Posted by The_Elves

Bishop Iker and the people of the diocese of Fort Worth win case.
Today the Hon. John P. Chupp signed his Final Judgment concerning the Motions for Partial Summary Judgment filed last December by the TEC-loyal plaintiffs and the defendant Diocese, Parishes, and Corporation, as well as Motions for Partial Summary Judgment concerning the TEC-loyal All Saints’ Episcopal Church (Fort Worth) filed by these same parties on May 6. In doing so, the 141st District Court affirmed and combined its orders of March 2 and June 10 [see the entries below], which upheld the Diocese’s right to dissociate from TEC and for the Corporation to retain its property – including All Saints' parish property transferred from the Dallas Diocese – and elected leadership.

Today’s judgment brings to a close a process started on Aug. 30, 2013, when the Supreme Court of Texas ordered that the case, initially decided using a “deference” approach, return to the trial court and that the court reconsider the parties' claims, applying the Neutral Principles approach instead.

The trial court’s ruling now becomes appealable, and the TEC-affiliated plaintiffs have indicated their intention to ask the Second Court of Appeals for a review. In early August the court is expected to issue an order stating terms that will allow the TEC-affiliated congregation of All Saints’, Fort Worth, to remain in the property it now occupies during the duration of the appeal.

We give thanks for our many blessings, for God’s work among us, and for the Hope of Salvation that is within us. We are thankful, too, for the patient endurance of all those who have prayed and labored for this day, especially our legal team, their associates, and their families.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

3 Comments
Posted July 25, 2015 at 10:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Judge Chupp has entered a final judgment against TEC, its rump diocese of Fort Worth and its parishes, thereby ending the lawsuit in which they sought to claim the corporation, property and bank accounts owned and controlled by Bishop Jack L. Iker and his co-trustees. Judge Chupp ordered that the plaintiffs “take nothing” from their complaint. This leaves all real property, corporate control and diocesan bank accounts exactly as they were after Bishop Iker and his Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth voted to leave TEC in November 2008.

The TEC parties have said they plan to appeal the final judgment to the Second Circuit Court of Appeal. However, any such appeal will be guided by the “neutral principles of law” announced by the Texas Supreme Court when it reversed Judge Chupp’s original judgment in their favor, based upon his belief that he was required by Texas law to defer to the “hierarchical” Episcopal Church. Under neutral principles, the Texas courts look solely to the documents establishing a party’s title: whose name is on the deeds, what trusts have been recorded, and what (if anything) the Church’s governing documents say about a diocese’s ability to amend its own constitution so as to remove its affiliation with the Episcopal Church.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

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Posted July 25, 2015 at 10:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop William White of Pennsylvania, who first expressed the idea of a national association of state churches that later became TEC, outlined a plan "for organizing these Church of England congregations." White was "very sympathetic to the notion that the individual state organizations and dioceses should have the full and open control of their own property and of their own government" (p.27)

Take the time to read through it all (74 page pdf).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

When Frances “Rita” Eby died in January 2014 at age 96, her daughter knew where she would inter her mother’s cremated remains – she would bury them in the rose garden at St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach.

“Her church was so close to her heart,” said Eby’s daughter, Trish Norman.

Eby, Norman and St. James had a history. Eby was a congregant and volunteer at the church for 60 years. And Norman, 75, was confirmed at the church and attended Sunday school there.

So last month, when the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles shuttered the church on Via Lido as part of a plan to sell the property, Norman was concerned about what would become of the remains of her mother and 11 others buried in the rose garden.

Norman was further disturbed when she heard that the land could be sold to a developer to build luxury townhouses, a sale that might raise $15 million for the diocese.

“Who does that? You wouldn’t go into Pacific View and build townhomes there,” she said, referring to a local cemetery.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts

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Posted July 23, 2015 at 9:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Polity & CanonsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted July 15, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The new charges will add to his recent woes. After the news came out that Bishop Bruno purportedly had arranged a "sweetheart" private deal with a developer -- no bids or listing of the property, but just terms worked out with a single buyer who wants to erect a suite of expensive townhomes on the property -- he received a letter from the original developer of Lido Isle (the area of Newport Beach where St. James is located), the Griffith Corporation. That letter informed him something he ought to have known already: that the property on which the church stands was gifted to the Diocese for use only for church purposes. Griffith stated that if he went through with the proposed sale, the property would automatically revert back to it.

The letter caused Bishop Bruno to instruct his attorneys immediately to sue the Griffith Corporation for "slander of title" -- a rather heavy-handed response to the donor of one's most valuable property. You can read the complaint and see the original deed of gift at this link -- the deed restriction is for real, and the courts enforce them as written.

It will be interesting to watch this scenario play out -- whether the Bishop can remain on top of the situation will require that he first rein in his attack dogs, and begin treating donors and parishioners for the valued assets they are. Meanwhile, some useful information is emerging. According to this letter to the Diocesan Standing Committee, Bishop Bruno told the parish that he was trying to recoup the Diocese's litigation expenses (incurred in suing four former parishes, including the previous congregation of St. James) of Nine Million Dollars. That is five million dollars greater than I had estimated in tallying up all the costs of Church litigation, as reported in this post.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC ParishesTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted July 14, 2015 at 3:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Los Angeles urged members of St James the Great Episcopal Church to trust him, because he was their bishop and his word was his bond. However, members of the Newport Beach, Cal., parish have now filed a complaint under the Episcopal Church’s disciplinary canons against the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno alleging fraud, lying, abuse of authority, corruption and conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.

On 6 July 2015 members of the Orange County congregation, who have been locked out of their church since the beginning of July on the orders of the bishop, filed a complaint under Title IV alleging “140 canon violations” by their bishop.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los Angeles* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted July 14, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

And now -- enter God's poetic justice. It seems that Bishop Bruno, who is as quick as any Episcopal Church diocesan to recognize a Dennis Canon interest in property when he comes across one, forgot about an earlier reversionary interest in the St. James parish property. It turns out that the original developer of the area, Griffith Company, donated in 1945 the land on which the beautiful St. James building was erected, to the Protestant Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, upon "the condition, covenant and restriction" that

The property conveyed shall be used for church purposes exclusively and no building other than a church and appurtenances shall be erected, placed or maintained thereon. The foregoing restriction shall be binding upon the [Bishop], his successors and assigns. Upon the breach of the foregoing condition, the title to said property ... shall become at once divested from the [Bishop], his successors and assigns, and shall revert and revest in the grantor [Griffith Company], its successors or assigns.

Thus if Bishop Bruno carries out his plans to sell the property to the current developer, the only thing that developer could do with the property is maintain the existing church building on it (or build a brand-new one). And thus there is no way a developer would pay $15 million for land that is so encumbered.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market

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Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

On 26 June 2015 attorneys for the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno filed suit in an Orange County Court claiming the Griffith Company had slandered the title to the property sold for $15 million dollars to a developer who plans to demolish the church and build condominiums.

The suit states that on 10 June 2015, attorneys for the Griffith Corporation wrote to the bishop stating that when they had conveyed the land to the Episcopal Church in 1945, a restriction had been placed on the deed that required the property to be used solely as a church.

The attorney’s letter (pictured below) stated in 1984 the church contacted the Griffith seeking a release from the deed restriction to allow three lots adjacent to the church to be used as a parking lot. The Griffith Corporation agreed to removing the restriction on the three lots, but its attorney stated his client: “never released, nor intended to release the covenant, condition, restriction for “church purposes exclusively’.”

If the property were no longer used as a church, the land would revert under the terms of the deed to the Griffith Corporation, not to the bishop to sell.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts

0 Comments
Posted June 30, 2015 at 10:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is a lot of misinformation being published by the Los Angeles diocesan leadership about the status of St. James the Great as recent[ly] as this past week....

On May 17th, Bishop Bruno without warning or discussion told the parish he sold the building. Not only had he sold it, but there was no plan as to where anyone should go or do. The parish was devastated. To some this was the second time they had lost their building; to most, who were just starting to come back to church or who are unchurched, could not understand how one man could unilaterally make this decision, especially on a church with a 70-year legacy and *the* last church near Lido Isle.

The pastoral care I have had to administer as a result of this decision has been exhausting. I have had parishioners fall into my arms with tears of disbelief. One couple told me they waited 53 years to find a church they could both agree on and finally found it at St. James the Great.

When I asked what was to become of the 150 families Bishop Bruno said they could go to other churches in the area. This, after spending 18 months of their time, talent and treasure to rebuild a viable, *growing *church.

Read it all.

Update: Lawsuit filed to block the sale of St James Newport Beach

A California court has been asked to block the sale of St James Newport Beach by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles to real estate developers.

On 22 June 2015 a coalition of parishioners called the Save the St James the Great coalition filed suit in the Orange County Superior Court against the Episcopal Bishop of Los Angeles and real estate developers Legacy Partners Residential. A hearing has been scheduled before the Hon. David McEachen for 9:00 am on 24 June 2015 in the matter: 30-2015-00794789-CU-OR-CJ

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Theology

4 Comments
Posted June 24, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

TEC’s essential legal arguments can be distilled down to one proposition: TEC claims to be a "hierarchical" church, with complete, top-down control of the entire organization.

“There are multiple and significant problems with these assertions in this case as detailed in this brief,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary. “First, TEC's organizational structure is irrelevant to this case. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled clearly and repeatedly that in property matters of this sort courts not only can, but should decide them based upon 'neutral principles of law' if that can resolve all the issues. That means questions of ownership can be settled on the same basis as in any secular case.”

