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January 31, 2013


ECUSA Agrees to South Carolina Injunction (for the Time Being)

Bishop Lawrence’s Diocese has just sent out an announcement that the Episcopal Church (USA) has agreed not to oppose the issuance of a preliminary injunction (South Carolina calls it a “temporary injunction”) which repeats the same language of the earlier TRO:

THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH AGREES TO INJUNCTION THAT PROHIBITS THEM FROM USING DIOCESE OF SOUTH CAROLINA IDENTITY
Judge Issues Temporary Injunction to the Episcopal Church to Block Use of Diocese’s Name, Seal and Mark


St. George, SC, January 31 - The Episcopal Church (TEC) opted to forego court on Friday and not put up a fight as South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein today issued a Temporary Injunction to replace the Temporary Restraining Order she signed on January 23 to block TEC, its continuing parishes, individuals, organizations or any entity associated with it from, using, assuming or adopting, in any way, directly or indirectly, the registered names and the seal or mark of The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina.”

        The Temporary Restraining Order would have been lifted or extended on February 1st following a hearing. The injunction will remain in effect unless the court decides otherwise until the court rules on the lawsuit filed by the Diocese, its trustees and 31 congregations, seeking to protect the Diocese’s real, personal and intellectual property and that of its parishes from a TEC takeover.

        The Diocese sought legal protection to prevent TEC from repeating the behavior it has displayed in the past, when it used the courts to seize diocesan and parish property, including real estate, bank accounts, intellectual property and trademarks. The national church has filed more than 80 lawsuits against parishes and dioceses that disassociated from TEC.

        The injunction was consented to by Thomas Tisdale Jr. who signed it on behalf of The Episcopal Church.  Either party may ask the judge to conduct a hearing on the injunction and to request changes in the injunction.

      “We are gratified that The Episcopal Church has consented to a temporary injunction protecting the identity of our Diocese and its parishes,” said Jim Lewis, Canon of the Diocese. “We pray that sentiment fuels the prompt and reasonable resolution we all seek.

This is a highly unusual development, and will doubtless sow consternation among the SCEpiscopalians and their ilk: It shows that Chancellor Tisdale can read the writing on the wall, and knows that ECUSA cannot succeed in any plan to assume the DSC’s identity through its own actions.  Since the injunction now accomplishes nearly all of the objectives Bishop Lawrence had when he authorized the lawsuit (all that remains is a judgment declaring that his Diocese is the lawful and exclusive owner of the registered marks), it will be interesting to see whether or not ECUSA stipulates to the entry of such a final judgment in the weeks ahead. In short, there is nothing left worth litigating. Yes, ECUSA reserved the right to request a modification in the injunction, but at most it would be only to tinker with the fine points (and I can’t think of any). That stipulation was probably included to assuage Mr. Tisdale’s clients.

Where things will go from here is now the question. Bishop vonRosenberg has his work cut out for him—he has to walk a tightrope between keeping the Presiding Bishop happy, and not violating the injunction in any way. It would appear that Bishop Lawrence and his attorneys have no objection to the remnant group’s use of the name “the Episcopal Church in South Carolina”. But that still leaves the question: is the group a diocese within the Episcopal Church, or is it some other kind of arm of the Church? How can there be an entity which is a member of ECUSA, but which does not have the word “Diocese” in its name? How will all the provisions of the national Constitution and Canons which speak of a “diocese” apply to the remnant group?

As I did in a comment, I shall quote here the highly salient words of Sir Walter Scott:

Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive.


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44 comments

So does this leave the vonRosenberg faction something like AMiA as far as standing in the Anglican Communion?

[1] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 1-31-2013 at 06:50 PM · [top]

Right, Tim—as Archbishop Rowan and the Windsor Report both acknowledge, the fundamental unit of the Communion is the diocese. Until they can come up with a more different name (“the Diocese of Greater Charleston”, “the Diocese of All South Carolina Not Part of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina”, etc.), they will be out in the Anglican cold.

