The Diocese of South Carolina responds to the latest court ruling in its favor:
The decision ends the latest of many legal battles TEC has fought in its effort to shore up the denomination. Since 2003, TEC has lost 17.4 percent of its members and experienced a reduction of nearly 24 percent in average Sunday attendance.
In the last few years, the denomination has spent close to $40 million on lawsuits to prevent dioceses from leaving and to seize the property of congregations that did.
“We are grateful that Judge Goodstein’s decision protects South Carolina churches from being added to the long list of properties that TEC seized then either abandoned or sold off,” said Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary. “The decision protects our freedom to embrace the faith Anglicans have practiced for hundreds of years – and not the new theology being imposed on TEC’s dwindling membership.”
The Rt. Rev. Charles G. vonRosenberg, Bishop Provisional of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, responds to the same ruling with a pastoral letter:
You probably are aware that a decision from the judge in Dorchester County has been handed down and that the judge has ruled in favor of those who have left the church. Most of the Episcopalians who have followed these proceedings realized that such an outcome was completely expected and, indeed, almost a foregone conclusion. The issues in this case will have to be decided at a higher level. Nevertheless, it is disappointing — especially when so much time, energy, and money was spent in St. George and when such attention is being given by the press to what amounts only to a step in a much longer process.
I write you at this time to repeat and emphasize several important realities. First, we believe that this action is an indication that justice has been delayed. As we celebrate Black History Month, we are reminded that the history of African American witness, along with others, is that delayed justice simply calls us to persevere in our efforts. That certainly is our intention at this moment. We will persevere as we seek justice, even though the personal and financial costs will be significant. The present cause requires us to respond in this way.