Saturday, September 28, 2019


There is an item of legal news to report that readers might find of interest. Somehow this flew under the radar. I learned of it only today from a vigilant and generous reader (see, this blog is really a community project, so keep in touch). It occurred on Thursday, 19 September, the day Judge Gergel released his Order declaring all in the interest of the Episcopal Church.

On that same day, the Church diocese filed with Judge Edgar Dickson, of the circuit court, "Notice of Motion and Motion for Reconsideration." This 15-page paper asks Dickson to reconsider his denial of TEC/TECSC motion for dismissal of the breakaways' Betterments suit.

You will recall that, on 28 August, Dickson informed the two sets of lawyers he would deny TEC/TECSC's motion to dismiss the Betterments suit and asked the Plaintiffs' lead lawyer, Alan Runyan to compose an order for the judge to use.

On 9 September, Dickson issued his written order denying TEC/TECSC's motion. Apparently Dickson used Runyan's proposed order. The Defendants, TEC and TECSC had ten days to respond to the judge's order.

Ten days later, 19 September, TEC/TECSC did indeed reply to the judge's order in their "Notice of Motion..." 

As the Church lawyers clearly pointed out, the judge's order of 9 September was attorney Runyan's interpretation of the South Carolina Supreme Court decision of 2 August 2017. It was his opinion of the SCSC decision, not the factual explanation of it. Runyan has consistently denied that the SCSC decision is clear on the 29 parishes and the Camp. In fact, he maintains the three majority decisions on the last page are not definitive and the circuit court should decide property ownership.

The Church lawyers pointed out in this paper that the SCSC decision is clear and final. It is the law of the land. They went on to insist the Betterments suit should be dismissed because the Plaintiffs do not have standing to bring such a suit for several reasons. Under the Dennis Canon, the parishes that purported to leave TEC transferred the property to the trust beneficiaries, the Defendants (TEC/TECSC). Under the law, the Plaintiffs have no standing to sue their own beneficiaries.

What all this boils down to is the SCSC decision. Does it mean what it says on its last page, or does it stand too ambiguous to implement leaving the circuit court to retry the issues involved? The Episcopal Church says it means what it says in the majority decisions and now is the law of the land. It cannot be changed or appealed. It is the job of the circuit court under Remittitur to implement the SCSC decision. The separatist diocese says the SCSC decision does not mean what it says because it is conflicted, ambiguous, and directionless. So, in a nutshell, the difference between the two sides here is whether or not the SCSC decision means what it says.

I do not know, but I suspect that this was the sticking point that ended the mediation last Thursday. The Church side insists the SCSC decision is clear and final and the Church is the owner of the 29 and the Camp. The secessionist side insists the Church is not the owner of the properties and that the ownership should be determined by the circuit court. They are asking Judge Dickson to do just that.

Next, we may expect the Anglican diocese to file a response to the Episcopal Church motion for reconsideration within a few days. Then, Judge Dickson will have to consider the arguments of the two sides and make a decision whether to rescind his denial of TEC's motion to dismiss. In other words, he has to say whether he will dismiss the Betterments suit or allow it to proceed. The catch of this suit is that its proceeding depends on whether the circuit court implements the SCSC decision on the 29 parishes. Now, more than two years after the SCSC decision, we are still waiting on the courts to implement that decision.

The federal court of Richard Gergel very clearly sided with the Episcopal Church position on the state supreme court decision. Gergel made what appeared to me to be a not too subtle direction to Dickson to implement the SCSC decision. This should influence Dickson in the days ahead.

For the umpteenth time, here is the SCSC opinion and its three majority decisions on the last page. Since the SCSC statement of Aug. 2, 2017 is the heart of the dispute between the sides, it is important to keep studying what this SCSC opinion says. What do you see here, clarity or ambiguity? I know what I see. When I retired from college teaching, I calculated that I had graded 50,000 test papers, every one with an essay. I know clarity when I see it. (Click on for enlargement.)

Friday, September 27, 2019


Mediation started, and ended, yesterday. No deal. So, where does that leave the schism now? Where do the two sides go from here?

In the immediate picture, the matter returns to Judge Edgar Dickson, of the circuit court. He is the one who ordered the mediation in hopes the two sides would settle their differences so he would not have to do so. Dickson has two big issues before him 1) the disposition of the 29 parishes and Camp St. Christopher, and 2) the Betterments suit. The parishes and the camp are covered in the South Carolina Supreme Court decision of Aug. 2, 2017. The SCSC recognized these as property of the Episcopal Church side. The SCSC remitted its decision to the circuit court for implementation in November of 2017. Dickson has not implemented the SCSC decision on these two points. Obviously he hoped mediation would settle these. It did not. 

As for the Betterments suit on Dickson's desk, this can proceed only if the breakaways recognize that the property in question belongs to the Episcopal Church side. So far, they have adamantly refused to do so. So, it seems counter-intuitive for the ADSC to demand reimbursements on property they insist they own.

When I awoke this morning I was feeling a little disappointed at the quick and complete collapse of the possibility of a compromise settlement. Then, as I was running through my usual website check list, I burst out laughing when I reach one. I needed the levity. The headlines blared: "Mediation between the historic Anglican Diocese of South Carolina and the new TEC Diocese results in Impasse." After I stopped laughing, I turned a bit sad and wondered just how far from reality the secessionists had gone and just how uninformed they think their readers are. If I have learned anything from having a blog it is that my readers are very well informed and often know more of what is happening than I. So, memo to all bloggers:  On September 19, 2019, the United States District Court in Charleston declared the Episcopal Church diocese to be the historic diocese, founded in 1785, and the holder of all the titles and emblems of it. The breakaway side can make no claim to being the historic diocese. In fact, what is now called the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina came into being at the schism, in 2012. My advice to Internet bloggers: do not insult the intelligence of your readers. 

Speaking of the federal court decision, this should change the picture for the circuit court judge. The federal judge made it very clear that the SCSC decision was the law and must be followed. He also made it very clear that the Episcopal diocese is historic. This would negate the breakaways' outlandish claim in the Betterments suit that they deserved reimbursement for the entire value of the parishes. When the circuit court returns to work on this case, Dickson will be under the shadow of the federal court that has ruled very strongly and clearly in favor of the Episcopal Church. Maybe this will spur him on to implement the rest of the SCSC decision.

