By BRUCE SMITH
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - A federal judge says that legal issues arising from the Episcopal schism in eastern South Carolina properly belong in state court.
U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck late Friday dismissed a federal lawsuit brought by Bishop Charles vonRosenberg, the bishop of parishes remaining with the national Episcopal Church.
The suit asked Houck to block Bishop Mark Lawrence, who heads churches that left the national church last year, from using the name and symbols of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. Houck ruled the issue is already before a state court.
Lawrence and churches in the conservative Diocese of South Carolina separated from the more liberal national church and later sued state court to protect the use of the diocesan name and symbols, as well as $500 million in church property.
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