[2] Posted by A. S. Haley on 1-31-2013 at 06:55 PM · [top]

All I can say is…. BAHAHAH! At last the truth comes out. We all knew the Empress never had any clothes but now what has always been is now brought to light. To quote the Bard:

William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, 1596:

LAUNCELOT: Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of
the knowing me: it is a wise father that knows his
own child. Well, old man, I will tell you news of
your son: give me your blessing: truth will come
to light; murder cannot be hid long; a man’s son
may, but at the length truth will out.

[3] Posted by A Senior Priest on 1-31-2013 at 06:56 PM · [top]

Perhaps Tisdale and +von Rosenberg have realized that this is a fight not worth fighting? Can that be? Let’s hope so. I don’t know why they can not find a better name. Perhaps the Diocese of Eastern South Carolina?

[4] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 1-31-2013 at 07:05 PM · [top]

Argh, our buddy over at SC Epsicopalians once again does not get it thinking this is just an temporary extension. How deluded they are!

[5] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 1-31-2013 at 07:10 PM · [top]

That’s why I refer to it by the usual name of “preliminary injunction”, SCbcl (#5). Calling it a “temporary injunction” confuses lay people. It’s “temporary” until the final judgment is entered, and depending on how things stretch out, that could be quite a while.

[6] Posted by A. S. Haley on 1-31-2013 at 07:24 PM · [top]

Thanks for the explanation, Mr. Haley. So what is left for the courts to decide? Who is the rightful owner of the registered names and the seal? What about lawsuits over property? Can the TEc group go ahead and file a lawsuit over the property?

[7] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 1-31-2013 at 07:35 PM · [top]

Well, since they are not the Diocese of South Carolina, if ECUSA canons were followed they would apply to the next General Convention to be admitted as some other diocese, right?  But that is an ECUSA problem, and DioSC need not worry about it.

[8] Posted by Katherine on 1-31-2013 at 07:36 PM · [top]

That is how I understand it too as well. They become a diocese and then apply to General Convention to be admitted in 2015. However, since ECUSA shows an unwillingness to follow their own canons, no telling what they might do next.

Right. We in the Diocese of South Carolina no longer have to worry about that possibility. We are not part of that bunch any more.

[9] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 1-31-2013 at 07:46 PM · [top]

They become a diocese and then apply to General Convention to be admitted in 2015. However, since ECUSA shows an unwillingness to follow their own canons, no telling what they might do next.

That’s a good point about TEC not following its own canons.

Is it possible the new TEC diocese could simply be merged with Upper South Carolina?

[10] Posted by the virginian on 1-31-2013 at 08:37 PM · [top]

Hmmmm….can’t say I expected that.  If this is what DBB planned, we can see why KJS was so out of sorts last week.  I suppose it is in the realm of possibility that TEC came to its senses and realized that even if they did win outright years later after spending millions of dollars, all they would get was an empty cathedral, a diocesan seal, and whatever things were deeded in the name of the diocese.  The parish property (which is where the real money is) was already protected from them under S Carolina law, and they were not going to get it no matter what. This way, they cut their losses, and can accelerate the consolidation of the property of the parishes that did bend the knee to KJS- I imagine that Tisdale and the bishop will soon be making the rounds with little pieces of paper by which the TEC parishes will sign away their rights and create non-revokable trusts in favor of TEC and the Diocese of To Be Named Later.

On the other hand, it could just be part of the long term legal strategy- eat a little crow now, but a year or two down the road…..

I also wonder how the ongoing legal battles in other places play into this.  They would not want an obvious and embarrassing loss on the record when they face the Texas Supreme court over Ft Worth, or the courts in Illinois over Quincy.

[11] Posted by tjmcmahon on 1-31-2013 at 08:51 PM · [top]

Truthfully, I feel most sorry for the people and rector of Holy Communion. I believe they have been sold a bill of goods by vonRosenberg and their DEPO will never come to be as KJS squashes that agreement. Just like she killed the negotiations between the parishes in VA and their bishop.

[12] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 1-31-2013 at 09:08 PM · [top]

It seems too good to be true.

