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

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

1 Comments
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

1 Comments
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

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

1 Comments
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

12 Comments
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

12 Comments
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

0 Comments
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

0 Comments
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

0 Comments
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

0 Comments
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

0 Comments
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

0 Comments
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

5 Comments
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

2 Comments
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

0 Comments
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

0 Comments
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

0 Comments
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]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was not as if these congregations chose the most theologically conservative new homes.

The great majority of congregations leaving the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) chose to join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church or the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. Few chose to join the larger Presbyterian Church in America, which does not permit women clergy.

Similarly, congregations leaving the ELCA overwhelmingly bypassed the more conservative Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod denominations for the new Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ and the North American Lutheran Church.

Still, the future does not look bright for reconciliation, analysts noted.

“There is an exhaustion factor of having fought for decades,” Thompson said.

Among some denominational leaders, he said, there is a sense, “The bad guys have left.”

And leaders of congregations departing their former mainline Protestant denominations told Carthage researchers they were happy to be in a new place.

When the church leaders were asked if they had any regrets about their decision to leave, “The only thing they’d ever say is we should have left sooner.”

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSociology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheranPresbyterianUnited Church of Christ* Theology

2 Comments
Posted December 1, 2014 at 7:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Local Anglican priests gave parishioners an extra helping of good news during Thanksgiving Day services.

The Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a petition by the Episcopal Church to review a lower court ruling that decided contested money and property tied to a 2008 split rightfully belonged to the Quincy Diocese of the Anglican Church in North America, the Rev. Thomas Janikowski, public relations director, said Friday.

He shared the news with parishioners at Trinity Anglican Church in Rock Island, where he's rector, during his Thanksgiving homily and said he saw several "moist eyes" in people grateful to learn the case finally may be over, he said...

The Supreme Court's denial was a disappointing decision, according to Episcopal Bishop Jeffrey D. Lee, of the Chicago Diocese, which the former Quincy Episcopal Diocese realigned itself with in 2013.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted November 29, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Today the Illinois Supreme Court posted twenty-eight pages of its recent dispositions of requests made by losing parties for leave to appeal their decision to that Court. On page twelve, at the very top, appears this brief notation:
No. 118186 - The Diocese of Quincy et al., respondents, v. The Episcopal Church et al., petitioners. Leave to appeal, Appellate Court, Fourth District. (4-13-0901)

Petition for leave to appeal denied.

What this means is that the highest court of a State has now ruled that there is no provision in the governing documents of the Episcopal Church (USA) that keeps a Diocese from withdrawing its membership in that organization. The Church in fact is an unincorporated association of dioceses fashioned under American common law, and not under the laws of any one given State. Under the First Amendment, members of such associations are free to leave the group at any time, with only reasonable restrictions placed on their ability to do so (they could be required to pay any back dues still owed, for example). The opinion delivered last April by the Illinois Fourth District Court of Appeal stands as written.

ECUSA’s options are now very limited. They could ask the Illinois Supreme Court to rehear their request -- a move that has never been known to be successful among the Illinois attorneys to whom I have talked. And they have 90 days within which to file a petition for certiorari (review) with the United States Supreme Court -- which thus far has turned down every other recent petition in the various church property cases.

Moreover, the Diocese of Chicago was never admitted to the case as the successor to the remnant Diocese of Quincy that merged into it a year ago September. So there is a procedural difficulty to ECUSA's taking the case further: it no longer has a diocese as a co-party which it can misleadingly try to put forward as "the real Diocese of Quincy." And if no diocese is a party, who is left to complain that the departure of the Anglican Diocese was null and void, because the "real one" is right here? Just ECUSA, which itself is not a diocese, but an association of dioceses -- and it already has lost that argument in two Illinois courts.

Meanwhile, however, the decision will come as a very useful precedent for the courts in the other pending diocesan withdrawal cases -- which present a unique question that the Illinois court is now the first to have definitively decided. Watch for the withdrawing dioceses to cite the case to the courts in Texas (Ft. Worth), California (San Joaquin) and South Carolina.

Read it all

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

4 Comments
Posted November 26, 2014 at 5:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A further step in the Organizational Mediation Process by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center at the General Theological Seminary took place on Thursday, November 20, with the first meeting of the Logistics Committee via conference call facilitated by Bill Blank, the LMPC Associate Director.

