Departing Diocese Sues Episcopal Church for Identity Protection

(UPDATED) Legal dispute among South Carolina's Episcopalians sent back to state court.

Updated (June 12): The legal dispute between South Carolina's Episcopalians involving church property and identity won't be heard in federal court after all. The Episcopal Church (TEC) sought to take the case to federal court on the basis of First Amendment issues raised. But Federal District Court Judge C. Weston Houck on June 10 ruled against TEC, returning the matter to state court for resolution.

According to The Diocese of South Carolina press office:

Jim Lewis, canon to Bishop Mark Lawrence, said, "The issues involved are essentially those of legal identity and are wholly determined by state law, so the most appropriate place to settle is clearly in state court, where we first took the matter." With the case remanded, it returns to the court of South Carolina Circuit Judge Dianne S. Goodstein. The diocese disassociated from the Episcopal Church after the denomination attempted to remove Bishop Lawrence. Following the Diocese's decision, 49 churches representing 80 percent of the ...
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