I see various possibilities:
1. Tizzie did this on his own initiative, and 815 are going berserk at this moment.
2. TEC-SC became aware that they were going to be held in contempt of court tomorrow, and went along with this as some sort of bargain.
3. TEC have faced the facts, conceded the loss of DioSC, and will try to rebuild with what they have left. The PB has retreated to the Verfuehrerinbunker.
4. TEC will rebuild the Death Star; TEC and Darth Schori still have a plan to take DioSC back at any cost.

#3 seems unlikely, since that’s the morally superior choice. I’m betting on #4.

Chancellor Haley can give his opinion, based on his knowledge of canon law. But, I guess that TEC-SC would be some sort of diocese in formation, that has now had a meeting and elected their first bishop. At this point, could they say that they are a diocese - and if the PB recognizes them as a diocese, would they be a diocese? Waiting for next GC (in other words, following the C&C, seems so old-fashioned).

No TEC parish in their right mind would sign away their property to TEC, no matter how much they support heretical progressive doctrine and practice.

The question I have now is what the conservative parishes and individuals in Upper SC are going to do. I would be quite easy for DioSC to extend through the state, and even beyond.

Obviously it would make sense for the few remaining TEC parishes and individuals in the lower part of the state to affiliate with DioUSC.

[13] Posted by Ralph on 1-31-2013 at 09:18 PM · [top]

If it is #4, they face an uphill battle. They can try though if they want.  I suggest #3 is the better option simply because they can get on with what they want to do with minimal interference of all property upkeep and all.

[14] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 1-31-2013 at 09:28 PM · [top]

#13 Ralph,

“No TEC parish in their right mind would sign away their property to TEC, no matter how much they support heretical progressive doctrine and practice.”

I think the weight of the evidence says that the “in their right mind” question has been answered long ago.

[15] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 1-31-2013 at 10:12 PM · [top]

Just to say that I agree with Ralph.  The logic of the situation can be damned.  We know that ‘we’ are not dealing with rational people here.  Schori is driven (I would say literally demonically driven) and proven that she will drive out the orthodox and seize control of any and all assets no matter what the costs.

If if the Death Star has to be rebuilt out of paper they’ll do it.  TEc will fight and fight and fight just to get Lawrence.  This is personal Schori has waited years to strike at him.  She will not be stopped now.  Delayed she may be but she will try again and again and again.

Legally TEc may not have a leg to stand on but Schori is made of madder stuff than most.

[16] Posted by jedinovice on 1-31-2013 at 10:15 PM · [top]

Underground pewstar beat me as I was typing!!!

[17] Posted by jedinovice on 1-31-2013 at 10:16 PM · [top]

If they can’t be a ‘diocese’, can they constitute themselves as a ‘missionary district’?

[18] Posted by rdrjames on 1-31-2013 at 11:48 PM · [top]

Y’all, while I’m happy that the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina gets to keep its name, I don’t think this indicates much more than that.

The remnant—and whatever name it chooses—will be “deemed a diocese” and treated as such, and frankly, I’d expect for the lawsuits to recover the property to move forward.

In other words [and I think this is obvious] there will be no following of the canons about how to *become a diocese and enter communion with TEC*.  There will simply be “and now, the continuing diocese, which has been forced to be renamed, will sue for its property.”

[19] Posted by Sarah on 2-1-2013 at 08:04 AM · [top]

I suppose the TECers in the the now removed Diocese of SC could call themselves “The Diocese of Lower SC,” “The Diocese of the Low Country,” or “The Diocese of Charleston” (which was the nickname for Dio of SC used by many when I was there).

I am wondering if The Diocese of South Carolina would be open to parishes in the upper diocese who wanted to leave TEC.  Unless they have taken the positive step of signing over their deeds to the diocese, they could leave, under SC law, and take their property with them.  That would frost 815 even more!  I suppose that is something that will require the dust settling more fully before the Dio of SC makes such a decision.

