Breakaway South Carolina Episcopalians win major court case

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St. Michael's Episcopal Church is one of Charleston's most famous and historic churches, and part of a group of South Carolina parishes that seceded from the national Episcopal Church. RNS file photo by Kevin Eckstrom.

St. Michael's Episcopal Church is one of Charleston's most famous and historic churches, and part of a group of South Carolina parishes that seceded from the national Episcopal Church. RNS file photo by Kevin Eckstrom.

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(RNS) The Diocese of South Carolina said it helped form the national Episcopal Church in 1789, and was not legally bound to stay. On Tuesday (Feb. 3), a judge agreed.

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  • E. T. Malone, Jr.

    The comparative number of parishes mentioned in this story of the competing South Carolina groups is deceptive, suggesting that they are close (38 to 30) in size. Check your figures. At the time of the November 2012 separation, roughly 80 percent of the laity chose to leave the Episcopal Church. Only about a dozen congregations chose to stay with the national church, and they had about 20 percent of the lay people of the diocese. Since then, the group loyal to the national church, called the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, has organized a number of small worshipping groups, most meeting in rented or donated space. A parish is defined as a self-supporting congregation of at least 100 adult members. Fewer than half of the 30 “parishes” of TECSC meet that definition. The loyal group is also heavily subsidized financially by the national church, without whose help it might not be viable.

  • Gregory Peterson

    It wasn’t about Gays.

    Right…and the foundings of the Southern Baptist Convention and Methodist Episcopal Church, South, were not about slavery. Nope, not at all.

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  • HT

    The tipping point may have been same-sex “marriage” as the national church has departed far from the historic faith and the 39 articles. But nevertheless, freedom to associate or disassociate should be upheld, as should the ownership of the property by the local congregations. I was raised in the Episcopal church and it has departed so far, I would never return to any congregation affiliated or associated with the apostate national body.