Chilean archbishop offers support to breakaway diocese

May 24, 2015 by

By George Conger, Anglican Ink: The Presiding Bishop of the Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de América, the Most Rev. Tito Zavala has assured the breakaway Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina that its secession from the national Episcopal Church in 2012 did not end its membership in the Anglican Communion.  “I am here with you with the consent of the Archbishop of Canterbury,” Bishop Zavala said on 20 May 2015 during a meeting with diocesan leaders and the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence at Charleston’s Cathedral Church of St Luke and St Paul. He told South Carolina Episcopalians that at a meeting in Cairo last year the Global South Primates Steering Committee “decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to some dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion.” Bishop Zavala said South Carolina enjoyed his support and archiepiscopal oversight. “Behind me is the Primate of Egypt and the Middle East, the Primate of the Indian Ocean, the Primate of Myanmar, the Primate of Southeast Asia, the Primate of Nigeria, the Primate of Burundi and others. We are supporting you.” He added, “In the Global South we do not want to interfere with any dioceses … (But) if a diocese has a problem with the Primate or House of Bishops who do not respect Lambeth resolutions we are ready and willing to support them, realizing it’s a temporary not permanent oversight.” The diocese has so far repulsed legal challenges from the national church, which has argued the diocese could not secede and take its name, property and assets with it. The South Carolina courts have held there is nothing in canon law that prevents a diocese from seceding from the national church and that the assets of the diocese remain with the corporation of the diocese. The national church has filed an appeal with the state’s Supreme Court seeking to overturn the lower court rulings. Read here...

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Fort Worth Pastoral Letter on South Carolina

Feb 11, 2015 by

By Bishop Jack Iker, Anglican Ink: Dear Friends in Christ, We were all greatly encouraged by the court ruling that came out of South Carolina last week, where the historic Diocese prevailed in its lawsuit against The Episcopal Church. Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein ruled that Bishop Mark Lawrence and his Diocese, under neutral principles of law, had legitimately withdrawn from TEC in 2012 and were entitled to retain all their buildings, assets, and intellectual property (name, identity, seal, etc.) South Carolina’s Supreme Court had previously ruled that the Dennis Canon (that claims all church property is held in trust for TEC) was invalid in that State, and the Texas Supreme Court has made the same determination here in Texas.  Under neutral principles of law governing property, trusts, and corporations in Texas, we believe we should prevail in the hearing before Judge Chupp on Friday, Feb. 20, here in Fort Worth. The same conclusion was also reached recently in the appellate court system in Illinois, where the Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that there is nothing in the Constitution and Canons of TEC that prevents a Diocese from withdrawing, with its property and assets. The right to associate includes the right to dissociate. The Illinois Supreme Court denied an appeal from TEC attempting to reverse that ruling. And though TEC will be making a similar appeal in the South Carolina decision, it is expected that they will reach the same result. In coming months, we expect TEC will once again be taking their losses in Illinois, South Carolina, and Texas to the United States Supreme Court, seeking reversals. We do not believe such efforts will succeed. Needless to say, all of this is a very expensive undertaking, costing both sides millions of dollars in legal fees and court costs that instead should be going for ministry and outreach in the world. Read...

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Grateful: Bishop Lawrence Writes the Diocese Following Ruling

Feb 7, 2015 by

From Bishop Lawrence, Anglican Ink: Dear People of God in the Diocese of South Carolina, “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers….”(Ephesians 1:16) My last letter to you was shortly after we finished the three-week trial in St. George in order to protect our parish churches, properties, names, diocesan seal and the historic identity of this Diocese of South Carolina. Now, as many of you have heard, we have prevailed. In a thorough and closely reasoned order, the Honorable Diane S. Goodstein has ruled in our favor. You can read the diocesan statement regarding this ruling, as well as an additional explanation of its significance, at I hardly need to tell you how grateful I am for this order! I am also: •    Grateful for our legal team which has worked tirelessly on this case; •    Grateful for those lay persons and clergy who took the stand at the trial or interceded through prayer either in the courtroom or from elsewhere; •    Grateful for the generosity of our parishioners, and even those outside the diocese, who have helped us defray the expense of such costly litigation; •    Grateful for the 53 congregations that have stood with us as faithful congregations in this diocese or as named plaintiffs in the case; •    Grateful for the clergy who have sacrificed in untold ways for their stand in honoring the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as we have received them; •    Grateful for the many parishioners—some 80% of the 2012 diocesan membership (before the split with TEC)—who have stayed, either with their parish or with us, in the midst of the strain and stress of confusing statements and swirling opinions; •    Grateful for the prayers of so many in North America and around the world who have so often assured us of their intercessions and support; •    Grateful for the Primates of the Global South Steering Committee who have kept us in relationship with the larger Anglican world; •    Grateful for the GAFCON Primates who have written to us acknowledging the people of this diocese as faithful Anglicans and me as an Anglican Bishop; •    Grateful for the prayers of those in The Episcopal Church who tell me they pray regularly for us; •    Grateful for those on the diocesan staff who have worked tirelessly in this demanding season; •    Grateful for my wife, Allison, who has borne the stress of these days in ways known only to a few; •    And, finally, of course, most grateful for the Mighty Hand of God throughout this whole ordeal. Read here Watch:  Evil takes one to the...

