Diocese of SC Leadership Teeters on Verge of Schism from TEC
September 19, 2009

Convention Resolutions and SC Supreme Court Ruling escalates risk of schism

In This Issue:
Guiding Principles for Engagement - The Resolutions
SC Supreme Court Rulling-All Saints Waccamaw Case
Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church
Whats Next for Episcopalians in SC
Join The Episcopal Forum of SC
Contact Info
 
Guiding Principles for Engagement - The Resolutions
Each of five proposed resolutions offered by the Standing Committee and Deans are labeled as "Guiding Principles for Engagement" - (see link for "Where as clauses")

Resolution #1 -“The Lordship of Christ and the Sufficiency of Scripture”

Resolved that the Diocese of South Carolina reaffirms its commitment to live its corporate life under the authority of Holy Scripture (Articles of Religion, Art. VI and XX) and the unique Lordship of Jesus Christ (Art. XVIII) and commits to exercising all such actions as the Bishop and Standing Committee may believe edifying to the Body of Christ in bearing that witness and bringing to light such actions as contravene those essentials to “upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order” (Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States: Preamble) as we have received them: and be it:

Further Resolved, that the following statement shall constitute our understanding of the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church and shall be read at all ordinations in The Diocese of South Carolina, and a copy of which shall be attached to the Oath of Conformity signed by the ordinand at such service of ordination:

“In the Diocese of South Carolina, we understand the substance of the doctrine, discipline and worship‟ of The Episcopal Church to mean that which is expressed in the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Creeds, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and the theology of the historic prayer books.”

Resolution #2 - “Godly Boundaries”

Resolved that this Diocese authorize the Bishop and Standing Committee to begin withdrawing from all bodies of the Episcopal Church that have assented to actions contrary to Holy Scripture, the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them, the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference which have expressed the mind of the Communion, the Book of Common Prayer and our Constitution and Canons, until such bodies show a willingness to repent of such actions;

and be it Further resolved that the Diocese of South Carolina declares that the most recent example of this behavior, in the passage of Resolutions DO25 and CO56, to be null and void, having no effect in this Diocese, and in violation of our diocesan canon (XXXVI sec.1).

Resolution #3 - “Domestic Engagement for Missional Relationships”

Resolved that this Diocese, committing itself to remain focused on our gospel mission effectively to reach both the lost and unchurched, will work in partnership with such Dioceses as are willing to form Missional Relationships providing gatherings for Bishops, clergy and laity for the express purpose of evangelism, encouragement, education and mission:

therefore, be it further Resolved that the parishes of this Diocese are encouraged to enter into their own Missional
Relationships with orthodox congregations isolated across North America and to pursue effective initiatives which are lay-led and supported.

Resolution #4 - “Emerging 21st Century Anglicanism”

Resolved that the Diocese of South Carolina endorses the Ridley draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant, as it presently stands, in all four sections, as an expression of our full commitment to mutual submission and accountability in communion, grounded in a common faith.

Resolution #5 -“The Rubric of Love”

Resolve that this Diocese will not condone prejudice or deny the dignity of any person, including but not limited to, those who believe themselves to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. Nevertheless, we will speak the truth in love as Holy Scripture commends for the amendment of life required of disciples of Christ. It is love of neighbor and the abiding concern for their spiritual well being that compels such honesty and will never allow us to remain silent.


Read complete resolutions on Titusonenine.

SC Supreme Court Rulling-All Saints Waccamaw Case
The SC Supreme Court issued its ruling in this case on 9/18/09 REVERSING the trial court's decision wiith respect to both the 2000 Action and the 2005 Action.

QUESTIONS PRESENTED

1) Did the trial court err in holding that the trust created by the 1745 Trust Deed remains valid?

2) Did the trial court err in holding that members of minority vestry were the corporate officers of All Saints Parish, Waccamaw, Inc.?

ABSTRACT of LAW/ANALYSIS

I. PROPERTY OWNERSHIP

.........We disagree. Based upon an application of the relevant neutral principles of law, we hold that the trial court erred in determining that the trust created by the 1745 Trust Deed remains valid. Further, we hold that this trust was executed by the Statute of Uses and that title to the property is held by the congregational corporate entity – All Saints Parish, Waccamaw, Inc.