An example of this point is the 2009 decision of the All Saints case by the South Carolina Supreme Court. As in any litigation involving churches, doctrinal issues are often involved. However, if the court can decide the matter applying the customary laws of property ownership, it may do so. That occurred in All Saints.

Read it all

and see also Diocese of South Carolina’s PR on TEC’s ‘Spurious’ Offer to Settle

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* Theology

4 Comments
Posted June 16, 2015 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The offer was made by a local attorney who represents the 20 percent of members who remained with TEC when most of the Diocese disaffiliated in 2012. It promised that TEC would end its multimillion dollar legal campaign to seize local church properties if the parishes agree to hand over the Diocese’s identity, its other assets including the Diocese’s offices on Coming Street in Charleston and the St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, which is prime real estate that could be sold off by the cash-strapped denomination.

“This is not a legitimate offer of good faith negotiation and never was intended to be,” said the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis, Assistant to Bishop Mark Lawrence. “It was a spurious offer chiefly made to disrupt submission of our brief and make them look good in the press.” Lewis said. “As a matter of fact, the Presiding Bishop's chancellor is on record as saying they would never settle. In that, they have been utterly consistent up until now.”

“Judge Diane Goodstein ruled that TEC has ‘no legal, equitable or beneficial interest’ in these properties. TEC appealed the matter and a hearing is scheduled before the South Carolina Supreme Court in September. If TEC were confident of its case, they would be eager for justice to be served and would not attempt to derail the next step in the legal process . Their so-called proposal has been unanimously rejected by all parties.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* Theology

3 Comments
Posted June 16, 2015 at 4:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted June 15, 2015 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A judge has ruled that a diocese in Texas which broke away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences is the rightful owner of its church property.

Judge John Chupp of Tarrant County ruled Wednesday that All Saints Episcopal Church belongs to the...Diocese of Fort Worth rather than the national denomination.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 12, 2015 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Early reports coming in
News has just been received that Bishop Iker and his Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth are the victors in the separately-tried lawsuit to determine the ownership of the grounds and property of All Saints, Fort Worth.

Judge John Chupp of the Tarrant County District Court had severed off the All Saints case, because its facts were more dependent on documents and circumstances that were not shared with all the other parishes in dispute...

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

5 Comments
Posted June 10, 2015 at 1:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Update: Video added June 1

Over the years, the Diocese of Los Angeles moved in a more liberal, revisionist direction but some parishes, including St. James, remained faithful. After my father retired in 1985, the vestry of St. James called a young priest from South Dakota to be their new Rector. The Rev. David Anderson and his lovely wife and children came to sunny California from a much different place. However they brought with them the same faith my father and the people of St. James held. Under Father David’s leadership, St. James grew and became an even more vibrant place of ministry and gospel witness. Healing ministries continued to flourish. New ministries were birthed—“Discovery (a kind of in house “Cursillo”) to introduce new members at St. James to discipleship in Christ, outreach to local rescue missions and jails, and a focus on evangelism through pre-marital and baptismal preparation. Many members of St. James were encouraged to participate in the life of the Diocese, to engage different points of view, and to share their Biblical faith in Christ with both truth and grace. As the congregation expanded, so did the building and facilities. Even after Father Anderson retired from St. James in 2004 to lead the American Anglican Council, St. James remained a place of faithful gospel witness in one of the most affluent areas of the country.

It’s with these memories in mind that I was saddened when I heard what The Episcopal Church was planning on doing with St. James. Like hundreds of other parishes, St. James voted to leave The Episcopal Church in the early 2000’s and was subsequently mired in a protracted lawsuit with The Diocese of Los Angeles. After years of fighting in court, the Diocese won the property. At the time, Bishop Jon Bruno said St. James was for those faithful Episcopalians in the Newport Beach area. So it was surprising when I read this Monday that Bishop Bruno and the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles had agreed to sell St. James to a real estate developer. It will be bulldozed to the ground to make room for retail boutiques and condominiums, in keeping with the redevelopment of downtown Newport Beach. No provisions have been made for any sacred space for people of faith to replace this sacred space in the heart of the city.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 1, 2015 at 7:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is nearing the end of negotiations to sell St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach to real estate developers.

Bishop J. Jon Bruno announced the sale to congregants Sunday, Diocese spokesman Robert Williams said. The sale of the church could bring in roughly $15 million -- twice the appraised value of the site, Williams said.

Services at the church will likely continue into the fall, Williams said. No information on where congregants will be moved or whether the congregation may reopen at a different site was available on Monday, he said.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted May 18, 2015 at 12:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

"The Diocese of South Carolina has been in the process for some time of discerning what its permanent affiliation should be among the Provinces of the Anglican Communion," the Rev. Jim Lewis, canon to the ordinary and an attendee of the meeting, told The Christian Post.

"We have reached a place where it seemed the next and most appropriate step was to meet with leaders of the ACNA to share our common interests and questions as this diocese continues the work of discernment."

Lewis also told CP that while no date has been set for a convention vote on affiliation, the diocese stands on good terms with ACNA and other conservative Anglican groups.

"Our mutual respect and appreciation for each other is considerable, with many in the room having relationships that go back for years," said Lewis.

"Our conversations were wide ranging and provided much needed clarity for all of us. Those are conversations that will certainly continue in the future."

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted May 4, 2015 at 3:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today, April 29, 2015, the Federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond denied our motion for a rehearing of their decision to return to the District court the case of vonRosenberg vs. Lawrence, which asserted that this was a case of Federal trademark violations. 
The case will now go back to the Charleston court for further action. Several things remain true about this action. While the Fourth Circuit said that Judge Houck used the incorrect procedural standard to grant our Motion for Dismissal, it expressed no opinion on the merits of Bishop vonRosenberg’s claims. It was certainly not a ruling in their favor on the merits. It simply means that the court believes the standard used to make his decision to dismiss was the wrong one and should be reconsidered using the appropriate standard. The question is one of procedure and not the merit of the complaint itself. The judge could in fact reach the same conclusion, using the new standard. To that point, the standard called for by the court, exceptional circumstances, is arguably well met by the facts that we now have both a strong trial court ruling in our favor, as well as a date certain for the case to be heard by the South Carolina Supreme Court. All the issues at stake in the Federal complaint will be essentially resolved by that decision. 


Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 30, 2015 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church (TEC) is a complex and diverse denomination. Only last January I had the pleasure of worshipping at two Episcopal churches in Houston, which was a great experience with some wonderful people. In a broad church like TEC there are people to the theological left and right and everything in between. However, TEC as a whole is typified by a radical liberalism and an authoritative leadership that punishes dissent and persecutes conservative believers (I can provide evidence if you wish!). Bishops in TEC have denied every line in the Apostles’ Creed and there is a flagrant rejoicing in apostasy. I have to tell you that the vast majority of world-wide Anglicans look on TEC with a mixture of confusion and disgust and have broken fellowship with TEC. It is because of TEC that the next Lambeth conference has been indefinitely postponed. The African and Global South Anglican bishops have responded with no shortage of rage and rancor at TEC’s actions and attitudes towards Scripture. Now if the TEC presiding bishop asked you, as something of a celebrity recruit to TEC, to go to Africa and get the African bishops to chillax and to receive TEC back into the Anglican fold, what would you say to them? In other words, should the global south Anglican bishops be in fellowship with TEC?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC Polity & Canons--Aggressive Title IV Action Against Multiple Bishops on Eve of Gen. Con. 2012Global South Churches & Primates* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

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Posted April 27, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The highest-profile seminary in the Episcopal Church is still struggling after turmoil between the dean and faculty members temporarily crippled the school early this academic year.

A letter from 20 students, alumni and former trustees to the Attorney General of New York dated April 20 asks for an investigation of the actions of General Theological Seminary Dean and President Kurt Dunkle and the Board of Trustees. The letter, originally made public on Facebook and reprinted on the blog Episcopal Café, charges that Dunkle and the trustees “may have abandoned their fiduciary responsibilities and taken actions which are likely to result in the closing” of the 198-year-old institution and the sale of its remaining real estate in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The letter restates earlier allegations against Dunkle while noting that fallout from the initial turmoil resulted in several students departing midyear, while the board “provisionally” reinstated the faculty only for the rest of the academic year, while canceling their academic tenure.

“No new hires have been announced and several top librarians have left,” the letter reads, claiming that “only one entering student has paid a deposit for admission next fall” and that the seminary’s accreditation by the Association of Theological Schools is under review.

Read it all and follow all the links therein.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

1 Comments
Posted April 22, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the national Presbyterian Lay Committee, said that in the same way the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ became inhospitable environments for evangelicals to serve, the Presbyterian Church is becoming much the same way.

"We are seeing the environment within the PCUSA change following the affirmation of this particular vote," she says. "That environment is changing pretty rapidly. Presbyteries are becoming inhospitable to pastors who hold traditional views not only on this issue but on underlining issues related to the biblical authority of Jesus as the only way to salvation."

While sexuality might be the presenting issue in this case, LaBerge argues that the real division is rooted in a theological cleansing - fueled by a growing intolerance toward traditional, biblical views.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterian* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted April 20, 2015 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Finally, TEC press releases have included, with some frequency, statements by legal counsel for TECSC claiming its willingness to discuss “settlement options”. This is disingenuous nonsense. We should remember the following at a minimum:

• We were in the middle of what we hoped could be “settlement” discussions when TEC attempted to remove Bp. Lawrence in 2012.

• In the 90+ instances of litigation that TEC has instigated around the country, none has concluded with a settlement -- just the opposite. When parishes in the Diocese of Virginia wishing to leave TEC actually reached an agreement with their bishop, that deal was scuttled by the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor, who announced there was “a new sheriff in town”. Offers of settlement in other places have been likewise rejected. And even when the case has been definitively settled by the local courts, as in Illinois, TEC has refused to cease litigation, to the point of sanctions being imposed by the courts there.

