Special Convention of Episcopal Diocese of SC (in union with TEC) to be held Saturday 1/26/13
1/24/13

Restraining order issued in Diocesan Lawsuit

In This Issue:
Special Convention Scheduled Events
South Carolina court temporarily restrains use of diocesan names, seal
Election for XV Bishop of South Carolina Moves Forward Despite Attempted Disruption by Lawrence and PECDSC Inc.
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Special Convention Scheduled Events
Friday, January 25

4:00-5:00 p.m. - Meet and Greet the Presiding Bishop
Location: Grace Episcopal Church, 98 Wentworth St., Charleston
Open to: Public


6:30-8:30 p.m. - Reception with the Presiding Bishop
Location: Bishop Gadsden, 1873 Camp Rd., James Island, SC
Open to: Delegates, clergy, invited guests and spouses


Saturday, January 26

Special Meeting of the Convention

7:30 a.m. - Registration Check-In begins. Coffee and continental breakfast items will be served.

9:30 a.m. - Choral Eucharist. Celebrant and Preacher: The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori

The meeting will begin immediately following the service.

Location: Grace Episcopal Church, Charleston (map)
Open to: Preregistered delegates, clergy, visitors and media. Preregistration required by January 21, 2013. Registration information is here.

Lunch: Included with paid registration. Visitors $30 Registration Fee.

Clergy: All clergy are invited to vest and process. Liturgical color is white.


Link to TEC - Diocese of SC Website

South Carolina court temporarily restrains use of diocesan names, seal


By Mary Frances Schjonberg, ENS| January 24, 2013

[Episcopal News Service] A South Carolina Circuit Court judge Jan. 23 issued a temporary restraining order preventing any “individual, organization, association or entity” from using registered names and marks that are claimed by Mark Lawrence and other leaders who led some Episcopalians in that state out of the Episcopal Church.

Judge Diane S. Goodstein’s order is in effect until Feb. 1 when a hearing is scheduled.

The order says Lawrence and 24 other people associated with him are the only ones who may use the diocesan seal as described in its registration with South Carolina Secretary of State as well as the names “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” “The Diocese of South Carolina” and “The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.” Those three titles were registered on Nov. 5, 2010, according to the order.

The temporary restraining order is related to the suit that was filed in state circuit court Jan. 4. The action, the original plaintiffs said in a press release at the time, was taken “to protect the diocese’s real and personal property and that of its parishes.”

The suit also asked the court to prevent the Episcopal Church from “infringing on the protected marks of the diocese, including its seal and its historical names, and to prevent the church from assuming the diocese’s identity, which was established long before the Episcopal Church’s creation,” according to the press release.

Goodstein’s Jan. 23 order made clear that the restraining order applies only to the names and seal, and not the other matters alleged in the suit. The judge said in the order that a hearing was needed because the group of people who opposed Lawrence’s departure from the Episcopal Church has “allegedly and repeatedly” been using the names and the diocesan seal, “including those so similar that they are perceived to be the Diocese of South Carolina.”

“This use has the clear ability to cause extraordinary confusion over the corporate identity of The Diocese of South Carolina,” she wrote.

The judge noted that the plaintiffs are concerned that a group of people who want to remain in the Episcopal Church plan to hold a meeting Jan. 26 at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston. That gathering “could intentionally affect the corporate status of those uninformed that the actors are not, in reality, the corporation” known as the Diocese of South Carolina.

That meeting is meant, according to a notice issued Dec. 13 by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, to elect and install a provisional bishop and other lay and clergy leaders, consider resolutions dealing with “recent purported amendments to the Constitution and canons of the diocese” and any other matters “that may be properly brought” to the meeting.

Retired Diocese of East Tennessee Bishop Charles vonRosenberg is expected to be nominated as the provisional bishop during the Jan. 26 meeting.

It is anticipated that the group meeting that day may choose a temporary name under which to conduct its business and operate at least during the time until the Feb. 1 hearing.
The Jan. 4 lawsuit was amended on Jan. 22, according to information here, to add 15 more congregations, bringing the total number of congregational plaintiffs to 32.

A Jan. 23 press release about the restraining order said that 44 of the 71 congregations involved have joined the suit while 16 have remained with the Episcopal Church and 11 are undecided.


Link to Article

Election for XV Bishop of South Carolina Moves Forward Despite Attempted Disruption by Lawrence and PECDSC Inc.

Enthusiasm builds, registrations jump after ex-bishop and his anti-gay "diocese" got a restraining order to embarrass the Presiding Bishop

SC Episcopalians Website -- Organizers of Saturday's Special Convention of the Diocese were swamped this afternoon as last-minute registrations surged following news that ex-Bishop Lawrence and his PECDSC Inc. (Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina Inc.) convinced a judge to issue a restraining order against her and the continuing Diocese.

Enthusiasm for the election of Charles vonRosenberg as a successor to the embittered Lawrence was high Thursday evening, as final preparations got underway. A public reception welcoming the Presiding Bishop to South Carolina will be held at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. A celebratory choral Eucharist at Grace will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by the Special Convention at which vonRosenberg is expected to be elected.

