism, in good conscience, then God bless your journey as you find locations to rent or buy, and effectively start your own new Church. But the vast majority of Churches in England are property of the nation, in the sense that the Church is Established. They are property of the Church, and a heritage for the whole nation. Individual properties can't just be sliced off for dissident Christians, especially if their theology excludes part of the nation they claim to represent.

Schism - and relocation of allegiance to alternative governance - implies you are stepping outside the organisation and its properties.

I don't really understand, how this would not have been the case in the US context, or how people thought it would.

Physical church property belongs to the organisation. And to all future generations of that wider Church.

I think establishing this principle in advance would help PCCs think twice about dogmatic priests urging them to reject Church governance. Most local Christians are deeply embedded in local needs, use of Church Halls, fondness and emotional connection with their church etc. As they say, "Death concentrates the mind." That being so, establishing the consequences of schism in advance would probably moderate some decisions, because who wants their local church to be homeless? It stops being just dogma.

I think it should be a case of: take personal responsibility for your actions and decisions.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Friday, 4 August 2017 at 12:36pm BST

But Christopher, just a couple of weeks ago you were saying on these very pages that all this had been settled in quite the opposite way. What happened?

Would it not have been better had Mark Lawrence and the other revisionists/defectors accepted the offers from TEC and worked together earlier for a better solution? As it turns out, a great deal of money, grace and trust have been lost and nothing has been gained by anyone, has it?

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Friday, 4 August 2017 at 12:40pm BST

Mr Godsall, you would benefit from a look at the clear statement from Ft Worth.

Five Justices going which way and that isn't going to do much to swing the tide in Illinois or Texas, and so there is a real disagreement among state courts how to interpret Jones V Wolf.

I do not understand your question as it seems ill informed. The offer from TEC involved concession on trademarks and name, etc, and this is being adjudicated still. The suit was brought by the TEC appointed Bishop van Rosenburg.

But generally speaking I do not think this is a moment of triumph and surely not the tone you adopt. Revisionists/defectors?

I do agree that the vast sums spent by TEC all across the US are not defensible.

But in SC my prayer is that a lot of churches will now not have to be sold.

As for good ideas gone missing, I think the best solution would have been for TEC to concede the trademark case and start a new Diocese in SC. Let the EDSC leave and work out a settlement so that both parties win over property and litigation costs cease. What difference would it have made to allow EDSC to remain and free to join ACNA, and create a new Diocese of Lower SC. Let the parishes that want to join that do so. There are probably ten or so in this category. EDSC could have said goodbye to them, and perhaps give away two or thee other churches out of goodwill.

Instead we have 29 parishes whose priests were defrocked and 29 parishes that will have to start all over without the populations to pay the bills.

Posted by: crs on Friday, 4 August 2017 at 1:48pm BST

Mr Godsall, It us unclear to me how much you know about TEC polity. There is a very good essay on the difference between TEC and the CofE by Simon Gathercole I can recommend to you.

I know something of the polity and property law of the CofE having participated in the workshop for newly licensed clergy in the Diocese in Europe, and the differences with TEC are considerable. If nothing else, the case in LA shows clearly that the relationship between a Bishop and property, and something aspiring to call itself a ‘national church,’ is a neuralgic area. The CofE is entirely different when it comes to church property, leaving aside US trademark laws. There is a revolutionary war of difference, and dioceses in TEC were independent and followed state/colony boundaries. When one visits Church of the Cross Bluffton or St Michael’s Charleston or any of the other EDSC parishes the idea that these in fact belong to an unincorporated entity in NY state—which did not build them, care for them, and which preceded even the notion of PECUSA—is off the radar screen. The Texas SS ruled that an accession clause is just that: a revocable trust. At the time of Jones v Wolf, a Supreme court justice himself said Dennis would be insufficient to form a legal trust. And so here we are. The tragic thing in SC is that both parties could have admitted this is a seriously disputed area, and sought a compromise. But TEC insisted it owned the property and sought to lay claim to it, if this meant using a dubious clergy discipline canon to get +ML boxed in. EDSC anticipated this and created a third rail. The rest is a history and the present iteration is a mess even for the ‘victors.’