• The fact is that TEC’s legal counsel was told as far back as 2013 that the Diocese would consider any proposals submitted to our counsel in writing. There have been none.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchHistoryMediaReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted April 16, 2015 at 4:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted April 16, 2015 at 5:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Late yesterday the South Carolina Supreme Court issued a brief order transferring to itself the jurisdiction over the appeal filed by ECUSA and its rump group (ECSC) from the February 3, 2015 judgment and order against them entered by Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein. ECUSA and ECSC had themselves requested the transfer of the case in order to expedite a final decision in the case by the State's highest court, without having to wait for any intermediate decision from the Court of Appeals.

The Court's order declined further to expedite the case's briefing schedule, set oral argument in the case for September 23, 2015, and then added: "No further extensions of time will be granted." In view of the great number of parties to the case (Bishop Lawrence's Episcopal Diocese and thirty-six of its member parishes are all respondents in the appeal, represented each by their own attorneys), the Court's order relaxes some of the filing and service requirements, and urges the attorneys to compress the multi-volume record on appeal to just the documents necessary for meaningful review of the decision below.

This order will enable a written, final decision in the case to be rendered before the end of the current calendar year, and should be welcome news to those on both sides who want to put this litigation behind them, and get on with the real work of the Church.

Read it all and do follow the links.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted April 16, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Yesterday]... April 15, 2015, the South Carolina Supreme Court agreed to take the appeal of Judge Goodstein's February 3rd ruling in favor of the Diocese of South Carolina and its parishes. We are grateful that the South Carolina Supreme Court acted so promptly to take jurisdiction of this case, just as it did when requested during the attempted procedural delays prior to the trial. The more quickly the case is resolved, the more beneficial it will be for all parties, allowing us to get about the work of ministry without the incessant distraction of courtroom proceedings.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 16, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...there are now two very good reasons why ECUSA and its rump group should have no cause to celebrate their opportunity to go before Judge Houck once more with their claims of "infringement." The first is that the injunction against Bishop vonRosenberg remains in effect pending their appeal (which they have asked the South Carolina Supreme Court to hear directly, thus bypassing the Court of Appeals if the Supreme Court grants their request). If he is prevented from claiming to be the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, how can he say he owns the trademarks which have been adjudicated to belong to Bishop Lawrence and his Diocese?

Second, if the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina had the right to withdraw from ECUSA, as now finally adjudged in the Illinois courts, then it has the right to keep its marks and trade names -- and ECUSA (and by extension ECSC, since the latter claims to be one of ECUSA's dioceses) are both now barred from arguing to the contrary.

Judge Houck thought he was doing Bishop vonRosenberg a favor by declining to accept jurisdiction of his suit. Now that he is required to revisit that decision, however, he might just proceed (in due course, after appropriate motions and briefing) to the merits, and add his own adverse decision to the ones in the State courts of Illinois, Texas and South Carolina. ECUSA has asked for a decision, and now it will get one (but not for several more months).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Analysis- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 1, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But now add in the EMM figures (bottom of the third page):

(D) 2014 EMM reimbursements received were $ 13,322,419; while

(E) 2014 EMM expenditures amounted to $ 16,811,183; for a net

(F) Annual EMM operating deficit of $ 3,488,763, which more than wipes out (C) above, and leaves

(G) A net operating loss for 2014 of $ 1,092,161 !!

In other words, the Episcopal Church is in the hole to the tune of over a million dollars for calendar 2014.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC Conflicts* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted March 30, 2015 at 4:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church and its allies in South Carolina have filed an appeal with the state's highest court in its legal battle over a breakaway diocese's $500 million property.

After being denied a motion to rehear by a lower court, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina announced Tuesday that they are filing an appeal against the Diocese of South Carolina....

"Their policy of using legal action to drain the finances of dissident congregations is not working," stated [Canon] Lewis.

"It only deflects denomination resources from projects to promote the faith and speeds the downward spiral of The Episcopal Church."

Read it all from the Christian Post.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 26, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted March 25, 2015 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sometimes a news story drags on bit by bit, piece by piece, over the years and becomes so tedious that reporters miss the dramatic cumulative impact. It also doesn't help that long, slow-developing, nuanced religion stories have been known to turn secular editors into pillars of salt.

So it seems with the lawsuits against conservative congregations and regional dioceses that have been quitting the Episcopal Church, mostly to join the Anglican Church in North America, especially since consecration of the first openly partnered gay bishop in 2003.

The Religion Guy confesses he totally missed the eye-popping claim last year that the denomination has spent more than $40 million on lawsuits to win ownership of the dropouts’ buildings, properties, and liquid assets. If that’s anywhere near accurate it surely sets the all-time record for American schisms. And that doesn’t even count the millions come-outers have spent on lawyers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMediaReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 17, 2015 at 12:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s been one year since Church of the Holy Trinity in Ridgeland made the decision to disassociate from the national Episcopal Church and remain in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

It’s been one year since some lifelong members of the church parted ways, joining other houses of worship and breaking ties with family and friends.

Though the Diocese of South Carolina has commonly been referred to as a “breakaway church,” Holy Trinity’s Rev. James Gibson said, this portrayal is simply inaccurate.

“Our contention is that we have kept the faith, we have stayed within the historic faith of the church and that our diocese, in the decision it has made to disaffiliate with the national church, is not ‘leaving’ the church,” Gibson said. “We have not broken away, we have branched out and sought a greater unity with the worldwide church.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaGlobal South Churches & Primates* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* South Carolina* Theology

3 Comments
Posted March 15, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I still remember a letter I received as a young rector. The letter concluded with, “Always remember, Fr. Mark, the Church primarily exists to serve the needs of its long-time members.” Even in the relatively more churched-culture of the late 1980s it struck me as shocking statement. Former Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, wrote in the 1930s that the Church is the only institution in the world that exists to serve the needs of those who are not yet its members. But there is something more foundational than the recent debates about Missional vs Attractional. The Church by its very nature is missional. It is not that the Church one day decided to have a resolution, brought it forward and voted to be missional. It was the Risen Jesus Christ, whose mission we continue, who commands us—“As the Father has sent me so I am sending you.” The only thing left to ask is to whom, and where, and how He would have us go!

Missionalisation on a diocesan level also means to intentionally create a culture within the diocese that cultivates a missional approach to ministry and life. Cultures, as it has been observed, cultivate. To initiate outward thrust in congregational life and witness; to celebrate that which goes out in creative ways to where people gather rather than hunker down in Christian circles; to interact with the unchurch, unreached, uninterested is the challenge we face in today. It is to recognize that Jesus often crossed boundaries in his ministry and once he crossed boundaries he made contact, cultivated curiosity and then touched the place of need in the other person’s life which they hardly knew they had or could even whisper to others. It is, among other things, to take pre-evangelism, as well as evangelism, seriously. What is pre-evangelism? It is conveyed well by what an agnostic said upon the death of Pope John XXIII: “Pope John has made my unbelief uncomfortable.” Missionalization is to have such an aroma of Christ that when we go into the world meeting others we graciously make the agnostic and religiously unaffiliated uncomfortable in their unbelief.

Missionalisation also means for us to practice Big Picture thinking. As your bishop I have been mindful of the need to look at the big picture within the emerging Anglican world. Through the 2008 Lambeth Conference; the Global South gatherings in Singapore or elsewhere; the various GAFCON conferences; and from bishops or primates who have come to us from abroad to sojourn a few days or weeks in the Diocese of South Carolina the challenges and opportunities have been kept before me. Certainly the Anglican Communion Development Committee (ACD) has been a diocesan committee which has strategically looked at the larger world seeking to address what we could do to help shape the Anglican scene in the 21st Century. I am heartened that some of our larger parishes, such as St. Helena’s, Beaufort and St. Michael’s Charleston (which has a vital missional thrust through its Global Impact Celebration) are now seeking input from the ACD Committee as they rethink their missional relationships around the world.

Nevertheless I am often troubled by a recurring personal concern regarding the Big Picture....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* Theology

4 Comments
Posted March 14, 2015 at 7:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Iker's latest request was thus simply an attempt to go back to ground zero, before Mr. Hill started drawing the battle lines, and to take the real pulse of the entire All Saints congregation in order to arrive at an amicable, Paulian-motivated settlement of the dispute. The rump faction at All Saints once again has spurned any such resolution -- acting, no doubt, in unity with ECUSA and its attorneys.

And so we see that little has changed, despite Bishop Iker's success in the underlying lawsuit. The attorneys have agreed on some procedures to expedite the resolution or trial, if necessary, of the All Saints case, and there remain still other matters which the parties can address by means of further partial summary judgment motions. No one seems to think that there are any material disputed facts.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted March 12, 2015 at 12:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a letter dated March 9, attorneys for The Episcopal Church and the TEC-affiliated All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Fort Worth rejected the Diocese’s offer to resolve the property dispute between the parish and Diocese through the Canon 32 process.

Read it all and follow the link.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted March 11, 2015 at 12:52 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At the time of her 2008 visit to Albuquerque, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

headed a congregation torn, both in New Mexico and nationally, over the role of gays and lesbians in the church.

The Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande was preparing to select a new bishop to replace former Bishop Jeffrey N. Steenson, who resigned in 2007 to join the Roman Catholic Church over the issue.

Several New Mexico congregations had split from the diocese and others were discussing similar moves....