Another issue out there is the return of the properties and other assets of the old diocese. The federal court only addressed the ownership of the historic diocese, not the assets. As an aftermath of the failure of mediation, I imagine the Church side will now take action to recover the pre-schism diocesan buildings, lands, accounts, furnishings, and archives. For instance, Bishop Lawrence, now officially not the Episcopal bishop, continues to reside in the multi-million dollar Episcopal bishop's residence in downtown Charleston. I expect the Church will move to effectuate the Sept. 19 decision in regards to diocesan properties.

I imagine a lot of people join me in being disappointed at the failure of mediation. However, none of us should be surprised. The secessionists have rejected time after time offers of compromise settlement, most famously the June 2015 offer to swap the diocese for the parishes. So, the question at hand is, Why is it seemingly impossible for the two side to agree on a settlement?

Part of the answer is baked into the nature of the schism. The break of 2012 was an audacious event of huge import. The people who made the schism did not do so lightly. They were deeply committed to their perceived cause. Apparently, they remain so. Even when a cause fails, it is against human nature to admit a mistake, to assume blame, and to accept defeat (my own theory is this is particularly hard for men as society still presses on them never to show weakness). And, so it appears the breakaways may be retreating into ever more unreality as a defense against the obvious. The question I have is how much longer will the ordinary people-in-the-pews keep supporting the failing choices of their leaders? How long will they fund this floundering cause? How long will they put up with their leaders intransigence against a compromise settlement? That is up to the 12,000 communicants still in the secessionist churches. I think the leaders of ADSC would make a big mistake to underestimate the intelligence and awareness of their own people. They are also taking a big risk in continuing this war of attrition. ADCS has lost a third of its active members since the schism and continues to decline steadily. EDSC on the other hand has added members steadily.

Too, we have to understand the emotional commitment of each side to its "cause" in the schism. The breakaways are committed to Biblical truth which they understand as condemning homosexual behavior and keeping women under men's authority. The Episcopal side is committed to rights for and inclusion of open homosexuals, the transgendered, and women in the life of the church. Thus, each sides sees this as not just an institutional disagreement, but a full cultural war for fundamental truths. Deeply entrenched as this, each side is naturally averse to concessions to the other.

Another part of the answer is the nature of the religion held by the secessionist side. I grew up in a thoroughly fundamentalist church. If I know anything at all it is the mindset of fundamentalists. I would characterize the ADSC as fundamentalist-leaning, or near-fundamentalists. Fundamentalism sees the universe in Manichean terms of clashing dualities. Everything is oppositional black and white. It is God or Satan. It's the saved or the unsaved. There are no shades of grey. It is either right or wrong. So, if we are right, then everyone who disagrees with us is wrong. If we are good, our opponents must be evil. In a world of black and white, there is no room for compromise. It is better to go down fighting for good than to give in anything to evil. These were the messages I heard in the first 21 years of my life. So, I understand where the officers of ADSC are coming from. We should expect them to fight on to the bitter end, not giving in an inch. Mediation was always a non-starter.

Now, it is back to court. Judge Dickson did not get his wish, that the two sides would settle things on their own. Now it is up to him to implement the SCSC decision. As I have said, whatever he decides will probably be appealed to the SC Court of Appeals. There, we can expect the SCSC decision to be upheld without hesitation. 

Everyone is tired of this long-running schism and ensuing legal war. Nearly seven years is a long time to stay in battle. Combat fatigue is a common malady in SC. Nevertheless, the good church people of South Carolina are called to keep on going. Back in the courts, time drags. Who knows how long it will take Judge Dickson to act again? He is under no time constraint. What is more, the SCSC refused to lean on him to act.

So, we can be disappointed that the two sides did not settle their differences and bring peace and closure of this scandal. Alas, this was not to be. Both sides now move on propelled by what they think God would have them do. I still believe the end of the legal war is in sight, it is just a bit more distant on the horizon that I had hoped it would be this time yesterday.


A NOTE TO READERS. I need your help. I cannot find a single South Carolina newspaper mention of Judge Gergel's ruling of September 19, 2019. To my knowledge, there has been nothing about it in the Post and Courier and The State. This was a landmark ruling as the first federal court decision on the relationship between the Episcopal Church and its dioceses. Moreover, it was handed down in Charleston. Yet, I cannot find one South Carolina newspaper that even mentioned this enormously important court ruling. The news blackout is both mysterious and troublesome. Why would all SC newspapers refuse even to mention one of the most important court decisions ever concerning church and state?

If anyone has seen any item in any SC newspaper about Gergel's decision, please let send link or address to me. This apparent news self-censorship should not be left unexamined. 

Thursday, September 26, 2019


Sept. 26, 4:30 p.m.   I have just been officially informed that the mediation today has ended in an impasse. An impasse is a point at which the two sides become intransigent. That means a compromise settlement is impossible and negotiations are suspended.

After day long talks, the mediator, attorney Thomas Wills declared an impasse, that is negative conclusion of the negotiations. Presumably he will convey that to the circuit court judge, Edgar Dickson, who ordered the mediation. 

There is no expectation of another meeting or any future mediation. 

Under the confidentiality rule, we cannot know what was discussed today or what made the impasse. However, it seemed to me in the run-up to mediation that the biggest difference between the two sides was the disposition of the 29 parishes. EDSC insisted the SCSC decision of Aug. 2, 2017 meant the return of the 29 to the Episcopal Church. The ADSC lawyers never agreed with that and insisted that the SCSC decision was ambiguous and unenforceable. Judge Dickson did not implement the SCSC decision on the 29, even as he did implement the SCSC order on the 7 independent parishes. This left an opening for the ADSC lawyers to hold out hope their diocese could keep the 29 in question. At least, this is the way I saw it. The other major issue between the sides was the Betterments suit in which ADSC claimed huge payments for the 29 that might be returned to EDSC. Whatever the fatal disagreements were, they must have been profound to bring an impasse in just one session. The previous period of mediation (Oct. 2017-Jan. 2018) saw three meetings over 4 months and a formal report to the judge.

So, mediation has ended in  complete failure. I for one am disappointed that the legal war has to go on, for who knows how much longer. However, I am not really surprised at the collapse. This fits right into the history and character of the schism. I have thought all along it will take the courts to settle this war. So now, the matter goes back to Judge Dickson. We return to the waiting game.

