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TEC's SC Stewardship site still active. Website hidden behind password

TEC's SC Stewardship site still active
Website now hidden behind a password

By Mary Ann Mueller
Special Correspondent
www.virtueonline.org
Jan. 25, 2013

It took more than 24 hours for The Episcopal Church to respond to Judge Diane Goodstein's circuit court order to stop using the Diocese of South Carolina's names and crest. For the most part they have complied, however the Stewardship page was removed from the TEC website and remains quasi active, even two days later.

The TEC website made subtle changes to try and meet the requirements of the Jan. 23 restraining order - such changes as replacing the word "diocese" with the word "church" and even removing the Stewardship button from the main webpage.

But, the Stewardship webpage did not really disappear into cyberspace. It remained unchanged and active and accessible through Internet searching for "Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina stewardship". Friday morning the complete Stewardship section came up under the web address: scstewardship.com. The Google search also listed www.episcopaldioceseofsc.org which automatically deferred to the revamped http://www.episcopalofsc.org/index.html site.

For almost two business days the TEC Stewardship website was fully operational and still using the now legally protected name of "The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina" flanked by the diocesan crest on one side and the Episcopal shield on the other. The masthead proclaims that Stewardship is "a way of life."

The pitch starts out: "Welcome to the stewardship website, for the continuing Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. The goal is to educate, discern and explore, with open minds and expectant spirits, all opportunities for each person regardless of race, gender or age, how they are stewards of all that God has given them. By accepting stewardship as a way of life each person seeks, serves, and shares Christ with all creation they encounter. Through this broad ministry, partnered with God's help, all needs of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina will be embraced and the spiritual health of the Church will grow."

Although on Thursday evening the "Stewardship" button was disabled on the revamped TEC website the South Carolina Stewardship website Friday it was still fully accessible. In addition the footer still proclaimed: The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina - P.O. Box 20485 - Charleston, SC 2941. Under the "Donating Information" button on the TEC Stewardship website continued to state: "The continuing 'Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina' is officially established under The Episcopal Church nonprofit status. Each Diocese, parish and individuals are encouraged to give of their time, talent and treasure, towards the continuing Diocese.

All financial donations can be mailed to the address below. You will receive acknowledgement of your gift and any necessary paperwork as requested. "Please mail your donation to: 'Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina', P.O Box 20485, Charleston, SC 29413." The treasurer is listed as the Rev. James E. Taylor of North Charleston. Fr. Taylor is the rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Mailing any moneys to this address would be putting it in the coffers of The Episcopal Church and not the duly registered and incorporated Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

By Friday afternoon the scstewardship.com website was still a valid working web address but it now had become password protected. This seems to mean that the TEC website bearing the name and symbols of The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina website has not been removed and is still in operation and accessible only if one has the proper password.

When the TEC's South Carolina stewardship website comes up it says: "This area is password protected ... Please enter the password below ... login."

Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline

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