Posted by: crs on Friday, 4 August 2017 at 3:31pm BST

It's a bit late to complain about a conflict of interest after you've lost the appeal.

If the breakaways thought that this was a real problem before the appeal, then they should have moved for recusal before oral argument.

They didn't.

Perhaps they were listening too closely to people who thought that their victory on appeal was assured.

How wrong any such advice was!

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 4 August 2017 at 4:04pm BST

CRS speaks of the immense amount of money having to be spent by TEC in defence of its legal property rights. One wonder how much has been spent by the dissidents in defence of their own claims/ Legal action costs money. Schism robs the Church Catholic of the charism of unity.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 4 August 2017 at 8:54pm BST

I doubt further discussion will be useful.

Supreme Court justices are appointed by the legislature in SC. I wouldn't be surprised if the Justice in question becomes a political issue. Handing over Charleston SC churches to 815 Second Avenue will not be a popular cause. Her outspoken personal ire against the Bishop is in the record for all to see.

I believe there were calls for her recusal. She refused. She cannot be forced to recuse herself.

Fr Smith, I would suspect the monies spent by TEC in litigation during the +KJS era easily 40 times what has been spent in SC by EDSC, if not more.

The whole matter needs to be committed to God. Only he can bring about something like a state of peace and justice.

Posted by: crs on Saturday, 5 August 2017 at 7:07am BST

Christopher I don't think this is anywhere near so complicated as you make out. It's really very simple. There is an Anglican Communion. There is an Anglican Church in North America. Mark Lawrence and various other defectors and revisionists didn't like those structures and have decided to set up new ones and left the mother ship. That's entirely fair. It's a free world and they can make that decision. What they shouldn't expect to do is pretend that they are the 'real' Anglicans in South Carolina or North America. It's that simple. And that stupid. It's like some playground game and has nothing to do with the Christian faith.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Saturday, 5 August 2017 at 9:37am BST

This isn't the first time that TEC recovered diocesan property from a diocese that attempted to leave TEC. In 2016 the appellate courts affirmed the return of property of the Diocese of San Joaquin (California) to TEC including the cathedral, the diocesan offices, the diocesan camp, the diocesan investment trust and 25 or so church properties owned by the diocese. Other lawsuits required the return of churches not owned by the diocese.

The diocese continues as a functioning Christian community. Our prayers should be that the Diocese of South Carolina does the same.

Posted by: dr.primrose on Saturday, 5 August 2017 at 12:25pm BST

Christopher: you talk about the judge being outspoken. Which part of this extract from the judgment do you question the truthfulness of?

....In 2009, Bishop Lawrence was ordained as Bishop of the Lower Diocese following his reassurances to the other dioceses he would make the requisite vows of conformity to TEC's Canons and Constitution. The record reflects that Bishop Lawrence did make these vows.

The record demonstrates that Bishop Lawrence and others in the Lower Diocese determined to leave TEC and to take with them the property of those parishes in the Lower Diocese that were intending to disaffiliate. For example, a former president of the Lower Diocese's Standing Committee testified that the Diocese's bank accounts were moved to "friendly bankers" out of fear that the accounts might be frozen if Bishop Lawrence were to be disciplined by TEC. This witness testified he received a call in 2009 from another priest in the Lower Diocese who expressed concern that Bishop Lawrence was "not moving quickly enough to take the [Lower Diocese] out of [TEC]," and reminded the witness that they had elected Lawrence "to take us out of [TEC]."....

It doesn't strike me as likely that a judge would go on record if this were not true.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Saturday, 5 August 2017 at 12:41pm BST

"I believe there were calls for her recusal. She refused. She cannot be forced to recuse herself."

"Calls"?

