One of the nine original dioceses of the Episcopal Church is beginning a search for the XV Bishop of South Carolina. The announcement comes more than seven years after the XIV bishop led many of the churches and parishioners of the diocese out of the Episcopal Church, touching off property lawsuits that continue to this day.

The process is intended to lead to the election of a bishop at the 230th Annual Convention in November 2020, according to the Rev. Caleb J. Lee, the Standing Committee president.

In September 2019, the diocese won the right to call itself the Diocese of South Carolina after years of litigation against what is now the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, a part of the Anglican Church in North America. The Episcopal diocese had been operating as the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, after losing an earlier state trademark ruling.

In August 2017, the state supreme court ruled that the Anglican diocese must turn over the keys to 29 churches to the Episcopal diocese. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal, but no property has yet changed hands. The ACNA parishes are pursuing a case under the state’s Betterments Statute, seeking reimbursement for years of property improvements.

The Episcopal News Service has more information, and the standing committee announcement is here.