Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Diocese of Upper S.C , Settles Lawsuit with Wife of Former Dean
The settlement draws to a close a tumultuous chapter in Trinity’s history.
Linder had enjoyed an 11-year tenure at the historic downtown cathedral, expanding missions and membership, and overseeing the construction of the church’s $6 million Trinity Center for Ministry and Missions and the near-completion of a $7 million sanctuary restoration.
But an apparent widening rift between Linder and some members of the church’s governing board over church leadership and financial affairs emerged publicly in the summer of 2010.
Waldo, the newly consecrated bishop, intervened at the request of the vestry and immediately suspended the dean and issued a pastoral directive that the Linders refrain from speaking to church members or staff while the dispute was under mediation.
In her lawsuit, Ellen Linder said that directive had the effect of isolating and silencing her and her husband; they were not allowed to attend four meetings held by the bishop or offer a defense to the allegations.
In a July 19, 2010, email to Philip Linder, the bishop told the suspended dean that the only way he could be restored to his position at Trinity was to go through an ecclesiastical court proceeding or submit to discipline and agree to go, with his wife, to an in-patient psychiatric treatment facility, which they refused.
Philip Linder tendered his resignation in September 2010. In the lawsuit, Ellen Linder claimed that losing the fellowship of the church’s members, along with her part-time job as parish nurse, inflicted such emotional distress that she suffered migraine headaches and panic attacks.
The Linders eventually moved to Versailles, Ky., where Philip Linder is now rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
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