A. The Statute of Uses - ..........there are two questions that must be asked in order to determine if the trust created by the 1745 Trust Deed was executed by the Statute of Uses: (1) whether the trustees had any duties relative to their office, and (2) whether there is a beneficiary capable of taking title. We hold that the trustees of this trust did not have any duties relative to their office and that the congregation of All Saints Parish was the intended beneficiary and, upon its formation, was clearly capable of taking title...........

B. 1903 Quit-Claim Deed - Moreover, the 1903 Quit-Claim Deed makes clear that All Saints Parish, Waccamaw, Inc. holds title to its property. The All Saints Parish congregation was officially incorporated in 1820. In 1902, due to doubt over the status of the congregation’s incorporation, the Diocese directed it to re-incorporate as “All Saints Parish, Waccamaw, Inc.” Shortly thereafter, in order to settle any doubt as to the status of title to Parish property, the Diocese voluntarily executed the 1903 Quit-Claim deed. The 1903 Quit-Claim Deed makes clear that title to the property at issue is currently held by the congregation’s corporate entity – All Saints Parish, Waccamaw, Inc.

C. 2000 Notice and Dennis Canon - Furthermore, we hold that neither the 2000 Notice nor the Dennis Canon has any legal effect on title to the All Saints congregation’s property. A trust “may be created by either declaration of trust or by transfer of property….” Dreher v. Dreher, 370 S.C. 75, 80, 634 S.E.2d 646, 648 (2006). It is an axiomatic principle of law that a person or entity must hold title to property in order to declare that it is held in trust for the benefit of another or transfer legal title to one person for the benefit of another. The Diocese did not, at the time it recorded the 2000 Notice, have any interest in the congregation’s property. Therefore, the recordation of the 2000 Notice could not have created a trust over the property.

For the aforementioned reasons, we hold that title to the property at issue is held by All Saints Parish, Waccamaw, Inc., the Dennis Canons had no legal effect on the title to the congregation’s property, and the 2000 Notice should be removed from the Georgetown County records.

II. CORPORATE CONTROL

Turning to the 2005 Action, we find that the trial court applied the deference approach, determined that the congregation was part of a hierarchical organization, and deferred to the Diocese’s ecclesiastical authority’s determination that members of the minority vestry were the true officers of All Saints Parish, Waccamaw, Inc. We disagree...........................

The facts presented by this case demonstrate that the congregation, in compliance with relevant statutory provisions and applicable bylaws, passed the Articles of Amendment, thus removing any reference to the ECUSA and Diocese and explicitly severing any legal relationship with those organizations. Therefore, through the application of neutral principles of law, it is clear to us that the true officers of All Saints Parish, Waccamaw, Inc. are the members of the majority vestry.

CONCLUSION
For the foregoing reasons, we reverse the trial court’s decision with respect to both the 2000 Action and the 2005 Action.

WALLER, BEATTY, JJ., Acting Justice James E. Moore and Acting Justice Perry M. Buckner, concur.




Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church
(Written by: The Anglican Communion Institute, Inc.
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009)

We write as Bishops of The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion and the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. We are joined by distinguished theologians known for their long service throughout the Anglican Communion.....

I -The Bishop Is the Ecclesiastical Authority in the Diocese

The Constitution and Canons of General Convention make the Bishop the Ecclesiastical Authority in the diocese. That authority is always properly exercised in accordance with the constitution and canons of the diocese, but from the perspective of the Constitution it is the Bishop (or the Standing Committee in the absence of a Bishop) that is the Ecclesiastical Authority, not any central body or officer........

II - The Fundamental Structure of The Episcopal Church Is That of a Voluntary Association of Equal Dioceses

Given the constitutional reservation of authority within the diocese to the Bishop and Standing Committee, it is not surprising that the fundamental structure of our Church is that of a voluntary association of equal dioceses........

