Trial of Episcopal Diocese of SC

Attend Trial as Observer

In This Issue:
You Can Attend the Trial as an Observer!
Trial News from Episcopal Diocese of SC Website
Trial News from SC Episcopalians
Join The Episcopal Forum
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You Can Attend the Trial as an Observer!

CONSIDER ATTENDING a day or half day. The trial runs each day from around 9:30 am to 5 pm with a morning, lunch and afternoon break.

The proceedings are very interesting and should run through the end of this week and possible longer. This coming week many of the witnesses will be testifying for continuing diocese. EFSC strongly encourages supporters of TEC and The Episcopal Church in SC to attend part or all of some trial days next week. Your presence will be appreciated by those participating in the proceedings.

The Dorchester County Courthouse is on the right of rt 78 as you approach St. George. It is a 60 minute drive from Charleston up I-26 and cutting over onto rt 78 at Ridgeville Rd exit 187 . Turn right on 78 toward St George. From I-95 exit to rt 78 east and go through St George, Court is on left as you exit the village.

Read news of the trial in other articles in this issue.

Trial News from Episcopal Diocese of SC Website

About our diocese: The Episcopal Church in South Carolina is the recognized diocese of The Episcopal Church in eastern South Carolina, one of 110 dioceses that make up The Episcopal Church. It continues to be part of the Anglican Communion, of which The Episcopal Church is a province.

About the lawsuit: This action was filed by a breakaway group against local Episcopalians and The Episcopal Church. Originally filed in January 2013, it was brought by a number of plaintiffs, including a group operating as the “Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina” and some 34 parishes who say they have disaffiliated from The Episcopal Church.
Friday, July 11, 2014 (Day 4)

After another full day of testimony from seven more plaintiff parishes, Judge Diane S. Goodstein ordered attorneys to meet over the weekend and stipulate to some of the evidence being produced by each parish. Thirty-six parishes are suing local Episcopalians and The Episcopal Church in the lawsuit, and only 18 had presented their cases at the end of the trial’s first week.

Following a brief conference, the attorneys informed the judge they will meet on Sunday to work out details of the stipulation and be ready to resume at 9:30 a.m. Monday…….

Trial News from SC Episcopalians

ST. GEORGE - Carefully-coached lay leaders from breakaway congregations continued their procession through the courtroom of Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein today, taking the stand one after another to say that that their parishes were never part of the Episcopal Church and that theological differences were not the reason they are trying to leave with ex-Bishop Mark Lawrence.

Today's witnesses included senior wardens from Sumter, Surfside Beach, Orangeburg, and Florence, all primed to tell the court that they never really had any connection to the Church and were only motivated to leave because of "the way Mark Lawrence was treated."

The parishes have joined Lawrence in a lawsuit against the Episcopal Church in an attempt to seize $500-$800 million in Church properties and financial assets on their way out the door.

This is the first week of the trial of the lawsuit, in which Lawrence' legal strategists are trying to back away from years of angry rhetoric about flawed theology and Biblical interpretations they allege have been embraced by the wider Church.

Instead they are trying to set the stage for Goodstein to decide the case using a legal concept known as "neutral principles of law", which they believe would favor their position. If it appears that the nature of their disaffection for the Church is more theological and doctrinal, Goodstein must defer to the Constitutionally-protected authority of the Episcopal Church.

"The way Mark Lawrence was treated" does not appear to have theological implications in their thinking. Lawrence's description of the lawsuit as "a tempestuous battle against the spiritual forces of evil" probably does……..

AP Report

Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein listens to an objection during a trial in a lawsuit between the Diocese of South Carolina and the national Episcopal church on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in St. George, S.C. The diocese broke away from the national church two years ago, and now the national church is demanding the breakaway churches return $500 million in land and buildings. Goodstein will rule on the suit without a jury. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

ST. GEORGE, S.C. (AP) — About 50 conservative Episcopal churches in South Carolina are in court this week, trying to keep their name, seal and $500 million in land and buildings after they broke away from the national denomination in a wide-ranging theological dispute.

The breakaway group, the Diocese of South Carolina, said it had to leave the national church not just because of the ordination of gays, but a series of decisions it says show national Episcopalians have lost their way in the teachings of Jesus and salvation…...


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