Look, non-parties can "call" for anything but they lack standing to raise the issue within the case.

The ways litigant asks a judge to recuse herself is by moving for recusal. And if the judge denies the motion, then the movant may be able to seek appellate review or to make a judicial-misconduct complaint, and thus try to force the removal of the judge from the case (despite what CRS says).

But none of that happened in South Carolina. So as I said, too late now.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 5 August 2017 at 3:37pm BST

Mr A Godsall--kindly see the recent Post and Courier article. News moves.

May I also ask, are you an English church-goer, and if so, what do you know about the polity of TEC? Sometimes blogs are difficult because people project what they know into places they do not know well. Having lived in the US, Germany, Scotland, France and England, I do try to be sensitive to that.

Sunday blessings, CRS+

Posted by: crs on Saturday, 5 August 2017 at 7:44pm BST

Bishop Mark Lawrence has written this: http://mailchi.mp/dioceseofsc/lawrence-writes-diocese-following-ruling

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 6 August 2017 at 7:53am BST

Christopher: I'm struggling to understand you and I imagine you are struggling to understand me, but let's try just one more time.

The ruling evidences and records duplicitous, deceitful, self righteous and hypocritical behaviour by those in the defecting church. Are you saying that such behaviour is simply a matter of a different Ecclesiastical polity? It would be helpful if you could explain that.

And please do point, with a link, to any reliable news reports that detail ways in which that has changed. Have the judges withdrawn these comments?

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Sunday, 6 August 2017 at 9:16am BST

The only way the judges will withdraw their opinion is if the disassociated diocese moves to reconsider and the court grants the motion. Failing that, what is written--in five opinions--is the decision of the Supreme Court of South Carolina.

Posted by: Jeremy on Sunday, 6 August 2017 at 10:43am BST

Sorry but I am traveling. Hope the court did not rule on the basis of noting self righteousness!

Posted by: Crs on Sunday, 6 August 2017 at 12:34pm BST

Andrew Godsall, the problem is that Bishop Lawrence and those who support him hold to a minority view concerning the polity of the Episcopal Church. In their view dioceses are more or less independent entities, free to join or depart the general church at their will, and free to contravene or contradict the canons of the general church as they choose.

This view is, of course, very much at odds with the canons and Constitution of the church, as adopted in 1789 and as amended since. It is also at odds with the findings of the overwhelming majority of civil courts when the matter has been brought to the test, as they have for the most part recognized the hierarchical nature of the Episcopal Church. The leading decision in the South Carolina case articulates the "standard" understanding of Episcopal Church polity rather well.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Sunday, 6 August 2017 at 6:41pm BST

Fr Haller is likely correct that the majority opinion in the present TEC of 750K ASA assumes that there is something called a "National Church" and all the properties throughout the USA belong to it.

Judges called upon to review the matter in TX and Illinois and SC--until this strange 3-2 decision--said this was nowhere in place in TEC's own documents.

I honestly believe it would be far better for the new TEC to nail down its constitution and get the formal signatures of Diocesans and Standing Committes indicating a permanent and irrevocable ownership. That would eliminate so many headaches and relieve civil courts from duty and extravagent fees such as TEC has spent.

But I retire from TEC at month's end and can leave it to others to fight for the TEC they believe in; and get a polity that admits of no scope for unclarity.

As people think we are getting closer, then +LA shows just how elusive this all is...

Godspeed for the new TEC and peace on its house.

Posted by: cseitz on Sunday, 6 August 2017 at 7:25pm BST

Christopher: I think we are clear what the court ruled on. I am asking whether the deceitful and duplicitous behaviour described and evidenced in the court's report is part of the ecclesiastical polity you refer to, or whether it is simply wrong.

