Testimony in trial in Episcopal break in eastern South Carolina winds up after 3 weeks

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ST. GEORGE, South Carolina — Testimony in the trial on the split in the Episcopal church in eastern South Carolina has ended after three weeks.

Conservative Episcopal churches left the national church almost two years ago amid differences over theological issues, including the authority of Scripture and ordination of gays. Those parishes went to court to protect the name and symbols of the diocese and title to a half billion dollars in property.

The last witness at the trial in St. George was Bishop Mark Lawrence who heads the diocese that left. He says he's optimistic and has worked to make sure the trial didn't distract from the church's mission.

Bishop Charles vonRosenberg, who heads the churches that remained with the national church, said his reaction is sadness that the church groups oppose each other.

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