A Letter to the Parish, All Saints AMiA Pawleys Island

Dear All Saints Family,
It is over.

After nearly a decade of legal and personal conflict, the issue of the All Saints Church property has been resolved, thanks be to God. Our Vestry and that of the Episcopal congregation have come to an understanding that ends the case forever and also provides a way for both churches to go forward into the future in faith and service to Christ.

As a result of our agreement, both sides recognize and accept the September 18, 2009, decision of the Supreme Court of South Carolina in which the Court determined that we are the rightful owners of the property and legitimate Vestry for All Saints Parish, Waccamaw. The Episcopal congregation has taken action to withdraw their Petition before the Supreme Court of the United States. As you may recall, the South Carolina decision was truly remarkable in that it clearly refuted any claim that the Episcopal Church might make on our property through the use of the so-called Dennis Canon.

In a desire to bless the work of God in the Episcopal congregation, our Vestry has made the offer of a financial gift of $375,000 to them to assist in their future ministry in our community. In addition, we have offered several items that represent their participation in the heritage of All Saints Church. We also have communicated that those members of their congregation who have historic ties to All Saints will be given the opportunity to use the appropriate buildings in the event of funerals, weddings and other pastoral occasions in accordance with the same guidelines and policies that are followed by our own members.

While we indeed see this as good news, the Vestry recognizes that there are some who will be disappointed that we simply did not wait in expectation for the Supreme Court to deny the Episcopalians’ Petition for an appeal. Please know that the Vestry has spent hours upon hours prayerfully considering what our Lord would have us do to bring this dispute to an end. In addition, all of us are all too aware of the unresolved conflicts, broken relationships and compromised testimony that are a result of this ten-year ordeal. It is the hope of both Vestries that this agreement allows our two church families a graceful way to go forward in ministry, seek reconciliation of relationships and forge healthy ways of partnering in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This Sunday at 9:30 AM, there will be a special Adult Forum in the Large Sanctuary where the specifics of the agreement will be presented and questions can be addressed. While there is no Sunday School scheduled for that day, our Children’s Ministry Team will offer childcare for infants through fifth grade students. Infants through 3K will be cared for in the nursery (school wing), and children ages 4K through 5th grade can be signed in at the Parish Hall.

Please continue to pray for the Episcopal congregation. We desire nothing less than God’s highest and best for them. God has been so good to us at All Saints and we are grateful to Him for His protection and provision. We now turn the page and begin a new chapter together in ministry at All Saints Church. He has so much more for us to do in His name and to the praise of His glory. In the fullness of His Holy Spirit and with a renewed call to proclaim His Gospel to the ends of the earth, we praise God using the words of Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen”

Faithfully in Christ,