The 14 members of the Logistics Committee represent all stakeholders in the GTS community: current students, staff, faculty, Board of Trustees members, spouses and partners, and alumni. Each member of the committee was appointed by their respective group.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

2 Comments
Posted November 21, 2014 at 3:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

At the portico of the temple, Solomon erected two bronze pillars. The capitals at the top of the pillars were shaped like lilies. The pillars were named Jakin (He establishes) and Boaz (in Him is strength).
On the destruction of the temple by Babylon–
Jeremiah 52:22-23
The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 1⁄2 feet high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around. There were 96 pomegranates on the sides, and a total of 100 pomegranates on the network around the top.

There were 196 pomegranates at the top of each pillar. 196 x 2=392.

On the return of the exiles from Babylon–
Ezra 2:58
All the temple servants and the sons of Solomon’s servants were 392.

The Lord establishes, and in Him is strength. The Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
We acknowledge You, Lord, as God. You made us, and we are Yours. We are Your people, the sheep of Your pasture.
We lift up the Diocese of South Carolina in this season of waiting. May they go into Your courts with praise, give thanks to You, and praise Your name. Bless the Diocese of South Carolina with fruitfulness, in every understanding of the word. Amen.
Psalm 100

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 November 12, 2014 at 6:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The faculty members, who contend they were illegally fired during a strike to protest their treatment at the school located in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, have been reinstated provisionally until the end of the academic year and have lost their tenure protections.

The seminary’s board of trustees did not meet their key demand — that a dean they found abusive be fired. But trustees and faculty members said they were hopeful that a mediation process between now and June would bring a more permanent resolution.

“In a sense, the hardest work is yet to come,” Bishop Mark S. Sisk, the chairman of the seminary’s board of trustees, said in an interview Friday. “There are going to be painful conversations, because people have held passionate points of view that are at variance with each other, and people have said things that people do in the heat of conflict that are hurtful.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

1 Comments
Posted November 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The biggest event in this schism occurred in 2008, when the leadership of the entire Fort Worth, Texas, diocese led a break with the parent church, and took with them out of that denomination the property of 47 parish churches in 24 counties – property worth more than $100 million overall. The parent church fought back, but ultimately lost in the Texas Supreme Court. From now on, and in this case, that state court ruled, church property disputes were to be decided by the “neutral principles” approach, no longer deferring to church structure arrangements. Examining the trust document under which the parent church had claimed ownership of the local property, the state court said that did not square with state civil law.

With support from a wide array of mainstream religious organizations and advocacy group, the Episcopal Church took the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that the time had come for the court to abandon the “neutral principles” approach and return to the deference approach. The parent church, it contended, had done everything it could to establish the parent’s dominion over property, and yet that was not enough.

The breakaway congregations in Fort Worth and their bishop urged the Supreme Court to stay out of the case, noting that the Justices had passed up other appeals on the issue, and commenting that the dispute in Texas has not yet become final.

Read it all from Lyle Denniston.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted November 4, 2014 at 8:00 am [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 Theology

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Posted November 4, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Via email):
We give thanks this morning that the Supreme Court of the United States has denied the petition of the TEC plaintiffs for a reversal of the Texas Supreme Court ruling of August 2013. We are grateful to attorneys Aaron Streett and Michelle Stratton for presenting our response to the Court.

This development allows us to turn full attention to the Summary Judgment filing that will soon be made in the 141st District Court. In addition, we are assured that the Texas Supreme Court ruling will govern the outcome of our case.

“We are pleased,” said Bishop Iker, “that the Supreme Court has agreed with our position that the TEC petition for a review was without merit. We now move forward to a resolution of this case under neutral principles of law as applied in the State of Texas.”

Analysis of the decision may be found on attorney Allan Haley's blog.


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 November 4, 2014 at 4:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today the Supreme Court of the United States issued its order denying (without opinion) review ("certiorari") of the decisions rendered last September by the Supreme Court of Texas in the Fort Worth and San Angelo cases.

The order was expected, because neither decision by the Texas Supreme Court was final. The U. S. Supreme Court almost never agrees to review lower court decisions until they are final. In these two cases, the Fort Worth matter was sent back to Judge Chupp's court for a trial, and the Church of the Good Shepherd case was likewise sent back to the trial court in San Angelo for further proceedings.

The action by SCOTUS now frees both of those cases to move ahead.

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted November 3, 2014 at 2:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Supreme Court has turned away a pair of appeals from the national Episcopal Church in a dispute over church property claimed by a...[Anglican group in Texas].