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Rio Grande* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

10 Comments
Posted March 10, 2015 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Judge Chupp's ruling is thus significant for a number of reasons:

1. For all practical purposes, it ended the case -- in favor of Bishop Iker and his co-defendants. There are still some claims for damages and trademark infringement, etc., reserved for another day.

2. It agreed with the Texas Supreme Court that "neutral principles of law" were to be used to decide the issues in the case, and that their application was not retroactive, since Texas courts had been applying neutral principles to church property disputes for a number of years already.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 8, 2015 at 5:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This reference makes it sound as if the tradition of properties being controlled by the local diocese is a brand new concept, created by Iker and company in the very recent past. Did those ordinances "declare" this fact or affirm older traditions? Stop and think about it: Why was there such a bitter battle in Denver back in 1979 when the national church took the unusual step of creating and passing the Dennis Canon?

As always, I am not saying that journalists need to agree with Iker, or with High for that matter. The key is to understand the arguments being made by experts on both sides.

The bottom line: When dealing with Anglican controversies, it always helps to include specific dates in the timeline, while also remembering that these battles are being fought at the local, regional, national and global levels.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* Theology

4 Comments
Posted March 5, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For the second time in as many months, a state court has sided with a group of breakaway Episcopalians, ruling that they can keep their property after leaving the national church in 2008 over sharp differences on homosexuality and the authority of Scripture.

Judge John P. Chupp of the 141st District Court in Tarrant County, Texas, ruled Monday (March 2) that more than 60 parishes in greater Fort Worth can retain their property and remain independent of the Episcopal Church.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 4, 2015 at 1:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By my count, 40 of the 91 cases listed resulted in legal victories at the trial or appellate level for ECUSA; just two parish cases (All Saints and the Good Shepherd San Angelo case in Texas) went the other way, but three of the five cases involving Dioceses resulted in rulings against ECUSA. A fourth diocese case (San Joaquin) is on appeal; the fifth one (Pittsburgh) gave a victory to ECUSA on the basis of a very strained reading of the effect of a stipulation between the parties.

It is a legitimate query to ask why the results of the parish cases are so lopsided in favor of ECUSA, while the results of the diocese cases go just the other way.

For the parishes, most of the decisions turned upon explicit language in their own bylaws that made them "perpetually" subject to their Diocese and ECUSA. No such language exists in any of the Dioceses' governing documents, however. For the cases involving them, the explanation lies in the well-established freedom of association, which is a fundamental right enshrined in the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. It holds that just as no one can be prevented by the government from joining a group, so also the group may not go to court to prevent a member from leaving it. "Freedom of association therefore plainly presupposes a freedom not to associate," as the Supreme Court put it in Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees, 468 U.S. 609, 623, 104 S. Ct. 3244, 3252, 82 L. Ed. 2d 462 (1984).

The liberals in ECUSA have a very difficult time trying to understand why their Church should be subject to such a doctrine. For them, the union between a Diocese and General Convention is an ecclesiastical one, and as such, they claim, civil courts should be precluded (by that same First Amendment!) from examining or questioning it in any way.

A moment's reflection will expose the flaws in that argument (not that ecclesiastical liberals ever pay any attention to logic or reason). ECUSA is, ecclesiastically speaking, a denomination -- but that says nothing about what it is in the eyes of the law. In order to sue or be sued in a civil court, for instance, ECUSA has to be a juridical person, not just an ecclesiastical one.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 3, 2015 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Monday, March 2, 2015, the 141st District Court granted our Motion for Partial Summary Judgment regarding all diocesan property, with the exception of All Saints’, Fort Worth, which Judge Chupp severed for a separate trial.

Nearly six years after we were first sued by The Episcopal Church and its local representatives, the court has confirmed the Diocese’s right to dissociate from TEC and for the Corporation to retain its property.

“We are grateful for the ruling in our favor,” said Bishop Iker. “It’s clear that both church laws and Texas laws have been rightly applied to this dispute.”

In granting our motion, the Hon. John Chupp has ruled that Bishop Iker and the duly-elected officials of the Diocese and Corporation control the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, its Corporation, all endowments and funds, and all property that has been disputed in this litigation. The ruling is binding on all parties.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted March 3, 2015 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After a bitter, seven-year legal dispute, state District Judge John Chupp ruled Monday that the Episcopalians led by Bishop Jack Iker who broke away from the national Episcopal Church are entitled to an estimated $100 million in property in the 24-county Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

Fort Worth-area Episcopalians who remained loyal to the national Episcopal Church and reorganized the diocese under Bishop Rayford High have the right to appeal the decision.

“We are grateful for the ruling in our favor. It is clear that both church laws and Texas laws have been rightly applied in this dispute,” Iker said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 3, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

1 Comments
Posted March 3, 2015 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Take a look.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 3, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Found here (right hand side at the top under the "News").

Update--email from the Diocese:
Court rules for Fort Worth Diocese and Corporation...Late this afternoon, Judge Chupp released his ruling in our case. We praise God for His faithfulness. Bishop Iker will have a full statement tomorrow.
Partial Summary granted with exception on claims to do with All Saints Episcopal Fort Worth.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted March 2, 2015 at 6:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted March 2, 2015 at 3:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Regarding the latest legal victory, [Canon Jim] Lewis told CP that he expects the legal action to continue, as The Episcopal Church will likely appeal the Goodstein decision.

"While it is unfortunate that ministry resources on both sides will continue to be wasted in this fashion, it is entirely in keeping with TEC legal strategy," said Lewis, who drew parallels to a similar property case that took place in Illinois between The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Quincy.

"The court sanctions imposed against TEC in Illinois last week are the perfect illustration of the lengths to which their leadership is prepared to go in pursuit of its scorched earth policy. We have no reason to expect different behavior here in South Carolina."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 27, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Over at Faith Forward, Paul Holloway responds to my earlier post about his denunciation of Sewanee University for awarding N.T. Wright an honorary doctorate.

Thankfully Holloway’s response attempts some actual reasoning and tries to provide some kind of substance to his criticism of Wright rather than resorting to hyperbolic and vitriolic protest as he did previously. Let me say that there is nothing wrong with robust criticism of Wright, for case in point, see John Barclay’s critique of Paul and the Faithfulness of God. The problem is that Holloway’s initial complaint about Wright was filled with inaccuracies, pejorative anthems, and was transparently tribal.

Let me address some of his recent claims.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological EducationTheology: Scripture

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Posted February 25, 2015 at 4:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...ECUSA argued, Bishop Lawrence should have been prevented, by the doctrine of "judicial estoppel," from so changing course and citing All Saints as a precedent to Judge Goodstein. Instead, they contended, he was required to stick to the same old arguments his predecessor had made before the South Carolina Supreme Court's 2009 ruling.

Except -- their argument overlooked one small but highly significant detail: as a decision by the State's highest court, All Saints Waccamaw is binding on all churches similarly situated -- including specifically, the Episcopal Church which had lost its argument to that Court -- and on all lower courts in South Carolina.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 24, 2015 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The motion had to be filed before an appeal can move forward.

“Their policy of using legal action to drain the finances of dissident congregations is not working. It only deflects denomination resources from projects to promote the faith and speeds the downward spiral of the Episcopal Church,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, canon to the ordinary for the Diocese of South Carolina, whose parishes left the national church in 2012.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 24, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An updated list (as of March 1) of all the recent news stories about the South Carolina litigation may be found here.

For the second time in less than a month, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein rejected arguments by The Episcopal Church and its subsidiary, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, that the two groups are rightful owners of the churches, symbols and other assets of the Diocese of South Carolina.

In her Order denying the motion for reconsideration she stated, “Large portions of the motion are simply the proposed orders previously submitted to the Court or reiterations of the Defendants’ positions at trial.”

The motion had also argued that because the Diocese had argued legal positions in the All Saints case contrary to those now being presented, that Judicial Estoppel should apply. In response, Judge Goodstein sharply noted... “The court finds that the Judicial Estoppel argument is without merit....If the Defendants’ argument in the instant action was correct, no party previously adjudicated to be wrong would be able to correct their conduct in compliance with a court’s holding. Such a result would be contrary to all sense of justice and order... With regards all other matters presented in Defendants’ Motion for Reconsideration, they are hereby denied.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

7 Comments
Posted February 23, 2015 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After analyzing the record to find that TEC had waived any right to claim that there were separate funds in the single account, the Court observed:
During the argument on these issues, TEC argued that it did not freeze the account, PNC did. To say this argument lacks merit would be charitable. While TEC, in a very literal sense, is correct on “who” froze the account, the “why” is the more important issue. PNC froze the account because it received a letter from counsel for TEC which threatened to hold PNC liable if funds were disbursed.

The court finds, based upon this record, that the continued threat made to PNC Bank to hold it accountable if funds were disbursed and the continued attempt to collaterally attack the clear order of this court dated October 9, 2013 even after this case had run its course through the appellate process constitutes bad faith, is not grounded in fact or existing law and has resulted in needless, ongoing and expensive litigation.

Accordingly, the court grants the request of the Plaintiffs for fees incurred from December 30, 2014 onward pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 137.
There is much more to savor in the Court’s order. It is gratifying to have a trial judge (not the one who rendered the original Quincy decision) see so clearly through TEC’s bullying tactics, and to deal with them accordingly.

Read it all and make sure to follow the link to the full order.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Quincy* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 23, 2015 at 4:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Oral arguments on each side’s motion for partial summary judgement were heard this morning in a two-hour hearing before the Hon. John Chupp, and a ruling is expected from him soon. The judge asked for each side to submit proposed orders to him on Monday, Feb. 23. He will likely select one of them to sign, subject to any alterations he may wish to make.
In the course of the hearing before several dozen clergy and lay people, Judge Chupp asked each side, “What are you asking me for today?” The Plaintiffs argued for a “simple solution” acknowledging that the property is held in trust for the Diocese and Congregations by those individuals recognized by The Episcopal Church.

