South Carolina Episcopalians
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August 7, 2017
Lawrencian Leadership Wants to Slog It Out

Lawrence "Standing Committee" tells legal team to press on with legal case in spite of lawsuit fatigue

In spite of losses in income, membership, and in the courts, Mark Lawrence's Standing Committee says it still trusts the legal team that has led them on an expensive and disastrous odyssey to leave the Episcopal Church.

In a statement today, the leadership of the organization authorized its legal team to ask for a rehearing on the Supreme Court's recent decision declaring that 29 of the 36 parishes that tried to leave the Episcopal Church with Lawrence in 2012 belong to the Episcopal Church.  A majority of the Court also said it believed that the Diocese of South Carolina and its millions of dollars in assets -- including Camp St. Christopher -- belong to the Church, but left that decision u
p to a Federal judge in a related case.

Lawyers for Lawrence, led by Beaufort Attorney Allan Runyon, believe that if they are granted a rehearing, they can exploit sharp disagreements between the justices that were evident in Court's opinion.  The five-member Court that heard the case in 2015 was comprised of the active justices at that time.  However, two of them have retired and the Republican legislature has replaced them with two conservatives.  

The Court has become increasingly politicized in recent years, and Lawrence was careful to hire law firms that are both legally and politically connected.

The news of Lawrence's decision to continue fighting has not been met with complete joy by lay people in pro-Lawrence parishes who say they are done with paying for the legal case, and want to move on.  Some of them want to know if the Church is still willing to settle with them, as it was two years ago.

In 2015, Runyon and his team rejected an offer, approved by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, to remove any claims it has on their parish property, in exchange for the parishes dropping their claims to the Diocesan corporation.  

A Message from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina

August 7, 2017

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina, having met together with our bishop, The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, in Charleston this day, sends to all of our brothers and sisters of the diocese our love and our greetings in the name of Jesus Christ. We are so profoundly thankful for all who have fasted and prayed for our diocese and our Standing Committee during the past week from across South Carolina, throughout the Anglican Church in North America, and among all the faithful in global Anglicanism.

We have spent this time together in prayer and discussion regarding the decision by the South Carolina Supreme Court last Wednesday. In light of the conflicting opinions issued by the court, we met with the legal counsel for our diocese and have approved a strategy on how we go forward seeking clarity. We want you to know this: the legal process continues. We will be filing a motion for a rehearing from the Supreme Court, the deadline for which is September 1st. We are convinced there are compelling reasons to make this motion. There will be other avenues along with and following that action.

Finally, while we cannot tell you what tomorrow brings, we want to reiterate three things that you already know. First, again, the legal process continues. Second, we are stronger together. Third, we will continue in all circumstances our God-given mandate of making biblical Anglicans for a global age. 

Know that we love you, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and that we remain,

Yours in Christ Jesus,  The Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina

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