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted November 3, 2014 at 2:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting results of litigation–
Lamentations 3:59 (ESV)

You have seen the wrong done to me, O Lord; judge my cause.

We entrust this litigation to You, O Lord. 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 October 31, 2014 at 10:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting outcome of litigation–
Psalm 97:11 (ESV)

Light is sown for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.


May it be so in the Diocese of South Carolina, dear Lord. 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 October 28, 2014 at 9:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting the results of litigation–
Jeremiah 39:3 Amp
[When Jerusalem was taken] all the princes of the king of Babylon came in and sat in the Middle Gate: Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim [the Rabsaris] a chief of the eunuchs, and Nergal-sharezer [II, the Rabmag] a chief of the magicians, with all the rest of the officials of the king of Babylon.

Nergal-sharezer–“prince of fire”

This is the only place in Holy Scripture that the ‘Middle Gate’ is mentioned. The names of the Jerusalem gates in Nehemiah are the valley gate, the gates of the fountain, the sheep gate, the fish gate, the old gate, the dung gate, the water gate, the horse gate, the east gate, the gate of Miphkad, the gate of Ephraim, and the prison gate.

O Father,
We pray that violence shall no more be heard in the Diocese of South Carolina, nor destruction within its borders. Help them to build walls of salvation and gates of praise.
Guard them from compromising Your Truth. No Middle Gate, Lord! Protect the Diocese of South Carolina from the “prince of fire.” Amen.
Isaiah 60:18

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 October 23, 2014 at 9:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting the outcome of the South Carolina litigation–
Exodus 12:13 (KJV)
And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

Joshua 2:12, 13, 17, 18 (KJV)
Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death. . . . And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear. Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.

God of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of glory,

We thank You for Your great plan of redemption and for the Blood of the Lamb that washed us clean from our sins. Thank You for the delight in drawing near and knowing You.

May the Diocese of South Carolina ever continue in Your presence that their spiritual understanding may open and unfold and that they will not fail to recognize the hope of Your calling, the riches of Your inheritance, and the greatness of Your power.
You raised Christ Jesus from the dead and set him at Your right hand in heaven, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, in every dimension and throughout time. You have put all things under his feet and made Him the head of the church.

By faith, Moses kept the passover and the sprinkling of the blood. By faith, Rahab delivered the spies and redeemed her family and their possessions with the scarlet cord. By faith, the people of the Diocese of South Carolina receive the Blood of the Lamb at the altar rail.

By faith, we apply the Blood of the Lamb over the doorposts and lintels, the windows in the wall, and every spiritual portal of this Diocese. By faith, we claim the Blood of the Lamb over her bishop, clergy, and laity.

The Blood of the Lamb says to the angel of death, You must pass over. The Blood of Jesus, our Mediator of a new covenant, speaks a better, nobler, and more gracious message than the blood of Abel, Mercy, not vengeance.

Speak, O precious Blood, speak. Speak the way, the truth, and the life for this Diocese. Speak that they may receive God’s kingdom, a kingdom that is firm and stable and cannot be shaken. 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 October 22, 2014 at 8:43 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While I have been, and am, committed to reconciliation and reinstatement of the eight faculty members, I have, with some reluctance, supported the decisions of the Board, including the resolutions passed on Friday, even as I had concerns and reservations about them.

My support of a resolution that called for the eight faculty to be "provisionally" reinstated, as the resolution was worded, was based on my conviction that they ought to be returned to their positions, but also my deep concern that they have not, as far as I am aware, rescinded the ultimatums contained in their letters of September 17 and September 24 which were publicly issued, nor have they acknowledged their share and culpability in this matter which have played a major contributing role in this crisis. I continue to have this concern.

Similarly, the Board, its Executive Committee and the Dean have not acknowledged clearly the major and contributing responsibility and culpability we each share in this matter. There is, in short, a genuine need for public confession and repentance from all the major parties: Board and its Executive Committee, Dean, and Faculty.

Having stated this, I am grateful for Bishop Dietsche's courage and leadership and for his attempt to create a clearer path toward reconciliation. I am willing to support his call for the faculty to be immediately and fully reinstated with the understanding that there continues to be a need for public confession, healing and reconciliation from all parties.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC Conflicts* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted October 21, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At some point, young people contemplating a clerical career will have to consider just how long there will indeed be a church for them to serve.