As for the federal court, I am wondering if the Episcopal diocese will now move in court to recover the assets of the Episcopal diocese, that is, the diocese at the moment of the schism in 2012. Last week's ruling only gave the entity of the diocese to EDSC. It did not address the property of the old diocese.


It is Thursday, 26 September. At long last, the day has arrived, the day for mediation to begin.

The meeting is to be guided by attorney Thomas J. Wills, in Charleston. Find Wills's website here . Wills is well-known as an expert in mediation. He certainly has his work cut out for him. Everyone can only wish him well. Bear in mind that, in mediation, any agreement is voluntary on both sides. Mediation is not a forced arbitration. The two sides will have to reach mutually agreeable terms in order to finalize a written settlement. Considering everything, this will be a monumental task. 

As far as I know, the chancellors of the two dioceses will be present and probably accompanied by assisting lawyers. They are well-known and highly regarded lawyers themselves:  Thomas S. Tisdale for the Episcopal diocese and Alan Runyan for the Anglican side. No one knows the history of the litigation better than these two. They have been there from the very beginning. They are tough, battle-scarred veterans of this long and hard war.

The mediation will be private and confidential. The public will be informed either after a mutual agreement is signed, or the mediation fails. The lawyers will not be allowed to talk about what went on in the meetings otherwise. So, do not expect to know anything today.

The last round of mediation did not go well to say the least. There were three meetings from October of 2017 to January of 2018. Each one was very brief. The only issue revealed to the public was Bishop Adams's request to meet with each of the 29 parishes to be returned to the Episcopal diocese. The Lawrence side refused. End of mediation. Under confidentiality, we cannot know if the sides discussed anything else, but there is no evidence of any other discussion. The last round of mediation accomplished absolutely nothing.

Under the privacy rule, we are likely to know nothing new at the end of the day. However, we may know if a new date has been set for a second meeting of the mediation. If a second day is announced, that would likely be a positive sign. If no new date is announced, we may fear the worst.

The best outcome would be a settlement across the board. The worst would be a complete breakdown and return to the camps on the smoldering battlefield. Everyone living and breathing longs for the former (except possibly the lawyers). Everyone is exhausted and past ready for peace. Nearly seven years of legal warfare have taken an awful toll on the thousands of people on both sides. It is time for this scandal to cease.

So, hold in mind your thoughts and prayers that a presence greater than everyone may descend onto Broad Street today and soften hardened hearts and bring clarity of human reason to do the right thing. Both bishops have called for prayers. Bishop Lawrence may be found here . Bishop Adams here . I will go out into my garden, now in its autumnal beauty, and say a little prayer. I suggest you find your favorite spot and do the same. 

I will post news on this blog as I receive it. Peace.

This morning's sunrise illuminates Zebra Grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrinsus') in my garden. Ornamental grasses are in their glory at this time of the year.

Monday, September 23, 2019


This is a crucial "in between" period in the history of the schism, between Judge Richard Gergel's orders of last Thursday (19 September) and the start of mediation this Thursday (26 September). Now is an appropriate moment to explore this question, What is the status of the schism on the eve of the new mediation?

There is a great deal to cover here, so I want to make this as concise and precise as possible.


Judge Richard Gergel issued three Orders on 19 September in the case of vonRosenberg v. Lawrence. There was the main decision, at 76 pages. It declared the Church diocese to be the legal heir of the historic Diocese of South Carolina and banned the breakaway parties from using the names and symbols of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

(It is important to note that this lawsuit involved only trademarks. It did not concern property. Thus, Gergel's primary Order did not address the disposition  of the properties of the old diocese such as Diocesan house, bishop's residence, endowments, bank accounts, furnishings, and the like. Presumably this will be a topic in the upcoming mediation. If not, I suppose a new lawsuit to recover the assets would be in order. It seems to me the Church diocese is entitled to the diocesan assets as of the moment of the schism---noon on 15 October 2012. The income and debts the breakaways incurred after that should be their own business.)

A second order of Gergel concerned the local parishes that purported to disassociate from the Episcopal Church. He ruled that these may continue using their legal names but that the officers of these churches may not use the names and symbols of the Episcopal diocese. A third order concerned the expert witnesses put up by both sides. Gergel dismissed three of the breakaway side and one of the Church side. Gegrel's second and third orders of last Thursday were much less important than the first. 

It is hard to overestimate the significance of Gergel's decision. In fact, this is a crucial moment in American jurisprudence. It is the first time a United States (federal) court has ruled on the relationship of the Episcopal Church and its dioceses. The judge declared that the Episcopal Church is hierarchical and protected by the First Amendment that prohibits the civil state from interfering in the internal matters of a religious institution. In other words, the Episcopal Church has the right to decide its own relationships with its dioceses. 

Since Gergel's is the first federal court judgment on this question, it is the law of the land. It is the standard for the future. If the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina appeals Gergel's decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Richmond, that court is almost certainly going to validate Gergel, thereby putting an even greater stamp on its authority. At any rate, the American legal standard now is that the Episcopal Church is hierarchical and has the right to govern itself. The importance of Gergel's work last week is enormous, not just for South Carolina, but for the Episcopal Church and the nation.

In fact, Gergel's "first" is really the second "first" in the litigation of the schism in SC. The first "first" was the South Carolina Supreme Court decision affirming the validity of the Dennis Canon. This was the first time any state supreme court in the U.S. had weighed in on this issue. So, two judicial standards have been set: the Dennis Canon is valid, and the Episcopal Church is hierarchical and protected by the First Amendment.

These standards demolish the breakaways' entire legal rationale for the schisms. Before the schisms, the schismatic leaders promised their followers the diocese was sovereign and independent and could withdraw from the Episcopal Church at will and govern itself independent of any power of the Episcopal Church. The SCSC and Judge Gergel have permanently destroyed these claims. The schism in SC was based on false assertions that have now been disproven in the law. The breakaway leaders misinformed and misled their followers. Under the law now, the Episcopal Church is a hierarchical institution, meaning that sovereignty rests in the Church as a whole and not in its separate local parts.

By federal court order, this official seal belongs to the Diocese of South Carolina, a diocese of the Episcopal Church. The court banned the breakaways from using this emblem.


My observation of the reaction is that people are feeling relief, satisfaction, gratitude, and happiness all tempered by a blanket of fatigue. I have received dozens of emails, and this is what people are telling me. However, there has been no gloating, or spiking the ball in the end zone and no demand for recrimination. If anything, there is still a sadness that this avoidable disaster happened at all.