[20] Posted by AnglicanXn on 2-1-2013 at 08:14 AM · [top]

Sarah, You are right as that has been their thinking everywhere else. No doubt about that. The big question is how will the SC courts see it? For the moment their strategy is not looking good. Frankly, I doubt the TEC remnant cares how the courts will see it in SC as they will continue to promote their numbers game with the end goal being that the numbers are for them and against us. I read that sort of reasoning a lot from them.

[21] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-1-2013 at 09:05 AM · [top]

“How can there be an entity which is a member of ECUSA, but which does not have the word “Diocese” in its name? How will all the provisions of the national Constitution and Canons which speak of a “diocese” apply to the remnant group?”

Well, there are at least three organizations which are not dioceses and are affiliated with TEC: the Convocation of American Churches in Europe comes to mind. That being said, I do not foresee this as being an issue. As Sarah noted above, TECinSC will simply be “deemed a diocese” and proceed from there, just as a quorum was deemed present at the rump convention.

[22] Posted by Jeff Walton on 2-1-2013 at 10:47 AM · [top]

Ralph wrote:

No TEC parish in their right mind would sign away their property to TEC, no matter how much they support heretical progressive doctrine and practice.

You would be surprised if you look at the websites of some parishes who want to remain with TEC. They make it quite clear that they accede to the Constitution and Canons of TEc which of course includes the Dennis Canon. So yes some have indeed decided to sign away their property and seemingly gladly. Again what is correct under SC law makes no difference to them.

[23] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-1-2013 at 11:37 AM · [top]

As to the name for the new forming diocese in the lowcountry of SC.
#20 Anglican Xn the name Diocese of Charleston has already been taken the Roman Catholic Church in SC that name.
Might I suggest the name for the new diocese the The Diocese of Pluff Mud. It is ubiquitous in the Lowcountry.  For those of you who do not know what Pluff Mud is here is a site that explains what is pluff mud: http://www.follybeach.com/blog/pluff-mud/

[24] Posted by Carpe DCN on 2-1-2013 at 12:15 PM · [top]

Pay attention to Sarah at 19.  This is only the first skirmish in the first lawsuit.  The injunction is only in place until the trial (is a date set yet?).  There may be countersuits by TEC. Then, in all likelihood, no matter who wins what case, appeals will go on until the SC Supreme Court rules on whether the treatment of diocesan property is the same under the law as parish property, and whether the national church has the right to remove officers of the corporation and replace them.  This will go on for years.  TEC is preparing to march on Charleston as they marched on Pittsburgh and Richmond.  Granted, based on the precedent of the Pawley’s Island case, things look more optimistic in S Carolina, but even a victory will be very costly.

[25] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-1-2013 at 01:09 PM · [top]

TJ, As Mr. Haley explained it to me, the injunction lasts until the litigation is over and judgement rendered. I won’t predict how things will go in court. Actually what diocesan property is there? Not even the Cathedral is diocesan property as there is a Cathedral parish. Diocesan house, perhaps? Really what does TEc think they are going to win? They are so blinded that they can not see the reality of the situation. Nothing new in the attitude.

[26] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-1-2013 at 02:20 PM · [top]

Based upon the PB’s vitriol during her sermon last Sunday, SC and Lawrence should expect a counterclaim a la Ft. Worth. The temporary injuction is just that…..its purpose is to maintain the ‘status quo’ between the parties until final determination via preliminary motion or trial of the issue concerning the names referenced. The Pawley Island case is certainly strong precedent on the property issues and perhaps the TEC remnant will decide they have better things to do then the PB’s bidding but don’t be surprised at anything that they may do….......

[27] Posted by Doubting Thomas on 2-1-2013 at 02:28 PM · [top]

Any day now I expect to see a youtube variant of the “excuse us, mein Fuehrer, but x has happened” in which the generals report to the Lady Fuehrer of TEC the “bad news.”

It is good to remember, at this point, that Hitler kept on fighting and ordering the senseless slaughter despite the recommendations of his generals. The wicked witch of TEC (doesn’t she remind anyone else of that?) will fight no matter what the cost. Truly, I think that woman is demonically possessed.