This isn’t meant to be panic-mongering, and infinite extrapolations rarely follow exact lines. But if any church is losing 2.6 percent of its attenders every year – not every decade – it should be deeply alarmed. Why isn’t it?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC DataTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Theology

21 Comments
Posted October 20, 2014 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I write to you following the resolutions of the Board of Trustees of General Seminary on Friday regarding the continuing conflict involving the seminary dean and the majority of the faculty. I believe that you have a right to know my thoughts and convictions on this matter.

Throughout this process, I have been single-minded in my conviction that there was no imaginable way to reconcile or resolve this matter without first giving unconditional reinstatement to the eight striking faculty members. It also became clear to me that by the decision to terminate the faculty, the board had so inflamed the situation that the board itself had become a participant in the conflict, and in ways that were impeding the hope of a just and fair resolution of the crisis. Early on, I advocated for just such an across-the-board reinstatement in appeals directly to the executive committee of the board, and then to the full board itself. By no means was I alone in making that case. I was one of a number of voices across the board which have continually called for a path toward reconciliation and for the reinstatement of the faculty, and by the time we came to this last week, the momentum for reinstatement appeared to me to be so strong that at the beginning of the day on Friday, I was confident to the point of certainty that that was exactly what the board would approve.

But in the end, it was a significantly more qualified resolution, one to create a path toward provisional reinstatement, that carried the day. Some members of the board rose to speak against it, and to advocate instead for a simple, unconditional reinstatement, and I was one of them. In the end, however, the more qualified resolution carried by a wide majority, so much so that when it was asked that the vote be declared unanimous, those who opposed the resolution allowed that to carry. I regret that now, for by doing so we obscured the dynamic of debate and persuasion within the board itself, and hid from view the genuinely wide diversity of thought and conviction across the board.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC Conflicts* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted October 20, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
The board of The General Theological Seminary has decided not to reinstate the eight faculty members who lodged complaints against the dean, but to invite them “to request provisional reinstatement as professors of the seminary.” The board’s official statement goes on to say: “The Executive Committee stands ready to meet next week to hear requests of any of the eight former faculty members for reinstatement and to negotiate the terms of their provisional employment for the remainder of the academic year.” I feel compelled, not only as a former member of the GTS faculty, but also as a bishop, to register my dismay and indignation regarding this decision.

First of all, as is plain for all to see, the board has been dishonest in its claim that the eight faculty members resigned their positions when they went on strike. In fact, they were summarily fired. Second, the board has placed the eight in the humiliating position of begging for their jobs back – and at that, only provisionally, for “the remainder of the academic year.” This is nothing less than shaming behavior, unworthy of a seminary board. Worst of all, the board has failed to model the humility and fellowship to which we are called in Jesus Christ.

It should be obvious why I am outraged as a former faculty member; any faculty member at any institution of higher learning should be outraged by this board’s action. Why am I outraged as a bishop? Because this action will go a long way toward confirming the unchurched in their assumption that institutional religion cannot be trusted. I continue to pray that the board will reverse its decision and reinstate the eight. Then real conversation can begin.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC Conflicts* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

2 Comments
Posted October 20, 2014 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

When The Episcopal Church recently released its statistics on membership among its dioceses for 2013, the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina was listed along with the others.

There is one problem, however: the South Carolina Diocese's leadership voted to leave the denomination back in 2012, taking most of the members and congregations with them..
----------------
"TECSC is no doubt seeking to avoid a painful public reporting of their diminished numbers," said Walton of IRD to CP.

"This failure to report accurate membership figures calls into question the trustworthiness of congregational reporting within The Episcopal Church."

Read it all

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

3 Comments
Posted October 17, 2014 at 12:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

2 Comments
Posted October 15, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The church has faced steep losses since the early 2000s with a perfect storm of changing demographics, low fertility and departures by traditionalists.

The 2013 reporting year saw a continuation of the downward trend, with a membership drop of 27,423 to 1,866,758 (1.4 percent) while attendance dropped 16,451 to 623,691 (2.6 percent). A net 45 parishes were closed, and the denomination has largely ceased to plant new congregations.

The new numbers do not factor in the departure of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, of which the church continues to report over 28,000 members and over 12,000 attendees, despite the majority of South Carolina congregations severing their relationship with the Episcopal Church at the end of 2012. If South Carolina departures were factored in, the membership loss would be closer to 50,000 persons.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC DataTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

6 Comments
Posted October 14, 2014 at 3:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“I was looking forward to going because I’ve known of General for my whole academic life, but I had never been there. At one time, it represented a commitment to an Anglo-Catholic tradition with which I’m very sympathetic,” said Hauerwas, who attends an Episcopal church in Chapel Hill, N.C. “I think the situation is one of deep pathos; it’s just pathetic. I’m sorry that I’ve gotten caught in it.”

