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SC: Split Episcopal dioceses can’t take millions in property

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Dozens of parishes that split from The Episcopal Church over theological issues including the ordination of gay priests cannot take valuable real estate with them, according to a split ruling issued Wednesday by South Carolina’s ...

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A riot with an unwelcome lessonRichard WRahnMaking the case for political fraudCal ThomasTragedy in CharlottesvilleView all Question of the DayHas President Trump done enough in response to Charlottesville violence?Question of the Day  Yes  No  Not sure   View resultsStory TOpicsLaw_CrimeReligion_BeliefEpiscopal Church In The United States Of AmericaSearch Yellow PagesPopular Searches  Apartments in Washington  Attorneys in Washington  Auto Dealers in Washington  Auto Parts in Washington  Auto Repair in Washington  Beauty Salons in Washington  Car Rental in Washington  Dentists in Washington  Doctors in Washington  Flowers in Washington  Hotels in Washington  Insurance in Washington  Loans in Washington  Mortgages in Washington  Movers in Washington  Pizza in Washington  Realtors in Washington  Restaurants in Washington  Storage in Washington  Tax Preparation in Washington  Travel in Washington  Featured  More...FILE - In a Dec16, 2012 file photo, members of the Conway Worship Group gather at the chapel at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.CThe members of the fledgling congregation left their home church after it decided to ..more > var _informq = _informq || []; _informq.push(['hook', 'Inform-Washington-Times-Player-1/videoLoad', function(event) { }]); Print By MEG KINNARD - Associated Press - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 COLUMBIA, S.C(AP) - Dozens of parishes that split from The Episcopal Church over theological issues including the ordination of gay priests cannot take valuable real estate with them, according to a split ruling issued Wednesday by South Carolina’s highest court.The South Carolina Supreme Court decision settled some of the issues swirling in the wake of the 2012 departure of several dozen dioceses from The Episcopal ChurchAttorneys on both sides of the long-awaited resolution were still reviewing it Wednesday afternoon and did not immediately comment.The conservative Diocese of South Carolina, dating to 1785 and one of the original dioceses that joined to form the Episcopal Church, left the national church in 2012 amid differences over theological issues, including the authority of Scripture and the ordination of gaysThe group has since affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America, a group that formed in 2009.Parishes in the region that didn’t leave the national church formed a diocese now known as The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.The conservative diocese sued in efforts to protect its identity, the diocesan seal and other symbols it uses, and $500 million in church property, including the individual parishes’ holdings, as well as large properties including an Episcopal church camp in the Charleston area.A circuit judge sided with the diocese in 2014, ruling it owned its name, symbols and property.But on Wednesday, acting Justice Costa Pleicones wrote in the lead opinion that the judge had improperly ruled she was required “to ignore the ecclesiastical setting in which these disputes arose.” The trial court judge had viewed The Episcopal Church incorrectly as a congregational entity, with no structure to prevent individual parishes from leaving, Pleicones notedThe justice said the church is a hierarchical organization, with a structure.Under that construct, only a handful of departed parishes - those that didn’t sign onto an agreement allowing the national church to hold their properties in trust - should be allowed to keep their land and properties, he wrote.Each of the court’s five justices wrote individual opinions, a rare move that shows the different viewpoints in the complex caseJustices split 2-2 on intellectual property issues, leaving in place the trial judge’s ruling that the breakaway diocese could keep the Diocese of South Carolina name, marks and seals.The Episcopal Church in South Carolina had offered a settlement to resolve the dispute, saying it would allow parishes that left to keep their individual church property, regardless of whether they remained part of The Episcopal Church.Both sides have 15 days to ask the Supreme Court to rehear the case if they chooseA federal lawsuit is still pending over allegations that the bishop of the breakaway parishes is committing false advertising by continuing to represent himself as bishop of the diocese.___Kinnard can be reached at Read more of her work at . LOAD COMMENTS () HIDE COMMENTSCopyri

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