[28] Posted by sophy0075 on 2-1-2013 at 02:45 PM · [top]

The Diocese of South Carolina owns a wonderful retreat center, St Christopher’s.  It is large, motel-like, and set on one of the barrier islands.  In addition, there are doubtless some endowment funds that the TEC group would like to get their hands on.  The TEC group may not be able to get the church buildings, but that does not mean that there are not some valuable things at risk.

I pray daily that the TEC group will find itself holding nothing but their own parish assets when the final gavel is struck.

The TEC is fighting so hard because they hate the Bible and the Gospel proclaimed in it - but they also do not want to admit that they have abandoned the Gospel and are proclaiming something that is at its foundation denies all that the Apostles proclaimed.

[29] Posted by AnglicanXn on 2-1-2013 at 04:26 PM · [top]

Katie the Heretic should be familiar with pluff-mud since she is an aquatic specialist!
Good name for the oncoming ‘missionary district’ in (not of!) South Carolina!

[30] Posted by rdrjames on 2-1-2013 at 05:38 PM · [top]

AnglicanXn, You had to mention St. Christopher’s Camp and Conference Center. Sigh. They (TEC groupies) are already up in arms that their kids have to wait until open enrollment for summer camp. Although owning St. Christopher’s is hardly a money maker for the diocese.  So if they were to win it, I doubt they would be able to sustain it. Same with the historic properties all across the diocese.

I do agree that TEC is trying very hard to destroy the Gospel with one set of actions and try to pretend that they proclaim with it others. It is a shame but it is what it is.

[31] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-1-2013 at 05:53 PM · [top]

Interesting comments, all. For what my take is worth, I think that a couple of simple truths came home to Mr. Tisdale and his clients:

1) Judge Goodstein was going to issue a preliminary (“temporary”, in SC legal parlance) injunction against ECUSA on February 1, regardless of what arguments he could offer, given the clear registration and continuous use priorities for the marks in question;

2) Thus, since the law was all on the side of Bishop Lawrence and his Diocese, they decided to cut their losses at this stage; and

3) The remnant group, having just donated the entire plate collection at their recent eucharistic gathering to UTO, needs not to alienate South Carolinians just now, but to show that they are being frugal and non-confrontational. One way to do that would be to eliminate the need for ongoing legal expenses, by conceding the present lawsuit (which, after all, has very modest goals).

But we shall see what we shall see, and soon. If they respond to +Lawrence’s complaint with just a straightforward Answer, then perhaps they have indeed pulled in their horns for the time being, at least.

And if they respond with both an Answer and a Counterclaim for all of the bank accounts and property of Bishop Lawrence’s Diocese, then we will have ++KJS showing her true spots, and we also will know who is really in charge, despite +vonRosenberg’s protests of being interested only in “reconciliation.”

So, time will tell, and the truth, as Senior Priest (#3) says, will out. We then will know just what Bishop Lawrence and his Diocese have on their hands.

[32] Posted by A. S. Haley on 2-1-2013 at 08:14 PM · [top]

SC blu cat lady (#23)

It’s interesting you raise the case of Camp St. Christopher. Steve Skardon’s website - amidst all its hyperbole - puts forward the allegation that diocesan officials have suggested that children from TEC parishes should be paying for their parents’ mistakes.

Obviously anything from that site needs to be taken with more than a grain of salt, but one thing is clear. Unlike the national church’s claim to South Carolina property, Camp St. Christopher was built with money from donors in both orthodox and revisionist parishes and if the Diocese of South Carolina is to be consistent, it should be treating access to the camp on as equitable basis as possible, at least until the litigation is settled.

[33] Posted by Jeremy Bonner on 2-2-2013 at 05:46 AM · [top]

And of course, I meant (#31) not (#23)

[34] Posted by Jeremy Bonner on 2-2-2013 at 05:47 AM · [top]

Notice how carefully the ENS article about this avoids calling TEC-SC a diocese. It is a “group.”

http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2013/02/01/south-carolina-lawsuit-parties-agree-to-temporary-injunction/

It won’t be a diocese until TEC recognizes it as a diocese. And, that seems not to have happened yet.

However, the court allows DioSC to call itself a diocese. Which it is.