At Grace Church Cathedral in Charleston yesterday, Bishop Adams spoke about the significance of the court decisions and assured them the diocese intended to press the gains on to the end. There is still a long way to go, but the big hurdles have been scaled. Find the diocese's news release about this here .


The schismatic diocesan office and some of their local churches made short announcements of Gergel's decision, but all of them tried to spin the news to their advantage. They still want their followers to believe the 29 local churches are not returning to the Episcopal Church and that the circuit court ruled in favor of ADSC on Betterments. 

On Friday, 20 September, the breakaway standing committee met and adopted the name Anglican Diocese of South Carolina. The diocesan office removed all of the Episcopal diocesan names and symbols from their website and Facebook page.

On the Internet, partisans of ADSC fell strangely silent. Only a few people ventured to post comments supporting the schismatics. The import of last week's decisions is obvious to the losing side too. Their disappointment must be profound.

One should bear in mind that the original impetus of the anti-Episcopal Church movement in the 1990's (Anglican Realignment) was political. It was to destroy or severely diminish the Episcopal Church so as to neutralize its liberal influence in American life. The early movement was to tear down, not to build up. It was years later (2008) that GAFCON formed. It was GAFCON that set up, with the American dissidents, the Anglican Church in North America as the homophobic and sexist replacement of TEC in the U.S. If the original goal of the schismatics was to do harm to the Episcopal Church we would have to admit they have accomplished a considerable amount toward that in South Carolina. The Episcopal Church in lower South Carolina is badly battered and bruised. So, in a sense, the breakaways lost the legal war but did much better in the culture war. 


The Episcopal Church diocese had two big goals in the litigation:  1-retain the identity and rights of the historic diocese, and 2-retain the local parishes under the Dennis Canon. EDSC gained all of the first and most of the second. This was a sweeping victory for the Episcopal Church and its diocese.

The schismatics' goals were to keep the entity of the old diocese and hold together the 50 local churches that went along with the schism. They failed completely on the first and lost most of the second.

The basic legal issues raised by the schism have been settled. What is left is the implementations of those decisions and the tying up of a lot of loose ends. The schism is entering its last phase. Last week profoundly changed the dynamic of the schism in SC.


Having lost the old diocese and 29 of the 36 local properties in question, the ADSC faces some huge challenges in the near future. At the moment, it has six local churches (those listed in the SCSC decision and validated by Judge Dickson) and several missions formed after the schism. Its problem is how to build a viable diocese from scratch. They have two big choices as I see it, reconstruct from the ground up, or melt into the ACNA Diocese of the Carolinas, led by Bp Steve Wood, rector of St. Andrew's in Mt. Pleasant. Reconstruction will be daunting to say the least.

As I have pointed out on this blog, ADSC has had and continues to have serious losses of communicant numbers. The trajectory is straight down. When Mark Lawrence became bishop in 2008, the diocese had 27,670 communicants. At the last counting, in 2016, the Lawrence diocese listed 14,694 communicants. Most of the big and famous parishes have also suffered severe losses of communicants:  St. Philip's of Charleston went from 2,677 communicants in 2011, to 1,069 in 2016, a drop of sixty percent. St. Michael's of Charleston fell from 1,847 to 919, a loss of fifty percent. St. Helena's of Beaufort dropped from 1,737 communicants to 880, minus forty-nine percent.

Budgets of ADSC have also struggled just to stay even. The budget today is one-third less than it was when Lawrence arrived. ADSC has just released its 2019 budget online. It shows huge legal expenses, about a million dollars last year and nearly the same this year. Interestingly enough some unidentified person(s) unexpectedly contributed $543,000 to the legal fund this year. Yet, as the budget struggles, Bishop Lawrence gets a nearly $4k raise this year. His package of compensation for 2019 will be $205,023. Counting the rental value of the bishop's residence that he uses free, his full package of compensation is worth around a third of a million dollars a year. Bear in mind Lawrence is 69 years old and eligible to receive generous retirement payments from the Episcopal Church [!] retirement program as well as Social Security.

Lawrence is not the only one getting more money in the budget. The ADSC is paying its parent, the Anglican Church in North America, a whopping $197,800 (up from $196,848 in 2018 and $185,640 in 2017). This four times as much as the old diocese ever paid the Episcopal Church.

The schism in South Carolina was crafted in secret by a relatively small group of people, no more than two dozen. They made the break, then informed the people of it while promising the people they were bound to win the legal war because it was God's will. They assured their followers the diocese was sovereign and self-governing. To prove this, they spent millions of dollars of the people's money. Remember that communicants had to contribute to two sets of lawyers, one for the diocese and one for the local parishes. We do not know how much the ADSC leaders spent on diocesan legal costs, but about a million dollars a year, as they are now claiming, seems about right. Nearly seven years would amount to nearly seven million dollars. One cannot know now what the local parishes have spent on legal costs separately. 

What did the communicants get for their money? Six parishes, a handful of missions, a homeless diocesan bureaucracy, and a needy mother church outside of the Anglican Communion. The faithful of ADSC have now lost the old diocese and the Anglican Communion. This is the result of many millions of dollars of the people's money their trusted leaders spent.

The communicants of the 29 parishes now have to choose which diocese they will follow. What's to decide? Plenty. The breakaways say follow us and we will condemn homosexuality and keep women in submission. The Episcopal Church says follow us and we will give equality and inclusion of gays and women in the life of the church. Human rights is what this whole schism boils down to.


The Betterments lawsuit is still alive. Judge Dickson denied the Church lawyers' motion to dismiss it. (ADSC news release promoted this as a "win" for their side. It was not. Dickson has made no ruling on the Betterments suit.) In this suit, the breakaways say if the Episcopal Church owns the property, TEC should pay the breakaways for "improvements" they made on the property. They mean for the whole value of the property. The Church sees this as a nuisance lawsuit. 

The catch here is that Dickson must implement the SCSC decision on the 29 parishes in order for the Betterments suit to proceed. Even if this suit proceeds, it is most unlikely to hold up mainly because the occupants must have believed they owned the property. The occupants in this case knew very well the Dennis Canon. They knew the Episcopal Church, as beneficiary of the Canon, would become the owner when they disassociated from the Episcopal Church. There is no credibility to the breakaways' assertion they believed they owned the property.


