Seeking property, name control, some South Carolina Episcopal churches file lawsuit

Image by Flickr user Ken Lund

Update: The suing churches have been given a temporary claim to the name.

In 2012 the group of Episcopal churches from the coastal region of South Carolina voted to sever ties with the national Episcopal group, and now a legal battle has emerged over name marks and property rights. 

On Friday leaders of the Diocese of South Carolina suit against the national Episcopal Church.

“We have existed as an association since 1785. We incorporated in 1973; adopted our current legal name, ‘The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,’ in 1987; and we disassociated from the Episcopal Church in October of 2012", said Rev. Canon Lewis. "TheEpiscopal Church has every right to have a presence in the area served by our Diocese – but it does not have a right to use our identity. The Episcopal Church must create a new entity.”

It's the rights to the use of the name "The Diocese of South Carolina", and firm legal ownership of some $500 million worth of property and buildings that the group is hoping to clear up with the lawsuit.

You can read a press release from the group over the lawsuit below. 

With 71 parishes and some 30,000 members, the Diocese of South Carolina split ways with the national church over several issues, but one of the most publicly visable has been the ordination of gays.

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