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Episcopal and Anglican dioceses of South Carolina reach settlement agreement

Bishop Ruth Woodliff-Stanley

The bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina (EDOSC) and the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina (ADOSC) announced on Sept. 26 that their respective dioceses reached a final settlement agreement resolving numerous outstanding legal issues between the two dioceses.

The settlement was the result of the self-guided mediation in which the two bishops and their chancellors (church lawyers) engaged over the past four months. It has the unanimous support of their diocesan leadership as well as the full support of the Episcopal Church.

Both bishops agreed that, though the settlement required each diocese to sacrifice things they hold dear, finalizing these issues enabled them to move forward with ministry free from ongoing lawsuits over these issues. 

“Getting to this point required compromise from both sides; compromise always includes wins and losses,” said Bishop Chip Edgar of the ADOSC. “This settlement agreement allows us to invest our diocesan energy, time, focus and resources in gospel ministry rather than litigation. While the losses we have experienced, including those of St. Christopher and several of our parish buildings are painful, I am grateful that the work we have done has brought an end to litigation between our dioceses. I am grateful, too, for the willingness to work to avoid further litigation that Bishop Woodliff-Stanley showed throughout this process. These hard past few months were made easier by her kind and generous willingness to compromise to reach this settlement.”

Bishop Ruth Woodliff-Stanley of EDOSC said, “Following Jesus entails a willingness—an eagerness, even—to engage those who have been our opponents with the goal of repairing the breach between us. From the very beginning of this process, I have been grateful for the gracious spirit of Bishop Edgar in doing just this work with us. I am grateful for his leadership and his generosity. While each diocese has had to leave things on the table to get to this moment, and while we experience pain over losses of some of the historic churches our members hold dear, even still, we have seen the Spirit at work in drawing us toward God’s redemptive way of love at every juncture. I remain hopeful that we can bring remaining parish issues to full resolution and move into a new season of ministry as two distinct dioceses working alongside each other in the same communities for the sake of the gospel.” 

While the settlement did not affect the remaining issues regarding the property rights of three parishes currently pending before the South Carolina Supreme Court or the betterments lawsuit by several parishes pending in state trial court, it does resolve all remaining issues regarding diocesan properties. 

As part of the settlement agreement, the operations of St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center will transition from the ADOSC to the EDOSC on Oct. 1, 2022.  St. Christopher will continue to operate without interruption.

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