The Diocese and Corporation countered that, under neutral principles of law as mandated for the trial court to follow, the Dennis Canon has been found by the Texas Supreme Court to have been revoked, leaving the property in trust for the parishes and missions in fellowship with the Diocese, and only those individual defendants before the court are the duly-elected officers of the Diocese and the Corporation.

Judge Chupp posed a number of questions to the Plaintiffs during their presentation, and the discussion was frequently animated. Near the conclusion of the hearing he indicated a philosophical preference for local self-determination, asking, “Why do we need to have a ‘big government’ solution to this where a New York church says [what is best]?”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 21, 2015 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Alfred Pinckney strolls the ancient graveyard at St. Philip’s Church, as he likes to do, he steps over earthen paths traveled by his ancestors who have worshipped here since the 1760s.

Beneath the church’s towering spire and a cluster of massive live oaks, elegant grave markers bear their names. Pinckney clutches to his chest memories of their lives and deaths contained in a family history book.

“All these gravestones, they have a story,” he says, gesturing to an expanse along Church Street where at least 20 of his family members are buried alongside names like John C. Calhoun. The name of another Alfred Pinckney, one of several namesakes, is engraved into a marble dedication near the sanctuary, a forever thanks to young Confederate soldiers from St. Philip’s who died....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 15, 2015 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has already announced it will appeal this decision. This was expected.

The court has affirmed what everyone knew from the start was the legal precedent in South Carolina, that congregations and the Diocese have the right to chose their religious association. While we will have more work to do to confirm this, we have every reason to be confident the South Carolina courts will continue to do so through the appeals process. We will pursue that in as speedy fashion as possible and deal with the expected delays we know TEC will attempt. Justice may be delayed by those attempts, but we believe it will come.

Finally, it should be observed that it is God’s grace that has brought us to this day. Legal counsel has affirmed repeatedly that they have experienced God’s grace at work in this litigation from start to finish. To Him be the glory and praise and it is in His Name alone that we trust (Ps. 20:7). By that grace, I trust the Diocese of South Carolina will continue “Making biblical Anglicans for a Global Age” long into the future.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* Theology

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Posted February 14, 2015 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Traditional or conservative Episcopalians living in my part of South Carolina sometimes feel cut off from their brothers in the lower half of the state. News of what our friends are up to is never, I repeat never discussed except perhaps in mocking terms overheard at coffee hour. The last time I heard a high ranking clergy person in Upper South Carolina try to say anything nice about the "lower diocese" it was with a slightly derogatory tone, "I'm from there, but I can't work there."

Unless an Episcopalian reads the blogs, they will remain clueless.

Whatever happened to the idea of engaging in a listening process, or to the idea of sitting down with someone and learning more about them? Isn't that what we have been told to do when faced with people holding different views on human sexuality and how it relates to the Church?

I guess the listening process is unidirectional.

As proof, I offer the following evidence: Each year, lay people, priests, bishops, and archbishops gather in Charleston South Carolina for a conference that goes by the benign sounding name of "Mere Anglicanism." These conferences offer lectures featuring guest speakers from around the world on topics which should be of interest to all concerned Anglicans, and I include all concerned Episcopalians in that group....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted February 14, 2015 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read the remarks of Bishop William White, generally recognized as the leading founder of PECUSA, as I reported them in this earlier post (with my bold, again):
. . . And there appeared [at that more general meeting in October 1784] Deputies, not only from the said three States, but also from others, with the view of consulting on the exigency of the Church. The greater number of these Deputies were not vested with powers for the binding of their constituents; and therefore, although they called themselves a Convention . . . yet they were not an organized body. They did not consider themselves as such; and their only act was, the issuing of a recommendation to the churches in the several States, to unite under a few articles to be considered as fundamental.
Moreover, at pages 6-7 the motion again reverses temporal order: "The Diocese [of South Carolina] came into existence as the Diocese when TEC's Constitution was adopted in 1789." This claim is metaphysical, not legal -- if the Diocese did not have any legal existence before its authorized representatives signed ECUSA's Constitution in 1789, then how could their signatures on the Constitution have been authorized? And why did they sign as "Lay Deputies from the State of South Carolina" if the Diocese (i.e., "State") did not yet exist? (The "State of South Carolina" [in the political sense] was not the entity forming PECUSA. The word "State" was also used in an ecclesiastical sense, as the predecessor to the later word "Diocese" -- which began to be used after the State of New York split into two "Dioceses" in 1839.)

The motion goes right on inventing new facts and claiming them to be true....

Read it all.

For more recent stories & commentary on the South Carolina Circuit Court Ruling, see here.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* AdminFeatured (Sticky)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 14, 2015 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can read the motion here (182 page pdf) and the press release there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* Theology

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Posted February 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With a history of sherries at church coffee hour and wine during Holy Communion, Episcopalians have long endured — and shared — jokes about their drinking. (For example: “wherever two or three are gathered, there’s a fifth.”) Yet the relationship is complicated.

The denomination stood out a century ago for saying alcoholism wasn’t an evil. And Episcopal clergy played a significant role in the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous.

So perhaps it was surprising that this week a top church leader said the case of Heather Cook — the Maryland bishop now accused of killing a cyclist while driving drunk — revealed Episcopalians’ “systemic denial about alcohol and other drug abuse.” Leaders will review church policies on drug and alcohol abuse for the first time in 30 years when they have their once-every-three-years meeting this summer.

One bishop is already proposing not drinking at the major gathering, and parishes are launching special worship services for people in recovery. Yet the Episcopal Church’s unusual history regarding drinking adds to the complexity of dealing with the issue.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC Conflicts* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingAlcoholismReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted February 12, 2015 at 3:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After 10 days of heated debate about human sexuality, fueled by small group discussions, private conversations and caucuses, the 71st General Convention of the Episcopal Church adjourned having decided the dialogue must continue throughout the wider church. That ongoing conversation will be aided by a new pastoral study document from the House of Bishops, and other materials on sexuality that will be developed for parents and teenagers.

Developed in private meetings over three years and numerous drafts, the pastoral became the focus of both hope and anxiety in the days leading up to the convention. The secrecy of the bishops in preparing the document added to the drama, feeding speculation about its contents. Weeks before the bishops' hoped-for release date on the first day of convention, the conservative group Episcopalians United had leaked the final two drafts, further heightening the tension and earning them a sharp reprimand from Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning.

Called "Continuing the Dialogue: A Pastoral Study Document of the House of Bishops to the Church as the Church Considers Issues of Human Sexuality," or just "the pastoral" for short, the bishops' document served as a touchstone for all other discussions on sexuality. In a surprisingly congenial debate in the convention's opening day, the bishops agreed to commend the document to the wider church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History

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Posted February 12, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dear Friends in Christ,

We were all greatly encouraged by the court ruling that came out of South Carolina last week, where the historic Diocese prevailed in its lawsuit against The Episcopal Church. Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein ruled that Bishop Mark Lawrence and his Diocese, under neutral principles of law, had legitimately withdrawn from TEC in 2012 and were entitled to retain all their buildings, assets, and intellectual property (name, identity, seal, etc.)

South Carolina’s Supreme Court had previously ruled that the Dennis Canon (that claims all church property is held in trust for TEC) was invalid in that State, and the Texas Supreme Court has made the same determination here in Texas. Under neutral principles of law governing property, trusts, and corporations in Texas, we believe we should prevail in the hearing before Judge Chupp on Friday, Feb. 20, here in Fort Worth.

The same conclusion was also reached recently in the appellate court system in Illinois, where the Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that there is nothing in the Constitution and Canons of TEC that prevents a Diocese from withdrawing, with its property and assets. The right to associate includes the right to dissociate. The Illinois Supreme Court denied an appeal from TEC attempting to reverse that ruling. And though TEC will be making a similar appeal in the South Carolina decision, it is expected that they will reach the same result.

In coming months, we expect TEC will once again be taking their losses in Illinois, South Carolina, and Texas to the United States Supreme Court, seeking reversals. We do not believe such efforts will succeed. Needless to say, all of this is a very expensive undertaking, costing both sides millions of dollars in legal fees and court costs that instead should be going for ministry and outreach in the world.

Continue to pray for our legal team as we prepare for the summary judgment hearing on the 20th and for clarity and insight for Judge Chupp in his ruling.

Thank you all for your continued faithfulness and for your witness to the Truth.

Faithfully in Christ,

--The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth

(Found here).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Updated 2 March 2015
Here are links to entries that were recently featured (stickied at the top of the blog) regarding the Diocese of South Carolina Legal Ruling.

