A LETTER TO THE EDITOR, January 11
In case anyone missed it, I am reprinting this Letter to the Editor that appeared recently in The State newspaper. Find it on the newspaper's website here .
To the Editor
In 2012, many in the Diocese of South Carolina broke away from The Episcopal Church, taking the property and filing a lawsuit to that end.
In August 2017, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled that all church property belonged to The Episcopal Church and its local diocese. The Episcopal Church is hierarchical; property is held in trust for the national church---unlike churches in a congregational structure, which hold their property free and clear. Members of hierarchical churches are free to leave, but not with the property. The First Amendment grants religious bodies freedom to govern themselves as they see fit.
The court denied the breakaway group's petition for a rehearing. The U.S. Supreme Court also declined to hear the matter.
A confusing hearing took place in Orangeburg on Nov. 19. If the state Supreme Court decision is discarded, the status of other hierarchical churches across the state will be in grave jeopardy---e.g., Presbyterian Church USA, United Methodist, AME and others.
Thanks to Eve Pinckney for this. It summarizes well the present legal situation in the schism. It is important to remind ourselves of the essentials at hand as we await the courts' imminent actions.