SC bishops began talks on April 21 in Charleston. Photo: Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina

The Episcopal and Anglican bishops of South Carolina have begun talks to settle the property issues that divide the churches in the wake of last month’s South Carolina Supreme Court decision.

On 20 April 2022 the court awarded 14 disputed church properties to the Episcopal diocese and 15 to the Anglican diocese, bringing to a close over ten years of litigation. Eight of the 14 parishes awarded to the Episcopal diocese have stated they will file a petition for reconsideration by the court.

The Charleston Post and Courier reported that on 21 April 2022 the Rt. Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, who was consecrated late last year as bishop of the Episcopal diocese, and the Rt. Rev. Chip Edgar, bishop of the Anglican diocese who was consecrated in March 2022, began a conversation on how to resolve the disputes and put the hard feelings of the past decade behind them.

Bishop Woodliff-Stanley told the Post and Courier, ““I think we both have an appetite to move into a new season marked by a different tone and tenor between our two communities.”

Bishop Edgar added,. “There’s an imperative to explore whether we can’t move forward in a very different sort of spirit than we have been in the past,” 

The Canon to the Ordinary of the Anglican diocese, the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis told Anglican Ink:  I can confirm that our two diocesan bishops have had a couple conversations and that those discussions are developing.  The nature of those conversations is such that I really can’t say more than that right now.   We are grateful for the congregations whose property rights were affirmed by the court and grieve the loss of those who were not.  For eight of the latter, their petitions for rehearing are still before the Supreme Court.  Whatever the outcomes, we trust that God will redeem it all in the end.”

The Episcopal diocese had no comment to make about the on-going conversations.