SC High Court Rejects Breakaway Diocese’s Appeal to Decision Giving Properties to Episcopal Church

“In a divided decision released Friday, the state’s highest court denied a motion from the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, with the motion failing to get the necessary majority vote from the judges.”

 

The South Carolina Supreme Court has denied a motion by a breakaway diocese to reconsider a decision granting ownership of nearly all of their properties to The Episcopal Church.

In a divided decision released Friday, the state’s highest court denied a motion from the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, with the motion failing to get the necessary majority vote from the judges.

“In light of the above, the petitions for rehearing have failed to recieve a majority vote. Therefore the petitions for rehearing have been denied, and the opinions previously filed in this case reflect the final decision of this Court,” stated the denial notice.

The decision garnered praise from The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, which is the name for those Episcopalians within the diocese who stayed loyal to the national denomination.

In a statement released Sunday, TECSC Bishop Skip Adams expressed thanks for the decision, but also said that “the hope of reconciliation has been our guiding principle.”

“We understand that the many people in the parishes affected by this ruling may be experiencing pain, fear and confusion,” stated Bishop Adams.

“Let me say to all that The Episcopal Church in South Carolina is committed to finding a path that will allow the people of God to continue to live their lives as a part of the Anglican Communion in and through the Episcopal Church.”

In November 2012, the South Carolina Diocese voted to leave the national denomination (The Episcopal Church) due to theological differences and the apparent mistreatment of diocesan bishop the Rev. Mark Lawrence.

In January 2013, a lawsuit was filed by the breakaway diocesan leadership over the rightful ownership of the name and property of the regional body. The estimated value of the property is $500 million.

In August, the state supreme court ruled that nearly all the church properties belonged to the national denomination, overturning a lower court decision from 2015.

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