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South Carolina Decision a Full Vindication for Victims of ECUSA’s Oppression

Feb 5, 2015 by

by A S Haley, Anglican Ink: Circuit Judge Diane S. Goodstein’s carefully crafted 46-page decision in the case brought by Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina (along with 35 of its parishes, plus St. Andrew’s, Mt. Pleasant) against the Episcopal Church (USA) and its rump group (ECSC, or “Episcopal Church in South Carolina”) is a complete vindication of the positions taken and arguments advanced for so long, by so many, inside and outside the Church. It is a vindication first, for the Right Reverend Mark Lawrence and his legal team, who conceived the winning strategy, assembled and put on all the evidence, wrote all the briefs, argued all the appeals, fought back in the federal courts, and at last brought ECUSA to its day of reckoning. It is a vindication, as well, of Bishop Lawrence’s pastoral strategies, by which he showed how spiritual leaders can follow and submit themselves to the civil law, while in doing so remain faithful and Biblical counselors and guides for those in their spiritual care. It was Bishop Lawrence who decided on behalf of his Diocese not to appeal the All Saints Waccamaw decision to the U.S. Supreme Court and run the risk of dividing his parishes still further. It was Bishop Lawrence who accepted responsibility for giving each parish in his Diocese a quitclaim deed in compliance with the holding in All Saints Waccamaw that the Dennis Canon could on its own not create a trust in any property in South Carolina. These decisions led to the accusations of “abandonment” brought against Bishop Lawrence by his detractors, but they were pastorally the right decisions to make under the circumstances. Had ECUSA’s leaders shown a comparable willingness to submit to the everyday requirements of the civil law, the Church would not be where it is today: million and millions of dollars poorer, with absolutely nothing to show from the squandering of all its trust funds. It is a vindication of all of the faithful parishioners and clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina who remained by their Bishop, and provided much-needed financial support, as ECUSA and its minions sought to bring him down by the sheer weight of all the forces they could bring to bear against him and his Diocese. Read here...

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Breakaway South Carolina diocese can keep $500 million of church property, judge says

Feb 4, 2015 by

By Ruth Gledhill, Christian Today: A conservative breakaway Anglican diocese in the US has won a court battle to keep more than $500 million worth of church property. The Episcopal Church (TEC) has no claim on the property of the Diocese of South Carolina or its churches, according to Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein. She wrote in her decision this week that the conservative diocese and its parishes are “the owners of their real, personal and intellectual property” and that the national church has no legal interest in the properties. The diocese and its 36 parishes, headed by Bishop Mark Lawrence, split from TEC in 2012 over theological issues including the long-running controversy over homosexual relationships, ordinations and consecrations. The diocese then went to court in order to safeguard the use of the diocesan name and in an attempt to keep its property and the three-week trial, with testimonies from more than 50 witnesses, took place last year. Among the churches that went were historic parishes such as St Michael’s and St Philip’s in Charleston. Bishop Lawrence said in a statement: “This has never been about exclusion. Our churches, our diocese are open to all. It’s about the freedom to practise and proclaim faith in Jesus Christ as it has been handed down to us. We’re ready to move forward and grateful for Judge Goodstein’s handling of the case.” Read here Read also:  Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein rules in favor of Dio. of South Carolina in case vs TEC/TECSC from...

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Diocese of South Carolina comes under oversight of Global South Primates.

Aug 23, 2014 by

Author: Global South My dear Brothers and Sisters, Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Global South of the Anglican Communion welcomes the unanimous request of The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, XIV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, and the Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina to “accept the offer of the newly created Global South Primatial Oversight Council for pastoral oversight of our ministry as a diocese during the temporary period of our discernment of our final provincial affiliation.” The decision of the Diocese of South Carolina was made in response to the meeting of the Global South Primates Steering Committee in Cairo, Egypt from 14-15 February 2014.[1] A recommendation from that meeting stated that, “we decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council, in following-through the recommendations taken at Dar es Salam in 2007, to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to dissenting individuals, parishes, and dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion.” Recognizing the faithfulness of Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina, and in appreciation for their contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints, the Global South welcomes them as an active and faithful member within the Global South of the Anglican Communion, until such time as a permanent primatial affiliation can be found. Yours in Christ, +Mouneer The Most Revd Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis Primate of Jerusalem & the Middle East Bishop of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa Chairman, Global South Primates Steering Committee +Ian The Most Revd Ian Ernest Primate of the Indian Ocean Bishop of Mauritius Hon. General Secretary, Global South Primates Steering Committee   [1] The full statement of the Global South Primates Steering Committee held in Cairo, Egypt from 14-15 February 2014 may be found on the Global South Anglican...

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