Four Anglican bishops from East Africa announced their support last week for the Diocese of South Carolina’s disassociation from the Episcopal Church and praised Bishop Mark Lawrence, according to a news release.

Lawrence left the Episcopal Church in October because of disagreements over theology and governance. He and others who disassociated from the church contend their diocese predates the national church and is the only real “Diocese of South Carolina.”

Both sides have taken to court the question of which has right to the assets, property and diocesan name.

The Rt. Rev. Charles vonRosenberg is recognized by the Episcopal Church as bishop of the “continuing” diocese.

The African bishops on hand, all affiliated with the Anglican Communion, include the Rt. Rev. Abraham Yel Nhial, bishop of the Diocese of Aweil in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan; the Rt. Rev. Robert Martin, Diocese of Marsabit, Anglican Church of Kenya; the Rt. Rev. Nathan Kamusiime Gasatura, Diocese of Butare, Anglican Church of Rwanda; and the Rt. Rev. Elias Mazi Chakupewa, Diocese of Tabora, Anglican Church of Tanzania.

They will speak in various local churches over the next several weeks along with the Rt. Rev. Ken Clarke, bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh in Ireland, and the Most Rev. Mouneer H. Anis, primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.