Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Court Rules for Diocese of Virginia Vs. Breakaway Group on Church Properties

From Falls Church VA-

Tuesday night, the Fairfax Circuit Court issued its ruling in favor of the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church in litigation seeking to recover Episcopal church property, according to a report from the Diocese of Virginia. "Our goal throughout this litigation has been to return faithful Episcopalians to their church homes and Episcopal properties to the mission of the Church," said the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of Virginia.

The court ruled that the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia have "a contractual and proprietary interest" in each of the properties subject to the litigation. The court ordered that all property subject to its ruling be turned over to the Diocese.

"We hope that this ruling will lead to our congregations returning to worship in their church homes in the near future, while finding a way to support the CANA congregations as they plan their transition," said Henry D.W. Burt, secretary of the Diocese and chief of staff.
Bishop Johnston added, "While we are grateful for the decision in our favor, we remain mindful of the toll this litigation has taken on all parties involved, and we continue to pray for all affected by the litigation."

The decision had enormous consequences for the historic Falls Church located in downtown City of Falls Church. Since the congregation there voted in December 2005 to defect from the Episcopal Church, USA, and align with the new Council of Anglicans in North America (CANA) under the leadership of a Nigerian Anglican Bishop, the breakaway group led locally by the Rev. John Yates has continued to occupy the church property, being unwilling in the process to share it with those traditional Episcopalian members of the original congregation who did not vote to defect.

More here-

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