Last two weeks:
South Carolina Dorchester County Judge Diane Goodstein Reaffirms Ruling Against TEC (Feb 23)
A S Haley on TEC reconsideration motion—Judge Goodstein: “We, not You, Get to Say What Is Ours” (Feb 14)

Slightly older entries::
Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein rules in favor of Dio. of South Carolina in case vs TEC/TECSC (Feb 3)
South Carolina Circuit Court Rules Diocese Keeps Historic Property (Feb 3)
A S Haley’s Analysis of the recent South Carolina Legal Ruling—“A Full Vindication…” (Feb 5)
Grateful: Bishop Lawrence Writes the Diocese Following Ruling (Feb 6)


Other related entries:

(CP) SC Judge Rejects Episcopal Church’s Attempt to Take Over one of its Founding Dioceses (Feb 27)

A.S Haley—South Carolina Court Makes Short Shrift of ECUSA’s Motion (Feb 24)

(Local paper) Judge denies motion to reconsider ruling against Episcopal Church (Feb 24)

(Local Paper) Local families worshiped at parishes for centuries, long before Episcopal split (Feb 15)

Jim Lewis—What it Means: Understanding Judge Goodstein’s Ruling in South Carolina (Feb 14)

(Not another Episcopal Blog) On the strange Radio Silence in Upper SC abt the Dio. of SC (Feb 14)

The New Episcopal Church Diocese in S Carolina files a motion for Reconsideration in recent ruling (Feb 14)

Robert Munday, former Dean of Nashotah House-will The Episcopal Church “come to grips with reality”? (Feb 10)

New Episcopal Church Diocese, Original SC Diocese steer ahead into complex legal waters (Feb 8)

A Charleston, S.C. Regional Business Journal Article on this week’s Court Decision (Feb 6)

(Charisma News) Episcopal Church Loses Big in Landmark South Carolina Court Decision (Feb 6)

Rift among S.C. Lowcountry Episcopalians widens as fight continues over properties, name (Feb 6)

New Episcopal Church Diocese in SC’s Decides to Appeal this week’s Court decision against them (Feb 6)

A Pastoral letter from the Bp of the New Episcopal Church Diocese in South Carolina (Feb 5)

Reminder—Timeline of Events in the Diocese of South Carolina leading up to latest legal ruling (Feb 4)

The Local Paper Article on the Ruling in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina (Feb 4)

(AP) South Carolina court rules Episcopal diocese, churches can keep property (Feb 4)

You can find all stories related to the TEC legal conflict in SC here.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest NewsEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* AdminFeatured (Sticky)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina

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Posted February 11, 2015 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
One might wish that the leadership of the Episcopal Church would come to grips with reality. The people of the Diocese of South Carolina voted by an overwhelming majority to leave the Episcopal Church. Any church bureaucracy that would try to force its will on a Diocese where the majority of people have said they no longer want to be affiliated is manifestly evil. They are just trying to suck the life out of the Diocese of South Carolina (and the other dioceses they are suing) by bleeding them dry through lawsuits. (That's just my opinion, of course. But this kind of continued pernicious evil from the Episcopal Church's leadership has been going on long enough that it just makes you wonder what it will take to finally drive a stake through the vampire's heart.)


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted February 10, 2015 at 6:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Because after so much legal wrangling, many still wonder: What does it all mean?

For one, the Diocese of South Carolina clearly can operate on its own with Lawrence, who led its departure from the national church, at the helm. Second, his diocese can keep the name and symbols, along with the parishes that left with it and the more than $500 million in church properties they inhabit, including historic colonial buildings.

“It is a judicial finding that we are who we say we are — the Diocese of South Carolina — and our names and symbols are ours alone to use,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, its canon to the ordinary.

Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein’s long-awaited ruling last week also could play a key role in similar disputes nationwide and impact other hierarchical churches that face discord in South Carolina. It comes at a time of increasing legal complexity as judges across the country decide similar cases using two very different legal principles, experts said.

And that could push the South Carolina case to the U.S. Supreme Court’s doorstep. Or at least some hope it will.

Read it all from the front page of the local paper.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted February 8, 2015 at 6:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than a year after the suit was filed, Circuit Judge Diane Schafer Goodstein ruled Tuesday in favor of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina and nearly 40 parishes. They were looking to keep the national Episcopal Church and the parishes that remained affiliated with it from taking local church properties, some dating back to 1680, as well as using the diocese’s seal and name.

St. Philip’s Church on Church Street and St. Michael’s Church on Broad Street in downtown Charleston were in question, among other properties.

The group left the national church in October 2012 after it tried to remove the Right Rev. Mark Lawrence as bishop. Disagreements about homosexuality and other “moral issues” also divided the church.

The 14-day trial, which took place in July in a St. George courtroom, included 59 witnesses and more than 1,200 pieces of evidence.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 6, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"It's all a question of church polity," Bishop Lawrence said. "We've been on a collision course with the Episcopal Church for 20 years for issues such as trustworthiness of the holy Scriptures, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, issues of anthropology—including what is a human being—questions of marriage and who receives the sacraments. All of those things are of theological concern to us."

In 2012, the Diocese of South Carolina disassociated itself from the TEC after the TEC "improperly attempted to remove" Lawrence from his position.

"They attacked me over issues of the church," Lawrence said. "But what we're dealing with is their changes in theological positions. We're dealing with the revision of what the church teaches, the revision of church morality, polity and governance, the constitutional procedures of the church. They were taking actions contrary to the constitution of the Episcopal Church. In essence, they were running roughshod over their own constitution."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 6, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“I write you at this time to repeat and emphasize several important realities,” Bishop Charles vonRosenberg, leader of TECSC, said in a pastoral letter Wednesday. “First, we believe that this action is an indication that justice has been delayed.

“As we celebrate Black History Month, we are reminded that the history of African-American witness, along with others, is that delayed justice simply calls us to persevere in our efforts. That certainly is our intention at this moment. We will persevere as we seek justice, even though the personal and financial costs will be significant. The present cause requires us to respond in this way.”

But the Rev. Jim Lewis, the Charleston-based diocese’s canon to the ordinary and a close aide to Lawrence, said he believes one man’s perseverance “may be another man’s persecution.”

“They have known from the beginning that the law in South Carolina was against them,” he said Wednesday. “But they drug us through this knothole and will persist to drag us through more knotholes.”

Read it all from the State newspaper.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted February 6, 2015 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“We will persevere as we seek justice, even though the personal and financial costs will be significant. The present cause requires us to respond in this way,” [Bishop] vonRosenberg wrote in a pastoral letter distributed Wednesday.

With an appeal ahead, those costs for both sides will keep mounting.

So far, the Diocese of South Carolina and 38 parishes that separated from the national church have spent $2 million on legal fees, Bishop Mark Lawrence said. They will continue to raise money to fight the appeal and noted that The Episcopal Church has spent far more nationwide to fight similar lawsuits.

“It’s shameful to continue using church money in this way,” [Bishop] Lawrence said.

He added that the diocese just wants to move on, independent of The Episcopal Church, which is the North American province of the global Anglican Communion. “While they speak peace, they engage in litigation,” said Lawrence...

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 6, 2015 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted February 5, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the key factual findings by the Court is this:

39. Mark Lawrence was not elected Bishop of the Diocese with the intent on either his part or on that of the Diocese to lead the Diocese out of TEC. From 2009 until October 2012, his intent was to remain "intact and in TEC."

Based on this finding alone, Judge Goodstein dismissed "with prejudice" (meaning that they cannot be raised again, in any forum) ECUSA's and ECSC's counterclaims against Bishop Lawrence. Those had accused him of "conspiring" to lead his Diocese out of ECUSA, of fraud and breaches of fiduciary duty, etc., and generally of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy -- claims that his accusers had to bring twice before the Disciplinary Board before the Presiding Bishop could get what she wanted (once she changed its membership slightly).

Needless to say, Judge Goodstein made such a finding because ECUSA and ECSC never had any evidence to substantiate their charges. (Note to hostile readers, such as those from the Episcopal Forum in South Carolina, or the followers of Steve Skardon: "evidence" in a court of law is something far more than just accusations and innuendo. What you can say on your blogs is not "evidence." Until you learn this difference, you have no basis upon which to claim victory in any court.)

On the legal side, the decision is chock full of useful conclusions that can be cited and used in the Fort Worth case, and in the ongoing appeal in the San Joaquin case. For example, this is one of the best judicial discussions to date of the First Amendment rights of a diocese-member of an unincorporated church such as ECUSA
Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Analysis- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted February 5, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted February 4, 2015 at 10:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Jim Lewis, canon to the ordinary, applauded the ruling saying it “protects South Carolina churches from being added to the long list of properties that TEC seized, then either abandoned or sold off. The decision protects our freedom to embrace the faith Anglicans have practiced for hundreds of years — and not the new theology being imposed on TEC’s dwindling membership.”

A spokeswoman for local parishes that remain a part of The Episcopal Church declined to comment late Tuesday saying church leaders first needed time to analyze the lengthy ruling.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchHurricane Katrina* South Carolina

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Posted February 4, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A South Carolina court has ruled that the Diocese of South Carolina and its parish churches are the owners of their property, not The Episcopal Church.

In a decision handed down Tuesday, Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein wrote that the diocese and its churches are "the owners of their real, personal and intellectual property."

Goodstein wrote that The Episcopal Church "has no legal, beneficial or equitable interest" in the diocese and its property.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 4, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Song of Solomon 4:16
[Young Woman] Awake, north wind! Rise up, south wind! Blow on my garden and spread its fragrance all around. Come into your garden, my love; taste its finest fruits.
We invite You, Holy Spirit, to move through the Diocese of South Carolina in this season.
Dear Jesus, You are much loved in the Diocese of South Carolina. Come into Your garden!

Song of Solomon 5:1
[Young Man] I have entered my garden, my treasure, my bride! I gather myrrh with my spices and eat honeycomb with my honey. I drink wine with my milk.
[Young Women of Jerusalem] Oh, lover and beloved, eat and drink! Yes, drink deeply of your love!
O Jesus, drink deeply of Your love in the Diocese of South Carolina!

Song of Solomon 6:2-3
[Young Woman] My lover has gone down to his garden,
to his spice beds,
to browse in the gardens
and gather the lilies.
I am my lover’s, and my lover is mine.
He browses among the lilies.


Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted February 3, 2015 at 6:57 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Update: Explanation and Timeline.
(Please note for important background on this case please review the article there--KSH).



IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED,
1. The Plaintiffs are the owners of their real, personal and intellectual property.
2. The Defendants have no legal, beneficial or equitable interest in the Plaintiffs’ real, personal and intellectual property.
3. The Defendant TEC, also known as The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America and Defendant The Episcopal Church in South Carolina and their officers, agents, servants, employees, members, attorneys and any person in concert with or under their direction or control are permanently enjoined from using, assuming, or adopting in any way, directly or indirectly the names, styles, emblems or marks of the Plaintiff as hereinafter set out, or any names, styles, emblems or marks that may be reasonably perceived to be those names, styles emblems or marks . . .
4. The Dorchester County clerk is directed, upon the filing of this order, to refund the sum of $50,000.00 to the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina.
5. The Defendants counterclaims are dismissed with prejudice.
Read it carefully and read it all (it is a 54 page pdf)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* AdminFeatured (Sticky)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina

21 Comments
Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

ST. GEORGE, SC, Feb. 3, 2015 – In a 46 page opinion, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein, ruled that The Diocese of South Carolina, The Trustees of the Diocese and 36 parish churches successfully withdrew from The Episcopal Church in 2012 taking with them all their property, including churches, symbols and other assets. The ruling is the result of a three-week trial last summer in which over 50 witnesses testified.

The historic ruling comprehensively resolves the issues surrounding the more than $500 million in property owned by the Diocese and its parishes, which disassociated from the denomination in 2012 after TEC improperly attempted to remove Bishop Mark Lawrence as head of the Diocese.

The judge’s decision found baseless TEC’s claim that it owned the Diocese’s identity and properties. During the trial, the Diocese demonstrated that it existed long before TEC was established – and that it was one of the dioceses that founded the denomination in 1789. It also proved that every diocese is free to associate with a denomination of its choosing.

The Court found that “the Constitution and Canons of TEC have no provisions which state that a member diocese cannot voluntarily withdraw its membership.” The ruling found that had there been such a provision, it would have violated the Diocese’s “constitutionally-protected right” to freedom of association. “With the freedom to associate goes its corollary, the freedom to disassociate,” Judge Goodstein said.

The Court also found that TEC had “no express or constructive trust” in Diocese or Parish property.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

6 Comments
Posted February 3, 2015 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Please pray for Her Honor Judge Diane S. Goodstein, the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team, all those involved in the proceedings and for the growth of God's Kingdom in South Carolina.
The diocese has been in a season of transition and awaits the results of litigation.

Exodus 31:18 (NIV)
When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.
Father, inscribe upon the hearts of the people of the Diocese of South Carolina Your covenant law.

Mark 7:33-35 (NIV)
After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
Open their ears and loosen their tongues to advance the kingdom of God.

Luke 11:20 (NIV)
But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Drive out the demons blocking the advancement of Your kingdom in this diocese. Your kingdom come and Your will be done in the Diocese of South Carolina as it is in heaven. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted January 31, 2015 at 9:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I read the Sun's front page article by Doug Donovan regarding Church of the Ascension ("Small church fights Episcopal diocese over land," Jan. 24) with special interest because just about five years ago a group of some 30 of us left the Episcopal Church and founded our own then small Orthodox Anglican congregation, Church of the Resurrection, in Timonium. Ironically, the writer who wrote an article for The Sun about our experience nearly made the same mistake your Mr. Donovan made here some five years later.

At that time, the writer assumed that we left because of the consecration of a... bishop [in a same-sex partnership]. We were pretty clear with that writer that we left for reasons much greater than one bishop. We left because the hierarchy of the Episcopal Church had left us with its swing to modify, even deny, much of the story of salvation through Jesus Christ. The writer, to her credit, presented our rationale relatively fairly.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Please pray for Her Honor Judge Diane S. Goodstein, the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team, all those involved in the proceedings and for the growth of God's Kingdom in South Carolina
The diocese is in an extended season of transition; awaiting the results of litigation.
God’s promises to Abram included land. I don’t know the nature of His promises to the Diocese of South Carolina.

Genesis 13:14-15

The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.”

O God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
You are the God who gives hope for the future. Raise the vision of the Diocese of South Carolina, dear Lord, up to new spiritual horizons, to perceive the new realities You have planned for them. Help them to receive and live into Your revelation, for the blessing of the generations. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted January 27, 2015 at 12:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting the results of litigation. Please pray for Her Honor Judge Diane S. Goodstein, the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team, all those involved in the proceedings and for the growth of God's Kingdom in South Carolina
Joshua 2:10-11 (NIV)
We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.

Lord,
You are indeed God in heaven above and on earth below.
You are King of kings and Lord of lords.
Rahab acknowledged Your greatness, and You delivered her and her family from destruction.
You have delivered the Diocese of South Carolina thus far, and we thank You.
Rahab tied a scarlet cord in the window of the city wall.
The fibers of Rahab’s cord (interlacing, twisting pennants of red, overlapping and knotted at the window) were a token of salvation for her, her family, and all that they had.
Likewise, we apply the Blood of Christ Jesus as a token of salvation for the Diocese of South Carolina.
Christ Jesus has been, is, and will continue to be their strong Deliverer.
Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted January 19, 2015 at 6:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting the results of litigation. Please pray for Her Honor Judge Diane S. Goodstein, the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team, all those involved in the proceedings and for the growth of God's Kingdom in South Carolina

A friend of mine described waiting like sitting on a bench in a beautiful garden, enjoying the presence of God. May it be so for the litigants in South Carolina. Please pray for Her Honor Judge Diane S. Goodstein, that she may have wisdom beyond measure in the dispensation of this case.

Malachi 1:11 (NLT)
But my name is honored by people of other nations from morning till night. All around the world they offer sweet incense and pure offerings in honor of my name. For my name is great among the nations,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

O Lord, may Your name be honored throughout South Carolina from morning till night. Amen.


Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted December 30, 2014 at 10:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting the results of litigation. Please pray for Her Honor Judge Diane S. Goodstein, the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team, all those involved in the proceedings and for the growth of God's Kingdom in South Carolina

Psalm 143:9-10 (ESV)

Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!


Our Father in heaven,
We lean on You and not our own understanding. We lean on Your promise that the words that come out of Your mouth will not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work You sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment You gave them.
We stand in agreement with all the words of Holy Scripture read in the parishes of the Diocese of South Carolina through the centuries. These precious, holy words will not return to You empty-handed. Amen.
Isaiah 55:11

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted December 26, 2014 at 8:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting the results of litigation. Please pray for Her Honor Judge Diane S. Goodstein, the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team, all those involved in the proceedings and for the growth of God's Kingdom in South Carolina

Not by might nor by power but by my spirit.

Our Father in heaven,

We do not forget that the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. Our hope is in You. You are our hearts’ desire.
Help Your faithful servants within the Diocese of South Carolina to be pure in heart. Help them live in obedience to Your truth. Create in them clean hearts.
Bestow upon the Diocese of South Carolina Your Holy Spirit in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. May the diocese prevail not by might, nor by power, but by Your Spirit. Amen.
Zechariah 4:6-10, 2 Chronicles 16:9, Matthew 5:8, Psalm 51:7-17

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The report reveals that in U.S. dioceses, baptisms are down five percent from 27,140 in 2012 to 25,822 in 2013. Similarly, marriages are down four percent from 10,366 to 9,933 (the denomination has seen a 40 percent decline in children baptized since 2003 and a 46 percent decline in marriages over the same period). The losses are not evenly distributed, with some dioceses performing worse than others: in the Diocese of Northern Michigan, where an ordained Buddhist was elected (and later failed to gain consent from other dioceses) to be bishop in 2009, zero children were confirmed in 2013.

Episcopal “renewing” dioceses in San Joaquin and Fort Worth are also continuing to struggle: Fort Worth closed five parishes in 2013 (from 22 to 17), with San Joaquin closing two (21 to 19). Pittsburgh added one new parish (36 to 37). Other diocese closing parishes include Maryland (4) and Massachusetts (3), with most of the dioceses in Northeastern Province 1 seeing the closure of at least one parish.

Despite continuing to claim over 70 parishes and 28,000 members following the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina (DioSC) and the vast majority of its parishes ending their affiliation with the Episcopal Church, the renewing Episcopal Church in South Carolina (ECSC) has posted updated information on baptisms and weddings, showing a drop from 388 children’s baptisms in 2012 to only 135 in 2013. South Carolina reported 170 children and 143 adults confirmed in 2012, dropping to 54 children and 37 adults in 2013.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCommon Cause Partnership--Proposed Formation of a new North American ProvinceEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC DataTEC Parishes* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologySacramental TheologyBaptism

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Posted December 20, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting the results of litigation. Please pray for Her Honor Judge Diane S. Goodstein, the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team, all those involved in the proceedings and for the growth of God's Kingdom in South Carolina

Psalm 138:7-8 (ESV)

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Our Father in heaven,

We thank You for the preservation of the Diocese of South Carolina. Fulfill Your purpose for them by Your steadfast love. Do not forsake them, for they are the work of Your hands. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted December 20, 2014 at 12:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Readers are asked carefully to note the legal and historical fiction in the article in which it is claimed the 224th annual Convention of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina was held. That cannot be true legally or historically since no entity of that name existed until the last few years when TEC founded the new diocese--KSH.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Parishes

2 Comments
Posted December 19, 2014 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting the results of litigation. Please pray for Her Honor Judge Diane S. Goodstein

Proverbs 30:5 (ESV)