Certain issues have been settled in the courts and so should not be on the table: the Episcopal Church owns the 29 parishes, the Episcopal diocese owns the historic diocese, the Episcopal diocese owns Camp St. Christopher, and 7 parishes are independent. What does that leave on the table?

From the Church side, the main issues should be how to implement the court orders. Exactly how should the breakaways turn over the 29 parishes? The Church has asked for a Special Master and a full accounting by a professional accounting firm. The breakaways say the 29 have not been settled because Judge Dickson has not ordered an implementation of the SCSC decision. The ADSC lawyers have refused to accept the SCSC decision on the 29.

Thirty-six parishes were parties in the lawsuit against the Episcopal Church. Twenty-nine are to be returned to TEC while six are to be independent. That leaves fourteen local churches in "limbo". They are mostly small mission and historic churches. Only one large church is in this group, Holy Cross of Sullivans Island. The status of these is to be determined and could possibly be part of mediation.

Also to be worked out is the restoration of the historic diocese to the Episcopal diocese. The moment of the schism was noon on October 15, 2012. All of the assets, possessions, and rights of the diocese at that time should belong to the Episcopal diocese. Whatever assets and debts the breakaways independently accrued after that should be their own business. Surely an accounting firm will have to sort out this division, another matter for mediation.

Since the courts have ruled that the 29 parishes and the entity of the old diocese belong to the Episcopal Church side, what about the nearly seven years of occupation? Why cannot EDSC charge rent to the breakaways for use of the Diocesan house, on Coming Street, and the multi-million dollar bishop's residence, on Smith St.? I expect a real estate agent would list rent at $10k/mo. for each. Then there is the question of rent on the 29 parishes. I wonder what a real estate agent would say about St. Philip's and St. Michael's, probably the most valuable properties in old Charleston. $50k/mo. for each sounds reasonable. 

So, on the surface, there does not appear much to discuss, but digging down there really is a great deal to be settled. However, given the history of this schism, I have little to no hope mediation will succeed in resolving the remaining issues of the litigation. I expect this matter will return to Judge Dickson who at age 69 is nearing retirement. If he does issue a ruling, it will be appealed to the SC Court of Appeals.


In case you are wondering about the 14 local churches that followed the schism but did not participate in the lawsuit, they are included among the 17 local churches here. Three of these 17 were established (I am unsure of which ones) after the schism and presumably would remain with ADSC.

Barnwell---Holy Apostles

Berkeley County---Strawberry Chapel

Blackville---St. James

Charleston---St. Andrew's Mission

Charleston---St. John's Chapel

Dillon---St. Barnabas

Florence---Christ Church

Goose Creek---St. James

Grahamville---Holy Trinity



Myrtle Beach---Well by the Sea

North Charleston---Resurrection

North Myrtle Beach---Grace

Orangeburg---St. Paul's

Sullivans Island---Holy Cross


A note to readers. Thank you for the emails you sent recently. I try to answer every email asap but now have a backlog. Please keep writing. Your thoughts are important to me. And, if you have any information to contribute about activities of the ADSC and local churches, please send. 

As always, I welcome letters to this editor. This critical moment in the history of the schism is a good time to share your thoughts with all the readers about what is happening in the schism. If you would like to be posted, with or without name, send to the email address above. We want to hear from you.

We also want to hear from The Post and Courier. I have been informed that the P & C has not mentioned Gergel's landmark decision. I did a quick search of the online edition and found nothing about it. The question then is, why is the Charleston newspaper giving the silent treatment to a major federal court decision,  made in Charleston!   

Thursday, September 19, 2019

with addendum, 20 Sept.

19 September.
The United States District Judge, Richard Gergel, issued a decision today entirely for the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina and entirely against the breakaway entity. (The Church diocese is now the Diocese of South Carolina, or the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. The breakaways will have to choose a new name.) 

Read the Church diocese's news release about this here  and here . Read the scepiscopalians report here . My thoughts now upon my first reading of today's court decision:


Gergel granted every request of the Episcopal diocese and denied every claim of the breakaway group. He found that the breakaways had indeed violated the federal Lanham Act. 

In conclusion, Gergel made gave two major orders:

1-The names, marks, and shield of the pre-schism diocese belong to the Episcopal Church diocese. He numerated these in two groups, national and state. Therefore, titles as Diocese of South Carolina and  Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina belong to the Episcopal Church diocese.

2-Permanent Injunction against the breakaway group against using the names, titles, marks, and insignia that belong to the Episcopal Church diocese.

The major point of the judge's order was that the Episcopal Church diocese is the legal heir of the historic diocese. "This court independently holds that TECSC is the successor of the Historic Diocese since this Court is mandated to accept as binding the decision of the highest ecclesiastical body in a hierarchical religious organization. TEC is a hierarchical church."


Gergel's 73-page "Order and Opinion" of today is impressive in the breath and depth of its scholarship, intelligence, and language. It is the most thoroughly reasoned and substantiated legal document I have read in a long time. Moreover, it is written in plain English whose meaning is perfectly clear. It is too bad it took six and a half years for us to reach this point.

The judge demolished every claim of the breakaway lawyers. And, he did so with withering evidence citing dozens of cases. There must be a hundred cases named in this document. He also called up the Fourth Circuit twenty times to reference their judgments on similar questions. If the breakaway lawyers appeal this to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Richmond, that court will certainly deny an appeal, and probably toute de suite. Gergel has already done the work of them. Air-tight.

Another very important point that stood out in his Order was his interpretation of the South Carolina Supreme Court decision of Aug. 2, 2017. He particularly recognized Beatty's opinion that the disassociated diocese was not the successor of the historic diocese. Gergel wrote:  "This holding was vigorously litigated in the state courts, was determined by the three-person majority of Pleicones, Hearn and Beatty and was necessary to support the judgment regarding Camp St. Christopher, and therefore is precluded from relitigation...The Court will not disturb this ruling."

Gergel went on to dismiss the notion that how the SCSC justices reached their conclusions mattered:  "The Court therefore is bound by the Justices' actual holding on the ultimate issues, and will not parse, as the Defendants suggest, whether each Justice properly applied All Saints." It is the decisions that matter, not how the justices reached them. That should impress the breakaway lawyers.

