This thread is a continuation of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina leaves the Episcopal Church first started in October 2012.
In 2012, the theologically conservative Diocese of South Carolina (which covers the eastern portion of the state) left the Episcopal Church over its increasing theological liberalism and the authoritarianism of the national leadership. Litigation over $500 million worth of property and assets began almost immediately.
The Episcopal Church claims that it is a “hierarchical church” and that dioceses cannot leave the national church. It also claims that diocesan and parish property is held in trust for the national church, which means that the property should revert to Episcopal Church control. The diocese claims that it is impossible for an organization to claim a trust on property it never owned.
This week, a South Carolina judge ruled in favor of the breakaway diocese. I find this case interesting because it shows the important differences between how the Episcopal Church is organized versus the Catholic Church. The Episcopal Church claims it is a hierarchical church, but, at least at the national level, it is not legally organized as one.
Some news articles on the decision:
For those legal nerds interested in stuff like this, the judge’s ruling is here.