Does SC Supreme Court All Saints property ownership decision have limited applicability?
January 11, 2012

Province Bishops meet about quit claim deeds - agree to disagree

In This Issue:
Does SC Supreme Court All Saints property ownership decision have limited applicability?
Visit SC Episcopalians Website
Province IV Bishops Release Statement Concerning Meeting with Bishop Lawrence
Episcopal Forum of SC Board of Directors
Diocese of Virginia wins property case
Join The Episcopal Forum
Contact Info
Does SC Supreme Court All Saints property ownership decision have limited applicability?
Rebellious Parishes Needlessly Inviting Lawsuits over Church Property- SC Episcopalians Website (January 9, 2012)

New legal opinion suggests reliance on All Saints' case to hold on to Church property will lead to complicated legal entanglements

Our Diocese changed its name in October 2010, signaling that it is something separate from the Episcopal Church

A number of parishes in the Diocese of South Carolina are taking steps to change their corporate documents in ways they think will allow them to walk away from the Episcopal Church with property that, in some cases, has belonged to the Church for nearly 250 years.

According to an opinion by Charleston attorney Melinda Lucka, these parishes may be setting themselves up for protracted legal challenges, based on a misinterpretation of a 2009 state Supreme Court ruling in the case of All Saints' on Pawley's Island.

In that case, All Saints' congregation voted to leave the Episcopal Church and join a missionary effort affiliated with the ultra-conservative Anglican Province of Rwanda. The Court allowed the breakaway group to retain the parish property, based largely on a 1902 rechartering and a 1903 quit-claim deed granted to the parish by the Diocese. Through the deed, the Diocese relinquished any legal claim it might have had in the parish's property.

The Episcopal Church is considered by courts to be "hierarchical", meaning that parish properties are held "in trust" for congregations by their dioceses, which are constituted by their national Church. The Court held that the trust relationship was invalidated in All Saints' case by the Diocese's recording of the quit-claim deed.

Read the full opinion here (at link below)................

In her opinion, Ms. Lucka argues that the Diocese is wrongfully assuming that the Supreme Court invalidated the property interests of the Episcopal Church in all of its parishes in South Carolina. In the case of All Saints', she argues, the Court did invalidate those interests, but only in the unique circumstances of that parish............

Link to Legal Opinion

Visit SC Episcopalians Website
SC Episcopalians is an independent blog providing news, commentary, and encouragement to traditional Episcopalians living in the Diocese of South Carolina. Information published there is based on personal interviews, publicly available documents, news reports provided by the traditional news media or other online sources. Link to SC Episcopalians Website

Province IV Bishops Release Statement Concerning Meeting with Bishop Lawrence
On Wednesday, December 14, Province IV bishops diocesan were invited to attend a meeting in Charleston, South Carolina with Bishop Mark Lawrence to discuss the recent issuing of quitclaim deeds by Bishop Lawrence and the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina to parishes of the diocese. ....(the group released a statement concluding in part that:) >>>>

......"Gracious hospitality and collegiality characterized the gathering during which we prayed and participated in open, honest, and forthright conversation. Probing questions were asked by all, and it is fair to say that we did not agree on all matters discussed........ "

Read full statement at link below
Link to full article on Diocesan website

Episcopal Forum of SC Board of Directors
The Episcopal Forum of SC announced it has elected new members to its Board of Directors. Board Members and their biographical information can be found at the link below. EFSC Board of Directors

Diocese of Virginia wins property case

Statement from the Diocese of Virginia:(Episcopal Cafe)

Tonight, the Fairfax Circuit Court issued its ruling in favor of the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church in litigation seeking to recover Episcopal church property. “Our goal throughout this litigation has been to return faithful Episcopalians to their church homes and Episcopal properties to the mission of the Church,” said the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of Virginia.

The court ruled that the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia have “a contractual and proprietary interest” in each of the properties subject to the litigation. The court ordered that all property subject to its ruling be turned over to the Diocese.

“We hope that this ruling will lead to our congregations returning to worship in their church homes in the near future, while finding a way to support the CANA congregations as they plan their transition,” said Henry D.W. Burt, secretary of the Diocese and chief of staff.

Bishop Johnston added, “While we are grateful for the decision in our favor, we remain mindful of the toll this litigation has taken on all parties involved, and we continue to pray for all affected by the litigation.”

The ruling can be found here:
Link to Court Ruling

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