(Photo: SC Diocese)
A group loyal to the national Episcopal Church has filed a motion in a South Carolina court to have an injunction that stops them from using a departing diocese's name and seal lifted.
The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) made the motion with regards to the name and marks of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, whose leadership left the national church last year.
A hearing is scheduled for the motion before Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein on Friday, which will focus on the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) put against TECSC.
In their motion, TECSC argued that the TRO "was improperly granted" since the proceedings earlier this year allegedly did not allow for them to present their case.
The Rev. Canon Jim Lewis, spokesman for the South Carolina Diocese, told The Christian Post that he was not surprised that The Episcopal Church and TECSC made the motion.
"The January action put a halt to what was clearly an attempt by TEC and the ECSC to claim the name and identity of The Diocese of South Carolina by force of use. It is an identity we have maintained continuously since 1785, four years before TEC was founded," said Lewis."The Judge's initial injunction protected that identity and the right to its use. It was also agreed to at that time by TEC. If the new request by TEC and the ECSC for an injunction were granted, it could potentially prevent us from operating as The Diocese of South Carolina."
Lewis also told CP that he was unsure how long it may take Judge Goodstein to rule on the motion brought by TECSC.
"I'm certain she will give appropriate consideration to the arguments made at that time and render her ruling only when that is possible. We hope, of course, that her decision will come quickly," said Lewis.
In January, not long after voting to leave the national denomination, The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina under Bishop Mark Lawrence filed suit to have exclusive rights over the diocesan name and seal.
"The plaintiff, The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina ('Diocese of South Carolina') is the only properly organized civil corporation and organization entitled to the use and control of the corporate entity, its names, emblems, styles and seal, its corporate assets, its real and personal property," read the suit in part.
Later in the month, Judge Goodstein ruled in favor of the South Carolina Diocese in granting an injunction barring those loyal to The Episcopal Church from using the diocesan name and marks.
"No individual, organization, association or entity, whether incorporated or not, may use, assume, or adopt 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," read the order in part.
In February, initially set to expire in ten days, it was expanded to be in effect through the length of the legal proceedings.
The Episcopal Church in South Carolina did not return comment to The Christian Post by press time.