III - Dioceses Are Not Subordinate to a Metropolitan or Central Hierarchy

We are now in a position to address the nature of authority in The Episcopal Church. Because this material is complex and some of the conclusions may seem surprising, we will proceed by looking first at the actual language used in the Constitution. We will then place that language in three contexts that help illuminate it: the historical circumstances in which the governance of The Episcopal Church was created; the principle of subsidiarity, which was invoked by our founders and has long been recognized as a key feature of Anglican polity; and the governing instruments of other churches that have the central hierarchical language and structures that our Church lacks. We will then conclude with a review of the factors demonstrating the lack of such structures and the autonomy of dioceses in The Episcopal Church..........

IV - The Nature of Our Vows

The charge is frequently made that those who reject the understanding of our polity now being asserted by the Presiding Bishop, most recently in a civil lawsuit in Pittsburgh, have violated their ordination vows to uphold the doctrine and discipline of The Episcopal Church. We regard these sacred vows as inviolable and therefore take this allegation with the utmost seriousness. We begin by emphasizing the full extent of the vows, not often noted, that we made at our episcopal consecrations:................

V - Maintaining Constituent Membership in the Anglican Communion Is Our Constitutional Right

Not only is the diocese the fundamental unit of The Episcopal Church, it is also the fundamental unit in catholic ecclesiology by which the people of God in the particular or local churches relate to the wider communion. In a 2007 communication sent by the Archbishop of Canterbury to Bishop Howe, the Archbishop emphasized this point:.............


VI - Conclusion

We have found it necessary to address these issues as a matter of faithfulness to our apostolic vocation and our Constitution. The traditional doctrine and worship and the historic polity of the Church are in grave peril. For this reason, we emphasize that The Episcopal Church consists of autonomous, but interdependent, dioceses not subject to any metropolitical power or hierarchical control. The Ecclesiastical Authorities in our dioceses are the Bishops and Standing Committees; no one else may act in or speak on behalf of the dioceses or of The Episcopal Church within the dioceses. We intend to exercise our episcopal authority to remain constituent members of the Anglican Communion and will continue to speak out on these issues as necessary.

April 18, 2009

The Right Reverend James M. Adams, Jr.
Bishop of Western Kansas

The Right Reverend Peter H. Beckwith
Bishop of Springfield

The Right Reverend William C. Frey
Assisting Bishop of Rio Grande; Retired Bishop of Colorado

The Right Reverend Alden M. Hathaway
Retired Bishop of Pittsburgh

The Right Reverend John W. Howe
Bishop of Central Florida

The Right Reverend Russell E. Jacobus
Bishop of Fond du Lac

The Right Reverend Paul E. Lambert
Bishop Suffragan of Dallas

The Right Reverend Mark J. Lawrence
Bishop of South Carolina

The Right Reverend Edward S. Little II
Bishop of Northern Indiana

The Right Reverend William H. Love
Bishop of Albany

The Right Reverend D. Bruce MacPherson
Bishop of Western Louisiana

The Right Reverend Edward L. Salmon, Jr.
Retired Bishop of South Carolina

The Right Reverend Michael G. Smith
Bishop of North Dakota

The Right Reverend James M. Stanton
Bishop of Dallas

The Right Reverend Don A. Wimberly
Bishop of Texas

Also Endorsed By:
The Reverend Canon Professor Christopher Seitz
The Reverend Dr. Philip Turner
The Reverend Dr. Ephraim Radner
(The Anglican Communion Institute, Inc.)




Link to full text

Whats Next for Episcopalians in SC
Some Episcopalians may leave The Episcopal Church, however, many including members of the Episcopal Forum are determined to preserve unity with diversity in the Diocese of SC and within The Episcopal Church through the inclusion of a broad range of Scriptural understandings and by upholding the democratic actions of the Constitution and Canons, conventions and elected leadership of The Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Forum does not support any attempts of the leadership of The Diocese of SC to disassociate us from the governing bodies of The Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Forum in the Diocese of South Carolina seeks to serve as an information service for the membership of our Diocese on the actions and activities of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion through our website, public media sources, direct mailings, regional and diocesan gatherings.

It is not our intention to promote a particular interpretation of, or support for, these actions and activities, but, rather, to inform.


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