Most people who will be attending will be non-delegates, many of whom say they just want to experience the joy of the Episcopal Church once again and Christian fellowship devoid of angry rhetoric, negativity, and attacks on gays and those who accept them.

Organizers of the event are aware that an unknown number of Lawrence's followers may be planning to attend some of the events. They will be treated with love and respect, a spokesman for the Diocese reported.

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- SC Episcopalian January 24, 2013 - Ex-Bishop, Renegade "Diocese" Get Temporary Restraining Order, Disrupting Election of His Successor & Visit by Presiding Bishop

Injunction claims Lawrence and his anti-gay "diocese" are being harmed when the continuing Dxxxxxx of Sxxxx Cxxxxxxx refers to itself as "The Diocese of South Carolina."

Vindictive, mean spirit, lawsuits against loyal Episcopalians by ex-bishop unprecedented in the history of the Dxxxxxx of Sxxxx Cxxxxxxx

Key lawyer for several parishes and the PECDSC Inc., was recently employed by the judge who issued ruling without hearing arguments of the Episcopal Church or the officially-recognized Dxxxxxx of Sxxxx Cxxxxxxx

ST. GEORGE - Former SC Bishop Mark Lawrence, thirty dissident parishes, and their legal teams asked for and received a temporary injunction against the Episcopal Church and by association the continuing Episcopal Dxxxxxx of Sxxxx Cxxxxxxx that appears to have been carefully timed to disrupt the election of Lawrence’s successor, the XV Bishop of the Dxxxxxx of Sxxxx Cxxxxxx on Saturday.

Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein in St. George ruled late Wednesday that the Episcopal Church, its continuing Dxxxxxx of Sxxxx Cxxxxxxx, an even individuals cannot use names like the “The Diocese of South Carolina,” “The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina”, or the “Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina” for at least ten days. She also ruled that they cannot use the official seal. Read her ruling here

The judge's order did not seem to reflect an understanding that Lawrence renounced his ministry in the Episcopal Church, or that the continuing Dxxxxxx of Sxxxx Cxxxxxxx and the Diocese of Upper South Carolina are the only official entities recognized by the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

Last November, after Lawrence announced his departure from the Episcopal Church, his legal team apparently scrambled to trademark these names with the U.S. Office of Patents and Trademarks so he could claim undisputed ownership of them. However, the applications were withdrawn earlier this month, when an investigation by a reader of this website discovered that they had never been acted on by the agency.

The bizarre ruling will likely not affect the election of The Right Rev. Charles G. vonRosenberg as the new Bishop of South Carolina at a Special Convention in Charleston, though Goodstein’s ruling may mean delegates or the Presiding Bishop will have to mumble or otherwise not speak the name of the Diocese, which he will lead.

The Episcopal Dxxxxxx of Sxxxx Cxxxxxxx is the only Episcopal diocese reginized by the Episcopal Church in eastern South Carolina. The restraining order is only in place for ten days.

Judge did not even listen to arguments of the Episcopal Church.

Judge Goodstein considered the injunction ex parte, meaning that attorneys for the Episcopal Church or the continuing Dxxxxxx of Sxxxx Cxxxxxxx were not allowed to argue their side of the issues.

Andrew Platte, an attorney for several of the plantiff congregations and the PECDSC Incorporated, is a recent law clerk for Judge Goodstein and has taken a important role in the recent legal attacks on Episcopalians in the Diocese. He is an associate in the firm of Speights and Runyon, which played a significant role in convincing parishes in the Diocese that the Episcopal Church might be preparing to take their property away.

Lawrence lieutenants may attend Special Convention.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, whom Lawrence and the PECDSC Inc. are also suing, will preside at the Special Convention. SC Episcopalians has learned that some of Lawrence’s followers appear to also be planning to attend.

Lawrence renounced his ministry in the Episcopal Church in October 2012, but now claims he is still the Episcopal Bishop of an Episcopal Diocese, that is just not under the authority of the Episcopal Church. Lawrence and parishes associated with him want to leave the Episcopal Church, and want take with them millions of dollars in Church property and financial resources they estimate to be worth $500 million.

Only 30 of the Diocese’s 74 parishes and missions appear to have signed on to support Lawrence's aggressive attack on his former flock. Less than one-third of the Diocese’s canonically resident clergy have taken steps to leave the Episcopal Church with him.

Since his departure from the Church, Lawrence and his allies appear to have done little but obsess over those among his former communicants who chose to remain in the Episcopal Church. Lawrence is the first bishop of the Diocese to launch such a bitter assault on the very people who elected him their chief pastor and spiritual leader.

Last week Episcopalians in South Carolina learned that their children would not be allowed to register early for summer camp at the Diocese’ Camp & Conference Center unless they attended a parish that recognized Mark Lawrence as a bishop, even though he is not formally recognized as such by any denomination. According to one staff member, they are “getting what they deserve.”

Only 31 of 74 parishes and missions in the Diocese have joined Lawrence's crusade against loyal Episcopalians

Link to SC Episcopalians Website

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