Somebody needs to provide clarification to the Wikipedia entry on DioSC, with appropriate references, so that it is in line with current facts. While I would hope that no judge would take WIkipedia seriously, it isn’t good to have wrong information out there. The talk area is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Episcopal_Diocese_of_South_Carolina

The Wikipedia entry itself is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episcopal_Diocese_of_South_Carolina

[35] Posted by Ralph on 2-2-2013 at 08:32 AM · [top]

More than half of the comments on the ENS story are pro DioSC. Will they get they get the picture?

[36] Posted by Chris Walchesky on 2-2-2013 at 10:57 PM · [top]

Jeremy, No one is denying the kids enrollment. No one is being nasty. They just have to wait for regular enrollment. Not a big problem. Skardon is just all hyperbole and venom.

[37] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-3-2013 at 04:35 PM · [top]

SC blu cat lady,

So Skardon’s quote of an unnamed diocesan official was invented? And enrollment is proceeding as it has done every year, with every parish being treated the same way? I’ve no doubt that’s possible, but I’m also aware that when tempers are frayed people frequently say and do things that would be better not said or done. When (and hopefully if) the courts finally award all diocesan property to the Diocese of South Carolina, I trust the Diocese will make sure that any diocesan property that remains is distributed in a fashion that reflects the relative disposition of former members. 

I can remember four years ago in Pittsburgh the degree of coldness that built up between then Bishop Duncan and the Pittsburgh Twelve (and I’m not thinking primarily of Jim Simons), not least because many of them had previously been so close to him. Betrayal (or the perception of betrayal) can sometimes be even worse than open antagonism. And yet not everyone who stays with TEC in South Carolina will be an admirer of the Presiding Bishop.

[38] Posted by Jeremy Bonner on 2-4-2013 at 03:54 AM · [top]

Jeremy,
Lets say Skardon’s statement is definitely waaaay overstating with his usual nastiness what actually is happening. Yes, as far as I know enrollement is proceeding as it has before. I know that no one at St. Christopher’s was nasty about it.  I have no doubt that some parents were very upset and probably were not polite to those at St. Christopher’s in charge of the enrollment process.  Also enrolling during open enrollment is not being told you can not enroll (another thing alluded to by Skardon) just that you have to wait to enroll. It is just not the huge problem Skardon seems to think it is. 

As to how the diocesan property will be distributed, that may well be part of the court’s final judgment so I am not going to even hazard a guess. Parish property will be decided by what various documents the parish has in regards to property. I do know that some parishes have filed their quit claim deeds. I know of at least a couple parishes remaining with TEc who have not filed theirs. That is their choice.

[39] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-4-2013 at 09:04 AM · [top]

Some of the liberal clergy of the Diocese of Upper SC would, usually in the context of a good bottle of Shiraz or some such at clergy conference, refer to the other diocese as “The Bottom Diocese of SC.” Now there’s a possibility.

[40] Posted by folchal on 2-4-2013 at 08:52 PM · [top]

Well, sophy0075, your expectations have been fulfilled: the mandatory Jefferts-Schori-in South-Carolina-as-Hitler (or is it Hitler-as-Jefferts-Schori-in SC?) video is now on Youtube.

[41] Posted by A. S. Haley on 2-6-2013 at 09:28 PM · [top]

A.S.—Does the camera pan the vast audience? I can’t bear to watch it.

[42] Posted by folchal on 2-6-2013 at 09:39 PM · [top]

Not sure what you’re asking, folchal (#42)—there’s no audience shown in the movie except for a bunch of his officers and and followers, hiding with him in Berlin during his last days. The clip is now a standard parody-meme, and has been adapted to specific situations (like ECUSA in SC) thousands of times.

[43] Posted by A. S. Haley on 2-7-2013 at 01:38 AM · [top]

Sorry—I misunderstood. I thought it was a Youtube of Schori’s visit to SC. That’s what I couldn’t bear to watch. Hitler is only somewhat less hard to watch.

[44] Posted by folchal on 2-7-2013 at 04:01 PM · [top]

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