I am grateful for Tobias' clarifications. Bishop Lawrence's letter is just disturbing and further evidence that the breakaway church were rather foolish in following its leaders.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Monday, 7 August 2017 at 6:55am BST

Mr Godsall. You are like a dog with a bone! I should be flattered you believe me competent to judge the conduct in this case, LA and across the burned landscape of litigation costly ungodly and immoral sums. Your language indicates your view. Rest content with it.

Posted by: Crs on Monday, 7 August 2017 at 8:33am BST

Christopher: I don't believe you are competent to judge or not competent. I am asking for your view on a specific part of the ruling. Your reluctance to give it suggests the impossible position supporters of the deceitful behaviour find themselves in. Very good wishes for your retirement.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Monday, 7 August 2017 at 9:52am BST

"Supporters of deceitful behaviour" -- my, the high drama does continue apace!

My retirement is from TEC -- and for that I do hope for good wishes -- while I continue my main work outside of that parlous environment.

Blessings on you in the work you do, whatever that may be.

Posted by: crs on Monday, 7 August 2017 at 2:14pm BST

Thank you, Dr Seitz, for this acknowledgement, though you press it further than I intend. The property issue is separate from the question of the hierarchical nature of the Episcopal Church; as indeed local courts have decided differently from place to place.

I make no claim that the national church "owns" the property of the several dioceses or their constituent parishes. I do claim that under the canons of the Episcopal Church parish and diocesan leaders are responsible as trustees; and the clergy and bishops have taken an oath to that effect.

Church property is, of course, "owned" by those who hold the title. State law will determine issues such as the nature and force of any implied or explicit trust. In many places, the rector and vestry of an Episcopal parish are the legal title-holders (not by name, but by office), but are restricted in alienating the property by civil as well as ecclesiastical law. The canonical provision to this effect is longstanding (I believe since 1904).

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Monday, 7 August 2017 at 3:35pm BST

Christopher: high drama? The court report simply makes it clear, with evidence, that the bishop said he would do one thing and then did another. Now I don't mind at all if you think that is just a matter of ecclesiastical polity. I was only asking how it worked in your world.
Maybe presidency of the Anglican Communion Insitute allows for that kind of approach and thinks it is normal? (Or is the ACI and its presidency just a 'soi-disant' thing anyway?)

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Monday, 7 August 2017 at 4:02pm BST

Mr Godsall, ACI hopes to complete a triad on the already published Creed (Brazos), Commandments (Eerdmans) with Lord's Prayer in 2018. If you are interested I am sure the notices will be available through the usual links. You would be most welcome! In the meantime, all grace and especially peace.

Posted by: christopher seitz on Monday, 7 August 2017 at 7:55pm BST

The Standing Committee of the ACNA-affiliated diocese has issued this statement http://www.diosc.com/sys/news-events/latest-news/804-a-message-from-the-standing-committee-of-the-diocese-of-south-carolina

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 8 August 2017 at 3:38pm BST

Relevant points about SC:
1. The schismatics initiated the lawsuit.
2. TEC offered a generous trade of properties and Lawrence and company turned it down.
3. Most parishes did NOT have a vote on the matter of schism or staying. It was not democratic in any way. The trauma was foisted on them by their clergy.
4. The parishes that don't have to turn over property had somehow opted out of the "Denis Canon," it's a handful of parishes.
5. Lawrence promised not to take SC out of TEC and at the same time seemed to be making legal preparations to do exactly that.

Not a clear fact, but there is some feeling that SC was part of a plan to try to replace TEC. Which is quite odd, seeing as the conservatives are clearly, very clearly, in the minority.

Blessings on your retirement from TEC Christopher. I will push back on your characterization of the "new TEC," as I believe that our inclusivity is part of a very long, historical, effort to live into our Baptismal Covenant and follow Jesus when he says "love your God and love your neighbor as yourself."

Justice is being done in SC, but now is the time for generosity in dealing with the outcome.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 8 August 2017 at 5:34pm BST

Dear Cynthia,

1. Rosenberg sued SC over trademarks.
2. The 'deal' meant handing these over
3. Factually in error
4. It is nine parishes
5. Lawrence inherited a diocese which wanted out.

