By BRUCE SMITH
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Now that the Diocese of South Carolina has left the national Episcopal Church, there's a lawsuit. At stake is more than a half-billion dollars in church property and the very identity of the church.
The church's national bishop has said the diocese can't leave the mother church of its own accord. Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will visit later this month for a convention to elect a temporary diocesan bishop for parishes remaining with the national church.
Bishop Mark Lawrence, who heads the diocese that left, says it is no longer part of the national church and says the national leader has no authority to call a convention.
He wants the national church to stop using the name the Diocese of South Carolina. The diocese sued the national church last week.