GTS, the flagship seminary that has produced generations of bishops and noted theologians, is the only Episcopal seminary overseen by the national church.

“It’s been the seminary of record for the national church,” Hauerwas said. “Symbolically what’s happening there has reverberations throughout the church. I think that’s the primary reason people are taken aback by the fact that in some ways what has happened is the death toll of General Seminary. What student is going to go there?”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC Conflicts* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

5 Comments
Posted October 9, 2014 at 4:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To the beloveds of God’s church in the world

Some of you may be following the unfolding of various controversies surrounding The General Seminary of The Episcopal Church here in New York City and around me, it’s Dean and President. Until today, there were three main issues: (1) allegations against me personally, (2) faculty employment issues, and (3) overarching and intensely serious issues regarding the future of Christian theological education in America, in The Episcopal Church, and at General Seminary. While dutifully silent until now, I have felt for a while that I need to touch on all three.

But, this morning something much more serious emerged. It is about my support for our LGBT community and those loved by God around the world. My hubris in addressing this letter to all of God’s beloveds worldwide is because statements which may hurt one of us actually hurts all of us, wherever you live. I think that’s what Christian community is about.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted October 4, 2014 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church's Canons, however, run in both directions. As an ordained Episcopal priest, Dean Dunkle is subject to the disciplinary canons. He is canonically resident in the Diocese of Florida (where, fittingly enough, he served as Bishop Howard's point man in litigating against departing parishes). Already on the Facebook page created to support the eight faculty members, there have been calls to lodge complaints against Dean Dunkle with that Diocese's Intake Officer for violating the Canons of Title IV. The question there, however, will be whether the Bishop of Florida will want to be viewed as interfering in a matter that involves the internal governance of GTS, and that accordingly should be left to the Board.

Thus we have all kinds of balls up in the air at GTS. The faculty has organized into a union, but the NLRB will not take jurisdiction over religious schools and their unions, so the Board cannot be ordered to negotiate with it. The Bishop of Florida has putative disciplinary authority over the GTS Dean, but he likewise will probably not take jurisdiction. Whether any of ECUSA's Canons may be said to override the terms of the faculty's employment agreements again is a question without a court that can decide it. And we are not informed as to whether the faculty members even have written contracts of employment with GTS -- or whether, if they do, their employment is tenured, or is at will in some cases.

It looks, then, as though the parties will just have to come together to sort things out. And after all, isn't that the Christian thing to do?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Polity & Canons* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted October 2, 2014 at 4:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The General Theological Seminary in Manhattan, the nation’s oldest Episcopal seminary, seemed to be regaining its footing after almost having to seek bankruptcy protection in 2010. It sold off some valuable real estate — its leafy campus in Chelsea is just steps from the High Line — and hired a new dean and president, the Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle, who promised to make the struggling institution a “joyful, thankful and useful” place.

A year after his arrival, however, the seminary has fallen into turmoil. Eight of its 10 full-time faculty members walked off the job on Friday to protest what they described in letters to the school’s board of trustees as Mr. Dunkle’s overly controlling management style, his habit of making vulgar and offensive remarks, and his frequent threats to demote or fire those who disagreed with him.

The work stoppage, faculty members said, was intended to force a dialogue with the board and, ideally, to lead to the firing of Mr. Dunkle. Instead, the tactic backfired. On Monday, the board dismissed the eight faculty members, leaving the seminary’s roughly 140 students, a month into their term, without professors to teach them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

3 Comments
Posted October 2, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here's why you should care about this:

It is a spiteful act. Take a moment to read the original announcement. The protesting faculty took pains to be as diplomatic as possible, leaving readers uncertain as to what their specific complaints were. The word "heavy-handed" does not even begin to describe the administration's response to their tact.

It is deceitful. The dean and president (who is also a reverend) reportedly announced to the student body that the protesting faculty had resigned. They did not.

It is unreasonable. The dean and president has basically fired people for wanting to talk to his superiors. In what universe is this an appropriate course of action?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

2 Comments
Posted October 1, 2014 at 5:30 am [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* Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 27, 2014 at 8:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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