I am retiring from TEC, not from my main vocation, and I now live outside TEC affairs in Europe. Thank you.

Posted by: crs on Wednesday, 9 August 2017 at 11:28am BST

Christopher: everything you claim is undermined by the fact, as evidenced in the court report, that Mark Lawrence said he would do one thing whilst planning to do another. There really is no way round that. And it quite answers any debate about 'trademarks' - as if anyone in the real world actually cares about such things. No matter what GAFCON and ACNA and the faux diocese of South Carolina might like to pretend, there is only one Anglican Church in North America, and it is TEC. The others are not Anglican in any meaningful sense of the word because they are not in communion with mother Church. And TEC is. Saying it is so and using a prayer book doesn't make you an Anglican. So that's the only factual error that really matters here.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Thursday, 10 August 2017 at 8:02am BST

Mr Godsall, I accept that you have your very strong opinions in this matter. Having lived and worked in SC for many years, and during the period in question, I disagree. I don't think the situation on the ground in SC after the retirement of +Ed Salmon is anywhere near as monochrome as you prefer to paint it.

I suspect the best thing to do is pray for peace in some form now that the situation is as it is.

Posted by: crs on Thursday, 10 August 2017 at 10:27am BST

Christopher: with respect I don't think I'm painting anything as monochrome, and certainly don't believe it is. But your comment doesn't actually address anything I wrote in mine so I'm not really sure what you are referring to.

As to my views being strong, again, I'm not sure what you are referring to. As far as I can see, everything I've written is factual and not opinion.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Thursday, 10 August 2017 at 4:30pm BST

"As far as I can see, everything I've written is factual and not opinion" -- yes, this is what worries me.

"Mark Lawrence and various other defectors and revisionists didn't like those ...they can make that decision. What they shouldn't expect to do is pretend that they are the 'real' Anglicans in South Carolina or North America. It's that simple. And that stupid. It's like some playground game and has nothing to do with the Christian faith."

I think this reveals your starting point and your ignorance of TEC polity from the outset.

If you want to claim factuality and lack of opinion, you will need to start all over and not declare your hand so obviously.

With respect, I think this conversation has extended beyond anything useful and is repetitively tedious. If you wish to go away and read up on polity--"pretending they are real Anglicans"--kindly do so.

Posted by: crs on Friday, 11 August 2017 at 7:40am BST

With respect Christopher, the conversation had extended beyond any usefulness once you started pretending that the breakaway Church had not initiated the law suit. And it continued beyond any usefulness once you pretended that the breakaway diocese hadn't said one thing whilst planning to do another.

I think you and other readers might find Ronald Caldwell's analysis rather helpful. It's a good account of the polity surrounding the faux diocese.

The Episcopal Church continues to reach out to the breakaway church. I understand that many in the breakaway church would now like this settled but sadly their leaders want to press on with their legal action. Let's hope grace will prevail.

Meanwhile, all good wishes to you Christopher.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Friday, 11 August 2017 at 9:41am BST

Bro Godsall, you waste your time and bandwidth trying to maintain a logical conversation with your current correspondent. He will dodge & parry with much confusion, ignoring any points you may make against his arguments. He also will start making outlandish comments about your person that ignore the conversation completely.

As to your idea that there is but one Anglican Church in North America, this just isn’t true. There is one constituent member of the Anglican Communion in the US and it is indeed TEC. However there are a total of six other constituent members of the Anglican Communion in North America; the Anglican Church of Canada, la Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico, the Church in the Province of the West Indies, la Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America, as well as, extra-provincial national Anglican churches in Bermuda & Cuba.

Posted by: David Allen on Thursday, 17 August 2017 at 1:39am BST

Thanks David. I've certainly observed what you say in your first paragraph.
As to the second paragraph. My apologies and thank you for your correction.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Thursday, 17 August 2017 at 10:03pm BST
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