Trial in SC Episcopal division may be delayed

      By BRUCE SMITHAssociated Press

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - A state lawsuit stemming from the Episcopal division in eastern South Carolina may be delayed because of an appeal to the Court of Appeals.

      Churches in the conservative Diocese of South Carolina split from the more liberal national church almost two years ago. A judge in Dorchester County is to begin a two-week trial next month that is expected to decide issues including rights to the denomination identity and ownership of a half billion dollars in church property.

      Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein last month denied a motion by the diocese remaining with the national church to add four people, including Bishop Mark Lawrence, to the case. Lawrence heads the diocese that split with the national church.

      Since Goodstein's ruling has been appealed, the trial is on hold.

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