Today's ruling essentially ends the litigation of the core issues of the schism. The ownership of the local churches was settled in the SCSC decision. The ownership of the pre-schism diocese was settled today. The Episcopal Church wound up with most of the local churches and with the whole entity of the historic diocese. The Episcopal Church now owns the battlefield of this long, draining, and expensive war. 

However, this is not the end of litigation. There is more to come, probably much more, but it is just mopping up work. The essential issues have been resolved. One may expect the breakaways to appeal today's decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. They have virtually no chance there. Mediation starts next week. The topic there should be how to implement the SCSC decision, which has just been affirmed by the federal court. There is no question any more about the state supreme court decision. The breakaway lawyers cannot make any credible case that the SCSC decision does not say what it says. The federal court has just said it does mean what it says.

The end of this legal war is in sight. If the breakaways keep fighting, it is only to put off the inevitable. It is pouring good money after bad. One wonders how long the faithful communicants who followed Lawrence are willing to foot the bills of this disaster. 

At last glance, the breakaway group still has the names and shield on their website. They were permanently forbidden from using such today. They need to take these down from the Internet asap, or it seems to me they could be in contempt of court. 

On this blog, I will follow the court order and refer to the breakaways as ADSC, Anglican Diocese of South Carolina. They are no longer allowed to call themselves Diocese of South Carolina. When they choose a new name, I will follow it.

All of this has been a long time coming, over six and a half years. I always believed this day would arrive even though too often it was hard to keep the faith. Here it is. The day of judgment. For all practical purposes, the outcome of the legal war has been determined. The rest is wrap-up, the sooner the better for everyone concerned.

Finally, this is a moment of satisfaction for the long-suffering Episcopalians, but it is not a time of joy. I think this is a time to thank God for his mercies but also to remember the terrible losses this schism has brought and will continue to bring for some time. Now that the structure of the legal settlement has been set, the task is to bring closure and peace. The good churchpeople of SC are much closer to that today than they were yesterday.

Addendum, 20 September, 6 a.m.:

A few thoughts on the morning after.

I have lost count of the people who have written me in protest of my term "Anglican Diocese of South Carolina." There have been five schisms in the Episcopal Church since 2007. Most of them have taken the title "Anglican Diocese of..." and the breakaways in SC are likely to do the same. As so many readers have correctly pointed out, the schismatics are not actually Anglicans. Their parent church is the Anglican Church in North America which is a Christian denomination not part of the Anglican Communion. It is a part of GAFCON, but that is not a function of the Anglican Communion. The dictionary defines Anglican as one in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. The schismatic groups, as the breakaways in SC, are not in communion with the ABC and are not officially Anglicans. So, readers out there you point is well taken. I will find another term when referring to the SC breakaways.

Also, one should recognize that Gergel's Order of yesterday should greatly influence what is happening in the circuit court. There, the judge, Edgar Dickson, has been reluctant to define the SC Supreme Court decision. Gergel did that for him yesterday: there are majority decisions in the SCSC decision, it does not matter how one "parses" the words, and only the majority decisions matter. It seems to me this is clear direction to Dickson to proceed on and implement the second and third rulings on page 77 of the SCSC decision.  In addition, it seems to me Gergel has undercut the breakaways' case on Betterments. Betterments is based on the assertion that the occupants did not know they did not own the property. Nonsense. They were part of the Episcopal Church. The Dennis Canon was a law of the Episcopal Church. They knew very well the provisions of the Canon. It seems to me Gergel has heavily influenced the direction of the Betterments case in favor of the Church diocese. At least this should strengthen the hand of the Church lawyers as they enter mediation next week.

The breakaways still have the titles and shield up on their website this morning. Gergel issued a permanent injunction yesterday forbidding them from using the names, titles, and insignia of the Episcopal diocese. We will see how long it takes them to follow the injunction. Meanwhile, I hope to see the proper names and insignia on the Church diocesan website asap.

As I said yesterday, Gergel's ruling is a giant step to the end of the litigation. The outlines of the settlement are in sight. The legal war has entered its last phase. What everyone on both sides needs now is closure and peace. This has been a long and terrible nightmare of self-destruction. It is time for the healing to begin. It is time to get on with doing God's work in a world that needs it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


Mediation is scheduled to begin next week, on Thursday, 26 September 2019, in Charleston. So, the question of the day is, What's to mediate? Let us look at the status of the litigation and the issues facing the two sides as they approach this circuit court-ordered mediation.

My usual disclaimer--not a lawyer, not an official of any diocese, all personal opinion.

First of all, mediation implies adversaries in a dispute can possibly come to a mutually agreeable settlement. This can be done in two ways. In the first, one sides gets it all and the other gives up all. This is unlikely since it contradicts the implied motive of mediation. In the second, each of the two sides gives up something to the other in exchange for a settlement. This is the usual. Thus, the problem at hand is, What can the two sides give up to reach a closing deal?

For what are the two sides of this legal war fighting? The litigation is a proprietary war. Each side essentially wants to own the pre-schism diocese of South Carolina. The war is being fought on two fronts, the entity of the diocese and the local churches. The problem is that the two sides have come at this very differently. They are fighting two different battles on the same battlefield.

The Episcopal Church and its diocese, the Episcopal Church in South Carolina now have two big goals:  
1---get the circuit court judge to implement the SCSC decision of Aug. 2, 2017.
2---get the federal court to recognize TECSC as the legal heir of the pre-schism diocese.

The Diocese of South Carolina has two approaches, plan A and plan B. Plan A is for the 29 parishes (named in the SCSC decision as property of the Episcopal Church) to remain in DSC. To reach this, DSC lawyers are asking the circuit court judge to regard the SCSC decision as unenforceable and to rule, on his own, that the 29 are not property of TEC because they did not create an express trust under the Dennis Canon.

Plan B is the fall back in case the circuit court does follow through on plan A. It is to make TEC pay for the full value of the properties of the 29 parishes. This is the Betterments suit. The full value would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Thus, the two sides are not even in agreement on the same issues. TEC says the local property issue is settled. DSC says it is not settled (but if it is they want full reimbursement).

Mediation at this point of the schism is untimely. Mediation typically occurs early on in any litigation. This legal war has been going on for six and a half years. Moreover, there have been two good chances of compromise settlement. Both failed utterly. The first was in June of 2015 when the Episcopal Church offered to give the 36 parishes involved in the suit sole ownership of the properties in return for the entity of the old diocese. DSC officers rejected this summarily. The second was in the federal court ordered mediation. In that, the two sides met three times between October of 2017 and January of 2018. The sessions ended with no agreement.


