TEC witness admits diocesan constitution, canons trump those of the national church
(ST. GEORGE, SC)–An expert witness for The Episcopal Church (TEC) undermined claims by the denomination that its rules supersede those of local dioceses in the Diocese of SC, during day-long testimony in the trial to protect local diocesan and church property from seizure by TEC and its local subsidiary, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC).
Martin McWilliams, a law professor at the University of South Carolina, was called by TEC and TECSC to testify as an expert witness. McWilliams spent considerable time explaining his credentials as a corporate governance expert and said that because the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina incorporated the constitutions and canons of the national church in its own corporate charter, it is governed by those constitutions and canons.
However, on cross examination by the diocese’s attorneys, Alan Runyan and Henrietta Golding, he acknowledged that the diocese – while it may incorporate the national rules – is, in fact, governed by its own documents. He further acknowledged there is no rule in either the national canons and constitutions, nor in the diocese’s own constitutions and canons that prohibits the diocese from amending its corporate documents. He also said that the diocese was within its legal rights to amend its articles of incorporation.
McWilliams was the only witness called.
About the Diocese of South Carolina
The Diocese was founded in 1785 by the parishes of the former South Carolina colony. Based in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, the Diocese is one of the oldest religious districts in the United States and counts among its members several of the oldest, operating churches in the nation.
The Diocese of South Carolina is recognized by Anglican Dioceses and Provinces around the world, many of whom have broken fellowship with The Episcopal Church, and in 2013 the Diocese joined the global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and entered into a formal relationship of Provisional Primatial Oversight with Global South primates.