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Our Father in heaven,

We thank You that You are worthy of trust, Your words true and Your presence secure. Stay close to the Diocese of South Carolina, we pray. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted December 18, 2014 at 10:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting the results of litigation. Please pray for Her Honor Judge Diane S. Goodstein

Now to Him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages, but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Romans 16:25-28

Father, we thank You for strengthening the Diocese of South Carolina.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
II Corinthians 9:8

We thank You for the grace You are pouring out on the Diocese of South Carolina.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen
Ephesians 3:20-21 NASB

We thank You for the abundance given to the Diocese of South Carolina.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On December 12, the Rt. Rev. William Skilton, retired suffragan bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina released an “Open Letter to the Faithful Anglicans/Episcopalians in Lower South Carolina” in which he shared correspondence he’d received from Rt. Rev. Charles vonRosenberg, the provisional bishop of TECinSC and his response. Bp. Skilton has been directed to no longer function in any sacramental capacity in any TEC congregation in South Carolina. Bp. Skilton had sought to minister in a reconciling way with parishes in both dioceses (though functioning as a bishop in neither). This action will effectively end that dual ministry. He will, nonetheless, continue to be a welcome guest among parishes in the Diocese of South Carolina and we look forward to his continued sacramental ministry among us.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

30 Comments
Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting the result of litigation. Please pray for Her Honor Judge Diane S. Goodstein

Amos 5:15a The Voice
Hate what is evil, and love all that is good;
apply His laws justly in the courts at the city gates


Our Father in heaven,

You are indeed a good God, and Your laws are just. O for the Circuit Court of South Carolina to be a true gate of justice! Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

1 Comments
Posted December 13, 2014 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting results of litigation–
Please pray for the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team, all those involved in the proceedings and for the Judge and for the growth of God's Kingdom in South Carolina
1 Chronicles 4:42-43 (NIV)
And five hundred of these Simeonites, led by Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, invaded the hill country of Seir. They killed the remaining Amalekites who had escaped, and they have lived there to this day.

Simeon–God has heard
Pelatiah–let the Lord deliver, deliverance of the Lord in Israel
Neariah–child of God
Rephaiah–Jehovah has healed
Uzziel–God is my strength
Ishi–salvation

Amalekites–a people thought to be descended from Esau. The name is often interpreted as “dweller in the valley”, and occasionally as “war-like,” “people of prey”, “cave-men.”


Dear Heavenly Father,

You are a God who hears His children. You are our Deliverer, our Healer, our strength and our salvation. Have mercy.

Did not Moses say that because Amalekites had raised their fist against the Lord’s throne, the Lord would be at war with Amalek generation after generation? If the spirit of Amalek is involved in the South Carolina litigation, defeat it, we pray.

With You, nothing is impossible. Your name is Jehovah-nissi. The Lord is our banner! Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted December 12, 2014 at 6:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the context of the present dispute, this means that the Court will base its final decision upon a close examination of the various deeds and other documents evidencing ownership and title, as well as the governing documents (constitution, canons, articles and bylaws) of the parishes, the Diocese, and of the Episcopal Church (USA) itself.

As to the ability of the Diocese to withdraw from ECUSA, it would seem that it has already been finally adjudicated (by the courts of Illinois) that there is no language in the Constitution or canons of ECUSA which would prevent a Diocese from withdrawing. That is also a decision drawn under neutral principles, and so is in harmony with the method shown in the All Saints Waccamaw case. I should think that Judge Goodstein will find the reasoning of those two cases both persuasive and binding upon her.

Resolution of that question will not, however, necessarily resolve the issue of property held in trust. Under the Waccamaw decision again, an express written trust of some kind will be required -- one that satisfies the Statute of Frauds under South Carolina law (it must be in writing, and signed by the actual owner of the person so placing the property into a trust). The Dennis Canon alone will not work -- that was one of the express holdings in the Waccamaw case which will be binding upon Judge Goodstein.

There was no evidence of any such trust document or documents offered at the trial, to my knowledge. Consequently, the decision on this point, while open, should not be a difficult one under neutral principles.

Read it all and please follow and read all the links as well.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 10, 2014 at 6:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting results of litigation–
Please pray for the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team, all those involved in the proceedings and for the Judge and for the growth of God's Kingdom in South Carolina

1 Samuel 6:20-7:2 (ESV)
Then the men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? And to whom shall he go up away from us?” So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to you.”
And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the Lord. From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.


Abinadab–father of nobleness
Eleazar–my God has helped


The ark had been housed in Shiloh 369 years. At the time of Samuel’s apprenticeship in Shiloh, the priesthood was discredited by Eli’s sons. Israel goes to war with the Philistines and loses the first battle. They move the ark to the battle field, accompanied by Eli’s sons. The Philistines have the victory and capture the ark. Tradition holds that Shiloh was burned.
The Philistines move the ark to Ashdod and set it next to Dagon, a fertility god. Dagon is broken. They move the ark to Gath, whose people reject the ark from fear of the God of Israel. Then the ark is moved to Ekron, a Baal worship center. The Philistines suffer so much, the decision is made to return the ark to Israel.
It is transported to Beth-shemesh, but seventy of their men die because they looked on the ark. Finally the ark is lodged at Keriath-jearim.

Our Father in heaven,
We thank You for the help You have provided the Diocese of South Carolina in this season of litigation. We thank You that they are a house of nobleness and a lodging place for Your Holy Spirit. Bless them bountifully, we pray. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted December 10, 2014 at 10:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting results of litigation–
Please pray for the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team, all those involved in the proceedings and for the Judge and for the growth of God's Kingdom in South Carolina

Our Father in heaven,
When Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.
O blessed tear in temple veil, translating the ark into our hearts, translating Your life into our spirits!
Praise the Lord, all you nations.
Praise him, all you people of the earth.
For his unfailing love for us is powerful;
the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.
Praise the Lord!

O blessed tear in time and space! In adoration Your creature earth did quake! We bless You, O Lamb that was slain, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills; weaving in and out, over and through time and space. You are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

Praise the Lord, all you people of the Diocese of South Carolina! The winter is past indeed. Worthy is the Lamb. His unfailing love is powerful, and His faithfulness endures forever. Amen.

Song of Solomon 2:8-11, Matthew 27:50-52, Hebrews 13:8, Revelation 5:12, Psalm 117

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted December 9, 2014 at 7:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Behre estimated that the Church in S.C. has about 6,000 members now, down from 29,000 before the split. Messiah and St. Anne’s are two of eight mission churches the Church in S.C. has recognized in the last year.

Diocese spokesman Jim Lewis said that it’s hard to compare the current Diocese with the pre-split Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

While Grace has joined as a parish mission, at least one other church that was not formerly associated with the traditional church has joined the Diocese, he said.

“The last year has been a sorting out period,” Lewis said.

The Rev. Iain Boyd, chief pastor at Trinity, said his church lost about 30 members immediately after the breakaway and since then some new members have joined while others have gone elsewhere.

“I’m encouraged to see there hasn’t been much acrimony,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina

1 Comments
Posted December 8, 2014 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting results of litigation–
Please pray for the Diocese of South Carolina, all those involved in the proceedings and for the Judge and for the growth of God's Kingdom in South Carolina

Proverbs 14:30 (ESV)
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy makes the bones rot.


O Lord, bless the Diocese of South Carolina with a tranquil heart. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted December 7, 2014 at 8:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He had not been surprised by the differences he found, which mostly arose from the diversity of very different cultures. He admitted that he disagreed “profoundly” with some of their views. The Church of Nigeria and the Episcopal Church in the United States are polar opposites, and the Archbishop was circumspect in speaking of both. He voiced his respect for the way that the Nigerians were coping with the pressures they were facing, especially the challenges of violence and corruption. They, and also the church in Pakistan, faced issues that would “buckle any other church”.

And although the church in America almost provoked an open schism with the consecration of an openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in 2003, Welby said his visit had been something of a breakthrough. “It was a real gift in terms of communication. At least there was understanding why we disagreed with each other when we disagreed, rather than simply disagreeing and not understanding each other.” But he added: “The situation there is complicated, to put it mildly.”

Learning to disagree without hatred has been a theme of the Archbishop’s ministry. He argues that “good disagreement” is vital (although some churches did not accept that). He did not want to see the same level of bitterness that had characterised some disputes in the past. There had been a danger, he admitted, of parts of the Anglican Communion drifting into that.

Read it all (requires subscription)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of NigeriaEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 6, 2014 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Monday]...both the plaintiff TEC parties and the Diocese and defendant congregations filed Motions for Summary Judgment in the 141st District Court. The origial Motions were filed in December 2010, and the court's January 2011 ruling was reversed by the Texas Supreme Court in August 2013, and the trial court was instructed to re-hear the case and render a ruling based on neutral principles of law. To that end, a hearing is now set for Feb. 20, 2015, before the Hon. John Chupp. Two more rounds of filings will be submitted to the court in the intervening weeks.

In his introduction to our filing, diocesan attorney Scott Brister writes,

From the outset of this litigation, the Plaintiffs’ lawsuit has been based not on equity but on wishful thinking and unfounded claims. The Plaintiffs filed suit claiming that a diocese cannot disaffiliate from TEC – even though not a single provision in TEC’s charters says so. The Plaintiffs insisted they represented the Corporation and the Diocese – but the Second Court of Appeals held that they did not. The Plaintiffs insisted that Texas courts follow the deference approach – but the Texas Supreme court held they do not. The Plaintiffs insisted that the Dennis Canon was irrevocable – but the Texas Supreme Court held it was not. Despite these repeated judicial rebukes, the Plaintiffs still assert every one of these claims to this day.

The following PDF documents have been submitted to the court....

Read it all by following all the pdfs.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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