---2013, Jan. 4.  The Diocese of South Carolina sued the Episcopal Church in circuit court.

---2015, Feb. 3.  The circuit court judge, Diane Goodstein, rendered a decision entirely in favor of DSC.

---2017, Aug. 2.  The South Carolina Supreme Court issued a decision overturning part of Goodstein's order. It listed three majority decisions 1-7 parishes were independent of TEC, 2-29 parishes were property of TEC, 3-Camp St. Christopher was property of the TEC diocese.

---2017, Nov. 17.  SCSC denied a rehearing and issued a Remittitur of its decision to the circuit court.

---2018, June 11.  The U.S. Supreme Court denied cert, refusing an appeal of the SCSC decision.


In January of 2018, circuit court Judge Edgar Dickson assumed the Remittitur. In time, each side presented three motions or petitions to the judge. 
DSC: -Betterments suit, -complex case, and -Clarification of Jurisdiction (discard SCSC decision). 
TEC/TECSC: -dismissal of Betterments, -Declaratory Judgment and Special Master (implement SCSC decision), and -an accounting of the assets of the other side. Judge Dickson denied TEC/TECSC's motion for dismissal of DSC's Betterments suit. 

This leaves five outstanding motions/petitions in circuit court. 

These boil down to two big issues:  the meaning of the SCSC decision, and payments to DSC for improvements on the properties in question. 


First of all, a state supreme court is the final word, except if overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. According to Wikipedia, "In the United States, a state supreme court (known by other names in some states) is the ultimate judicial tribunal in the court system of a particular state (i.e., that state's court of last resort). On matters of state law, the decisions of a state supreme court are considered final and binding on state and even United States federal courts."

The state supreme court renders judgment(s) by majority opinion. The South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 14-3-360:  "In all cases decided by the Supreme Court the concurrence of three of the justices shall be necessary for a reversal of the judgment below..."

Here is the last (p. 77) page of the SCSC decision of Aug. 2, 2017. It was written as a summary of the court's work by Jean Toal who as Chief Justice at the time of the hearing on this case. She listed three majority decisions: (click on for enlargement)

To simplify, the TEC/TECSC lawyers insist the three orders mean what they say while the DSC attorneys insist these are conflicted, ambiguous, and unenforceable. In short, TEC/TECSC is asking Judge Dickson to implement the three decisions while DSC is asking the judge to discard the three and rule himself on ownership of the properties of the 29 parishes in question.

In fact, Dickson has enacted the first of the three orders. In the hearing of July 23, 2019, he got the two sides to agree that the 8, actually 7, parishes mentioned in the first item be granted full ownership of the properties.

In a nutshell, the difference between the Episcopal Church side and the diocesan side is the meaning of the SCSC decision. The Church says it means what it says. The diocese says it does not mean with it says.


There are two big issues at stake in the circuit court, the meaning of the SCSC decision and the Betterments suit. In the Betterments suit, the DSC lawyers say that if the Episcopal Church owns the properties (which they argued they did not own in their clarification petition), the Episcopal Church should pay for the improvements the parishes made on the properties. The catch, as I read it, is they are claiming the entire history of the parish. That would mean, TEC would have to pay the whole value of the property.

The TEC side asked the judge to dismiss this suit, but Dickson refused. He denied TEC's motion to dismiss.


So, back to our original question, What's to mediate? It is hard to discern what if anything can be up for compromise agreement. The local church properties have been settled by law. The SCSC decision is the law of the land. Seven parishes get sole ownership of their properties. Twenty-nine parishes are now property of the Episcopal Church. The ownership of the old diocese is on the docket of the federal court in Charleston (although the SCSC gave a majority opinion that TECSC is the legal heir of the old diocese). 

The issues at hand really belong in the courts. They are up to the judges to settle. The circuit court judge has a remitted order from the SCSC. It is his job to implement the state supreme court decision. The federal court judge must decide which side owns the old diocese. These are matters of litigation and not mediation. They belong in the courts, not at the bargaining table.

Everyone involved in the schism and its legal war longs for closure, for peace. Exhaustion hangs over all as a heavy blanket. The problem is how to end this tragedy. Both sides are deeply committed to causes, vastly different ones. Each sees itself as an essential part of a great war for fundamental principles. DSC says it is fighting for biblical truth. TEC says it is fighting for human rights. Thus, each defines its religious mission differently. DSC insists on vertical (individualistic) while TEC holds to horizontal (social gospel) as the essential character and purpose of religion. The deep division in SC makes it exceedingly difficult to see any way mediation of the legal issues at stake could work. Both sides want closure, but not at any cost. 

The conflict comes from the difference between the causes of the schism and the outcomes of the schism. The causes were philosophical while the outcomes were proprietary. The challenge now is how to overcome the causes in order to reach the outcomes. 

My bottom line: I hope for the best but expect this mediation to end as did the earlier attempts.

Friday, September 13, 2019

with addendum, 16 Sept.

Sept. 13:
The Diocese of South Carolina released its periodic newsletter today, 13 September. It contained an interesting note about a clergyman of the diocese taking a post as clergy in an Episcopal Church. The newsletter said that the Rev. David Barr is to become Associate Rector of St. George's Church in Nashville, Tennessee. St. George's Episcopal Church is in the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee.

David Barr is the son of the Rev. John Barr, a long-time prominent clergyman in the Diocese of South Carolina before and after the schism of 2012. According to online sources, David Barr holds a B.A. from Covenant College, an M.A. in Theology from University of Virginia, and is working on a Ph.D. in Theology in the University of Toronto. Bishop Lawrence ordained him a deacon in August of 2018 and a priest in March of 2019. The ordinations would be valid in the Diocese of SC and the Anglican Church in North America. For the last year or so Barr has been Scholar in Residence of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston.

St. George's Episcopal Church is a large parish, on the west side of Nashville, with an impressive plant and program. Check out their Facebook page and their website.

Read the announcement of St. George's rector, the Rev. Leigh Spruill, of Barr's new appointment here  . The new job as Associate Rector is to start on October 1, 2019. Note that Spruill calls it a "clergy call." This indicates Barr will start as a clergyman, not a layman. If it is true that Barr did not attend an Episcopal seminary and is not an ordained clergyman in the Episcopal Church, it will be interesting to see how the Episcopal bishop of Tennessee handles this. I can only guess the bishop has been involved in this appointment.

