The original complaint, filed January 5, named only The Episcopal Church. The amended complaint adding the local diocese as a defendant has been expected for several weeks.
"The Episcopal Church in South Carolina" is the working name for the diocese in the eastern part of South Carolina that is associated with The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. The diocese is currently barred from using its historical name because of a temporary injunction issued in the lawsuit at the request of the breakaway parishes. The suit seeks to prevent local Episcopalians from using the name and seal of the diocese. Since the suit was filed, TECinSC has held a special convention, elected a bishop, the Rt. Rev. Charles G. vonRosenberg, and continues to function as the local diocese of The Episcopal Church. It will hold its regular annual convention March 8-9, 2013, in Charleston.
Making the diocese a party to the lawsuit is a necessary step so that important issues such as the diocese’s identity can be addressed by the court, said Thomas Tisdale, Chancellor of the Diocese. “We believe the court will resolve these issues in our favor,” he said.
The change also allows additional time for The Episcopal Church and TECinSC to file their responses to the complaint. They now have until April 4 to respond.
The amended complaint added the names of three more parishes joining the original suit, bringing the total to 34: St. Jude's, Walterboro; Trinity, Pinopolis; and the Church of the Holy Cross, Stateburg.
Remaining with The Episcopal Church are 19 parishes and missions so far, along with at least 10 more “continuing parishes,” where members are maintaining official ties to The Episcopal Church even though their parish leadership has left the church. In addition, at least seven active and growing worshiping communities have organized across the diocese to allow displaced Episcopalians to continue to worship together. More information about Episcopal worship opportunities can be found at the diocesan website, episcopalchurchsc.org.