It is possible Barr's transition from ACNA to TEC could become a model for DSC clergy in the future. Anyway, it will be interesting to see what happens. Is he going to be rushed through ordinations as Episcopal deacon and priest in a few days? Is the Episcopal bishop simply going to accept his DSC credentials of ordination? Is there some other process here? Whatever it is, we will keep an eye on it as it may be applicable in the future for clergy moving from ACNA to TEC.  

There is a process in place in the Episcopal Church in South Carolina for former Episcopal clergy to return to TEC. Three priests who went along with the schism did return to TEC by way of this process. Approximately 100 clergy now in DSC remain on the list of people who have been released and removed from Episcopal holy orders. David Barr was not on this list since he had not been ordained before the schism. 

Many of the 100 or so clergy in DSC are going to have some hard choices to make in the not too distant future as 29 parishes return to TEC. Young man Barr may be wise to set his sights outside of eastern South Carolina. The 100 on the list would be wise to examine TECSC's process of restoration of holy orders in TEC.

Sept. 16:
A person does not have to attend an Episcopal seminary to attain holy orders in the Episcopal Church.

However, the Episcopal Church Constitution and Canons provides clear rules for the reception of clergy from churches in communion with the Episcopal Church and for churches not in communion. The Diocese of South Carolina and its parent the Anglican Church in North America are not in communion with the Episcopal Church. For churches not in communion, processes are spelled out for those in apostolic succession and those not in apostolic succession.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he is not in communion with the ACNA and that the ACNA is a separate Christian denomination. The secretary general of the Anglican Communion has said the ACNA is not in the Anglican Communion. The Diocese of South Carolina is in an independent denomination outside of the Anglican Communion. 

Any Episcopal bishop would be expected to adhere to the TEC C and C when transitioning any new clergy into his or her diocese. 

The TEC House of Bishops meets this week in its semi-annual session. The process of merging schismatic clergy into TEC dioceses should be a topic of conversation. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019


Judge Edgar Dickson has issued an "Order Denying Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint." This happened on Monday, 9 September 2019.

Recall that Dickson had announced his intention of such on 28 August, a week before mediation sessions between the adversaries were to begin in Charleston. Moreover, the judge invited the DSC attorney, Alan Runyan, to submit a proposed order for Dickson to use. Why Judge Dickson chose to announce his decision at that time, a week before mediation, remains a mystery. Likewise, why he chose to have the plaintiffs' lead lawyer compose it instead of writing it himself is a mystery. Dickson gave no explanation of either decision. 

We know from court records that Runyan submitted his "Proposed Order/Dismissal" to Judge Dickson at 10:26 a.m. on Monday, September 9. The proposed order itself was not posted on the court website, only the receipt of the order. An hour and a half later, Dickson released his official "Order..." Although we cannot know with certainty, it seems safe to assume that Runyan's proposed order became Dickson's official Order.

You may read Dickson's Order online. South Carolina circuit court documents are generously provided on the Internet. To reach the papers in this case, go to index. Once there, click "Accept," then put in Case # 2017CP1801909, and click "Search." On the next screen, click on the first Case Number. Next, click on "Actions." The Documents are on the far right in reverse chronological order.

There are two case numbers concerning the schism. 2013CP1800013 is the original suit and its train.

The main point in Dickson's six-page Order concerns timeliness. TEC/TECSC said the Betterments suit had not been filed within 48 hours of the final decision. The judge declared it had since the Nov. 17 denial of rehearing and Remittitur had been the final decision. On this, it is interesting to note that the judge implied the South Carolina Supreme Court decision was final:  However, an opinion of the South Carolina Supreme Court is not final until the remittitur is sent... (p.4). The whole point of the Church's case is that the SCSC decision of Aug. 2, 2017 is final. Finally, the judge seemed to draw a distinction between owning the property and having trust control of the property. Actually, as I read it, the majority of the SCSC ruled that ownership of the 29 parish properties had moved to the Episcopal Church because the local congregations had violated the terms of the trust set up in the Dennis Canon, to which they had acceded. Once they broke the trust by declaring secession from the Episcopal Church, the Church became the owner of the property as the beneficiary of the trust. 

Most hopeful for the DSC side is the judge's reminder on page 3:  The Amended Complaint prays that the resolution of the issues in this case awaits this Court's decision on motions filed in the remitted case concerning the parish plaintiffs' "accession" (agreement) to the Dennis Canon as well as the Plaintiff Diocese's property interests. I interpret this to mean Judge Dickson takes seriously DSC's claim that he has the right to decide on the disposition of the property of the 29 parishes. This has been the main point of Runyan's case all along. TEC/TECSC maintains Dickson does not have the right to rule on the property issue because this was settled in the SCSC decision of August 2, 2017.

At the time Dickson announced he would deny TEC/TECSC's motion for dismissal, the DSC side declared victory. They insisted the judge had ruled for them. Actually, Dickson only denied the Church motion. He did not make any decision on Betterments. He only allowed the DSC suit to continue. He did not rule on the suit itself. Thus, in the future, he could very well rule against DSC in its Betterments suit. Of course, if he rules in favor of DSC, he would be recognizing that the Episcopal Church owns the properties in question. 

It seems to me that, on the whole, Judge Dickson is leaning to the DSC side. He has made only three decisions in this case, all favorable, or potentially so, to DSC:   1-in the hearing of July 23, 2019, he got the lawyers of the two sides to agree that the seven parishes listed in the SCSC decision as independent, be officially recognized as such;   2-in the hearing of July 23, he ordered mediation;   3-on 9 September he dismissed TEC/TECSC's motion for dismissal of DSC's Betterments suit. 

One should remember that the SCSC sent a Remittitur Order to the circuit court on Nov. 17, 2017. Judge Dickson was assigned the Order in January of 2018. That means for nineteen months, he has not implemented any part of the SCSC decision favorable to the Episcopal Church. The only part he has implemented was to the benefit of the secessionists. His job is to put into effect the SCSC decision. He has done that for only one small part of the decision.

The new date for the first session of mediation is 26 September 2019.

I will return soon with a review of the issues at hand on the approach of mediation.